Know Your Worth - Insights Into Developer Pay
Written by Janet Swift   
Friday, 18 October 2019

Stack Overflow has updated its salary calculator, a tool you can use to investigate representative salaries for the software industry based on experience level, location, education, and specific technologies.

We first reported on the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator when it was first released in 2017 and now in its third iteration it is more accurate and more extensive than before, now providing salary estimates for Australia, Brazil, India, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and Sweden as well as the original set of USA, Canada, UK, Germany and France.

As previously the calculator is based on Stack Overflow's annual Developer Survey, which this year attracted contributions from over 90,000 developers, and allows you to find typical salaries based on experience level, location, specific technologies, and education.

Reporting changes between the 2019 and 2018 data, Julia Silge Stack Overflow's resident data scientist, Julia Silge, writes:

Looking in detail at last year’s model compared to this year’s model is a more fair comparison (contrasted with the 2017 to 2018 comparison) because our data cleaning and preparation process was more consistent; we have more confidence in year-to-year trends this year. According to our survey, people who code in countries like the United States and Canada are earning about 5% more this year compared to last year, even controlling for experience and education. The situation in Europe, Russia, Brazil, and India is not quite as positive, with mostly stable salaries this year compared to last, controlling for education and experience.

Data from the five original countries confirms the expectation that in all countries developers with more experience are typically paid more - although the chart also has an obvious end-of-career drop-off,  at least levelling off. 



The above chart shows a big gap in salaries, irrespective of experience, between the United States and Canada, Germany, UK and France. This isn't immediately apparent in this chart which shows salaries for different developer roles. You need to notice that the x-axis, which is in US dollars in each instance  goes up to $125K for the USA, whereas for UK and Germany it stops at $70K and just $15K for India.


It is also interesting to see the charts from the Stack Overflow Developer Survey Results 2019 that provide the data for the salary calculator:



 Commenting on the findings Julia Silge writes:

Notice that we see the same mix of developers roles near the top and near the bottom of these plots for each country ... some roles such as DevOps are associated with higher salaries, some roles such as game developers are associated with lower salaries, and most are not associated with any change from the baseline salary, i.e. from the typical salary for that country with a given experience and education.

Data roles fall into that last category, meaning that we have evidence here that high salaries for data scientists and data engineers can be accounted for by high education and high experience levels alone. Data scientists are highly paid, but not more so than a similarly educated developer doing other kinds of work. (Both bachelor’s degrees and even higher degrees are associated with significantly increased pay for people who code.) 

DevOps-focused work, on the other hand, is unusual both in terms of high compensation globally, as well as job satisfaction, and more. On the 2019 Developer Survey, we gave respondents multiple options to choose from for their professional role, and each respondent could choose as many as appropriate for them. This year, we had two related roles in the operations area: “site reliability engineer” and “DevOps specialist”. More respondents said they were DevOps specialists than SREs, but those who said they are SREs earn even more than those who identified as DevOps specialists. For the purposes of this modeling, we combined these two roles into one DevOps role, but keep in mind that people with SRE roles can earn even more.

Specific technologies used in coding work also impact salary, even when controlling for developer roles, experience, and other factors. Staying current with high-demand technologies can have a big impact on salary. For example, this year, we see a significant increase in salary for developers who tell us they use Scala, Redis, Go, or Apache Spark in their professional lives. Just like last year, some technologies like WordPress and PHP are associated with lower salaries for developers, and some technologies like JavaScript are used so broadly that they do not affect salary up or down.

Thanks Stack Overflow for these insights and also for the Salary Calculator which is a useful tool if you want to explore the range of potential salaries for the kind of work you do given your skills, education and experience.




More Information

Stack Overflow Salary Calculator

Coding Salaries in 2019: Updating the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator

Stack Overflow Developer Survey Results 2019


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Last Updated ( Friday, 18 October 2019 )