With news of layoffs and uncertainty in the tech industry, you may be wondering if you are making the wrong career choice by becoming a programmer. Are there any companies hiring software engineers still out there?
Good news: Beyond the doom-and-gloom headlines, there are plenty of job opportunities for software engineers across all kinds of companies.
Software developer was named the #1 best job in 2023 by U.S. News and World Report. It scored this honor due to its high demand, job growth, low unemployment and stress levels, and work-life balance. Demand for software engineers is expected to grow by 25% by 2031.
In more good news, tech companies are far from the only industry hiring software engineers. Every type of company from banks to hospitals to defense contractors needs software engineers to build infrastructure and apps for their business.
How Much Does a Software Engineer Make?
Software engineers earn an average of $157,000 for remote global positions, according to Hired’s 2022 State of Software Engineers. U.S. jobs pay the most, averaging $156,000, while jobs in Canada and the U.K. pay lower at CAD $128,000 and £75,000, respectively. As global hiring grows, job markets outside the U.S. are growing their salaries more quickly to catch up and stay competitive.
Of course, salaries depend on a variety of factors including experience, metro area, and specialty areas. Security engineers are the highest in-demand role and receive the highest software programming salary, followed by specializations in search, NLP, and mobile.
Entry-level software engineer salaries by industry
According to Glassdoor salary reports, graduates can expect the following compensation for entry-level positions in each industry.
|Industry||Entry-level total compensation|
Which Industries Are Hiring Software Engineers?
Beyond SaaS companies and tech giants like Apple, Google, and Meta, there are many other types of companies hiring engineers.
Let’s take a look at the top five industries hiring software engineers: retail, healthcare, banking/financial services, business/IT services, and government/defense.
Every time you buy something online or in a store, your purchase relies on tech systems built and supported by software engineers. The front-end customer interface, the back-end logistics and payment systems, and the fulfillment and shipping software to bring it to your door.
In 2022, ecommerce spending in the U.S. hit $1 trillion for the first time. The pandemic nudged the global retail market to fully embrace ecommerce and to explore new types of online shopping. Let’s take Walmart, for example, which at any time has hundreds of software engineer job postings and pays an average of $155,703. Walmart has entire development teams dedicated to account, sign-in, membership, rewards, checkout, and its mobile app.
Albertsons Companies, which operates 2,200 grocery stores across the country, describes itself as “at the forefront of the revolution in retail”. Innovations it’s rolled out in recent years include online ordering and pickup, a loyalty program, shoppable store maps, and predictive grocery list building.
Other players in the retail space such as payments processors, logistics, shipping, and delivery companies are all investing in tech—and need software engineers to help them get ahead.
Top Retail Employers Hiring Software Engineers
- The Home Depot
- Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Albertsons Companies
- Lucid Motors
- Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions
- Peapod Digital Labs
- Penske Truck Leasing
Everyone knows that healthcare is a vast and complex industry that’s gone through rapid modernization in the past decade, from electronic records to telehealth to contact tracing. At a minimum, healthcare companies need to comply with government regulations like safeguarding customer medical records. The most innovative companies are aiming to improve diagnostic and imaging tools and to create tools that improve experiences with healthcare and insurance providers.
Despite challenges in the industry, there’s a lot of exciting potential to redefine the future of healthcare delivery. Software engineers surveyed by Hired named public health as the top issue they were passionate about solving.
Let’s take a look at just a few software needs across the healthcare industry:
- Telehealth solutions
- Security and compliance of medical records
- Retail health centers like CVS and Walgreens
- Diagnostic tools
- Applications for insurance claims
- Customer interfaces for appointment scheduling and medical records
- Technology solutions for hospitals and healthcare companies
- Pharmaceutical supply chain and distribution
- Improving quality outcomes
Unsurprisingly, the top priority of healthcare CIOs is cybersecurity, privacy, and security. According to industry group HIMSS, 63% of hospitals and 52% of all healthcare providers have open IT positions they’re trying to fill. Beyond hospitals, other healthcare employers include insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and retail health providers. While programming languages are the most important skill for any software engineer, prior healthcare experience can give candidates a boost.
Top Healthcare Employers Hiring Software Engineers
- CVS Health
- UnitedHealth Group
- Change Healthcare
- Siemens Healthineers
- Elevance Health
- Mayo Clinic
According to a Cognizant survey, 96% of Banking/Financial Services companies say software engineering is “critical” or “very important” to their organization’s future. Software engineers are essential to help financial institutions combat fraud, support cloud-based infrastructure, and build better tools for customers.
As a financial services software engineer, you may develop mobile apps, help companies automate processes, and help companies integrate new technology like cryptocurrency. The fintech sector has also exploded in recent years. The number of fintech startups tripled between 2019 and 2021 with continued growth expected, creating job opportunities to build out digital payment solutions.
Software engineers are one of the most in-demand roles in all of finance according to industry data. Jobs in this industry pay more than counterparts in other industries with a starting salary averaging $111,554.
Top Banking/Financial Services Employers Hiring Software Engineers
- Capital One
- Wells Fargo
- Fidelity Investments
- BNY Mellon
- U.S. Bank
- PNC Financial Services Group
- Huntington Bank
Management consulting and IT services companies provide critical services and business intelligence to major companies around the world. They help their clients identify and mitigate risk, analyze market conditions, and interpret big data. Business services companies often deal in large datasets, so experience with databases or data visualization is useful in this industry.
One advantage of working at a business services company is that there’s a lot of variation as you may work on projects for multiple companies in different industries. The downside of course, is that you may put in longer hours to meet stringent client deadlines. Some management consulting companies require a lot of travel, though that is becoming less common with remote work.
Tanya Detlefsen, Staff Software Engineer for Bain & Company, explains why she loves working in this industry: “I am absolutely fascinated by the range of different types of cases and roles one can be a part of in a software engineering expert role: from serving as a trusted technical advisor to senior client stakeholders to closely collaborating on an intense focused problem with a cross-functional team of business, product and UX design specialists, as well as leading engineering teams to deliver innovative high-impact projects.”
Top Business/IT Services Employers Hiring Software Engineers
- S&P Global
- Boston Consulting Company
Government may not be what comes to mind when you think of top-tier tech. However, the government—and the vast number of defense companies they partner with—are tackling massive challenges from aerospace to national security to research and development.
For instance, job ads for the National Security Administration claim that your impacts may include “saving lives of U.S. and ally soldiers, providing U.S. policy and decision makers with timely intelligence, ensuring the continued safety of U.S. citizens and residents by thwarting foreign adversaries, and defending vital networks.” With a government or defense job, you could be developing anything from combat systems to retirement interfaces to cybersecurity systems.
Working directly for the government typically offers excellent security and benefits, but lower pay. Jobs with private defense contractors offer higher compensation, but may require long hours. Whether public or private, expect that you may need to pass extensive security checks to obtain a security clearance for a government or defense job.
Top Government/Defense Employers Hiring Software Engineers
- Lockheed Martin
- Northrup Grumman
- CACI International
- BAE Systems, Inc.
- Collins Aerospace
- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Sierra Nevada Corporation
Software Engineer Career Paths
Software engineers can come from almost any background as long as they have the skills they need to do the job. In addition to variation in industry, there are lots of alternative career options for software engineers within the profession.
Most software engineers start out as a web developer or junior software engineer. Next, they can progress into a software engineer, senior software engineer, or engineering manager role. You may also consider a specialty within software engineers for better pay and job opportunities, including:
- Full-stack software engineer
- Security engineer
- Data engineer
- Game engineer
- Machine learning engineer
- AR/VR engineer
How To Get Started as a Software Engineer
If you’re interested in building intelligence systems or the next big innovation in medical diagnostics, you first have to build the skills you need as a developer. Since demand for software engineers is so high, it’s a great career track whether you’re in high school or switching from an entirely different career track.
There are essentially three ways to become qualified as a software engineer: earn a traditional degree, self-teach the programming languages you need, or complete a coding bootcamp. A coding bootcamp is a short-term, intensive course to get you job-ready for a specific career.
Many companies are open to hiring candidates without a Computer Science or Engineering degree. The most important skills employers look for are demonstrable proficiency in programming languages as well as communication skills and the ability to work independently. According to Hired, the most sought-after programming languages for software engineers include Go, Ruby On Rails, Scala, and Ruby.
To find out if a career as a software engineer is right for you, follow these steps:
- Read stories of celebrities who switched careers for inspiration
- Check out real career advice we’ve compiled from software engineers
- Join a free Intro to Coding livestream or explore our free on-demand resources to try your hand at coding
When thinking about your next career step, look beyond the layoffs and boom-and-bust of tech industry hiring. Software engineering isn’t going anywhere. It’s about as recession-proof as it gets, and there’s room for everyone who wants to join.
Wondering if a career in software engineering is a good move? Sign up for our next info session to learn more.