Software engineering is now a highly-important role for employers to fill, given the necessity of the skills involved in running a modern business. Software engineers are able to help implement tools and projects that help businesses in all sorts of areas and ultimately improve the bottom line.

But it’s not always easy to find the right candidates. It’s a highly-skilled, complex job that requires a combination of education, experience and the right mindset. Those with software engineering skills, and particularly those with experience applying those skills in a competitive corporate environment, are able to demand high salaries. 

As Redcat consultant Jack Prior has written in the past on this blog: it’s a candidate’s market. The skills required are in short supply while companies desperately want them. It’s a recipe for high salaries and strong benefits packages.

So what exactly can be expected in 2020 for software engineers and those that hire them?

The big trends

The Internet of Things

According to a set of predictions from The Next Web, the Internet of Things is going to be hugely significant for software engineers in the next year. There are many different estimates out there about how many internet-connected devices there will soon be in the world – with some of the guesses varying wildly (by billions in some cases) – but it’s clear that this trend, in which the proliferation of ‘things’ that connect to the internet, is going to have a profound effect on the requirement of companies for software engineers, and the requirement for software engineers to have new skills.

The Internet of Things is driven by a few factors – notably the quick expansion in the types of device that can be improved by connecting to the internet. Once, we had mainframes. Then we had PCs, then laptops. Along came the smartphone and soon we also had tablets, TVs, watches, speakers and more. It’s not just in the consumer technology world either – industrial IOT – often in the form of sensors and micro-computers, brings with it a whole host of new devices and data.

For software engineers, The Next Web says, it’s important to learn about automation, data analytics, cloud computing, and other new techniques that will impact the IoT set up.

Authentication

Engineers that have skills in passwordless authentication, such as in areas like fingerprint and facial recognition authentication are likely to be in high demand, as more companies recognise that passwords are not as secure we might like. Learning about the “validation aspects” of biometrics will be handy, TNW says.

Mixed reality

Finally, TNW argues that AR and VR are going to boom soon. As this blog has covered before, augmented and virtual reality is about so much more than kooky or faddy computer games – it has spread into the world of education, defence, healthcare and more. 

As an increasing number of companies will soon realise, there is a lot of potential in these technologies – they can change the game in many cases. That means that businesses will want to invest in the technology and the technologists: providing potential employment for software engineers. 

Payday

As we’ve already noted, the importance of software engineering skills to most modern businesses means that those with the skills can demand a large pay packet. Previous research we have covered shows that for candidates, money isn’t everything, but it is certainly important.

And new research, published using information from Levels.fyi, shows the differing levels of pay at tech and finance firms in the US. Redcat operates primarily in London, but it is useful to see how software engineers are paid in the big markets, and how pay packets compare between companies and sectors.

The research shows that a software engineer at Visa earns an average of $112,000, compared to $109,652 for an associate engineer at Capital One. For analysts at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, that goes up to $119,471 and $113,958 respectively. 

It also compares those numbers with entry-level compensation at the tech giants in the US. Google engineers find themselves on top of the pile, with average salaries of $182,158 – while those at Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple all find themselves bringing in well over $150,000. 

Those salaries may not translate directly across the Atlantic, but one thing is clear. 2020 is likely to be the year, and maybe even the decade, of the software engineer. 

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