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It's the role, not the languages that provides that kind of career path. If it was purely that, becoming a mainframe systems programmer would probably provide you a good sinecure these days. Instead it's using your Python to become, for example, a cloud orchestration expert or something in sufficiently hot demand. I'm not convinced that becoming another Java zombie would be any more lucrative that what you could do with your current base.

Let's not throw around the term Java zombie, there are lots of high paying and interesting roles within the Java world, every language has boring jobs.

To the OP the hot and well paid areas of Java development at the moment seem to be around:

Spring Boot/Hystrix/Feign Play Framework Java 8 Hadoop Spark ML

From what I've seen of the hiring market Android looks to be one of the hottest areas, there is a real dearth of good quality talent in this field.

What kind of places would be looking for native Android developers? I was learning Android a year ago but decided to switch to web because I figured there would be more opportunities.

Looking at averages across the industry Python will make you more money than Java. If you want a higher salary based on tech skills go with Ruby (on Rails) or iOS development.

My theory is languages like Java and PHP that have higher popularity have lower salaries because there is a bigger base to hire from and thus it is easier to find people. And that in turn keeps salaries slightly lower. On the up side, it's easier to find those kinds of jobs.

I was just about to say the same thing but you beat me to it. :) I think the choice of language is much less important than what you're doing. Even a "non-sexy" (but incredibly important) job like build/deployment engineer writing mostly shell scripts and Python automation could net you a 200k+ income

From all the replies here, it seems all the high paying jobs revolve around web development, be it Python or Java.

I have thought about this some but I suppose I'm just lost. I don't know where to even begin with a niche. I have not specialized in the web development domain, but I suppose most comments here are addressed within that scope. And perhaps there in lies my answer.

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