How much do coders make? Check out this data from around the country

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iOS rules the roost and beats Android, Bay Area coders get paid the most, and Node.js developers are up and coming: This sums up three findings from an analysis I performed on salary survey data collected from thousands of techies around the country by Payscale.com.

We pulled in data for a number of major cities on coding salaries, as well as national salaries based on the top seven job descriptions associated with a software language. The languages we covered included iOS, Android, Node.js, Java, Python, .Net and JavaScript. We picked those languages to cover a broad cross-section of IT that focused on ascendant and very popular languages.

Apple vs. Google

Despite the release of Apple’s new Swift coding language, which reduced the difficulty in coding iOS applications, job listings naming iOS requirements were the highest paid positions among the tech jobs covered. The highest mean salary among all the job titles and skills analyzed was iOS Principal Software Engineer at $128,000. Following that were senior level coding gigs in Java, the reigning enterprise champ, at $125,500.

Next up was Node.js (the scrappy contender capitalizing on the growth of cloud apps and one-page apps), clocking in at $116,600, a distant third. In fact, a less senior role in iOS paid roughly on par with the more senior Node.js role. That said, Node.js roles beat out .Net, Python, Android and JavaScript (which arguably is a flavor of Node.js, although Node requires more back-end chops).

Mean salaries by title and skill

Bay Area = big bucks

We knew that coders are in high demand in the Bay Area, but the difference between that region and the rest of the country is quite extraordinary. The nearest competitor, Seattle, still trails the two top dogs by $11,000 and $13,000, comparatively. And after the top four cities, the distance grows even larger.

The moral? Oddly, even though the cost of living is roughly comparable between Gotham and the Bay Area, New York techies pocket nearly 25 percent less than San Jose or San Fran techies. Los Angeles techies actually fared far worse than those in the two great tech centers, bagging only  $78,000 on average. The sample sizes for the different cities differed widely, but the survey did cover thousands of people.

Average salary by city

By the numbers

Although Node.js salaries were lightly reported in the Payscale numbers, the new back-end take on JavaScript showed remarkably well. This probably indicates strong demand for Node development. The average salary for a Node developer was actually higher than for any other skill, at $88,500. This shows strength in the middle and lower tiers of Node positions and bodes well for the future of Node. That said, in terms of the number of salaries reported, older coding languages dominated, with Java and JavaScript having many more salaries reported. We’ll follow this up with an analysis of the different database and big data jobs and implications for coders and companies that hire them.

Top and average salaries in aggregate across software skills

Alex Salkever is head of marketing at Silk, a company that enables digital storytelling and data visualization. Follow him on Twitter @AlexSalkever.

10 Comments

Tim Olesnavage

Salary for a senior android engineer or iOS engineer is 130K on the low low end, 185 on the high end (in Los Angeles). Sr Java developer can get `140K no problem, probably closer to 150-160K lately.. salaries are changing literally month to month – I’ve been a tech recruiter here in LA for 8 years and have seen the progression firsthand. Oh, and node.js devs — IF you can find one, aren’t going below 130/140 for anything.

Patrick Magee

If you code for embedded products such as avionics the salaries can be even higher.

Alex Salkever

We did look at PHP but wanted to focus on a mix emerging technologies and legacy more enterprise technologies (Java, .Net) and mobile technologies (php is hardly used there). But look for an upcoming analysis that covers PHP. (In fact, we wanted to cover GoLang as well but the sample size wasn’t big enough).

Alex Salkever

It’s actually not a survey. It’s a selection of data from PayScale surveys. So its arbitrary, in that I picked what I wanted to look at. You can take a look at the entire data set if you want at Payscale. It’s linked through on the visualizations.

Joel Strellner

The fact that PHP wasn’t included shows a serious flaw in the methodology. PHP is the most widely used language on the Internet.

Dave Howe

PHP has a poor reputation of being able to get programmers cheaply though, so rates for PHP aren’t as good as (say) ruby or java.

eric

I agree methodology off. Facebook itself is offering over 100k plus benefits for PHP developers. this methodology way off

Alex Salkever

It’s actually not a survey. It’s a selection of data from PayScale surveys. So its arbitrary, in that I picked what I wanted to look at. You can take a look at the entire data set if you want at Payscale. It’s linked through on the visualizations. We’ll do a follow up on PHP. And it’s important to remember, Facebook is to PHP almost as Java is to Scala. FB is looking to hire PHP guys that are already up on HipHop and their own unique deployment tools. They will train but it is probably the very top of the PHP scale.

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