March 30, 2023

Ruby On Rails Love, Backend Engineers Stay Employed And Other Takeaways From Hired’s Software Engineers Report

Software engineering is the best job in the US, according to the US News & World Report’s list of the 100 best jobs. But with layoff announcements showing little sign of slowing – it can be hard for those working in the industry to know where they stand.

Hired’s annual report on the state of software engineers in the tech industry aims to cut through the noise and reveal the facts about the job market for software engineers.

“It’s been a challenging time for the tech industry,” writes Hired CEO Josh Brenner. “Despite this, the tech industry unemployment rate continues to improve, dropping from 1.8% in December to 1.5% in January.”

“This rate suggests many laid-off workers were quickly reabsorbed into the workforce and that several of the layoffs in the tech sector are non-technical workers, such as sales, marketing, or support roles.” 

Here’s what we learned about how the job market changed for software engineers in the last year.

1. Layoffs have shifted demand

Layoffs saw a shift in demand away from more junior engineers to those with more experience, resulting in more employment opportunities and higher salaries for the more senior engineers. 

Layoffs have also had a more significant impact on software engineers with non-traditional education backgrounds, such as those who attended boot camps or are self-taught. While most employers say they are actively looking for and considering engineering candidates from non-traditional backgrounds, layoffs have shifted the demand towards those from traditional backgrounds.

Non-traditional engineers also saw a widening wage gap compared to traditional engineers, making $0.96 for every dollar earned by traditional backgrounds in 2022, compared to $0.99 in 2021.

2. NLP is all the rage but backend engineers stay employed

With the rise of generative AI, it may come as no surprise that Natural Language Processing (NLP) engineers had the highest average salaries ($179K) and year-over-year wage growth (10% in 2021). 

Blockchain engineers have the second-highest average salaries ($173K), followed by security engineers ($172K).

But if we measure success by employability, backend engineers are the winners, receiving the highest proportion (59%) of all interview requests by Hired’s platform partners. 

Read: How To Climb The Career Ladder: Insights From A Black Senior Software Engineer

3. It’s all about Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is the most in-demand skill by employers, with engineers skilled in this framework receiving 1.64x more interview requests compared to the marketplace average. However, Python, JavaScript, and Java are also popular programming languages among software engineers.

“Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a very mature and easy-to-use framework, which leads to its popularity among engineers and engineering leaders. It allows for faster coding (or increased productivity), which helps engineers deliver minimum viable products (MVPs) and features at a higher pace,” said Hired CTO Dave Walters.

4. Where the money resides

Despite high-profile calls for employees to return to the office, most employers remain willing to hire remote workers.

The gap between remote and local salaries has continued to widen, with remote roles paying more. The only exception is London, which reached salary parity between remote and local roles in 2022. 

Read: Why Black Workers Don’t Want To Go Back To The Office

San Francisco Bay Area has the highest salaries ($180K for remote roles and $176K for local roles), followed by Seattle and New York regions.

Low cost-of-living areas saw local salaries rising faster than for remote roles, whereas high cost-of-living areas saw the opposite.

Salaries in the UK and Canada grew faster than in the US, with UK salaries averaging £82K and Canadian salaries averaging $CAD 140K. 

5. These states are hiring underrepresented talent

In the US, Tampa (32%), Atlanta (31%), and Columbus (31%) sent the highest number of interview requests to underrepresented talent (non-white/non-Asian and non-male candidates). 

Outside the US, data shows London and Toronto sent significantly more interview requests to these candidates in 2022 vs. 2021.

6. Optimism prevails

Despite recent layoffs, software engineers remain optimistic about their future employment prospects. They are drawn to the field by new challenges and continuous learning.

Most (68%) reported not being concerned about losing their jobs in the next six months.

You can read the full report here.

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)