The Best Paying and Most In-Demand Programming Languages in 2021

The Best Paying and Most In-Demand Programming Languages in 2021

At Code Platoon, we track national demand for programming languages so that our Veterans and military spouses get the best tools for a career in software development. 

This article highlights the programming languages that command the highest salaries and are most frequently targeted in job postings.

We wrote on this subject in 2020 and have since updated the statistics for 2021. Here are our primary findings:

Javascript and Python developers continue to get paid well, landing #2 and #3 in salary, while C++ makes a jump this year to #1 in salary. But there are relatively fewer job posting for C++, with Java and Javascript leading in jobs posted (C# and Python finished close behind).

How we identified the current top programming languages

We began by searching, one of the largest job listing sites. For compensation, we examined the top 15 most popular languages in a Stack Overflow survey and mapped the average salary for job listings with those languages. For demand, we tracked the number of total job postings targeting those same languages.

Ranking programming languages by pay and number of openings

AverageSalariesPython: Python is an interpreted, multi-purpose programming language. It holds the #3 position in Average Salary and #4 in the number of Job Postings. Python is seeing exploding growth due to its use in data science, machine learning, cybersecurity, and dev ops. 

 Javascript: Javascript took #2 in Job Postings and #2 in Average Salary. Javascript is an indispensable language to know for writing web applications.

 C++: Now used primarily in gaming and high-performance applications, C++ stands at #1 in Average Salary and #6 in Job Postings.  C++ is very fast and stable, but difficult to learn relative to the other languages in this list. 

 Java: Integral to large-scale legacy business applications and gaining new relevance through its adoption by Google for Android, Java climbs to #1 in Job Postings and #4 in Average Salary

C#:   C# maintains a solid user base through its adoption in the Unity gaming engine, standing at #3 in Job Postings and #6 in Average Salary. 

Number of JobsPHP: The language that powers WordPress, PHP is #7 in Job Postings and #7 in Average Salary. PHP is a general-purpose scripting language used for the development of web applications. 

 C: C is one of the oldest and most widely used programming languages, holding #5 in Average Salary and #5 in Job Postings. What makes this language so tough to learn is partly why it’s so powerful: concepts that are hidden to users in scripting languages like Python and Java are exposed in C, offering more flexibility and complexity.

SQL: SQL (or Structured Query Language) is the standard language for relational database management systems; it is a query language that allows users to draw information from databases. It ranks #8 in Average Salary and #8 in Job Postings. 

What will be the most popular programming language in 2022?

It’s difficult to speculate how these programming languages will fare because the supply of qualified applicants affects the number of open positions. However, Python’s growth will probably continue as companies increase their adoption of data analytics tools, infrastructure software development, and AI tools (areas where Python shines). Javascript will continue to be the ‘language of the web.’

If you’re looking for more information on the usefulness of various programming languages, the TIOBE Index and Stack Overflow provide authoritative reports. Both consider industry demand and incorporate different approaches in determining the usefulness of programming languages.

If you’re a military Veteran or military spouse interested in learning to code, you can apply for one of our cohorts now.

Rod Levy is the Founder and Executive Director of Code Platoon. Rod spent 20+ years in finance and entrepreneurship. He was a Partner at G-Bar Limited Partners, where he co-founded and managed their volatility-arbitrage trading desk (BBR Trading) and was one of the founders of Cerrio, an internal software start-up. He holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University, and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he graduated with honors. Rod has also completed Dev Bootcamp’s web developer program.

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