- Software developers fluent in Objective-C stand to earn, on average, $66 per hour, according to a report from Upwork. The language tops a list of 15 highest-paid programming languages, according to the company's analysis of average hourly rates charged by U.S. freelancers on its platform between January and June 2020.
- Engineers who take on Golang and Windows PowerShell projects can make up to $64 and $62 an hour, respectively. Ruby-savvy developers can earn $59 an hour on the platform, while those versed in stalwart Java average hourly rates of $58.
- Among the higher-paid languages, contract volume for SQL rose 152% year over year (YoY) in the Upwork platform. Contract volume for Ruby and Java increased by 127% YoY.
The rise of mobile and need for data insights shapes how specific tech skills are compensated. Demand is rising for the skill sets that can enable consumer interaction and data analytics, in turn pushing up the price to bring these professionals aboard.
This shift represents a challenge for CIOs, who are tasked with a business directive to help slim down operating costs amid financial uncertainty, particularly in harder-hit industries.
In the talent market, the pandemic didn't taper workers' desire to expand their knowledge through certifications that validate their expertise in specific fields. Despite a brief contraction at the outset of the pandemic, experts project demand for tech training and certifications will continue unabated in 2020.
With users relying more heavily on mobile devices, the inclusion of a number of languages on the list reflect an enterprise need to build mobile apps geared at consumers, said Mike Paylor, VP of engineering and product at Upwork.
"The other theme I would say is around the idea of data and productivity in the enterprise," Paylor said. The presence of SQL, Windows PowerShell and Excel VBA, indicate an enterprise need to automate workloads or help process and understand company data, Paylor said.
Highest-paid programming languages on Upwork.com, January - June 2020
|No.||Language||Average hourly rate|
In the context of the pandemic, organizations began operating in the blind as customer behavior and internal processes became disrupted. Business response relied on the chief data officer for guidance on decisions.
Other languages featured on the list are typically featured in most language roundups. Java, for example, is an "enterprise-grade programming language that many companies are adopting and standardizing around," said Paylor. The demand for Ruby, a developer-friendly language, indicates interest in development work at medium-sized businesses.
"There's different reasons" why each of the languages stand out in terms of compensation, "but I would say each of them is growing at a higher rate for very valid ones on their own," said Paylor.