Upwork Releases Top 15 Highest Paying Programming Languages for Independent Web, Mobile, and Software Developers

According to Upwork data, Objective-C, Golang, and Windows PowerShell top the list for most lucrative programming languages on the platform; Ruby and Java experiencing highest year-over-year demand

Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK), the leading online talent platform, today announced the 15 highest-paying programming languages for web, mobile, and software developers on the Upwork platform. The data also shows these skills are seeing strong growth in demand year-over-year, highlighting the significant lucrative job opportunities for tech professionals. Upwork compiled the data by analyzing the programming languages with the highest average hourly rates on Upwork.com.

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“Upwork has given us the platform to connect our niche skills, including Python and SQL, with a number of work opportunities we may not have found otherwise”

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, Upwork’s top 15 most lucrative programming languages list reveals that developers are able to pursue high earnings potential as independent professionals. Top languages demand more than $66 per hour on average, translating to an annualized pre-tax income of more than $137,000.1 A comparison of these top language rates to 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics average wage by occupation data reveals that $66 per hour is higher than the average wage for a web, mobile, or software developer across U.S. metros and even in the 15 most expensive metros at $39.58 and $52.09, respectively.2

“Tech represents the largest category on Upwork and this data illustrates the highly skilled nature of work that is being done on our platform” said Adam Ozimek, Upwork Chief Economist. “From artificial intelligence to mobile development, these specialized 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.”

Upwork’s Top 15 Most Lucrative Programming Languages (based on average hourly rate):








Windows PowerShell



Excel VBA



































As the workforce continues to shift toward remote work, companies are increasingly turning to independent skilled professionals to complete technical projects leading to a surge in demand for top technical talent on the Upwork platform. Among the list of the most lucrative programming languages, those with the highest year-over-year growth, in terms of contract volume on the platform, are Ruby (127%), Java (127%), and SQL (152%).

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“Regardless of which programming languages you prefer to work with, there is an opportunity to build a meaningful and rewarding career as a freelancer,” said Mike Paylor, Vice President of Engineering and Product at Upwork. “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.”

Patrick Falvey, a fullstack developer that uses Upwork and Managing Partner at AppEvolve, has been able to build a million-dollar business from his work on the platform given his highly valuable and sought after technical skills. “Upwork has given us the platform to connect our niche skills, including Python and SQL, with a number of work opportunities we may not have found otherwise,” says Falvey. “Finding work through Upwork is an important part of our business growth strategy and we are grateful for the significant amount of demand for developer skills on the platform.”

The data was sourced from the Upwork database and is based on average hourly rates charged by U.S. freelancers on contracts from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Each skill had a minimum of 10 projects and 40 hours billed for reliability.

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