Why Software Engineers need to get Go-ing

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Developed by Google engineers as a hybrid language which incorporates the best bits of C, Python and JavaScript, Go is the hottest programming language in 2021 – and it’s a must-learn for Software Engineers.

Originally designed in 2007, Go’s popularity is increasing outside of Google thanks to its simplicity, security and its own standard library. But, of course, there are lots of languages that promise exactly the same thing, so why exactly should you consider learning Go?


Google is a game changer

Go wasn’t developed by just anybody, it was designed by senior computer scientists at Google. This is important not just for those aspiring to work at Google, but for all within software engineering.

Google’s dominance is aggressive. The company has moved into almost every imaginable corner of the technological space, and when they do so they tend to revolutionise it. You’d be a fool not to pay attention to a language created by Google.

But it’s not just for Google

Go is already being used at Netflix, AMEX, Salesforce, IBM, Target, Twitter, Uber and Dropbox. As its popularity increases, so too will the pool of talent with experience of Go, who will in turn take their skills with the language to new organisations, creating a cycle of increasing popularity.

Although having a name like Google behind your programming language probably helps pique the interest of Software Engineers, it will also need to live up to expectations if it is to compete in an already saturated languages market. So, does it?

In a word, yes. Go is relatively simple, with a small language specification which makes it easy to onboard new engineers experienced in other languages. It builds fast, using goroutines, and comes with a large and powerful standard library and production class webserver. 

Go is also – unlike so many of its currently more prolific predecessors – built for the exact environment Software Engineers are working in now. It expects developers to be working on scalable, cloud-based servers that are optimised for performance and it leans into this, making it much better for enterprise level applications than some of its competitors.

It’s the language of opportunities

Go is a language that is still growing, so there are fewer opportunities within Go than say Java or Python. But, roles are definitely on the rise. In 2019, Go was ranked at position 294, according to IT JobsWatch, which looks at the number of roles advertised which are related to Go. Two years later and it is at rank 132. 

The rewards are higher, too. The average programming job in the UK has a median salary of £50,000 (excluding London), but the average Go role has a median salary of £60,000. And, growth is happening more quickly with Go. While all programming salaries have increased by an average of 11.11 per cent in the last 12 months, salaries for roles requiring Go increased by 20 per cent. 

All of that data comes from IT JobsWatch, which only takes into account advertised roles – meaning the actual salaries for Go roles are likely higher. Based on our own experience and research, you can expect the median salary for a mid-level Go developer to be around £65,000, and approximately £90,000 for a senior developer. For top Go developers, it’s not uncommon to see salaries in excess of £100,000.

Learn now, lead later

Because Go is growing in popularity, competition for top roles is not as fierce as it is with some other languages. That’s not to say that you don’t have to be brilliant to work in Go, but that if you are brilliant and you choose to develop your Go skills, you might climb the ladder more quickly. You may well find that opportunities to progress appear more often and more rapidly compared to those based in other languages. 

Adding a rare skillset to your existing range and experience is always worthwhile, but even more so when opportunities to use this skillset are growing. We predict big things for the future of this language, so you better get Go-ing. 

Want to get going with Go but not sure where to start? We are working with clients in London and Barcelona who want to train Software Engineers in the use of Go. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn on the job. Get in touch for more info.

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