Software Engineer Salaries: The Top Paying Countries In 2020

Career Climbers / 24th March 2020

Across the world, talented developers are in high demand nowadays. But how do software engineer salaries reflect today’s tech-talent market?
To answer this question, the start-up CodinGame published its 2020 Developer Survey after questioning over 20,000 developers in 125 countries. The company asked these coding passionates to share their yearly salary with them and, after analysing the results, CodinGame was able to create a ranking of the 10 top-paying countries.

Ranking of the top 10 paying countries for a software engineer

The US is the world’s top-paying country, with an average software engineer gross salary of $95,744 per annum. As tech startups continue to pop up across the country, and as The Big Five (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google) continue to grow, the US is set to keep their number one status for the foreseeable future.

Seattle, baptised “the new Silicon Valley”, especially stands out as the American city where developers are paid the most, with a real adjusted average salary of $105,735. The city has been up and coming for years and can be considered as a coveted work capital for tech talent. Seattle does not only rely on startups: some of its major employers include Microsoft, Salesforce and Adobe.

In the top ten ranking, Germany sits in second position, followed closely by the United Kingdom with an average software engineer gross salary of $59,326.

Software engineers’ salaries vary depending on the sector

The country of work isn’t the only component to influence a developer’s salary. The company you work for, the position you occupy, whether you’re an entry-level developer or a senior software engineer, the industry you work in, etc., all impact a software engineer’s paycheck.

In CodinGame’s 2020 survey, it was noted that, for example, the best-paid developers work in the insurance industry, followed by the media and healthcare industries.

The difference is roughly 25% between software engineer salaries in both high-paying industries and lower-paying industries, such as public administration.

Does salary equal wealth?

According to CodinGame’s ranking, The US, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada all offer average software engineer salaries of over $55,000 per annum.

However, quality of life isn’t directly linked to money in the bank because depending on where one lives, buying power isn’t necessarily connected to one’s bank balance either.

In the US, for example, buying power is strongly impacted by the cost of health care, largely owned and operated by private sector organisations. A software engineer salary in the US will most likely leave room for savings, should they fall ill, although this will lower buying power compared to developers living in countries with universal health care, such as the UK.

The busyness, the noise, the pollution, and the living costs are just too much for some software engineers who will move to a particular country or city because of the laid-back environment.

The salaries of tomorrow

Tech talent market salaries will evolve over the next year, with some rising faster than others. For example, according to LinkedIn, more than half of tech recruiters in the UK (54%) have stated that they’ve had to increase their salary offers following Brexit. Another 43% say that their companies have had no choice but to give raises to existing tech team members to retain their services.

On a separate note, remote work and freelancing are gaining popularity amongst developers who crave flexibility – changing the way programmers are hired and paid.

This trend is expected to result in an increase in developers’ earnings, either because developers are securing high salaries by working for companies based in big-buck cities (Paris, Seattle, San Francisco, Berlin, etc.) whilst living in areas where everyday costs are much more reasonable, or because developers are working independently and negotiating high pay for isolated projects.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that salary isn’t the only thing developers are interested in. In fact, when CodinGame asked developers what mattered most to them when considering a job offer, “salary” was in third place, behind technical challenges and flexible working hours.

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