How Much You Should Pay to Custom Software Developer in 2020

Custom software development is a popular career choice for fresh college graduates. For one thing, there’s no shortage of businesses in need of a website or a mobile app. Also, while a junior developer will be able to find a gig relatively easily, a senior will also be able to move up the career ladder and use his skills to the best extent.

As for companies, hiring a software developer is also a sensible move. With a dedicated team, business owners will be able to have full control of the project, have a say in each stage of design and software engineering.

Custom software developer salary relies on the market and skill level of a software engineer. This post will provide aspiring professionals as well as company managers with the state of salaries in the custom software development market. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision on hiring a developer (to find out more about hiring a remote team, explore here), starting a career in the industry as well as improve salary negotiating skills.

Custom Developer Salary Trends

Statistically, a software developer is one of the most demanded jobs in the modern market. According to TechRebublic, up to 2026, there will be over 200,000 new jobs available for coding professionals.

Supply and demand growth has certainly affected the state software developer salaries.

When it comes to main modern tech hubs, Silicon Valley is still the most lucrative environment. However, according to CNBC salary calculator survey, while the gross wages have grown by 3.1% during the fourth quarter of 2018, middle-level professionals have struggle adjusting to inflation rates.

Senior coders are pretty much invincible – in fact, according to a report, issued by the Labor Service, the inflation has impacted their salaries only by 1%.

How Much Does a Custom Developer Make in the US?

In order to get a complex overview of the estimated salary after taxes of American software developers, we collected payment statistics for the last 3 years.


According to Payscale, here’s the average salary commensurate with experience of a custom software developer in the GBP (May 2019):

Experience LevelYearly Salary
Entry-level professional‎‎£38,710
Middle-level professional£55,300
Senior software development£81,370

As to the list of most lucrative locations for American developers, the following cities are leading the way in terms of salaries:

  • San Francisco – 45% salary growth compared to the previous year;
  • Seattle – 27% revenue level growth rate;
  • New York – 25% growth rate;
  • Boston – 10% growth rate;
  • Los Angeles – 9% growth rate.


Recently, StackOverflow has published the ‘Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018’. Here, based on the answers of over 13,000 American developers, you’ll know how to estimate salary based on the type of work a developer performs.

Moreover, StackOverflow even collected statistics on the list of programming languages associated with the highest salaries in 2018.


In 2017, a custom software developer was one of the most well-paid jobs in America. According to USNews, software engineers had a peak salary of over $128,000 per year.

The frontrunners on the list of top American tech hubs are, predictably, San Francisco and Seattle. Here’s the full top-5 of places that used to offer the highest software developer salary in 2017.

  • San Francisco, CA – £116,596;
  • Seattle, WA – £105,709;
  • San Jose, CA – £104,508;
  • Silver Spring, Maryland -£99,745;
  • Oakland, CA – £98,844.

How Much a Custom Software Developer Makes in the UK?

The software development market in the UK is steadily growing over each passing year. While there has been a slight decrease in the number of openings for developers – salaries are still increasing by a considerable rate.

ItJobsWatch UK compared the state of the software development market in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Take a look at how much developers can earn in Great Britain:

UK Median Software Developer Salary£45,000£45,000£40,000
UK salary excluding London£42,000£42,000£40,000
Average number of software development openings5,1326,1665,567
Salary change rate per year0%+12,50%0%

How Much a Custom Software Developer Makes in the EU?

In case you’re looking forward to hiring a developer for a medium-level budget, consider settling for an EU-based candidate instead of an American one. As a rule, custom software developer salaries in Europe are lower than those in the States.


According to Payscale (May, 2019), here’s the average developer salary by country in the EU:


CountryJunior Developer SalaryMiddle Developer SalarySenior Developer Salary
Germany31,000 EUR48,000 EUR=63,000EUR
France30,000 EUR39,000 EUR54,000 EUR
Netherlands28,000 EUR42,000 EUR63,000 EUR
Belgium22,000 EUR36,000 EUR55,000 EUR
Spain20,000 EUR31,000 EUR49,000 EUR
Italy16,000 EUR26,000 EUR37,000 EUR
Portugal12,000 EUR18,000 EUR36,000 EUR
Austria25,000 EUR40,000 EUR53,000 EUR
Denmark289,000 DKK447,000 DKK599,000 DKK

How Much a Software Developer Makes Outside of the EU?

Another popular destination companies consider hiring a developer is outside of the European Union. Eastern European and Asian countries have a rich, yet, fairly cheap software development market – thus, you’ll be able to afford custom software development without sacrificing the quality of the final product.

Let’s take a look at most popular third-world destinations among those business owners who wonder how to hire a developer with low hourly rates:


Ukraine has a favorable geographical position, which makes it a convenient market for European companies to collaborate with. The country also has one of the cheapest workforce rates in Western Europe. According to PayScale, (May, 2019) here are the average salaries of Ukrainian developers for various experience levels:

  • Junior Software Developer – $12,000/year;
  • Middle Software Developer – $25,000/year;
  • Senior Software Developer – $47,000/year.


India is a common offshore outsourcing destination. While the geographical position of the country, as well as the language barrier, can be a hurdle for business owners, a low minimum annual salary/pay rate makes India a favorable market to consider.

According to Payscale, here are the yearly rates for Indian developers (May, 2019):

  • Junior Software Developer – $2,700 per year;
  • Middle Software Developer – $6,000 per year;
  • Senior Software Developer – $14,100 per year.


In South America, Philippines are one of the most common development outsourcing destinations. Here, you will be able to find a software development team for remote work with a project budget under $5,000.

According to Payscale (May, 2019), here are the average salaries of software developers in the Philippines:

  • Junior Software Developer – $4,000 per year;
  • Middle Software Developer – $8,700 per year;
  • Senior Software Developer – $19,200 per year.

Top Well-Paid Developer Skills

In 2018, Stack Overflow collected data on the type of development skills that are salary frontrunners. In order to conduct salary comparison by job, German, Indian, British, and American development markets have been analyzed and compared.

While there are differences in the middle part of the graph, DevOps are universally considered the highest-earning specialists while graphic design professionals get the lowest salary by the industry for all four markets.


Statistically, custom software development is still a lucrative field to start a career in. A developer will be able to have the highest mean salary working in the US – there, the salaries of senior devs are over $100k per year.

The UK and EU are lower on the salary ladder – the median value in those markets is near 50,000 EUR. For startups and low-budget businesses, choosing a third-world destination is a solid move. This way, SME managers will be able to cut the expenses tremendously.

As to skills and favorable languages, the software development market seeks innovation and soft skills. Disruptive fields like DevOps and Big Data prove to be the most lucrative by salaries. Thus, in order to have top-tier salaries, software developers will have to reskill and adapt to technological advancements.

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