The Hottest Software Engineering Jobs And Skills Employers Are Looking For

While the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic caused a lot of volatility in employment, software engineering jobs have fared well, with demand for their skills—and salaries needed to attract those skills—rising as technology companies shifted to work from home mode.

Software Engineers Enjoying Strong Growth

The year 2020 was difficult for employment in a number of industries, but life looked up for software engineers. While the COVID-19 pandemic caused heavy volatility in employment for many industries, the tech industry as a whole has thrived as business users in 2020 invested heavily in work from home and study from home technologies.

As a group, software engineers were in a great position when it came to demand for their skills and commanding salaries commensurate with those skills. Hired, a marketplace aimed at bringing together tech companies and potential employees, along with its parent company, New York-based talent marketplace developer Vettery, analyzed their database of interview requests and salaries from January through November 2020 to identify hiring trends for software engineering jobs. The database included information from 72,000 candidates and 148,000 interview requests, with a minimum of 50 interview requests or candidates required to be a valid data point.

Hired early this year released its findings in its 2020 State of Software Engineers report which show which software engineering jobs have the highest demand, how salaries have grown, which coding codes are in greatest demand, and where software engineers are more likely to find good remote work opportunities.

Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, wrote in the report that the pandemic led to dips and volatility in recruitment and employment, but the software engineering sector was one where demand remained strong.

For a look at how software engineering jobs have been faring during the pandemic, and for a couple ideas where a software engineer might best beef up his or her skills, click through the slideshow.

High Demand For Backend, Full Stack, and Frontend Software Engineers

When measured by the absolute volume of interview requests, 2020 was a very good year for software engineers looking for new positions. According to data from Hired based on interview requests via the Hired marketplace, backend, full-stack, and frontend software engineers all landed well over 50 percent of all interview requests for software engineers in 2020.

Overall, interview demands for software engineers as a whole were down slightly in 2020 over 2019, which Hired attributed to disruptions from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic which paused hiring for one or more months.

Demand by engineering role in 2020:

* Backend software engineers landed 58 percent of all interview requests for software engineering roles

* Full-stack software engineers landed 58 percent of all requests

* Frontend software engineers landed 32 percent

* Data engineers landed 9 percent

* Mobile engineers landed 8 percent

* Machine learning software engineers 6 percent

* Search software engineers 3 percent

* Security and neuro-linguistic programing (NLP) software engineers both at 2 percent

* Computer vision, gaming, embedded, AR/VR, and blockchain software engineers as well as engineering managers all at 1 percent

Software Engineer Salaries Up In 2020

Software engineer salaries were up in North America in 2020 pretty much across the board, although the increase was not quite as high as what software engineers saw in 2019 according to Hired, which based its information from interview requests from actual companies that provided salary information up-front. However, Hired noted, those salary listing were subject to change during negotiations.

Machine learning software engineer and search software engineer salaries were in the top 10 highest paid roles in the San Francisco Bay area, New York, and Toronto. However, the highest salaries went to AR/VR software engineers in the San Francisco Bay area with an average of $180,000, up 13 percent over last year.

Average salaries for top software engineering roles rose 5 percent in the San Francisco Bay area in 2020, 3 percent in New York, and 7 percent in Toronto

Top 5 Software Engineering Average Salary Listings, San Francisco Bay Area:

* AR/VR software engineers — $180,000, up 13 percent

* Engineering managers — $174,000, up 3 percent

* Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) engineers — $172,000, up 1 percent

* Machine learning software engineers — $171,000, up 4 percent

* Search software engineers — $169,000, up 1 percent

Top 5 Software Engineering Average Salary Listings, New York:

* Machine learning software engineers — $160,000, up 10 percent

* Data software engineers — $151,000, up 7 percent

* Embedded software engineers — $150,000, up 8 percent

* Backend software engineers — $149,000, up 2 percent

* Security software engineers — $149,000, up 10 percent

Top 5 Software Engineering Average Salary Listings, Toronto:

* Machine learning software engineers — $122,000, up 4 percent

* Data software engineers — $120,000, up 4 percent

* Search software engineers — $118,000, up 5 percent

* Backend software engineers — $116,000, up 11 percent

* Full-stack software engineers — $112,000, up 9 percent

Hottest Coding Skills: Initial Request vs. Actual Skills

According to Hired’s database of job listing, when it came to coding skills, the top three most-requested skills by employers were Python, Java, and JavaScript, while Reach and Node.js were the most in-demand frameworks, and AWS was the top specialty skill.

However, when it came to employers actually requesting interviews with potential job candidates, the picture was different. Hired found instead a different list of coding skills that were in most demand after the interview process. At the top of the list was Redux.js, the predictable state container for JavaScript apps, which received 2.9x more interview requests compared to the average on the Hired and Vettery marketplaces.

Top 12 Coding Skills Demanded vs. Marketplace Average:

Great Places To Work Remote

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of remote workers in smaller tech hubs, according to Hired’s and Vettery’s marketplace data. For instance, the Hired marketplace found Denver to be the highest demand for remote workers, with 34 percent of roles being offered to potential employees in that city being remote work roles.

Hired also found that candidates in smaller job markets commanded salaries of 2 percent to 5 percent higher for remote jobs than for local jobs, and that 54 percent of software engineers said they were more productive when working remotely.

Employer Remote Role Demand By Market:

* Denver — 34 percent of roles offered were remote

* San Diego — 27 percent

* Los Angeles — 27 percent

* Dallas / Ft. Worth, Texas — 27 percent

* Austin, Texas — 27 percent

* Washington, D.C. — 21 percent

* Chicago: 20 percent

* Seattle — 18 percent

* New York — 14 percent

* San Francisco Bay area — 12 percent

* Boston — 11 percent