By August 12, 2021

How To Choose Your Tech Stack For 6-Figures

Transcript Of The Video

Karim Blanche: Hey, buddy. If you've discovered this video, you're probably a programmer yourself or you're just starting out. Either way, you are in a position where you want to make six figures and you want to start off correctly, AKA you want to select the right tech stack that can feasibly get you to that six-figure mark. Not all tech stacks are created equal, and I'm going to teach you exactly what to look for in this video.

Before we get started, just know that you're in good hands. I, myself, am a contractor, ContractLancer, and I've been doing this for a couple of years. In fact, I was able to land my first six-figure job within the first three years of me doing contract work, so I know what I'm talking about and I use the same advice in order to get there. So just in case you didn't know. In case you don't know, the average salary of a software engineer is actually $107,000. Now, does that mean that every software engineer is going to be making that much money? No. In fact, there'll be people making a lot more and some people will be making a lot less. You were probably somewhere in the five-figure mark. That's where most programmers will start out with, and a lot of people will stay stuck there. They don't know how to actually navigate into that six-figure mark, and at least be average with everyone aggregated together.

So how do you go from five figures to six figures? There's a lot of things that can go in this process, but in this video, we're going to be discussing how to select the right tech stack that gives you the option to go into those six-figure salaries. Now, all technology stacks are created equal, and you will know exactly what to look for before you start going into it much more deeper or going into that career path specifically.

Now, let me make one little caveat. I'm not going to discuss jobs that have titles, like if you are the head of some team or you're the head of some part of the company or something. That is not what I'm discussing. I'm talking about actual people who program AKA code monkeys or whatever it is you want to call yourself, the people who actually do the actual work in the job. No offense to you, product managers and such, when they're creating a product and they're considered software engineers. So just a quick little side note.

In case you're new out there, a tech stack is basically deciding the technology you're going to be using as a software programmer. Now, deciding on what your technology is actually important early on because you want to know whether or not if you continue getting experience here, will you continue making more money, which is typically the case with a lot of these tech stacks especially the ones I'm going to be discussing today. However, just note that you can transfer between tech stacks. It's just going to be a lot harder for you the further you go into your career. So just keep that in mind.

Now that we got all that out of the way, let's go over the actual top three things you should look for in your tech stack, number one is going to be the market value of your tech stack, number two is going to be the market demand of your tech stack, and number three is going to be longevity. These factors combined will determine whether or not your tech stack is going to give you the potential of making six figures or will you just languish somewhere in the five-figure mark. Now, again, I must pre-phase by saying that there's more to getting six figures in just choosing the right technology and working at it. But in this case, we're starting you out with the absolute basics that you need in order to succeed.

So what is the market value of a tech stack? Well, the market value is basically how much someone's willing to pay you to do your job. So our way of finding this out is either by going on Glassdoor or something like that, and finding out what the average pay rate for someone who works in that tech stack is going to be, or you could look at other job forums that actually have jobs listed and try to see exactly, get a good idea of how much money they're offering for their particular tech stacks. Now, when I say tech stack, I don't just include one language, but there's usually multiple languages involved in multiple skills. But in this case, I'm going to go over some examples.

So to make it easy, I'm just going to go over one language per each example. Those languages are going to be, number one, Python, number two, C#, and number three, WordPress. I've chosen these for a specific reason in this video and you'll find out why. So market value is pretty simple. All it is is just trying to find out whether or not a job has the potential to make six figures and whether or not it's close enough to it where gaining that six-figure mark is not insane or not a stretch. So I've chosen these three figures because they follow my own personal baseline of $75K. Now, these technologies are not created equal and their market demand will show it.

So let's discuss market demand. Market demand is basically the amount of demand that your technology has. Easy-peasy, right? However, not all technology is created equal and not all demand is created equal either. It depends on the technology. So in this example, I'm going to discuss WordPress and why I think WordPress is a very bad technology to get into if you want to make six figures.

So as discussed, WordPress. WordPress is an interesting language because you might think there's a lot of demand for it and the average salary is $75K, so it already is two out of three for what could be considered a technology that can give you six figures. However, I think it is not a good technology for this because demand is a bit different. The demand for WordPress is simply for those who want to make websites. So there is no other alternative utility for WordPress apart from making websites. Also, the barrier to entry in creating these websites is very, very small. WordPress is not a very complicated thing to learn and it's pretty simple really. Even with someone with basic rudimentary programming can get into WordPress and just start creating WordPress websites.

There's also a lot of competition on Fiverr or Upwork for very cheap WordPress developers to create a website for whoever their client's going to be, and that depresses the price even further. I think that if you want to get into WordPress expecting making $100K, that's kind of a lofty goal, and I wouldn't take this path if you want to make those six figures in a relatively short amount of time. So that is why I don't think WordPress is a very good language in this case.

However, the other two are a little bit different. When it comes to Python and C#, their averages are $95K versus $81K. However, they both have a lot of utility. So their utility, between the both of them, can be used during the different technologies apart from just building a web application. Python can be used with machine learning and cloud technologies, and so can C# to an extent. The difference is that Python is much more ubiquitous. It is a lot more flexible to learn as a language and it's open-source, where C# is not. It is much more Microsoft-specific and works best within its own house. So that is why the disparity exists. Not only that but there are more companies adopting Python now than C#. And the reason why C# has such high demand is because companies already have Microsoft technologies and they have Microsoft Azure. That's just a little bit of backstory between the two languages.

But what these two have in common that allows you to reasonably get to that six-figure level is the fact that their utility goes beyond what would be expected from before, which is creating web applications. And you can expect that there's going to be more and more demand for them because the future is cloud, the future is AI, and the future is going to be cybersecurity, and all that good stuff. So unlike WordPress, these two have a future, and you can expect that the more experience you get in these two technologies, the higher average salary you're going to be able to command. So that's just something to keep in mind, and that's why their market demand is a little bit different than WordPress's.

The final thing you should look for in a tech stack is market longevity. Now, I'm not saying that newer languages that come out on the market are not going to be lucrative prospects. I'm just saying that, statistically speaking, you want to get languages that have been existing for a while now and have proven their market worth. Now, fun fact, these three technologies that I have laid out, I didn't just pick them at random. I chose them because they were also became mainstream at around the same time between 2002 and 2003, and these technologies withstood the test of time. So even though I don't think WordPress is a good language to get into if you want to get into the six-figure salary range, it is not a bad language to learn either. You can make money off of it. It's just that I think that putting your eggs in that basket is probably not as lucrative as putting your eggs in the other baskets.

In fact, this goes for any technology that you might see. If you're trying to look for a new framework, React, Angular, Vue.js, whatever it is that you want to look at, you should look at how long it's been existing and how much demand that has. So longevity does play a role. You don't want to just pick up a brand new programming language that no one's really been using or whatever. A good example of this is Blazor. Blazor is really new for Microsoft, relatively speaking, but it hasn't really been adopted by too many places yet. Even though there are some places that have it, it just simply isn't as ubiquitous as its former language, Razor, or C#. That's just a fun fact for all you tech geeks out there. And that's basically how I would look at technology stacks.

So that covers everything you need to know about choosing the right tech stack to make six figures. On the other hand, it takes a lot more than just picking out the right technology. But if you pick the wrong technology, you're not going to be making six figures, regardless of how many tricks you can pull off or how good you are in negotiating because you need to be in demand first if you want to be a programmer making that much money. So I hope that this video actually gives you some clarity and gives you at least a sense as to why people are stuck making five figures versus people who make six figures. There's always more to it, there is a social component to it, and there is an amount of work that goes beyond the actual technology itself. But technology is the foundation of your salary, the amount of money you can actually charge someone, so getting that to the highest level you can get it is a good indicator of how much money you're going to be making in the future.

I personally started out making five figures, and then I made six figures in a couple of years because I chose the right tech stack, my tech stack with C#, and I was able to build my skills from there. As long as your tech stack is pretty flexible and there's demand for it, et cetera, et cetera, you should be pretty well enough into investing your time and learning it and then building a career from it. Now, that doesn't mean that over time, you're not going to be learning anything new or that you have to learn anything new. I had to get certifications, I had to learn new technologies over time. That's just how the game works, but this will give you a very strong foundation to do that. So I hope that this video helps someone out there. And once again, I am ContractLancer and I'm very happy that you have stumbled upon this video and hope that you leave a comment, like, and subscribe. Peace out.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."