Learn These Languages to Earn a Higher Programmer Salary

The technology industry is booming. Web developers are in high demand. The sky is blue. Tired of hearing the obvious? Here’s something you might not know: Having certain development language skills can actually increase a programmer salary, according to Robert Half Technology’s Salary Guide.* Here are a few examples:


While knowing at least one of the many languages within the .NET framework can provide a salary bump, specifically knowing C# could lead to an additional 9 percent boost in starting compensation. Pepper those C# language skills with some ASP experience and gain potential for an extra 5 percent increase. Use C# to navigate the programming waters of SharePoint (a possible 12 percent lift) and enter into the well-rounded .NET developer circle with a large percentage increase to the average programmer salary.


Not that XML and JSON are the same, but when increasing a programmer salary they share a common theme: How the language is used is what matters. Become a master of AJAX, an acronym for asynchronous JavaScript and XML, and you could earn a starting salary that is 6 percent above the average. Proficiency in web services, such as JSON and/or XML, as well as the protocols that transfer the data, like REST and SOAP, could lead to an 8 percent spike in a programmer salary.


Professionals who are skilled in Java, which is ranked as the second most popular development language according to the TIOBE Programming Community Index, can earn a programmer salary that is 9 percent above the average starting level. Programmers might see a 9 percent increase for Java EE/J2EE platform skills as well. Additionally, according to Eric Younkin, branch manager at Robert Half Technology’s Cleveland, Ohio, location, skilled Java programmers are sought after nationwide, so you may have many job opportunities to choose from if you have the right skills.


Though it’s on a bit of a popularity decline based on the TIOBE Index, PHP continues to hold out in the top 10 development languages. It also could elevate the average programmer salary by 9 percent, according to Robert Half Technology’s Salary Guide research. Additionally, W3Techs reports that WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other PHP-based platforms continue to corner the market on content management systems (CMS). Mature your PHP knowledge by gaining similar CMS skills and you could see a 7 percent bump in your programmer salary.


ColdFusion, or CFML, doesn’t even rank in the top 20 of the TIOBE Index and isn’t in high demand currently. However, for web developers who like to frequent in the infrequent, Robert Half Technology’s Salary Guide notes that mastering this language could provide a 4 percent increase in starting compensation. While there is a wide world of development languages, certain ones are more in demand than others. Whether you’re an entry-level web developer venturing into the world of computer science or a seasoned developer seeking more skills, mastering one of the languages mentioned above can help to grow your programmer salary. Younkin adds, “By building skills in more aspects of a language platform such as .NET, the more in demand you will become.” Look to Robert Half Technology’s latest Salary Guide for job descriptions and starting compensation trends for a wide range of IT jobs — including web developers. *Starting compensation for a web developer in the United States ranges from $70,000 to $113,500, according to the Salary Guide. In Canada, the average starting programmer salary this year is $66,750 to $96,250 (figures are in Canadian dollars).