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How Much Money Can Make As A Software Developer

As reported by Computer Careers, software developer salary rates are the highest in the industry. Trained candidates can expect an average salary range of anywhere from $91,240 $105,480 depending on geographical location, experience, certification and post-graduate qualifications. Industry experts have also stated that that the field is very competitive. In the last decade, more than 1.3 million trained candidates entered the field and were working as software developers. There were still more than 426,700 vacancies available for candidates. Companies also hire part-time workers or freelancers who work from their home to deal with smaller projects. In the year 2008, more than 48,200 software developers worked independently on projects earning a comfortable income. If you are an aspiring software developer, this guide should give you an idea of what you can expect as a salary.

Education and Skill

Software is a huge field and it is constantly evolving. Initially, there were very few colleges which taught the subject. As a result, most of the stalwarts in the field learnt their skills through innovation and sheer genius. Nowadays, most employers will insist on a bachelor’s degree along with additional courses in niche areas of software development. Candidates who have completed their master’s degree or a doctoral degree along with additional short-term courses can expect higher salaries. Usually, candidates with a basic entry level computer software degree can expect a starting salary of about $91,240 $105,480. Companies will pay much higher salaries for special niche areas of software development. For example, gaming software development salary packages may range anywhere from $91,240 $180,480 per year depending on experience and talent. Candidates with additional skills will get paid more. For example, candidates with C# programming language training get paid an average of about $40,954 $90,529. Candidates with SQL skills get paid $40,663 $88,464 while .NET professionals can make $41,405 $88,725. Other skills that are in high demand include Java, HTML, ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server, C++, VB.net, and UNIX.


Private vendors like IBM, Sun, Cisco, Microsoft and Apple usually release several different varieties of software. Depending on their use, most of these programs become popular and are used to develop better and larger applications in different industries. As a result, these vendors usually have private certification programs which candidates can enroll for after completing a basic computer software course. For example, Microsoft has several certifications like MCA, MCM, MCITP, MCPD, MCTS, and MTA. Candidates can sit for their training course, and then pass the exam. Industries that commonly use the vendor software will then prefer to hire such trained candidates. Microsoft certified professionals usually receive average salaries ranging from $42,273 $92,582 while a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) can earn a whopping $42,520 $115,000 annual salary. Sun Certified Java professionals get paid an average of about $39,590 $92,628 while CISCO certified professionals have an average salary of about $34,854 $119,706.  Apart from private certification, general certification is also possible through IEEE. This national body asks for four years experience in computer software programming. The candidate then has to sit for a four hour exam. After completing the exam, candidates are awarded the ‘Certified Software Development Professional’ title. This title is recognized in the industry and certified candidates get paid slightly more.


As trainee software developers progress through their careers, their salary will also increase. For example, candidates with less than one year experience get paid an hourly rate of about $8.99 $28.59 resulting in an average annual salary of around $34,937 $78,016. Candidates with 1-4 years of experience get paid $13.06 $34.38 as an hourly rate and this results in an average annual payment of about $38,921 $79,408. Candidates with 5-9 years of experience can get around $13.06 $34.38 as an hourly rate resulting in an annual pay package of about $48,002 $93,312. Senior software developer salary packages range to about $52,796 $104,391 if they have 10-19 years of experience with an average hourly rate of $24.62 $82.42. Management level candidates with multiple degrees can expect software development manager salary hourly rates of about $27.82 $75.25 ranging to an annual salary of about $52,687 $118,130. This basic salary does not include perks like annual bonuses paid by employers. For example, most candidates get 10-20 days of paid leave which averages to about $3,000- $4,000 per year. Candidates also get annual bonuses that range from $3,067-$4,898 according to experience and post.


Industry giants like Microsoft, Apple and Sun are more than willing to pay above average rates for talented professionals. At present, Microsoft offers average salaries of about $76,750 $117,347. Hewlett Packard offers another competitive package deal of about $37,500 $85,000. Oracle offers a range of about $63,023 $106,985 while International Business Machines (IBM) has an average range of $55,196 $121,959. Other second-tier companies like Research In Motion Limited (RIM) will offer $50,458 $102,761 while Bloomberg LP offers a wonderful $65,889 $92,320 for trainees. Other companies like Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp offer a salary of about $36,625 $60,006 while Amazon.com Inc offers a salary of $86,325 $104,278 and Northrop Grumman Information Systems offers $60,823 $78,089. Most of these companies will prefer trained and experienced candidates who have multiple certifications and degrees.

Geographical Location

The advantage with software developers is that many of them can operate solely online. As a result, software developers can work from any location. However, companies are willing to pay talented employees to relocate. For example, California has a higher demand for software developers as most software companies are headquartered there. The state offers an average salary of $44,726 $100,419. New York offers about $40,253 $102,174 while Texas offers $41,680 $90,420. Washington has a competitive rate of about $42,374 $100,871. Illinois and Ohio offer almost similar rates of $40,838 $79,718. Ideally, relocating to a new state or city means that that the employer will offer a relocation bonus, free accommodation, postgraduate education benefits, and free insurance for the entire family along with a range of other perks.

Ann Castro
Ann Castro
Ann Castro is a lead author at Techicy who writes on Technology, Home Improvement, and Businesses around the world. With a background in Journalism, Ann has a professional experience of more than seven years working with some of the big media companies. She is also an avid traveler, a singer, and a guitarist.


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