What should you expect to pay a developer?

It’s a tough question to answer. Not only does it depend on where the developer is based, but also on their level of experience and what they specialize in. It can be a bit of a jungle, to say the least.

But regardless, price is top of mind for most employers. To help you get a better grasp of what you need to pay for a developer, we’ve put together a guide for you. It covers salaries for common positions, languages, and frameworks in seven development hubs — both in the west and in Asia.

Don’t feel like reading it all now? Get the PDF-version here.

Before we get started — it’s a long post, so you can skip directly to any section here:

Dig in, and hopefully you’ll have a clearer idea of how much you need to budget for your upcoming hires soon!

Salaries by role

1. Front end developer

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a website tick and act when clicked, it’s the work of a front end developer. Web design and UX is generally the work of a designer. The front end developer implements said design. They work their magic by writing code that runs inside the user’s browser. (Unlike back end development, where the code runs on the server.)

Imagine a house. The back end developer creates the systems that make the building work. They lay the foundation for the plumbing, electricity and so on.

The front end developer is the one who does the walls, floors and decoration. They also make sure everything connects the right way. For example, you don’t want the light to switch off every time you flush the toilet, right? That’s what we thought.

It might be a strained analogy, but you get the picture.

3 vital front end skills:

1. HTML and CSS

First out are HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). These are the basic building blocks of the web. You need these to design your website. If not, you’ll end up with unformatted text that’s not a sight for sore eyes (which won’t help what people say about your website either).

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2. JavaScript

JavaScript is the most popular kid in the class (but frankly, not always the best liked). It’s ubiquitous all over the web, and it’s the most used front end language out there. It allows users to add a great deal of functionality and interactive elements to their website. You can even use it to create basic applications.

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3. JS libraries and frameworks

A front end developer should know jQuery, React.js or AngularJS — for example. These are but a few JavaScript libraries and frameworks that exist today. That is, a collection of plugins and extensions that improves JavaScript implementation or provides specific functionalities.

Front end developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$63,500$78,000$87,000
UK$35,800$47,500$56,000
Germany$49,400$58,800$59,800
Sweden$50,500$67,000$79,000
Vietnam$20,000$24,600$27,500
India$5,500$10,800$17,000
Australia$47,100$58,600$76,000

2. Back end developer

Remember the house analogy above? If the front end developer does the tiles and installs the faucet, the back end developer does the plumbing and all the nitty gritty details behind the scenes. Back end developers build the server side of web applications. That means everything that happens before it hits your browser.

Back and front end developers work closely together. The front end guys provide the outward facing elements. In turn, the back end developers take care of the server-side logic, for example using programming languages such as, PHP, Python or Ruby.

Back end developers also work with databases for storage. A database is a crucial component for any web application to store and access data. Common options include SQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.

3 Vital back end skills:

1. Back end languages

As a back end developer, you need to be able to make the server, application, and database communicate with each other. For this, you can utilize a host of languages. But some of the most common ones include PHP, Ruby, Python, and Java — each of which is used for front as well as back end.

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2. Databases

Furthermore, back end developers need solid knowledge of databases. To help servers find, save or modify data, it needs to be stored and accessible somewhere. For this, a back end developer can use databases like MySQL, Oracle, and SQL. This extends to handling a hosting environment and scaling as necessary.

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3. Front end languages

Yes, a back end developer needs to be well-rounded. That means armed with at least some front end skills because as we’ve learned earlier, both go hand in hand. A basic understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is often necessary.


Back end developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$65,200$81,000$92,300
UK$36,600$48,300$56,200
Germany$50,500$66,400$77,400
Sweden$46,300$61,000$71,000
Vietnam$20,000$24,800$28,300
India$5,300$10,600$14,700
Australia$44,300$62,200$75,100

3. Mobile developers

An app developer usually refers to someone who builds applications for mobile platforms. This mainly involves iOS and Android, but it can also include the Windows operating system. Many companies, small and large, are looking to hire app developers every single day.

This is because being on mobile is often more vital than desktop these days. Google emphasized this with its “mobile first” strategy, even if it pertains to web browsing. Essentially, Google prioritizes indexing of mobile pages instead of desktop versions.

Just have a look at these stats:

 

So ensure your website is responsive. And maybe consider launching an app or two as well if it’s a good fit.

3 Vital mobile developer skills:

1. Languages and frameworks

iOS developers often use Objective-C or Swift, while Android developers rely on Java. But knowing more languages and frameworks definitely helps. Furthermore, database experience is a definite plus.

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2. Cross-platform development

It’s no longer enough to know how to develop apps for one platform. Employers are looking for candidates that are proficient in iOS, Android, and sometimes even Windows. Being on all platforms is more of a necessity than an option. The more well-versed you are as a mobile developer, the better.

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3. UX-skills

An eye for design is crucial for the mobile interface. Both when it comes to actual aesthetics as well as the user-experience. And first impressions matter. An un-intuitive user-experience is a sure-fire way to get users running as far away from your app as they can. Having experience in responsive development is a plus in whichever way you look at it.

Mobile developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$66,000$83,000$107,200
UK$36,200$44,000$61,000
Germany$52,000$57,800$59,000
Sweden$52,500$66,000$85,200
Vietnam$20,000$25,300$32,600
India$4,600$12,500$17,200
Australia$43,000$60,900$71,300

4. DevOps

DevOps, short for Development Operations, isn’t actually a job per se. It’s a process more than it is a job. It involves software development and delivery, product management, and operations departments. While the term has been around for about a decade, it’s a field that’s still defining itself.

Some would even argue that DevOps is more of a culture than a job description. There’s definitely some truth to this. In practice, DevOps is the idea to improve communication between development and operations. The goal is an environment where reliable development and deployment can happen fast. The road to there is to remove friction and smoothen out the entire process.

For businesses, especially startups, the need for agility and speed is great. A streamlined, super effective organization becomes more of a must-have than a nice-to-have.

Devs are from Venus, Ops are from Mars.

— Steven Haines

And what’s the key to streamlining an organization? Let’s have a look at top skills.

3 Vital DevOps skills:

1. Communication

Smooth communication is crucial for streamlined collaboration across the board. There’s no place for bottlenecks between development and operations. Especially in a fast growing organization.

The DevOps job description is flexible and depends on your organization’s needs. Often more so than any specific developer.

Typically, DevOps works by automating and monitoring software development and deployment.

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2. Continuous integration

Continuous integration is a DevOps methodology. It continually merges source code updates from all developers on a specific software build, notifying the team of any failures in the process.

This offers a real-time window into the developing software system. It allows immediate and constant engagement of all team members throughout the project.

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3. Soft skills

The flexibility of the DevOps’ position is dependent on your organization’s needs. The DevOps engineer aims to improve efficiency between the development and operations team. And each organization is unique.

When developers and operations staff collaborate effectively the development cycle is much more organized and systematic. Teams that work together as a unit mitigate risks and complete projects efficiently.

DevOps developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$82,720$105,280$116,560
UK$49,000$75,300$80,900
Germany$59,000$70,200$73,500
Sweden$55,732$62,688$69,666
Vietnam$19,888$25,312$28,024
India$8,693$14,551$24,472
Australia$62,436$80,490$83,499

5. Quality assurance developer

Writing code is of course the bread and butter of being a developer. But churning out code isn’t all you need to know in order to efficiently deploy solid products. A late, buggy product isn’t worth much to an end-user, and can frankly be quite damaging.
That’s where the quality assurance developer — or simply QA — comes in. A quality assurance developer monitors every phase of the software development process. This is to ensure design quality, as well as that the final code adheres to the requirements.

QA engineers are the gatekeepers. They ensure that the code works well before getting into the hands of the public. A QA writes test plans, uses versioning systems to test scripts, and does bug tracking to report bugs, and so on.

3 vital QA developer skills:

1. Broad understanding of the products

First, a QA needs to understand the product or products they’re working with. To test a product, you need to understand it inside and out, as well as what the end-user is expecting from it.

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2. Strong communication

A QA needs to communicate efficiently with the development and product definition teams. This includes reporting bugs in a diplomatic way. (Even though some may be sensitive about their code.) Furthermore, it means stating when a bug is not completely fixed.

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3. Development knowledge

Programming languages, tools, and techniques may change fast. If you’re working as a QA you need to both be able to write testing scripts and be familiar with the latest technology.

QA Developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$61,600$73,000$76,400
UK$37,000$42,700$44,000
Germany$44,800$58,500$67,600
Sweden$51,800$59,700$61,300
Vietnam$18,600$20,700$21,700
India$17,300$29,000$42,900
Australia$41,500$57,700$63,300

6. UX Designer

Have you ever downloaded an app only to have no idea how to use it? Or felt frustrated by the user experience in products you often use? Well, you’re not alone.

It’s hard to stress the importance of UX — or user experience — for a product. It’s the key to engaging users. A UX designer can work with the user-flows as well as the actual interface of the product. Ensuring a user-friendly and easy-to-understand product, even for non-technical end-users is key to success.

3 Vital UX designer skills:

1. Research

As a UX designer, research is a core element of the job. A UX designer has to understand their audience and how they view the world. This applies both to design research before coding, and user-testing after.

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2. Information architecture and visual communication

To ensure navigation is intuitive, a UX designer needs to know how to present information. The UX designer’s job is to ensure the user understands the product and the right message comes across. Along those lines, UX designers need to be competent in visual language. This includes understanding the impact of color, layout, icons, etc.

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3. Wireframing

All screens start with a blueprint — or a wireframe — of the interface. This is to show how a product or service works, as well as to guide the actual UI design. The main purpose of wireframing is to show the user flow or how one would navigate their way through the site.

 

UX designer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$68,800$82,900$92,500
UK$36,000$50,200$64,000
Germany$48,300$56,400$59,500
Sweden$55,300$73,700$74,300
Vietnam$14,500$17,500$19,500
India$7,600$12,300$17,500
Australia$51,300$61,800$83,300

7. Game developer

A game developer is a very generic term, and it can include many things. You could say that game developers design, program, and test games.

This could be anything from complex MMORPGs to simple games for your smartphone. With game developing being so diverse today, it’s a matter of where one chooses to specialize. You could go broad (e.g. Android games) or more specific (and become a real-time strategy game-guru).

3 vital game developer skills:

1. Programming

Game programming can focus on plenty of aspects. For example graphics, physics, AI, game-play or backend functionality. It’s a broad spectrum, and only a matter of where one chooses to specialize when it comes to programming.

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2. Graphics and animation

Graphics and animation is a rabbit hole of its own. Developers can focus on 3D characters or hard surface modelling or 2D textures, to name a few.

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3. Design

Design doesn’t only include actual graphics, but more so overarching designs such as game-play design, experience design, interface design, and systems design. Again, here you can specialize and dig into one aspect as you please.

 

Game developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$52,500$80,000$109,500
UK$43,000$69,000$89,400
Germany$49,800$55,400$57,000
Sweden$36,800$56,000$76,600
Vietnam$13,300$20,300$27,700
India$4,800$9,000$17,000
Australia$44,100$58,700$68,209

8. Web developer

A web developer is what it sounds like — a developer for the web. Creating websites involves design and front as well as back end technologies. As a web developer has to learn to stay on top of new technologies — and which ones are outdated too. The more well versed a web developer is, the easier it is to land a job.

3 vital web developer skills:

1. Design

Before you start coding your website, you must have a general idea of the design. While design is more the job of a web designer, a web developer needs a basic understanding of web design. For example, this includes knowledge of paradigms, like Google’s “material design.”

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2. Front end

To install said design, you need to get your front end in order. The main job of a front end developer is to master languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Also don’t forget certain frameworks like React.js or libraries like jQuery.

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3. Back end

Finally, a strong web developer needs back end skills to install the functionality. While a web developer doesn’t have to be a back end guru, basic understanding is often necessary.

Web developer salaries around the world:


RegionEntry levelMid careerSenior
US$51,500$63,800$70,600
UK$31,500$40,300$45,000
Germany$42,400$51,700$57,700
Sweden$46,000$48,000$49,400
Vietnam$19,900$24,600$27,200
India$3,800$8,500$15,000
Australia$39,800$51,300$58,900

Salaries by country

Languages and frameworks

We have analyzed salaries for some of the most common front and back end languages. To give you a holistic view, we have gathered data for seven countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. All prices are in USD.

This will give you a general idea of salary ranges when hiring developers.

USA

Being a developer in the US pays off. The United States pays by far the highest salaries for its developers. This is good for developers, but might be tough for companies trying to keep costs low.

LANGUAGEUSA (USD)
PHP$77,400
Java$83,300
Ruby$73,000
SQL$79,100
iOS$82,000
Android$81,000
.NET$77,400
C$83,300
JavaScript$82,500
C#$77,400
Python$88,400
HTML$78,200

 

United Kingdom

For Western countries, the UK is comparatively affordable to hire from. The average rate for front and back end developers is about 60% of the U.S. rate, and around 70-80% of the German rate.

LANGUAGEUK
PHP$38,400
Java$46,000
Ruby$49,000
SQL$44,500
iOS$50,300
Android$47,700
.NET$42,600
C$44,500
JavaScript$45,900
C#$45,400
Python$48,200
HTML$43,000

Germany

In the center of Europe, Germany is Europe’s strongest economy. While developers are fairly well compensated, it’s not always easy to find the right talent here.

LANGUAGEGERMANY
PHP$54,200
Java$58,300
Ruby$54,300
SQL$58,300
iOS$56,600
Android$55,500
.NET$57,200
C$58,300
JavaScript$57,200
C#$52,000
Python$59,000
HTML$55,400

 

Sweden

On par with Germany, Sweden pays its developers quite well. But alike Germany, it’s sometimes hard to find the right people for the job. Especially in a country of only around ten million people.

LANGUAGESWEDEN
PHP$52,600
Java$59,200
Ruby$49,600
SQL$53,800
iOS$56,300
Android$54,600
.NET$56,300
C$56,600
JavaScript$55,100
C#$56,300
Python$58,600
HTML$53,200

 

Australia

The land down-under typically pays its developers somewhere between UK and German rates. Being close to Southeast Asia, outsourcing in the region becomes an attractive option for many companies in Australia.

LANGUAGEAUSTRALIA
PHP$48,000
Java$58,300
Ruby$48,700
SQL$60,500
iOS$54,600
Android$59,000
.NET$50,900
C$57,100
JavaScript$57,000
C#$52,400
Python$61,000
HTML$55,400

India

A traditional outsourcing destination, India has the most affordable salaries on the list. The average annual salary for a mid level front end developer is around $24,600.

This certainly makes it an appealing outsourcing option to many. Especially compared to the American going rate of $78,000 per year for the same position.

LANGUAGEINDIA
PHP$5,900
Java$5,800
Ruby$6,100
SQL$5,700
iOS$5,600
Android$4,500
.NET$5,200
C$5,800
JavaScript$4,200
C#$4,500
Python$6,200
HTML$4,200

 

Vietnam

In 2015, TechCrunch wrote about the increased value of outsourcing to Vietnam. The article stated, “It’s no surprise that Vietnam is being talked about as an alternative, amid rising costs and attrition rates in popular offshoring destinations like China and India.”

Furthermore, it reads how companies like Samsung, Microsoft, and Intel are investing in Vietnam.

TechCrunch was full of praise describing Vietnam as a great outsourcing destination. Then we combine the accounts of Google engineer Neil Fraser when he visited the country. Suddenly the image of Vietnam as a developer powerhouse is not so unlikely anymore.

Although Vietnam is still in the early stages of development in IT, all things point to a very bright future. This might well be the perfect time to get in. Being involved at the start of a rising tide is always better than chasing the crest of a wave. Vietnamese developers could well be the perfect asset to drive your company forward. Such is the nature of Vietnamese people to constantly learn and to improve themselves.

They have transformed their country in a generation. Young people today are dedicated and hardworking. It is generally assumed that people work 6 days per week. A Western office working 5 days per week as such presents a very desirable opportunity. Just a generation ago it was normal for people to be working 12 hours per day 6 or 7 days per week.

Needless to say, these guys are not scared of hard work. And to top it off, you won’t have to pay a pretty penny to get high quality work at that.

LANGUAGEVIETNAM
PHP$12,300
Java$27,000
Ruby$24,000
SQL$19,800
iOS$21,000
Android$21,000
.NET$19,800
C$15,600
JavaScript$21,000
C#$21,000
Python$33,000
HTML$12,000

Conclusion

From our data, it’s clear that Americans have to pay the highest rate for developers, and Indians the lowest — which shouldn’t come as a surprise to most. However, it’s important to remember that a high price does not always equal quality. Yet, at the same time, a premium price tag can be an indicator of experience.

For those looking for more affordable options, places like Eastern Europe, India, and Vietnam har popular developer hubs. If you’re looking for cost-effective top developers, don’t hesitate to contact Pangara today.

Salary data from PayScale, VietnamWorks, and ITviec.