Java is a widely-used programming language that was initially designed for writing computer programs. However, thanks to the innovation of the open source community, Java can be utilized for much more than just programming computers. In fact, several well-known startups, such as Uber and Palantir, rely heavily on Java to power their internal operations.
Top Salaries for Java Developers
A 2019 PayScale survey revealed that the average salary of a software engineer who specializes in Java is $140,000 per year. With so many positions available for IT professionals, it’s no surprise that Java developers can command such high salaries.
The Different Uses of Java
Besides being used as a programming language, Java can also be used to build mobile applications, desktop apps, and server-side applications.
Thanks to the Java programming model, which is based on object-oriented programming (OOP), Java developers can develop applications that utilize several different technologies, such as desktop GUI (graphical user interface), mobile app development, and serverside programming.
As a result, Java has become incredibly versatile and can be used for several different purposes. The most in-demand occupations for Java developers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are as follows (the BLS defines software engineers as people who write software that is used by different people):
- Data processors – processes information and makes decisions for a business or organization
- System software engineer – designs and develops systems that store, process, and deliver data
- Operations and maintenance specialist – maintains the hardware and software of a data center
- Web developer – designs, codes, and tests the World Wide Web
- Database administrator – is in charge of maintaining the accuracy of a company’s databases
- Operations research analyst – determines the best way to do something, using statistics and models
- Scientist – uses knowledge from the scientific method to solve practical problems
- Software and systems engineer – creates, tests, and improves software and systems
Since the BLS does not make a distinction between software developers who specialize in Java and those who don’t, it’s difficult to determine precisely how much someone gets paid for writing Java. However, some data point to approximately $130,000, as the median salary for a software engineer who specializes in Java is around this amount.
Top Tier Software Engineering Salaries
The following are some of the highest paying (and most in-demand) software engineering specialties,as determined by the BLS (the BLS defines software engineer as someone who writes software that is used by different people):
- Database developer – develops the databases for enterprise applications
- Web application developer – creates and modifies the web sites (typically CRM (customer relationship management)) used by organizations to conduct business
- Java (or Java-based) developer – creates, modifies, and tests software that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
- Ruby developer – creates, modifies, and tests software that runs on the Ruby (RVM)
- Python developer – creates, modifies, and tests software that runs on the Python Virtual Machine (PVM)
- C++ developer – develops computer programs that operate on large databases or complex mathematics formulas
As one of the most versatile and in-demand programming languages, Java developers can find work wherever there is a need for software engineers. However, the top-paying cities for this job are San Jose, CA, and San Diego, CA. According to the BLS, the median salary for a software engineer in these cities is $140,000 and $137,000, respectively. In fact, one of the major employers in San Diego is Qualcomm, a leader in the field of semiconductor manufacturing.
The key to earning a high living as a Java developer is to specialize in one of the many areas where the BLS classifies there is a need for experienced software engineers. For example, if you are a Java developer and want to specialize in web application development, you should look for employers who are actively searching for someone who meets these qualifications. You can also use a platform like Glassdoor to identify key words (such as ‘Java developer salary’ and ‘Python developer salary’) and browse job listings that feature these key words.
Of course, the BLS defines ‘software engineer’ as someone who writes software that is used by different people. Therefore, a single specialization can be useful for more than one job. For example, someone who specializes in creating database-driven web applications can become a web application developer, a database developer, or an operations engineer, if they are employed by a company that produces databases or operates a web server.
How to Get a Job in Software Engineering
Thanks to the boom in the field, there are plenty of opportunities for software engineers who want to earn a high living. However, to secure a job in software engineering, you need to follow some simple steps: