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Salary Report: Mobile, Big Data Devs Lead Pack

Still enjoying tremendous demand for their skills, mobile coders and Big Data specialists are set to command the highest developer-related salaries next year, according to a new report from careers firm Robert Half Technology.

Mobile developers will see 2017 salaries ranging up to $182,250, while Big Data engineers will go even higher, up to $196,000 per year (not counting additional salary bumps for certain niche skills), according to the new 2017 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals (free PDF download upon providing registration info).

Those two positions respectively featured the highest predicted salary ranges for the "applications development" and "data/database administration" categories of the report, which covers many non-development positions as well.

While featuring the highest salary ranges ($118,750 - $182,250 for mobile; $135,000 - $196,000 for Big Data engineers) of the dev positions, those two job titles aren't the ones seeing the most year-over-year growth from 2016. That honor goes to "developer/programmer analysts" in the dev category, who will see an increase of 4.3 percent. In the data category, the elusive data scientist will see a whopping 6.4 percent increase, which is the largest reported for all tech positions.

Application Development Salaries
[Click on image for larger view.] Application Development Salaries (Showing 2016 and 2017 Salary Ranges and Percentage Increases)
(source: Robert Half Technology)

Skills such as Java and SharePoint expertise can provide up to 8 percent increases to the reported average mobile development salaries, while Microsoft SQL Server database and Hadoop skills can tack on nearly equivalent bonuses for data pros.

In the Web development category -- separate from application development -- "senior Web developers" will attract salaries ranging from $116,250 to $161,000, while "front-end Web developers" will see the largest percentage increase -- 6.2 percent -- in their salaries, which will range from $83,250 to $119,500.

"Skilled programmers are some of the most well-paid technology professionals in today's market," the company said in a blog post last week. "Robert Half Technology's Salary Guide reports that starting compensation for programming jobs is $83,000-$143,250, a 4.3 percent increase over last year. Specialized skills such as mobile applications development or enterprise resource planning (ERP) experience can boost a programmer's earning potential even more."

Data/Database Administration Salaries
[Click on image for larger view.] Data/Database Administration Salaries (Showing 2016 and 2017 Salary Ranges and Percentage Increases)
(source: Robert Half Technology)

Robert Half also called out some trends emanating from its new research into the notoriously tight tech job market.

"To compete, employers find they must be prepared to extend generous offers with abovemarket pay and other compelling incentives, such as signing bonuses and work-from-home options," the human resources consultancy said. "Retention tactics to keep talented team members on board are also top of mind, pushing managers to emphasize career pathing, provide opportunities to innovate and pay special attention to work volume in order to avoid employee burnout.

"In addition, many organizations are applying a new strategy: making full-time hires only for the most essential IT positions and engaging interim specialized support, as needed, to staff projects or implementations and to meet growing business demands."

With project and consulting work seen as remaining steady in the new year, the firm said its research provided the following CIO-cited benefits to this approach:

  • To access specialized skills or knowledge (35 percent).
  • To assist staff during peak workload periods (22 percent).
  • To minimize costs of hiring full-time employees (21 percent).
  • To evaluate a candidate's abilities before hiring full time (20 percent).

Those CIOs also reported on their top retention strategies used to hang on to top workers:

  • Regularly checking in with employees to ensure they are happy in their role (69 percent).
  • Regularly evaluating performance and discussing career development (68 percent).
  • Regularly benchmarking compensation and benefits in order to stay competitive (60 percent).

The firm provided the following information about its new report: "Our salary data are based chiefly on input from our North American recruiting and staffing professionals who make thousands of full-time, temporary and project placements each year. The projected salaries for each position reflect base pay only. Bonuses, incentives and other forms of compensation are not taken into account.

"Since professionals joining a company may enter at a variety of experience levels, we report salaries in ranges. The ranges represent national averages and can be adjusted for your market by using the local variance numbers .... Hiring trends and other information in the guide are based on our surveys of hiring managers and other executives in the technology field."

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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