3.17.2021 6:55
Career advice

The Highest Paying Programming Languages in Australia

The Highest Paying Programming Languages in Australia


Julia Sinclair-Jones

November 8, 2018

Career advice

What are the highest paying jobs for programmers in Australia? If you’re eyeing a career in coding (or a developer looking to learn an extra programming language) then a high salary may be right up there on your list of “wants” in a new job. After all, a higher salary gives you a higher standard of living – and tech jobs will continue to be in demand globally for the foreseeable future.

Read on to learn which are the highest paying jobs in Australia by programming language (aka computer language).

Programming languages that lead to the best paying jobs in Australia

With hundreds of programming languages in use around the world, you shouldn’t just strap on a blindfold and randomly pick from a list to find your programming language of choice. Carefully considering which language/s to concentrate your efforts on will lead to the greatest reward.

Read through our list of some of the most popular and well-paying programming languages to get a feel for what each is like, as well as its real-world applications.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is everywhere; the unofficial language of the web (via the browser). JavaScript, an interpreted language, is what is used to create interactive websites such as the likes of Facebook and YouTube.

A primarily front-end language, JavaScript is enhanced by the power of a plethora of frameworks and libraries, such as Angular, Ember, Vue, and React – each with their own use-cases, benefits, and downsides. If you’re looking to become a JavaScript-first developer, you’ll need to learn at least one popular framework or library for a role in the real world.

On the ‘JavaScript Everywhere’ trail, you can also utilise Node.js to create JavaScript web backends, and develop on mobile and desktop via tools like Electron, which is handy for those looking to become full stack developers.

2. Swift

Want to get into iOS development? Make sure to get to know Swift. Swift is currently the go-to (and official) programming language for Apple mobile devices. Swift itself is a progression from previously used Objective-C, and as a modern computer language is both more intuitive and powerful than its predecessors.

Swift shares much in common stylistically with other modern languages such as Python and Ruby, which makes it easier to learn. If you are aiming for an iOS career, pick Swift.

3. Java

If JavaScript is the language of the browser, then Java is the language of computers and devices. While JavaScript is primarily a browser-based technology, designed to work on all browsers, Java is a compiled language, designed to work on any machine or at least any machine with a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) installed.

Java is an Object Oriented programming language, often taught as the base language of choice is generic programming studies. Why? Because it is a mature language (>20 years old), relatively easy to learn, and cross-platform, so of use in plenty of places.

4. Python

Python is your go-to language if you want to get into science, maths, statistics, or even big data real-world applications. Python itself is adept at handling these types of data and has a contingent of libraries to enhance its ease of use and productivity, particularly in these fields. Python is often used as an alternative to the R programming language in statistics and data science.

That’s not all python is used for, though. You can also use it for web programming (generally paired with Django), GUI programming (e.g. PyQt) and regular applications programming.

5. PHP

With JavaScript a preferred client-side language of the web, PHP is the flip side, for many the preferred server-side language of the web. Combined with CSS and HTML, you’ll have a very common full stack for web development.

If you want to do web design, it pays to learn PHP alongside JavaScript (even though Node.js makes JavaScript backend development possible). If you want to specialise in backend web development, learn both JavaScript (with Node.js) and PHP so your skills can go anywhere.

6. Ruby

Ruby continues to shine as a language that’s a bit of a jack of all trades, with a syntax that’s easy to pick up, even for beginner programmers. Ruby can be used for web applications development (generally paired with Rails, Sinatra, or similar), small scripting work and automation, and API development, among other uses.

Ruby comes with a huge variety of additional libraries, in the form of gems, helping earn its jack of all trades label. And did you know it was designed for developer happiness to be the best programming language? Say no more.  

7. C#

C# is a Microsoft-produced .NET language, similar in capabilities to Java and Python. C# is arguably most useful in cross-platform development (including mobile development via Xamarin), game development, and web services.

The language itself is appreciated because of the robust .NET library and toolchain ecosystem, including Microsoft’s powerful Visual Studio IDE, as well as the ease of use for (in particular) Windows programming.

8. C++

C++ is the oldest programming language on our list (initially released in 1985!), but that’s not to say that it’s the least relevant by any stretch. There are still plenty of developer jobs available that are primarily C++ based, sometimes due to legacy codebases, other times due to the low level of the language.

Modern day uses of C++ include situations where a high-performance code is essential, such real-time safety-critical code or financial industry applications, embedded applications, and systems programming.

9. Rust

Rust is often billed as a “language-instead-of” C++. It’s a new language (2010) that seeks to be similarly hardware-adjacent and fast like (if not faster than) C++ – but with a more modern feel and some innovations that would’ve been built into C/C++ if it was released now.

Rust can be used for many of the same applications as C or C++ and, according to StackOverflow survey results, programmers love it. Job pickings in Australia may be slim, so it may be best to consider Rust as a secondary programming language.

And others…

There are plenty of other programming languages, such as functional programming languages Clojure and Scala, or Go for network engineering. We haven’t included these on the list, just for brevity.

What’s the typical programmer salary in Australia?

There’s plenty of typical highest-paid programmer salary reports available online like this one (featuring Go topping their list) and this one (they say Java). However, it can be hard to find up-to-date resources about actual salaries over here in Australia.

Let’s see where our programming languages of choice sit in terms of the average programmer salary in Australia.

PHP programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$41k – AU$74k (median: AU$56K)

5yrs experience – AU$58k – AU$106k (median: AU$80K)

C++ programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$42k – AU$75k (median: AU$56K)

5yrs experience – AU$63k – AU$113k  (median: AU$84K)

C# programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$42k – AU$70k (median: AU$61K)

5yrs experience – AU$63k – AU$107k (median: AU$84K)

JavaScript programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$43k – AU$76k (median: AU$57K)

5yrs experience – AU$63k – AU$114k (median: AU$85K)

Java programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$42k – AU$75k (median: AU$57K)

5yrs experience – AU$63k – AU$115k (median: AU$86K)

Swift programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$43k – AU$77k (median: AU$57K)

5yrs experience – AU$64k – AU$117k (median: AU$87K)

Rust programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$43k – AU$77k (median: AU$57K)

5yrs experience – AU$66k – AU$120k (median: AU$89K)

Ruby programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$46k – AU$79k (median: AU$55K)

5yrs experience – AU$70k – AU$122k (median: AU$94K)

Python programmer salary

Starting salary – AU$49k – AU$89k (median: AU$65K)

5yrs experience – AU$72k – AU$131k (median: AU$96K)

Source: Payscale

As you can see from the figures here, there’s not all that much difference between the best paying jobs in Australia for a computer programmer, except Python sitting at the top there a little higher there than the others, and PHP at the bottom there, a little lower than the others.

What to remember about choosing programming languages

There are 3 main things to remember when choosing a programming language:

  • What it uses are (e.g. GUI, systems, automation)
  • The prevalence of the language and support
  • Whether you enjoy programming with it or not!

While salary is important to take into consideration, these three outweigh the financial reward – as you have to enjoy your job to remain in it! The best programming language is the one you find most enjoyable.

The other point to remember is that once you get one (preferably multi-functional) programming language under your belt (plus a few libraries and/or frameworks), you’ll be able to branch out and learn new ones. Programming skills and proficiency increase the more you practice. Core concepts learned in programming languages can often translate to others fairly well.

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