Top 15 coding languages that pay well, according to Upwork

SOURCE: Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
Data science apprenticeships can help to reduce the skills gap in this field.

By U2B Staff 

Read all stories

Business and technology are slowing merging and as a result, many professionals in both tech and non-tech fields are picking up coding languages.

According to a study by burning glass, the birth of a new class of hybrid jobs that require a combination of coding and programming skills with other non-tech skills such as analysis, design, or marketing, have emerged or assumed increasingly important functions in the digital economy.

As a result, coding has become a critical career skill and is highly sought-after by employers as the need for professionals to take up hybrid roles grows.

However, the recent pandemic has forced the workforce to shift toward remote work, and as result companies are increasingly turning to independent skilled professionals to complete technical projects.

This, in turn, has resulted in an increased demand for independent professionals skilled in the field.


Additionally, the field of programming has also grown to become more accessible due to changes in programming technologies that have lowered barriers to access.

As a result, many of the professionals who picked up coding languages and have gone on to launch successful freelance careers, providing their skills and expertise to business organisations.

Leading American online freelance talent platform, Upwork recently revealed its list of the 15 highest-paying coding languages for web, mobile, and software developers.

The data indicates that demand for coding skills is growing year on year and highlights the significant lucrative job opportunities for professionals who have mastered this skill, despite the recent pandemic.

The platform’s top 15 most lucrative programming languages list was compiled by analysing data of the highest average hourly rates independent professionals made on

Vice President of Engineering and Product at Upwork, Mike Paylor said that regardless of programming language, there is an opportunity to build a meaningful and rewarding career as a freelancer.

“Our data shows that there is demand for a broad range of programming skills, including mobile experts using Objective-C or Kotlin, data analysts and engineers using SQL, and developers using Java and Go. We’re finding that businesses small and large are tapping into independent technology talent for their expert skills,” Paylor says.


The data reveals that developers can pursue high earnings potential as independent professionals with top languages paying “more than $66 per hour on average, translating to an annualised pre-tax income of more than $137,000”.

According to Upwork’s list, the top most high-paying programming language skill is Objective-C which is the main programming language used by Apple for the OS X and iOS operating systems.

This is closely followed by Go Programming language, an open-source programming language developed by Google, which pays about $64 an hour, and Windows PowerShell, which pays $62 an hour.

This is followed by Excel VBA, the programming language of Excel, and other office programmes which pay $60 an hour.

Kotlin, a cross-platform, statically typed, general-purpose programming language with type inference also pays independent professionals $60 an hour.

Other skills that made it to the top 10 list of best-paying programming languages include VB.NET, Ruby, Java, Swift, and C#. Independent professionals specialising in these fields can expect to be paid approximately $56 to $59 per hour.

Upwork Chief Economist, Adam Ozimek commenting on these findings said, “tech represents the largest category on Upwork, and this data illustrates the highly skilled nature of work that is being done”.

“From artificial intelligence to mobile development, these specialised skills are highly sought after and, as a result, command high rates. And with work increasingly going remote, we are already seeing continuous growth in opportunities for skilled, remote tech professionals,” Ozimek said.