Career Spotlight: Software Developers

July 2, 2019
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Author: Stephanie Ludwigsen

As technology continues to shape, influence and even define business, the demand for software developers has risen exponentially. Job growth for this profession is forecasted to hover around 24 percent through 2026—a dramatic lead over the average 7 percent increase for all other occupations.

Software Developers

As both the brains and the brawn behind systems and computer software design, software developers are helping to set the course for innovation across all aspects of our modern era. For companies looking to fill software development positions, the talent is out there. But so is the competition to hire them.

Compensation Snapshot

The category of software development encompasses a myriad of job titles. Software developers who are focused on creating or modifying applications and specialized utility programs are experiencing wage premiums of about 9 percent. Software developers who work on system-level solutions for industries like medical, military, aerospace and business are experiencing wage increases of about 5 percent.

A breakdown of compensation, industries of highest employment and location stats for these job titles are as follows:

Applications Developers

• The median annual wage is $104,000, with the highest earners commanding more than $161,000.
• The top three industries based on median wage salary are software publishers at $114,320 followed by manufacturing at $110,290 and finance and insurance at $107,960.
• California, Texas, Washington, New York, and New Jersey have highest technology professional employment, but the highest mean wages are for employees in Washington, California, New York, Virginia and District of Columbia.

Systems Developers

• The median annual wage is $110,000, with the top earners bringing in nearly $167,000.
• System Developer jobs in the manufacturing industry pay the highest median wage at $118,900. Engineering services pays the next highest at $113,250, followed by finance and insurance at $111,380.
• California, Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts and New York are the states with the top employment, and the best wages are found in California, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Jersey and Washington.

Filling the Gaps

Compensation is a major differentiator when it comes to job selection. With positive employment projections, the pay scale has to be competitive, or employees will be incentivized to go where the money is. This reality doesn’t make the professional shortage any less burdensome, and today, software developers remain some of the hardest positions for human resource managers and hiring managers to fill. Because the demand isn’t going to slow down, the gap between open positions and talent continues to widen.

Looking Ahead

As automation pushes businesses to streamline some tasks and completely replace others, the need for tech-savvy professionals will only ramp up.

For example, with today’s existing technologies, about 50 percent of current activities in the workplace can be automated, although many aren’t due to cost or lack of resources. However, as companies embrace innovation and automation, the workforce will shift , causing employees to find new skills or new positions.

Technology professionals are positioned to thrive as the business transforms. Some experts project tech pros will see a 34 percent job growth over the next 15 years.

As innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation help to drive workplace change, there simply aren’t enough professionals skilled in information technology to meet the demand. This reality puts software developers in the winner’s circle today—and well into the future.