Software Engineering Jobs – 2021 Growth Forecast

December 15, 2020
Infographic of top career goals for engineers

In an increasingly tech-centric workforce, software developers are quickly becoming essential to nearly every industry. Simply put, they make our world turn — from tracking your daily step count to making sure your paycheck hits your bank account on time. If you’ve ever considered a future in tech, now is the perfect time to hop on board. 

Software developers make good money, have access to a wide range of opportunities, and, notably, they tend to like their jobs. According to Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report, 85% of survey respondents said they’re happy they chose to pursue a career in software development. But will the rocketship keep climbing… or will it crash and burn? Here’s our take on software engineering in 2021 and beyond.

Software Development Job Outlook

Ok, let’s nix any doubt up front: tech jobs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects software engineering job growth to reach 22% over the next decade — far exceeding the expected job growth across all occupations. 

And, as aptly noted in LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, “engineering isn’t a new profession by any means, but engineering roles across the board are still seeing tremendous growth.” More than half of the jobs in this year’s report were related to engineering or development — including fast-growing roles like Artificial Intelligence Specialist, JavaScript Developer, Cloud Engineer, and Robotics Engineer. Likewise, Indeed’s Best Jobs of 2020 named seven of their top 10 roles in tech, with the “best” job listed as Software Architect, featuring an average base salary of $119,715. 

“Engineering isn’t a new profession by any means, but engineering roles across the board are still seeing tremendous growth.”

A few years ago, Blockchain Engineer was one of the fastest growing roles in the tech industry as cryptocurrency emerged as a popular new digital asset. Today, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) engineers are leading the way, fueling robotics, advanced camera technology, gaming, and more. Whatever innovation is next on the horizon, we’d put our money on it being rooted in software development. 

Graph of software engineer job demand
Demand for engineering roles in 2018 and 2019.Image source: Hired

When it comes to salary, jobs over $50K a year are readily available as a software engineer — and not just in major cities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for software developers nationally in 2019 was $111,620, nearly triple that of all other occupations. And software developer salaries are only increasing. Based on employment data from Hired, average salaries for engineering roles went up last year by nearly 13% in London, 7% in Toronto, 7% in New York, and 6% in the San Francisco Bay Area. Software engineering job growth means more jobs at higher salaries across more industries. A win-win-win! 

The Job Market for Software Development

In short, business is booming for software developers. According to SlashData, a leading software development analyst firm, there were an estimated 19 million software developers at the start of 2019. By the end of this decade, the firm expects that number will more than double, reaching nearly 45 million software developers globally. To fill those roles, experts anticipate the job market for software development will continue to soar. 

Here are just a few of the industry’s fastest growing roles: 

Machine Learning Engineer

Research from Hired shows that nearly half of software engineers think machine learning is the most interesting field in software today. And it’s a good thing so many developers find it fascinating — demand for machine intelligence specialists has grown an incredible 74% over the past four years, and is predicted to expand even more over the next decade.

Gaming Developer

Closely linked to innovation in AR and VR, demand for gaming engineers grew by a whopping 146% in 2019. Creating video games for computers, mobile phones, and console systems, gaming developers need both an analytical approach and a creative mind. 

Security Engineer

With a focus on testing, screening, and monitoring, security engineers help protect software from breaches and intrusions. While demand for these roles is slowing slighting from recent years, the number of security engineers still grew by nearly 50% in 2019. 

Front-End / Back-End Developer

These fundamental roles sit at the core of the job market for software development, as companies across all industries invest in tech. From agriculture to aeroscience to banking, front-end and back-end programmers can find their niche in any number of career fields. 

No matter what path you choose to pursue, software engineering offers an ever-expanding variety of opportunities to try new things, challenge yourself, build innovative solutions, and grow into leadership positions. Not surprisingly, these objectives also top the list of software engineers’ future career goals. 

Top career goals for software engineers
Image source:

Become a Software Engineer

In today’s employment landscape, formal university education is becoming less and less crucial to getting a great job. In fact, Hired data shows that more than half (54%) of engineers say if they were a hiring manager they would have no preference between a candidate with or without a computer science degree. 

That said, while a traditional degree is no longer required for most software developer roles, candidates do need to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills for the job. That includes learning languages like Python, JavaScript, SQL, and React, among others. In-person or online software development courses can help you build the expertise needed to launch a career in tech — but which one should you choose? Our opinion is that the best online coding bootcamp for job placement is the one that fits your unique needs and interests. Consider your existing skill set, learning style, career goals, ideal timeline, and potential financial investment. Instead of a typical expedited bootcamp, you might get the most out of a more rigorous, professional program like Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly known as Lambda School). 

Our Full-Stack Web Dev course offers an immersive, hands-on experience that prepares students to become successful software developers. The most important part of any online coding bootcamp is that it primes you for the next step. We built our curriculum in collaboration with tech hiring managers and industry experts, with a goal of making sure every graduate gets a job they love. And our career placement commitment ensures that you don’t have to go it alone after you graduate. We provide 1:1 career coaching, interview practice, resume and portfolio help, and access to our nationwide network of hiring partners. 

Ready to hustle? Apply to the BloomTech program and get started on your journey toward a career as a software developer.