Highest-Paying Programming Languages of 2016

Demand for software programmers is on the rise. It is very difficult to find good programmers. You have no idea how many calls and meetings I have each week, involving companies asking to find the right programmers.

Programmers sometimes wonder what is the most in-demand programming language in the world. I just saw a Most Popular Programming Languages Of 2016 article that has some discussion about the best-paid or highest-paying programming languages.

Note that these salaries are for the U.S. market only and in U.S. dollars. 

Actually, the highest-paying programming language is not just about the language. It depends on the application types, roles, companies, location, and several other factors. In this article, I will try to shed some light on the topic and list the world’s highest paying computer programming languages based on data collected from various online resources and my personal experience.

Let’s talk data

Let’s take a look at the following table that lists salaries in the U.S.A. collected from different sources for  2014 and 2015. All salaries are in U.S. dollars.

Language Popularity Quartz BI Rasmussen C# Corner
Ruby (Rails) 9 $90k $109k $107k $110k
Objective-C/Swift 13 $76k $108k $106k $95k
Python 5 $102k $101k $104k $80k
Java 1 $90k $95k $99k $95k
C 2 $100k $90k $99k $95k
C++ 3 $110,000 $95,000 $91k $90k
C# 4 $92,000 $89,000 $93k $90k
PHP 6 $76,000   $88k $80k
JavaScript 7 $78,000 $91,000 $93k $65k
Perl 8     $94k $72k
Visual Basic 10   $85,000 $80k $76k
PL/SQL 17 $80,000   $88k $72k
R 18   $90,000 $90k $102k

If you compare the above salaries with the Best Programming Language In 2014, you will notice a similar pattern.

In the above table, you may notice there is a C# Corner column. This column represents current salaries for a senior software developer role for different skills in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. These salary numbers are based on my personal hiring and offerings. These salaries are for intermediate to senior software developers.

More than just numbers

In the above table, Ruby may be the best paying language but it does not mean a C# developer can’t make more money than a Ruby developer. When it comes to salaries, there is more to it than just language. There are several other factors such as need, domain expertise, company type, location, and individual. For example, a C# developer for a startup in the same city may make much more than a corporation. Check out Choosing a your next company, corporation, medium sized, or a startup to learn more about what type of company you should be choosing for your next job.

When a job is posted, there is a salary range in mind. If you’re the right fit for that position, you may ask for the higher salary range.

In the same city, a financial institute may pay a lot more to a Java developer than a medium sized company.

A company that needs someone urgently and can’t find talent on time may be willing to pay a premium for the talent.


I’ve been a programmer for 18 years. I do understand all of the above data is collected from various public online resources and that makes some sense, but one thing we need keep in mind is that companies that are in need of developers and can’t find them, and are willing to pay a premium price. I see it all the time. We can put a number on a programming language but the actual pay is more than just for the language. It depends on your personality, your expertise, and several other factors mentioned previously in this article.

I would like to see some salaries from your personal experience around the globe. Please do share.


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