Salary Survey: Microsoft Developers Enjoy Good Pay, Job Satisfaction

Visual Studio Magazine's first-ever survey shows high salaries and a strong future for Microsoft-focused developers.

The year 2011 was another tough one for the economy, as jobs remained as scarce as two-dollar bills. But, according to Visual Studio Magazine's inaugural salary survey, 2012 looks to be a year of bountiful Benjamins for those skilled at writing software.

Visual Studio Magazine is focused on software developers working primarily with Microsoft tools; Visual Studio is the main development environment for most of these workers. The survey went out to U.S.-based developers.

The survey found that, overall, Microsoft-focused developers are earning nearly six-figure salaries. The average pay was $92,754, representing an increase of of $3,524 over the previous year. Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents reported higher salaries in the past 12 months, and 38 percent listed their compensation as exceeding $100,000 per year.

The profile of a typical developer who responded to the survey shows that he's male (by an 8:1 ratio), 46 years old, has a four-year degree or higher (74.2 percent), and has been in development 11.6 years. In addition, the majority (about 76 percent) are using some version of Visual Studio 2010 as their primary development environment, and the No. 1 job title (just under 20 percent) was "Senior Software Developer/Senior Engineer".

The surey also shows that developers also tend to like what they're doing. More than 77 percent said they're satisfied with the Microsoft development profession, and believe they have a promising future: 40.7 percent said their companies plan to hire in the next 12 months, and 89.7 percent believe they'll still be working in the field in five years.

The best technologies for job retention and future employment, according to survey takers, were Visual Studio/.NET Framework development, at 84.9 percent; SQL Server, at 71.1 percent; and ASP.NET (Web development), at 55.4 percent. Some of the top reasons developers list for career satisfaction are job security, work schedule flexibility and working with new technologies.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, however. In the last 12 months, 4.5 percent of developers have been laid off, and 8.3 percent have suffered salary cuts. Federal employees appear to be more at risk for these negative outcomes, with a Congress-mandated salary freeze. Despite that bit of gloom, though, the survey shows that for job satisfaction and security, the software development industry is hard to beat.

The entire survey can be found here.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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