Developer jobs: These are the countries where you'll get paid the most

But the best-paid developers aren't the happiest ones, and flexible working is ranked higher than salary by software engineers.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Although few developers will be able or willing to move location any time soon, and many will be stuck working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak for the foreseeable future, some new data shows how developer salaries vary across a number of countries.

Developer skills training platform CodinGame asked 20,000 developers across 125 countries about their yearly salary to create a ranking of the 10 countries where developers are paid the most.

According to the data, the US is where developers are most likely to command the biggest salary, with an average software engineer grossing $95,744 per year. Seattle stands out as the US city where developers are paid the most, with an average salary of $105,735. The city is home to a number of big tech employers, including Microsoft.

The next best paid developers are in Germany, but it's a significant drop according to the data -- to an average of $61,000, followed closely by developers in the UK who can expect a gross salary of $59,326.

SEE: Six in-demand programming languages: Getting started (free PDF)

These countries were followed by Canada ($57,000), France (£47,000), Poland ($40,000), Spain ($37,000), Brazil ($32,000), Ukraine ($31,000) and the Russian Federation ($30,000).

Money isn't everything, of course: the happiest developers were to be found in the UK, Canada and the US, followed by those in Brazil and Germany.

The survey also noted that company, sector and seniority have a wide impact on developer salaries, with software engineers in the insurance industry, followed by the media and healthcare industries among the best paid. CodinGame said there is a 25% difference in salary between software engineer salaries in these high-paying industries and those in lower-paying industries such as government.

Around 28% of those questioned have a master's degree; 26% had a bachelor's degree; 21% said they had no formal qualification, and 2% said they had a PhD. Three-quarters said their qualification was in computer science. Python, JavaScript, Java, C# and C++ were listed as the favourite programming languages.

Although salaries in some countries – like the US – can be higher, buying power can vary significantly. As a result, those on lower salaries in locations with a cheaper cost of living may do equally well.

SEE: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic 

Also, with remote work and freelancing gaining popularity among developers, real earnings may actually rise. That may be because they can secure high salaries by working for companies based in high-price cities like Paris, Seattle, San Francisco or Berlin, while living in areas where living costs are much more reasonable, or by working independently and negotiating high pay rates for isolated projects. 

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic could have some impact here: once organisations have become used to staff working remotely it may be much harder in future for bosses to turn down requests from staff to work from home. And as more managers become skilled at working with distributed teams, firms may be more willing to engage with freelancers or contractors who never visit the office at all. 

It's worth noting that when asked what mattered most when considering a job offer, CodinGame's survey respondents put 'salary' third, behind 'technical challenges' and 'flexible working hours'. Money is important, but for in-demand developers it's far from the top priority.

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