How much does a programmer earn?

How much does a programmer or a software engineer make?

A programmer / software engineer / coder / developer / software developer, etc are all designations to define a person who creates software. More often than not, you will also find the programming language of choice ( C, C++, Python, Ruby, Javascript, Android, .NET, etc )prefixed to this designation. What all of these people do, is write programs that make a software. Irrespective of how you define it, programming is one of the most lucrative fields in today’s time and therefore, one of the most frequently asked question, how much does a programmer make ?

For the sake of this article, we are considering all programming jobs as one irrespective of what it says on the job title. Whether you have a degree  in the field or are self taught, if you write software programs for a living, you’re included in this category. We’ve gone through research done from quite a few sources and have collated them into a one piece article to help answer this age old question.

There’s a lot of aspects to consider before reaching a figure. A Google search will tell you that the ball park figure of a programmers salary is $79,530. But when you consider the sheer variance in the number of job profiles around, the question of a programmer’s salary cannot be answered so easily. Therefore, we’ll be looking at as many variable as we can.

Firstly, we’ll see a comparison of the major software engineer roles. Like we mentioned earlier, a software engineer doesn’t necessarily mean a software programmer. A software engineering profile includes a host of activities that can range from coding to server management. Therefore, we first check out the research that compares the pay of a programmer versus other roles.

This chart draws a comparison between the different roles under the umbrella of a software engineer with the salary of a civil engineer put in as a reference. The first thing that came to mind, was that the profile of a software developer was significantly higher than the aforementioned average pay of around $79,000. Just by this, we can see why the average pay figure was not enough to answer the question of a programmer’s pay check.

While the salary a developer takes home is significantly higher, it has just recently reached the height you see in the data presented above. The average pay has been steadily rising over the past half a decade or so increasing the pay of developers above other software engineering profiles. The gentle increase in the pay scale can be seen below

While the average pay of software developers isn’t the highest when compared to other profiles in the industry, the steady increase has made it one of the highest when compared to many other fields on work.

And lastly, we also need to note, that these salary figures are restricted strictly to the US and even then, the pay varies vastly across cities. It is widely accepted today that if you want to be the best in your field, you need to work in the biggest hub of your field. Based on data available however, this might not be the case for programmers today, with San Francisco – the home of Silicon Valley – widely considered as the hub of software development losing the top slot in average pay by a wide margin to Seattle.

Seattle comes in the top spot with an average pay of nearly $123,000 with San Francisco coming in second at just under $110,000. The top 5 slots covered – surprisingly by Albuquerque in New Mexico and Anchorage in Alaska coming in at just over $100,000 followed by Vallejo in California. This just goes to show how little we truly understand the world of software programming .


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Delwyn Pinto
Delwyn Pinto
A person proud to have an alternate view


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