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Language trends and salaries: Java way ahead

JAXenter Editorial Team
Salary image via Shutterstock

Programmers are amongst the highest paid and most sought-after employees. However, this can all change depending on the specific programming languages one is proficient in. Java is up there as one of the most in-demand and top-paying.

Vacancies for programmers are always emphasising the need to know a specific programming language. So much so, that the question of which language skills pay best has already been explored on JAXenter.

Research conducted by Computer Science Zone highlights where the demand lies and where the job openings are, with the help of career research platform Gooroo and data collected from WANTED Analytics.

In a helpful infographic, we’re shown how many vacancies there are for some of the most popular programming languages – including Java, which has an average annual income of approximately $84,000 USD per annum. The big bucks lie in Scala development, which is the only language listed to go over the $100k mark.

SEE ALSO: The programming skills bringing the dollar bills

According to WANTED Analytics and considering the vacancies, the top 5 that make up the most popular and sought-after languages ​​are SQL, Java, JavaScript, C# and Python. As the table below shows however, the popularity of a language doesn’t necessarily equal to earning more in the salary stakes (e.g. SQL).

Programming: Average salary and job vacancies (Source: Computer Science Zone)

In addition, statistics like the above are heavily dependent on the industry to gauge which languages have a certain importance. Larger companies obviously prefer Java and .NET, while startups build using JavaScript, Ruby and PHP. In the areas of science and research, Python has a special significance.

An interesting point in this context is the recently published ranking from GitHub analysing their most popular languages (in public and private repositories without forks). All Gooroo and WANTED Analytics data identifying the top languages can be correlated to the GitHub results, with the exception of SQL.


Java’s ranking grew leaps and bounds throughout 2008-2015 and rose from 7th to 2nd place, the cause of which was due to the increased popularity of Android, according to GitHub. The extra interest could also be influenced by the ongoing copyright saga that Oracle and Google are embroiled in. The backing of Oracle by the US Government has definitely been a talking point.

Java also shines in other rankings: On the TIOBE Index it has consistently remained in the top 5, recently reclaiming the top spot. For the current RedMonk rankings it holds a respectable second place. You can hardly deny that Java is on the rise, despite latest news indicating Oracle’s “planned obsolescence” for it.

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