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What to study if you want to earn money as a developer

Do you need to study computer science to unlock the highest paying jobs in technology? Not necessarily. Even if your education focused on business and finance, you can still (providing you know how to code) become a professional developer who earns more than a computer science student.

So suggests our new analysis of StackOverflow's massive developer salary survey, released earlier this year. 

Over 100,000 developers globally responded to the survey, which is the most comprehensive snapshot of developer pay available. StackOverflow didn't release data on developer pay by industry, but it did release figures for developer pay by educational major. We broke out figures for the U.S. and looked at average (mean) compensation for professional developers working full time in large companies (with more than 10,000 employees) who studied computer science, a business discipline (accounting, business, finance), maths and statistics, performing arts, humanities and other forms of engineering (eg. electrical, civil, mechanical). Average salaries for each are shown in the table below. 

Technologists in big U.S. companies are well paid. If you want to make the most money in a technology job when you graduate you want to be studying maths and statistics, followed by engineering, followed finance and business. Computer science ranks fourth when it comes to earning money in large companies in the U.S.

The figures aren't specific to banking and finance, but 9% of StackOverflow's professional developer respondents worked in the banking and finance industry, and most big banks have over 10,000 employees, so bank technologists should be included in our sample. 

Technologists at large companies worked much shorter hours than front office bankers to earn these salaries. Average weekly working hours according to StackOverflow were just 42.

Photo by Oscar Neira on Unsplash

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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