Development is a competitive industry, but it also offers a number of avenues to career progression — not to mention the chance to earn a not insignificant annual salary. The most skilled developers can earn large sums; but in the continually evolving world of IT, what are the most valued (and the highest paying) roles for developers?
If you’re training to become a developer, you’re in the mood for a career change or you’re already a developer looking to scale up, there are plenty of career paths to choose from. Not all of them will come with the promise of lifelong financial security, but many developers earn a more than comfortable living.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most lucrative careers on offer within the development industry.
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As more and more businesses migrate their infrastructures to the cloud, the role of a Cloud Architect is in increasing demand — and that’s why they can often earn up to $150,000 per annum. Responsibilities will normally involve leading a team of cloud engineers, developing and implementing cloud strategies, and the management of cloud servers, storage, delivery and networks.
Increasingly, organizations are turning to managed cloud providers (such as Cloudways) that will handle migration, maintenance, security and performance monitoring off-site, but that doesn’t mean there’s no demand for in-house architects; larger enterprises particularly will require an expert pair of hands on-site.
The term “DevOps” is an amalgamation of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops), and a DevOps Engineer is expected to be highly skilled in both of these areas. With salaries of up to $125,000 on offer, it’s an attractive role for someone with wide-ranging IT knowledge, but one which comes with a high level of responsibility.
As with most IT roles, responsibilities will vary from company to company, but DevOps Engineers are mostly charged with overseeing software developers, system operators (SysOps) and managing code releases and deployments. DevOps is also vital to the cloud computing industry, and cloud providers like Microsoft Azure will inevitably enlist the services of one or more DevOps Engineers.
Full Stack Developer
As the title suggests, the role of a Full Stack Developer has wide-ranging scope, since they’re ultimately responsible for both backend (server side) and frontend (client side) developments. It’s a job that requires an experienced head with versatility and strong multi-tasking capabilities, but is often rewarded with a salary of up to $105,000.
Day to day, a Full Stack Developer will be involved in multiple projects and deployments, including (but certainly not limited to) designing and developing software, writing code for front and backend systems, designing user interactions for applications, managing servers and databases, developing APIs, and overall software maintenance.
Sometimes referred to as an App Developer (or as an iOS or Android Developer, depending on the mobile technology they’re working with), a Mobile Developer designs and develops software and systems for mobile devices. An entry-level Mobile Developer salary starts at around $85k on average, with the potential to take home up to $125,000 in a more senior role.
With mobile now the dominant browsing device (a staggering 6.5 billion of us apparently own a smartphone), Mobile and App Developers have been in increasing demand over the last decade. Essentially, their role is to support the entire development lifecycle of a mobile application (concept, design, testing and release) to produce a fully functional user experience.
While (technically, at least) a Backend Developer is only doing half the job of a Full Stack, it’s still a highly demanding (and highly in demand) role that can yield a handsome yearly sum. The average salary for a Backend Developer is around the $80k mark, but the more experienced among them can hope to earn upwards of $100,000 a year.
Backend Developers are responsible for building and maintaining the technology that sits behind a website or application. They’re most likely to oversee things like server-side code, data storage, security and other server-related functions that aren’t visible to the end user (but that are equally as critical as the frontend elements of the website or app).
While most Software Developers aren’t earning vast sums, it’s a highly competitive, highly valued role and one which provides ample opportunities for career advancement. Software Developers can still earn a more than decent salary, too: an experienced developer can easily earn up to $120,000 each year.
Much like a Software Developer, a Web Developer isn’t likely to earn huge amounts, but it’s a highly rewarding career that offers a clear path to progression for those who seek it. A junior (entry-level) developer is likely to start at around $65k, but with experience that can easily rise to $80,000 or more, depending on the industry and the location.
Essentially, a Web Developer is a programmer who helps to construct, code and design websites and applications, ensuring they provide a seamless user experience as well as engaging visuals. Their roles will require them to write efficient backend code, build website layouts and user interfaces using HTML/CSS, and integrate several backend functions.