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February 26, 20184 min read

Developers' Salary 2018: How Much Money Do Programmers Earn?

A programmer’s salary depends on multiple factors. AnswerMiner can help you find out which factors are important related to salaries. StackOverflow published an exhausting 51,392 respondent, 140 question survey of developers, programmers, their habits, and their salaries. The survey was done in 2017, so the numbers will surely be higher in 2018.

Typical Salary: Approximately $50,000/ Year

The question was,

“What is your current annual base salary, before taxes, and excluding bonuses, grants, or other compensation?”

This means that salary data contain gross values, not net values. Programmers receive about only 70% of it, depending on tax percentage.

The answers might be biased because
a) overpaid programmers could be more likely to answer this question
b) underpaid programmers could be more likely to answer this question

However, based on a full examination of this dataset and a comparison of results from other sources, we can say that the earnings-related answers in this survey are similar to the truth.

Calculation Explanation Gross Salary in USD/Year
Full Range Lowest and highest values $0-197,000
Mean Mathematical average $56,298
Median 50% are below this, 50% are above $50,000
Usual Range 10% are below this, 10% are above $6,636-115,000

The distribution of wages can be best represented on a histogram.

developer salary 2018 histogram

What Does Salary Depend On?

Many things are correlated with developers’ salaries, and some factors are not related.
The most important factors are

  • Country
  • Number of years of experience
  • Company size

The least important factors are

  • Programming language
  • Dislikes that a coworker uses a mechanical keyboard
  • Thinks StackOverflow makes the world a better place
  • Influence on hardware decisions
  • Importance of job title
  • IDE used
  • Gender

Salary by Country

developer salary 2018 histogram The intensity of the bars on the bar chart above reflect the number of respondents.

The countries with the top salaries are

  • USA
  • Switzerland
  • Israel
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • UK

The countries with the lowest salaries are

  • Iran
  • India
  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • Romania

Salary by Experience

developer salary 2018 histogram On this line chart, you can easily see that more years of experience means a higher salary.

Salary by Company Size

developer salary 2018 histogram The trend is obvious from this column chart: the bigger the company, the higher the salary. At small companies that employ only fewer than 10 programmers, the median salary is only $36,124/year. At large companies that employ 10,000+ programmers, the median salary is $68,750/year. The salary of developers at the most common companies (20-99 employees) is about $45,455/year.

Salary by Experience and Company Size

developer salary 2018 histogram

The above heat-map chart combines company size, experience, and salary. The darker cells mean a higher median salary, and lighter cells mean a lower median salary.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

Yes, up to a point. Where is that point? At around $160,000. Job satisfaction and salary are positively correlated, but it does not mean that money causes satisfaction. Maybe satisfaction causes money, or there are some other hidden factors that cause money and satisfaction together.

It’s interesting that

the bigger the company, the higher salary, and

the higher salary, the more satisfaction,

but the bigger company, the less satisfaction

(large companies: ~6.81 satisfaction level; small companies: 7.01 satisfaction level).

Therefore, it seems that you must decide if

you want more money or

greater satisfaction.

What drives satisfaction besides money? People who are not seeking a new job and think that they are overpaid are much more satisfied with their job than others. Among many other factors, the satisfaction is mostly correlated with

  • Country (most satisfied countries are Israel, the Netherlands, and Romania, despite low wages)
  • Influence on purchasing personal workstation hardware

satisfaction of developers by influence on workstation hardware

Final Thoughts

Data science is not only good for analyzing your salary. Developers with data science knowledge earn +7.5% more money than those who don’t have this knowledge. This exploratory data analysis was made with the AnswerMiner app.

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