Earning fat stacks

Java devs among best-paid in industry

Elliot Bentley

Users of JVM languages are rolling in it (though not as much as ActionScript devs) according to data from GitHub.

Ever wondered if the grass might be greener – financially speaking, at least – if you worked with a different language? According to stats compiled by Ben Podgursky, a software engineer at advertising data company LiveRamp, you’re best off sticking with Java.

Podgursky has previously used Rapleaf data to visualise the demographics of various GitHub organisations, with Netflix coming out on top as the highest-paying and Cloud Foundry apparently the “most female”.

This time round, he’s made use of this data to calculate the average household income for developers of each language – and found that Java ranks as the third best-paying mainstream language, above the likes of Ruby, C and Perl.

For each repository composed at least 50% of a certain language, Podgursky aggregated the income of the developers involved and then calculated the overall average.

The results mostly match up with established preconceptions of different languages. Java, being heavily used in the enterprise, pays very well with an average salary of $103,179. Groovy and Scala developers are near the top, earning on average $102,650 and $101,460 respectively.

Bizarrely, the best-paid positions appear to be for those coding in ActionScript, the JavaScript-like language used by Flash Player and Adobe AIR. ActionScript developers on average $108,120, over $10,000 more than JavaScript developers; although this is only based on a sample size of 113.

Towards the bottom of the list are PHP and CoffeeScript devs, bringing in less than $95,000 each – even lower than CSS ($99,881) and JavaScript ($97,598),

However, all are far above the median household income in the US ($51,144 according to a 2011 census). Regardless of your preferred language, it seems that coding continues to be pretty lucrative – at least, if your company open-sources its products.

Photo by 401(k).

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