Developers have been having a heyday in the past decade. The tech sector has experienced huge growth for the past five years, with tech employment rising at a steady 3% compared to the 2.1% of the national average across all industries. Not only are software developers in high demand with increasing amounts of job opportunities appearing every year, but they get rewarded handsomely for their work, too. Glassdoor posted the 25 best jobs in the US in 2016 based on salary, growth opportunities, and openings, and of those 25, 10 were IT positions.
However, because developers have highly desirable jobs, there is salary stratification across different skillsets and backgrounds. If you’re a developer and want to earn more money in the second half of 2016, here are four ways to maximize your income.
1. Try Freelancing
Ten years ago, freelancing was a risky move. However, with the rise of 4G and communication tools like Skype and Slack, it’s easy to stay in touch with your team while finding new opportunities for your next gig. While big enterprises like Facebook and Amazon still pay massive salaries to their developers, it’s now possible for an ex-Google employee to make twice as much money freelancing. Developers are well-suited for this freelance model because very often their work is project-based and it’s done entirely online. Now that freelance platforms like Toptal that specialize in elite development and design talent are growing in popularity, developers can find reliable, high-grade work without any serious gaps between projects. Not only can developers maximize their income by freelancing, but they can also live their ideal lifestyle, whether it’s freelancing remotely and traveling the world or taking on two projects at once and taking a vacation afterward.
2. Learn a Cutting Edge Language or Framework
3. Enter the Right Field
Similar to the ways cutting-edge languages and frameworks are highly lucrative, entering the right field is just as important for developers that want to maximize their income. Sure, web developers can still make a whole lot of money, but will that be true in 20 years? Signs point to the possibility that the traditional website will become obsolete in the coming years. To get bigger paychecks throughout your career, it’s important to keep an eye on the long run. What areas of software development are up-and-coming today? Luckily, developers have plenty of options to choose from, including chatbot technology, the internet of things, big data, and more. Maximizing your income is ultimately about reading the market and positioning yourself to intercept the industries with the largest growth. That’s true for whatever field you’re in.
4. Become a Generalist
If pioneering with brand new languages and technologies isn’t your thing, developers can always go the opposite route and become a generalist—the famed “full-stack developer.” Many developers question the existence of the full-stack developer, but that is only because employers have the wrong idea of what being a full-stack developer means. Having knowledge of the entire stack doesn’t mean you are capable of building a product from top to bottom—with the possible exception of building a minimum viable product—but rather that you can communicate across development teams and make sure the front end and back end will work together once the product is finished. In this way, full stack developers can become valuable technical product managers and provide valuable assets to a startup or an enterprise.
What other ways can developers boost their income in the years to come? Leave a comment below!