For many technologists, developing software for the enterprise holds a certain appeal. For example, you get to build things used by millions (potentially even billions) of people. Second, it’s an area of software development that can prove quite lucrative, provided you build something used by companies all over the world (and you’re compensated proportionally for your impact).
Third, enterprise software often attempts to tackle complex problems—an intriguing prospect for technologists who really like puzzles and intricate solutions. While builders of consumer software and video games might think that enterprise software is boring, it’s actually quite exciting to those of a certain mindset.
Fortunately, if you’re interested in entering enterprise software as a developer, it seems that the most popular programming languages are the same ones used everywhere else; you won’t have to necessarily learn something little-used and esoteric to build that next-generation accounting platform. IEEE Spectrum recently ran its annual analysis of top programming languages, and found that the following attracted the most buzz and usage in an enterprise context:
A word on IEEE’s methodology: It pulls 300 programming languages from GitHub, then narrows that down to the 52 that earned the most search results in Google. Those 52 are then analyzed using 11 metrics, including data from Twitter, GitHub, and Stack Overflow, in order to arrive at IEEE's aggregate score. The organization does separate “cuts” for mobile, web, enterprise, and embedded. (Yes, as with all ranking systems, there are potential issues with that methodology.)
If you’re curious about pursuing an enterprise developer career, positions at some of the world’s largest enterprise-software builders can pay quite a bit. Here’s some compensation data from levels.fyi, which relies on crowdsourcing:
Smaller companies might not pay their developers quite as well, especially with regard to stock options, but enterprise developers at firms of all sizes can certainly earn the healthy compensation that software developers expect. Experience can have a huge impact on how much developers pull down annually, according to data analyzed by Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country:
Of course, if you want to reach for higher compensation, it’s also important to specialize in cutting-edge skillsets such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning. Such technologies will only become more integral to enterprise software platforms in coming years, and the technologists who know them can pretty much name their price.