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Rust Developer Career Guide

What is a Rust developer?

A Rust developer is a software professional specializing in using Rust, a systems programming language designed for speed, memory safety, and parallelism. Rust developers are necessary for writing reliable and efficient code that drives high-performance applications and systems.

Their contribution is valuable to any team, as Rust’s design prevents many common programming errors, reducing system crashes and security vulnerabilities. By utilizing Rust’s unique features, these developers enable the creation of faster and more robust software applications.

Duties and responsibilities

A Rust developer’s primary responsibility is to write clean, testable, and efficient code with Rust. Their work includes everything from designing system architecture and setting up data storage solutions to handling version updates and performing debugging procedures. They are also responsible for integrating systems with third-party services and tackling tasks related to maintaining and enhancing performance.

Additionally, they often contribute to mixing tools and languages that fit the project’s needs, perform benchmarking, and ensure optimum system performance. They also focus on developing systems that require high levels of security, ensuring that the applications and systems they create are resistant to common security threats.

Work environment

The work environment of a Rust developer typically includes a corporate setting or a technology firm specializing in software development. Remote work is common in this profession, given the nature of their tasks which are mostly computer-based. While these professionals often collaborate with a team, including UI/UX designers, database administrators, and project managers, they also spend many hours working independently.

Most of their time is spent on lines of code, debugging programs, and ensuring the optimal performance of software applications. Their work also demands a constant learning curve, given that technology evolves rapidly, so keeping up with the latest trends and developments in the Rust programming language is a regular part of the job.

Typical work hours

A Rust developer usually works during standard business hours, from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. However, depending on the project’s demands and deadlines, they may need to put in extra hours, often in the evenings or weekends. Flexible schedules and work-from-home options are also quite prevalent due to the nature of the job.

For organizations that operate globally or across different time zones, Rust developers may need to adjust their schedules for meetings or collaborative projects. It’s also common for professionals in this field to be on-call outside of business hours to handle urgent issues or software glitches that might arise.

How to become a Rust developer

Step 1: Obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field

Most Rust developers have a background in computer science or related fields such as software engineering or information systems. A bachelor’s degree in one of these areas can provide a foundational understanding of coding, algorithms, data structures, and computer systems, all of which are important concepts for this career.

Step 2: Learn Rust programming

After graduating, aspiring developers should dive into learning Rust programming. They can do this through self-study, online courses, workshops, coding boot camps, or textbooks. Practicing coding regularly is essential, as this improves familiarity and proficiency with the language.

Step 3: Complete projects

Build something from scratch in Rust. It doesn’t have to be vast or complicated, but it should demonstrate your ability to code using Rust. Projects could include creating a simple game, building a web server, or even automating a personal task. Showcase these projects on your resume or online portfolio to attract potential employers.

Step 4: Gain a relevant internship or work experience

Experience is essential in the software development field. You can gain this experience through internships, part-time jobs, or entry-level IT or software development positions. Look for roles that allow you to use Rust or closely related programming languages, as this will strengthen your familiarity in a hands-on, practical environment.

Step 5: Leverage networking and apply for jobs

Networking can be a powerful tool in a Rust developer’s job search. Attending industry events or joining online communities allows you to form relationships with other professionals who could potentially lead you to career opportunities. Once you’re confident in your skills, apply for Rust developer jobs. Balance your applications between roles suited to your skills and those that might challenge you to grow.

How much do Rust developers make?

Rust developer salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size.

Highest paying industries

  • Computer Systems Design Services – $115,450
  • Financial Services – $112,655
  • Software Publishers – $110,800
  • Internet Service Providers and Web Search Portals – $108,920
  • Data Processing and Hosting – $107,740

Highest paying states

  • California – $120,590
  • New York – $118,600
  • Washington – $116,500
  • Massachusetts – $113,500
  • Texas – $110,060

Browse Rust developer salary data by market

Types of Rust developers

This career guide section highlights the various career types and areas of specialization for Rust developers. Below, we highlight the unique attributes and responsibilities of each job title.

Web developer

Web developers utilize Rust to build the server-side logic of web applications. They often work with web frameworks like Rocket or Actix, leveraging Rust’s speed and safety to create high-performance web servers.

Systems developer

Systems developers use Rust for systems programming, building operating systems, file systems, and game engines. They leverage Rust’s high performance and memory safety guarantees to create reliable, efficient systems software.

Full stack developer

Full stack Rust developers are skilled in both front and backend development. They use Rust to handle projects that include servers, clients, and databases.

Network developer

Network developers specialize in creating networking applications or services using Rust, including network protocols, routers, or firewalls.

Embedded developer

Embedded developers use Rust to create software for non-PC devices or other specific hardware. They can work on creating operating systems, IoT system programming, and real-time computing systems.

Game developer

Uniquely, game developers use Rust’s performance efficiency and memory safety features for video game development. From creating game engines, graphics rendering to game programming, these developers hold an important role in the dynamic gaming industry.

Top skills for Rust developers

This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a Rust developer. Aspiring professionals need proficient knowledge of Rust programming language to excellent problem-solving abilities.

Proficiency in Rust coding

Knowledge of Rust and the ability to write performant code that minimizes resource allocation while maximizing safety is essential. Understanding and utilizing the systems-level features that Rust offers will be a significant part of a developer’s day-to-day tasks.

Problem-solving ability

Good problem-solving skills are of great importance as developers often face complex issues that require logical thinking and step-by-step procedural implementation. This skill is a vital trait for any developer, including those specializing in Rust.

Knowledge of software development methodologies

Rust developers should be comfortable adapting to different software development methodologies such as Agile or Waterfall. This knowledge helps better understand project structure and deliver reliable software within the planned timeline.

Understanding of multithreaded programming

Since Rust supports a concurrency model without data races, understanding multithreaded programming and concurrency control mechanisms is highly beneficial when writing complex applications.

Solid debugging and testing skills

A successful developer requires strong debugging skills to easily navigate through code, identify issues, and solve them efficiently. Along with debugging, proficient testing skills prove beneficial to ensure code quality and optimal performance.

Good communication skills

Besides technical skills, good communication is vital. This trait facilitates efficient discussions with team members and other stakeholders. Whether explaining complex technical concepts or sharing project updates, communication skills play a significant role in everyday tasks.

Rust developer career path

As a Rust developer, the opportunities for career progression are vast and varied, as Rust is increasingly used in system-level programming due to its focus on speed and reliability. This opens doors to various roles in systems programming, embedded systems, game development, and web assembly.

Having gained a solid foundation in Rust, a developer might strive for a senior position. The senior status typically means becoming a core contributor to project development, designing the software architecture, advising on best practices, and mentoring junior developers. The role usually results in a significant pay raise and increased responsibility.

Alternatively, devs can leverage their programming skills to specialize in niche areas. For instance, an embedded systems engineer post might be an attractive path for those who enjoy working closer to the hardware. This role involves developing software for non-PC devices, including automotive systems, home appliances, medical equipment, and telecommunication systems.

For those with a penchant for graphics and gaming, diving into game development can be another appealing path. This path focuses on performance-critical components of game engines or writing system code for video games. The rapidly evolving field of web assembly offers developers another avenue for exploration, where they can work on compiling high-level language codes into binary format for efficient performance in browser environments.

Over time, they might also aspire to step away from programming and move into management roles such as an IT project manager or a technical director. Project managers typically oversee a project from start to finish, ensuring completion on time, within budget, and meeting the client’s requirements. Technical directors are responsible for an organization’s technological needs and goals, making strategic decisions to drive a business forward. Such positions require a strong foundation in Rust and a broad understanding of other technologies, teamed with solid leadership skills.

Rust development is experiencing exciting growth with many exciting opportunities ahead. More businesses are beginning to recognize the unique advantages provided by Rust, a programming language designed for performance and safety, especially safe concurrency. The role is becoming more sought after as companies strive to adopt modern programming languages that offer enhanced reliability and speed.

A recent surge in interest toward open source technologies has also escalated the need for professionals adept in Rust. The language’s characteristics encourage open-source deployment, which is rising in popularity, which, combined with its memory safety features, makes it an attractive choice for critical applications in technologies like blockchain, fintech, and IoT. Rust’s burgeoning community is another ingredient contributing to the language’s evangelization and growing industrial adoption.

Employment projections

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth for software developers – which includes Rust developers under its umbrella – is 25 percent through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth stems from the increasing demand for computer software across various industries and the growing positive reputation of Rust.

Rust developer career tips

Understand the industry

As a developer, it is important to possess a deep understanding of the software development industry, focusing on areas where Rust as a programming language is commonly employed. This comprehension includes awareness of current trends, common issues, and emerging practices, which can give you the edge in problem-solving sessions, job interviews, and communicating with fellow developers. Maintaining a pulse on industry movements and growth areas is pivotal to reaching new career heights.

Master fundamental skills

Being well-versed in the fundamentals of Rust language is pivotal to your career development, which includes mastering concepts like memory safety, concurrency, packaging, and error-handling mechanisms. You should work on personal projects and contribute to open-source development to gain practical experience. Additionally, gaining proficiency in related languages like C++ or Python and widely-used toolchains such as LLVM can provide a competitive edge.

Comprehend low-level systems

Rust is frequently used in low-level systems because of its exceptional performance and memory safety features. Consequently, understanding how low-level systems work and how to code efficiently to maximize machine performance is valuable. Knowledge of operating systems, computer architecture, and computer networks is a significant plus in the Rust development field.

Advance through, and with, the community

Being an active member of the Rust development community can open doors to new opportunities and provide insightful learning experiences. Actively participating in coding forums, attending related events, and contributing to community projects can significantly add to your knowledge, connections, and reputation in the field.

Build a professional network

  • Rust User Group
  • RustBridge
  • RustConf
  • RustFest

Invest in continuous learning

Maintaining an active learning posture is key to growth and career advancement. The evolving nature of software development demands continuous skill upgrades. Ensure you’re up to date with the latest Rust versions and its shifts, improvements, and new features. Consider the following actions to enforce your learning path:

  • Attending webinars and online classes
  • Subscribing to podcasts and industry-relevant websites
  • Reading and experimenting with new Rust programming books
  • Taking certification courses

Where the Rust developer jobs are

Top employers

  • Microsoft
  • Facebook
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google
  • Dropbox

Top states

  • Washington
  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Massachusetts

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Dice
  • Stack Overflow


What does a Rust developer do daily?

A Rust developer primarily designs, develops, and deploys software applications. Daily tasks include building a secure, concurrent application, implementing and testing software updates, and fixing bugs reported by users or other developers. Other duties involve writing clean, reusable, documented code compliant with established company standards.

What technical skills does a Rust developer need?

As the name implies, a strong background in using Rust language for application development is necessary, which entails understanding various language features like memory safety without garbage collection, zero-cost abstractions, and interoperability with C language, among others. In addition, understanding other programming languages like C++, Java, and Python, knowledge of database systems, API integrations, understanding of Git and version control systems, and knowledge about system operations can be advantageous.

What non-technical skills are important for a Rust developer?

Effective communication skills are vital, whether it’s understanding requirements, explaining technical concepts to non-technical colleagues, or providing updates on project progress. Problem-solving skills are critical, as you often need to find solutions to complex software issues. With work often conducted as part of a team, collaboration skills are key. Time-management abilities are essential, given the demand to work toward set deadlines.

What are the educational requirements for a Rust developer?

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is typically expected for a Rust developer role. Some employers might consider candidates with significant and relevant work experience instead of a degree. Knowledge of Rust programming language is a must, which can be self-taught or learned through formal degree programs, coding boot camps, or online courses.

What kind of projects would a Rust developer typically take on?

Rust developers can work on a wide range of projects due to the versatility of the language, including systems programming, game development, web applications, distributed systems, embedded systems, and other high-performance applications that require safety and speed. The size and scope of the projects may vary, from small modifications to existing code to creating new software applications from scratch.

How essential is understanding other programming languages for a Rust developer?

While being proficient in Rust is the primary requirement, having a solid understanding of other programming languages can be beneficial. Many software systems are polyglot in nature, utilizing multiple languages. Familiarity with languages like C++, Python, or JavaScript can facilitate the integration of Rust code into broader systems, understand legacy code, or enhance communication within a diverse development team.

What companies hire Rust developers?

A wide variety of companies are starting to use Rust because of its security and performance benefits. Tech-based companies, startups, game development studios, and software service companies are common employers. However, with digital transformation taking place in almost every industry, companies outside the tech field, like those in finance, healthcare, and retail, are also likely to hire Rust developers.