How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?
Software developers have always been in high demand, but in 2019 the appetite for developers has just increased as new innovations and applications emerge. With this high demand comes a corresponding rise in salary expectations.

So how much can a software developer expect to make in 2019?

It’s not a simple answer. Not all software development jobs are alike; some are more specialized than others, which is reflected in their pay. But there are so many different types of software development specializations these days that it’s a challenge to keep track of them all and how much they pay.

That’s why we’ve put together a handy table below, with the most common types of software developer roles as of 2019 and what they earn.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | How Much do Software Developers Make in 2019?

*All figures based on Ziprecruiter estimates

Notice how in the above chart that the more specialized roles are able to receive a much higher average salary than the more general roles as they get more experience. The outlier seems to be blockchain developers, who receive disproportionately higher starting salaries due to both their rarity, the difficulty of the subject matter, and the current hype surrounding blockchain development.

AI and machine learning developers have similarly high salary prospects. The starting salaries mentioned in the chart are misleading. Actually, only a small percentage of jobs pay at this low range. Salary ranges begin to spike at $78,500 – $91,000 for AI developers (19% of jobs) and $70,500 – $100,499 for machine learning developers (17% of jobs).

The starting salary of cyber security engineers is also misleading. 30% of surveyed cyber security engineer jobs actually begin at the $83,000 to $108,499 range. This reflects cyber security’s vital role in an increasingly digital world, especially in large-scale enterprises with massive amounts of data.

Video game developer salaries in 2019 are also higher than in more general developer roles, however, there is a culture of overwork inherent in the industry which is a definite trade-off for anyone seeking a position in that field.

Note that engineering roles have slight but significant job differences from your standard developer: engineers don’t just code. Software engineers help develop processes and apply engineering principles to solve client needs, which means understanding the big picture and taking a strategic approach. It requires an additional skill set beyond mere programming and is reflected in the salary. The right software engineer will help ensure your development projects don’t fail, which attributes to their high demand and salary requirements.

So there you have it. We hope this chart will be helpful in either choosing a career in software development or switching to a different specialization in mid-career.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Shane ZilinskasShane Zilinskas is the Founder and CEO of Los Angeles software development agency ClearSummit, and the Co-Founder and CTO of TuneRegistry, a music rights SaaS platform. He also provides consulting services to startups and enterprise companies. Prior to working in the agency space, Shane built news media backends and part of the FAA’s air traffic control system. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from UVA. He has a passion for efficiency and combining the best tech and design to solve complex problems.

Twitter: @clearsummitapps

How to Establish Salary Ranges

Every organization requires a salary range for each position. The salary range defines the minimum and maximum pay rate that employees can earn for a given position or function. Employers set the range based on several factors, including the organization’s needs and industry trends. The ideal salary range must give the employees opportunities and motivation for career development. For instance, attaining higher education, experience, or additional skills should lead to a higher salary. Here are additional tips that will help an organization set the right salary ranges.

1. Set a Salary Policy

You have two major alternatives when setting the salary range in your organization. You can have a fixed base salary or a variable pay. The variable pay can be based on an employee’s working hours or performance. Alternatively, you can set a base salary for each position based on the current performance of the organization. Employees can earn bonuses when the revenues are high but during the low seasons, they will earn the base salary only. You can increase the base salary as the organization grows.

2. Consider the Organization’s Goals

Do you have clear short-term and long-term goals for your business? If yes, you need all your employees working towards achieving those goals. The salary range should help the organization achieve those goals. You need a fair salary scale that will keep your employees motivated while checking the salary budget. Consider your human resource goals as well. Your employees will always discuss their salary and ask for more. Fairness and equality are important when setting salaries that will enhance employee satisfaction and motivation.

3. Check your Competitor’s Range and Industry Trend

One of the reasons why you need to keep your employees motivated is that you may lose them to your competitors. If your competitors offer better salaries to your best employees, they will resign and join your competitors. Hence, while considering the internal situation in your organization, check the average salaries in your industry. Websites like Salary Site compile salaries for different professions. If you are unsure about your competitors’ range, such websites will give you the average salaries in the industry.

4. Develop a Benefits and Bonus Policy

Keeping up with industry trends is sometimes difficult, especially for small businesses. Remember that your main goal is to offer fair salaries that will help you attract and retain the best talent. Bonuses and a benefits package will help you achieve this goal, even when your organization cannot afford high salaries. Most businesses do not have a clear philosophy on bonuses and benefits. Your employees need clarity on how they can qualify for bonuses and the benefit packages available for different positions. Be clear about the value of the benefits and bonuses.


The salary philosophy in your organization should not be a secret or mystery. Communicate the philosophy to all employees and explain the organizational goals they should help you achieve. Create a clear path on how to earn higher salaries or qualify for a promotion. Your best talents are likely to stay with you if they see clear opportunities for career development, even when the initial salary is low.