Survey: C++ is the most valuable software engineering skill

A new salary survey finds that knowing C++ can pay off for software developers more than any other language or skill

A man’s hand wearing three rings with U.S. dollar signs on them
Credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar

If you’re trying to decide which programming language to learn, to make you the most employable and earn you the highest salary, you have lots of good choices to consider. Developers who know Java are always in high demand by employers and get paid well, as do those who know JavaScript, which is also the language that dominates GitHub. Then there’s Python, demand for which is growing fast. However, based on a new survey of engineer salary data, C++ can now stake its claim as being the best language to know, at least in terms of your expected salary.

Last week Compass, an analytics company, released the results of a new survey of tech salaries. They surveyed executives and engineers from 421 startup companies, and also gathered salary and benefit data on freelancers from Elance-oDesk and Total, as well as data from from Glassdoor, Angellist, and Payscale on non-startups. When looking at average salary by engineering skill, C++ came out on top, followed by Python, C, Amazon Web Services administration, C#, Ruby, Java, SQL, JavaScript, and Objective C.

Other interesting results from the Compass survey:

  • Mobile developers get paid the most, on average, followed by backend developers then frontend developers.
  • Working as an engineer for startups paid more than working for non-startups which, in turn, paid more than freelancing.
  • Among startups, the biggest (51-200 employees) with the most funding (series B) paid engineers the most.

The survey also looked at how salary and benefits for engineers differed by country, experience, and role. Below is an infographic produced by Compass illustrating the results; you can read more details on the survey and their methodology on the Compass blog.

Infographic about software engineer salaries Compass
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