Programming in Go, the open-source language, is the most in-demand skill; the cybersecurity talent shortage continues to intensify; and Silicon Valley companies continue to offer the highest salaries, even to their remote workers. And the average U.S. salary for software engineers in 2021 was $156,000 annually, up 1 percent from 2020.
Those are a few of the takeaways from Hired’s 2022 State of Software Engineers report. The online employment-marketplace firm looks each year at its own data; this time around, the assessment included 366,000-plus interactions between companies and software engineers. Hired also conducted a survey of more than 2,000 software engineers to fill in additional details.
Here’s a summary of Hired’s analysis, in five charts:
Security Engineers Can Take Cyber Skills Straight to the Bank
The recent rise in cyberattacks prompted companies to reevaluate and prioritize their security strategies in 2021, the Hired report indicated, boosting demand for security engineers and lifting their average salary by 7.59 percent compared with the 2020 figure. The average salary for engineers working in augmented and virtual reality, at the top of Hired’s 2020 ranking, dropped 7.42 percent, to sixth place. Several other specialties also saw dips in average salaries offered on the Hired platform in 2021.
If Go Is Your Coding Skill, You Go to the Top
Hired looked at its 2021 job postings and interview requests to identify the most in-demand software skills. According to this analysis, engineers proficient in the Go programming language received 1.8 times as many interview requests as the average software engineer did. (Compared with Hired’s 2020 numbers, however, that’s not a big premium. In 2020, Go coders received 2.3 times the average number of interview requests and still were not the most in-demand specialists; engineers skilled in Redux.js landed interviews at a rate 2.9 times the average.)
But Python Gets the Most Love from Engineers
Silicon Valley Engineers Make Top Dollar, Even When Telecommuting to Another Region
Average San Francisco Bay Area salaries for local software engineering hires climbed 2 percent in 2021, to $170,000 per year (not including bonuses or stock options), and average salaries for engineers living in the Bay Area but working remotely climbed to $168,000 per year. Indeed, opportunities for remote work drove remote salaries up everywhere Hired looked. In some regions, however, local salaries slipped slightly from 2020. And Austin continues to come on strong, with local salaries up 7 percent to $142,000 and remote salaries up 8 percent to $150,000, according to Hired’s data
Saving the World Through Software
Many software engineers are looking to use their coding skills to make the world a better place—either through what they do on the job or what they do in their free time. Given that we are living through a pandemic, it’s no surprise that the No. 1 area for such passion projects is public health. But engineers are also eager to take on other challenges, including rethinking education, the future of work, and climate change.
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Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.