Hey there! As a developer with over 5 years of experience, I often get asked – which programming languages really pay the best salaries?
It‘s a great question to think about if you‘re new to coding or looking to boost your paycheck. The programming language skills you invest time mastering can directly impact your earning potential in the job market.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll show you which languages are proven to pay the highest developer salaries in 2024 based on real data. I‘ll also discuss what factors influence language salaries, help you understand why some languages pay more, and make recommendations tailored to your career goals.
Let‘s dive in!
Average Programmer Salaries by Experience Level
First, let‘s look at average salary ranges based on experience level across all programming languages:
|Entry Level (0-2 years)
|$60,000 to $80,000
|Mid-Level (3-6 years)
|$80,000 to $110,000
|Senior (7-10+ years)
|$110,000 to $150,000
These figures are based on data from Payscale on software developer salary ranges in the United States. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on the city, company, and specific skills. But this gives you a rough idea of salary growth potential.
With 5-10 years of experience under your belt, you stand to make a very comfortable developer salary. But which languages should you focus on to really maximize earning potential in 2024 and beyond?
Top 10 Highest Paying Programming Languages
Let‘s analyze the 10 programming languages associated with the highest average salaries for developers right now based on data compiled by Stack Overflow from their 2024 survey:
1. Clojure ($108,000)
Clojure is a dialect of the Lisp programming language family known for a code-as-data approach. As a functional language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), it offers great salary potential due to high demand but low supply of expert developers. Companies like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Walmart leverage Clojure for its strengths in concurrent programming. It‘s also one of the most beloved languages among developers who use it.
Average Salary: $108,000
2. Go ($100,500)
Created by Google in 2009, Go is a relatively new open source programming language compared to most on this list. It‘s a compiled, statically-typed language similar to C++ focused on simplicity, speed, and scalability. Go excels as a systems language for building back-end services, APIs, command line tools, and cloud/server applications. It‘s gaining popularity at companies like Google, Uber, and Cloudflare.
Average Salary: $100,500
3. Scala ($95,000)
Scala combines object-oriented and functional programming styles and runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It was designed to be a better Java and is primarily used for data science and big data applications thanks to its strong libraries and concurrency capabilities. Major tech companies like LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Twitter have adopted Scala for their technical stacks.
Average Salary: $95,000
4. Ruby ($93,500)
Ruby‘s simple syntax and use in popular web frameworks like Ruby on Rails make it one of the top choices for web development. Ruby is a fully object-oriented, dynamic programming language known for boosting developer productivity and joy. It also powers many SaaS apps and prototyping tools. Ruby skills are highly sought after by tech startups and enterprise firms alike.
Average Salary: $93,500
5. Python ($92,000)
With its versatile design, simple syntax, and huge ecosystem of libraries, Python has become one of the most popular and in-demand programming languages. It‘s easy to learn but also powerful enough for advanced applications like machine learning, data analysis, and web development. Python drives many sites across the web and its usage is only growing, creating plentiful opportunities for developers.
Average Salary: $92,000
6. Java ($91,500)
As one of the most established programming languages, Java remains massively popular for enterprise applications, backends, and Android apps after two decades. Its portability, power, and vast ecosystem ensure steady demand. Knowledge of Java will be valued by most companies thanks to its wide usage in critical legacy systems along with modern microservices architectures.
Average Salary: $91,500
7. C++ ($90,900)
C++ is considered one of the most complex programming languages still actively used today. It‘s fast, efficient, and the backbone for applications like operating systems, game engines, financial trading systems, and other performance-critical domains. While challenging to master, C++ skills can unlock some of the top paying roles out there.
Average Salary: $90,900
8. Perl ($90,000)
While not as flashy as newer languages, Perl remains a solid language to know for server-side web development and system administration scripts. It excels at text processing tasks thanks to its powerful regex capabilities. Given many legacy systems are written in Perl, it remains valued by major tech firms for maintaining their aging codebases.
Average Salary: $90,000
9. Erlang ($89,500)
Erlang is a more obscure programming language outside of tech circles despite being decades old. It‘s a functional, concurrent-oriented language purpose built for massively scalable, real-time distributed systems with high uptime needs. Large companies like WhatsApp and Klarna rely on Erlang for their backend infrastructure and developer skills are highly compensated.
Average Salary: $89,500
10. Rust ($87,000)
Rust is one of the fastest growing programming languages in recent years. It‘s beloved by developers for its speed, safety guarantees, and concurrency support. As a systems programming language, Rust can replace C++ for lower-level use cases with improved security. It has been adopted by major companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Meta for large scale production systems.
Average Salary: $87,000
What Factors Influence High Salaries?
Looking at this list of the top 10 highest paying programming languages in 2024, you may notice a few key patterns:
Complexity and Learning Curve – Languages like C++ with renowned complexity tend to compensate experienced developers who master them with higher salaries. Beginner-friendly languages pay less.
Executive Buy-In – C-level execs at large companies are investing heavily in scaling systems languages like Go and Rust. Demand and salaries increase with this adoption.
Legacy Codebases – Older languages like Perl and Erlang stick around in legacy production systems, so skills in these languages remain relevant.
How Do Other Developer Roles Compare?
So far we‘ve looked solely at salary ranges for software developers or engineers. But programming languages provide high earning potential across many other technical roles like:
Data Scientists ($120,000 avg salary) using Python, R
DevOps Engineers ($110,000) using languages like Go, Ruby, Python
Quant Developers ($150,000) using C++, Python, R
Game Developers ($85,000) using C++, C#
Mobile Developers ($100,000) using Java, Kotlin, Swift
The programming languages tied to specific roles impact salaries significantly. But again, your expertise level matters the most no matter which role or language you pick.
Which Language Should You Learn for Your Goals?
Here are some recommendations on the top programming languages to learn based on your specific career aspirations:
For mobile app development, Kotlin for Android or Swift for iOS are key.
For data science/analytics, Python and R will take you far.
For backend/systems programming, consider Java, C++, Go, or Rust.
For DevOps and infrastructure, Go and Ruby are great choices.
For financial technology, C++, Java, Python are valued.
For Artificial Intelligence pick up Python.
Ultimately your first language choice isn‘t permanent – you can always learn new languages later as your experience grows. Focus first on mastering programming fundamentals like data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented concepts.
But choose a language that aligns with your goals and industry direction. Devoting the time to truly master that language to an expert level through real projects will pay career dividends for decades to come in the form of high salaries from the top companies.
I hope this guide gives you a data-driven look at which programming languages offer the highest earning potential in 2024 and helps you make the right choice for your goals. Good luck and happy coding! Let me know if you have any other questions.