Top programmers are now the Premier League footballers of the computing world. And the reach of the computing world is extending everywhere, from phones to cars to buildings, which fosters demand for software programmers.
Like footballers, top programmers are getting used to being mollycoddled: according to jobs site Glassdoor, which tracks salaries, a software engineer starting at Twitter, Facebook, Apple or Google could expect to be paid at least $127,000 (£82,000) annually, with medical insurance, free canteen food and holidays thrown in, as well as share options that could boost their income by 50%. For senior software engineers, the starting figure can be $153,000 (£98,000), which pushes beyond $250,000 (£161,000) after cash and stock bonuses. By contrast, salaries at Microsoft and Amazon, further up the coast in near Seattle, begin at around $100,000 (£64,000).