From salaries to most-used languages, Stack Overflow surveys British developers

British developers earn £44,000 a year, on average, which compares with the national average wage of £28,000. And most of them are web developers using JavaScript, according to Stack Overflow's annual developer survey.

Bar chart of most used and most wanted languages
Stack Overflow

No one will be surprised to learn that most British software developers work in Greater London (20.9 percent) or Southern England (35.8 percent), and that those are the regions that pay the most. However, developers who work in the Midlands might think about moving. There aren't as many jobs and the pay is generally poor.

According to this year's Stack Overflow report for the UK & Ireland, based on a user survey, the North of England might be a better bet. It employs 15.6 percent of British developers, compared with 9.7 percent in the Midlands. After that, Ireland (7.5 percent), Scotland (7.0 percent), Wales (2.0 percent) and Northern Ireland (1.5 percent) trail behind.

Greater London developers earn the most money, with salaries ranging from £23,500 to £98,765. (Of course, £23,500 is barely sustainable in London, unless you live with your parents.) Developers who work in the Midlands and the North start on only £18,000 a year. See the full table below.

The average salary for a developer in the UK & Ireland is around £44,000. Stack Overflow points out that this is 45 percent higher than the UK's national average salary, which was £28,000 in 2016-17.

Machine learning specialists earn the most, at £56,851. Web developers - who make up the majority of the market - average £42,717. This is slightly better than desktop software (£42,313) and mobile developers (£42,223). Graphics programmers (£39,832) and graphic designers (£35,863) earn the least.

iOS vs Android developers

From the survey, 75 percent of developers in the UK & Ireland are in full-time employment, with 11.5 percent working as independent contractors or freelances. Another 2.7 percent are employed part time. While 8.6 percent are not currently employed, only 3.3 percent are unemployed and looking for work. In total, 9.5 percent say they are "actively looking for a job", but 59.1 percent are "open to new opportunities".

As mentioned, web developers (72.9 percent) make up the majority of the market, followed by desktop applications developers (27.6 percent) and mobile developers (16.1 percent). DBAs (14.9 percent) and systems admins (11.4 percent) follow on behind. Those highly-paid machine learning specialists make up just 2.4 percent of the total.

Language matters

As you would expect, JavaScript (65.3 percent) is the most used language in the UK & Ireland survey, followed by SQL (54.5 percent). After that come C# (40.3 percent), Python (30.9 percent) and Java (29.2 percent). C# beats C++ (16.5 percent), C (13.1 percent) and Objective-C (5.3 percent) combined. See the Top 10 table above.

The "most wanted" languages are JavaScript (48.8 percent), C# (37.4 percent), SQL (34.2 percent) and Python (33.9 percent). Interestingly, F# is the least used on the list (2.4 percent) but it's much more wanted (9.6 percent). Go and Swift also look like gaining in popularity. Go jumps from only 3.8 percent on the "most used" list to 16.5 percent on the "most wanted" list, leapfrogging Swift, which climbs from 5.3 percent to 12.0 percent.

The vast majority of these UK & Ireland developers are male (89.2 percent) rather than female (7.3 percent). We can only hope that this reflects Stack Overflow's user base, rather than reality.

Stack Overflow says its survey had more than 64,000 respondents from 213 countries, with 4,740 of them coming from the UK & Ireland. It also covers topics such as education, career satisfaction, and Tips for Tech Hiring.

You can download the UK & Ireland Developer Hiring Landscape Report 2017 online.

UK & Ireland average salaries by region

UK & Ireland average developer salaries by region, from Stack Overflow's 2017 survey

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