Developers earn higher salaries when their software skills are scarce and more complex, according to VisionMobile’s 12th annual report on developer economics released this week.
In 2017, that means skilled cloud and backend developers, as well as those who work in emerging technologies including Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) can make more money — tens or sometimes hundreds of times more — than frontend web and mobile developers whose skills have become more commoditized.
“In Western Europe, for example, the median backend developer earns 12% more than the median web developer; a machine learning developer makes 28% more,” according to the report.
This is because in emerging tech markets like AR/VR and IoT, companies that are early adopters will pay top dollar for skilled developers who are scarce. The top 10 percent of salary earners in AR who live in North America earn a median salary of $219,000, compared with $169,000 for the top earning 10 percent of backend developers, according to the report.
Such high salaries are possible, however, only if you’re already a skilled developer. New, unskilled developers interested in emerging tech will have a harder time finding work, and earn less than their counterparts in more commoditized areas, due both to their lack of experience and fewer companies hiring in the early market.
Along with skill level and software sector, developer salaries also vary widely by where they live in the world. A web developer in North America earns a median income of $73,600 USD per year, compared with the same developer in Western Europe whose median income is $35,400 USD. Web developers in South Asia earn $11,700 in South Asia while those in Eastern Europe earn $20,800 per year.
“What’s a developer to do if you want to move up in the world, financially? Invest in your skills. Do difficult work. Improve your English. Look for opportunities internationally. Go for it. You deserve it!” VisionMobile says.
Based on a survey of more than 21,000 developers worldwide, VisionMobile’s “State of the Developer Nation” report includes a wealth of information on developer trends, from tools and programming languages, to career opportunities in AR/VR, web, IoT, data science, and cloud. This year for the first time the report also included developer salary information.
For more information on developer salaries and other trends, download the full report.