Software developer

How far can you go?

What is the typical salary of a software developer? And what kind of education, skills, and experience do you need to unlock the higher tiers of that salary? It’s a complicated set of questions, but luckily we have a number of data sources that give us insight and answers.

“Software developer”, of course, is a very broad term. Some people in this role may focus solely on building mobile apps for iOS or Android, while others may spend their careers maintaining legacy code for enterprise platforms. In light of this, the salaries a software developer can earn, as well as the skills and experience needed to make it happen, can vary. In light of that, let’s start by discussing some of the most valuable skills for professional software developers:

What are the most valuable skills for a software developer?

As mentioned above, the skills needed by software developers can differ wildly from job to job, and even from project to project. For example, just check out this list of the most loved, hated, and wanted frameworks and tools in the latest Stack Overflow. Developer survey. But that being said, there are several that regularly appear in job postings, according to Burning Glass:

As with many tech jobs, it’s important to note that your “soft skills” such as communication and teamwork matter just as much as your technical and coding skills, especially if you aspire to become a team leader or even running a business at some point. . It’s one thing to code a great app; you also need to express your needs and wants to your team members, your manager, and even upper management.

Do software developers receive bonuses?

Many companies offer a performance-based bonus as part of the software developer’s overall compensation package. Seniority within the teams can also determine the size of this bonus. At some of the nation’s largest tech companies, bonuses make up a high percentage of software developer compensation, as evidenced by the following table (with data from, which collects salaries for technologists):

Even in small companies, however, bonuses are often an important compensation factor.

Are software developers in demand?

According to Burning Glass, software developer growth is expected to reach 30.7% over the next ten years. Currently, the average time to fill an open software developer position is 40 days, suggesting that employers are struggling to find suitable candidates for the jobs, which portends a high level of demand. . When there is a surplus of talent on the market, the time to recruit is shorter; but when technologists already have jobs, it becomes harder (and longer) for companies to fill those roles.

The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, has radically remixed the employment landscape. However, there are many indications that software developers with the right mix of skills and experience are still needed in large numbers, especially if they specialize in a particular area like cybersecurity or even COBOL.

What is the starting salary of a software developer?

A Burning Glass analysis allows us to determine salary ranges for those starting out as software developers. As you can see in the following table, those with zero to two years of experience can earn between $66,000 and $99,000 per year. Of course, it’s almost certainly down to specialization and skill; if you graduate with a proven ability to work with machine learning algorithms, for example, you’ll quickly pique the interest of hiring managers at any number of companies.

Education also has a noticeable effect on salary; software developers with an advanced degree generally earn more than those with a high school education. It must be said, however, that 88.9% of software developer jobs just want a bachelor’s degree. Your skills, your experience and even your certifications play as important a role (if not more) in your remuneration than your official diploma:

If you’re curious about what degrees software developers actually get, there’s a nifty Stack Overflow breakdown for that. Some 62.6% of developers earned a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering, while a relatively small percentage earned a liberal arts degree. It’s also important to note that, according to Stack Overflow, around 85% of developers surveyed believe that a formal education is at least somewhat important.

Download Dice’s 2022 Salary Survey Report now!