Developer Pay According To Stack Overflow
Written by Janet Swift   
Tuesday, 31 August 2021

We rely on Stack Overflow to answer our programming questions. Its annual survey also tells us a lot about who we are, what technologies we use and our working conditions - including our pay, which is the today's topic of interest.

We've already had two looks at the results of the 2021 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, the 6th edition of this annual undertaking. Last time, Programmers Start Young, we looked at how and at what age developers learned to code while in the first, What Programmers Want, Love Or Dread we looked at its findings regarding respondent's preferences for programming languages.

Looking at developer salaries in the context of programming languages it is Clojure developers who have the highest median salary and second place belongs to F#. Both of these are Functional programming languages that require the skills of programmers with several years of experience and a glance at the chart below shows a clear realtionship between Median Yearly Salary and Average Years of Professional Experience.


The survey report's comment on this chart is:

PHP developers are disproportionately underpaid compared to other languages with the same experience. 

Clojure is indeed an outlier, attracting a higher salary than would be expected given their average experience. Rust, Go  and Scala are also among languages that are paid at a premium rate.

There is of course a strong correlation between Salary and Experience and "Developer Type", which is a mix of job role and the type of end product you work on. The chart below is truncated. The missing point for "Senior Executive" corresponds to 15.4 years of professional experience and a salary just below $95,000.


DevOps stands out here as being well paid - and this tallies with Go, Rust and Scala being well paid languages.

The survey report  notes two anomolies revealed by this chart:

  • Data scientists or machine learning specialists are the 8th most paid but, on average, have the fewest years of experience.
  • Designers are the lowest paid even though they have over ten years of experience on average.

The chart also reveals that as far as developers are concerned. mobile apps are the least well remunerated - but while this is the case on a worldwide basis it's not the case in the USA.

Stack Overflow has two bar charts for Salary by Developer Type.

The first for All Respondents uses the same data points as the above chart but also includes Students, who on average earn less than $20,000 per annum. Engineering Manager tops this chart with an average salary of almost $96K with Senior Executive close behind.


A second chart looks at the salaries of respondents from the United States and paints a slightly different picture with Senior Executive having the highest median salary - $177,500, while Engineering Manager in second place has a median salary over $10K lower.


While for All Respondents Mobile Developer is the worst paid professional role ($41K) in the United States it is better paid at $120K than Front end web developer at $115K.



More Information

Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021

Related Articles

Programmers Start Young

What Programmers Want, Love Or Dread

First Class Functional Programming Books

Developer Pay Satisfaction According To Stack Overflow

Developer Work and Pay


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Last Updated ( Monday, 27 September 2021 )