Stack Overflow on the new winners: machine learning specialist developers (MLDev)

In a age when developers became mobile developers, who then became Internet of Things (IoT) developers… we must also embrace the reality of the machine learning specialist developer.

Arise, MLDev!

Not a job title that commands an easy shorthand acronym (MLDev, maybe?), the need for machine learning gurus has never been higher.

This is the ‘finding’ (or, survey suggestion perhaps) arising from Stack Overflow’s Developer Hiring Landscape Report, which surmises that machine learning specialists command the highest salaries among developers in the UK and Ireland.

A machine learning specialist receives on average a £56,851 annual salary, 24% higher than the mean wage for developers in the British Isles.

Self-taught skills

94% of developers are at least partially self-taught and just 43% of software engineers in the UK and Ireland have a Bachelor’s degree. These statistics would suggest that the rise of free online classes and coding crash courses are increasingly being used to offer a fast-track to a more lucrative career.


Average salary

Machine learning specialist




Developer with a statistics or mathematics background


DevOps specialist


Data scientist


Quality assurance engineer


Web developer


Embedded applications/devices developer


Desktop applications developer


Mobile developer


Systems administrator


Database administrator


Graphics programming


Graphic designer


Also here… 73% of respondents in the UK and Ireland identified as a web developer, making it the most common developer type. By contrast, only 2.4% of respondents identified as a machine learning specialist, their scarcity (and high demand from employers) contributing to their higher earnings.