In a digital age where technology changes from moment to moment, coding jobs are in demand across industries and fields. Any industry that collects data, runs software, engages with customers, or helps people use technology needs coders. And, thanks to that same technology, coders can be hired from almost anywhere in the U.S. Whether you program software from home or commute to your city’s business district, you can make a living as a coder.
But how much can you make? Where – and how – can you get started? Let’s examine how your location, skills, and job title will influence your salary as a coder.
What is the Average Salary of a Coder?
There are many factors to consider when it comes to the average coder’s salary. That’s because there’s no such thing as an “average” coder. As with other industries, a coder’s annual salary depends on the context of where they work, what they do, and their level of experience.
For example, a San Francisco, CA coder with the same experience and job title will make more money than their peer in Kansas City, MO. However, San Francisco’s cost of living is higher than Kansas City’s. On the other hand, the more experience you have, the more you’ll get paid no matter where you live or what job you have — jobs in the finance industry pay, on average, more than jobs in healthcare. For example, software developers tend to make more money than web designers. These are just a few instances of how your circumstances can dictate your coding salary.
However, the median salary for computer programmers in the U.S. as of 2021 was $93,000 per year or $44.71 per hour. Some jobs will pay more, others less. Let’s look at some factors that come into play when figuring out salary.
How Much Coders Make by Job Type
Not all coding jobs are the same. Because of this, you can expect your coding salary to vary depending on your job title and duties. Remember that these jobs are almost always in demand, not just with tech companies but also with private businesses with specific software and application needs.
Computer programmers have one of the most straightforward coding jobs in tech. As the name suggests, they write, edit, and test computer programs with code.
As of May 2023, the average salary for computer programmers was $72,877, with $108,718 at the high end and $48,852 at the low end.
Web developers are responsible for all aspects of a website, from graphics and layout to bandwidth and traffic.
As of May 2023, the average salary for web developers was $82,238, with $132,842 at the high end and $50,911 at the low end.
Software developers use code to design and create software for specific applications and uses.
As of May 2023, the average salary for software developers was $114,584, with $181,341 at the high end and $72,402 at the low end.
Software engineers spend most of their time writing code for client projects or fixing broken code.
As of June 2023, the average salary for a software engineer was $141,230, with $325,000 at the high end and $65,000 at the low end.
An app developer is similar to a software developer but specializes in applications for mobile devices like phones and tablets.
As of May 2023, the average salary for app developers was $86,179, with $128,614 at the high end and $57,745 at the low end.
Learn More About App Development: 9 Best Programming Languages for App Development
Game developers design, create, test, and update games for consoles, PCs, phones, and more.
As of May 2023, the average salary for game developers was $116,715, with $214,000 at the high end and $65,000 at the low end.
Learn More About Gaming Careers:
IT Security Specialist
IT security specialists keep data safe and handle any hacks or leaks that may arise.
As of May 2023, the average salary for IT security specialists was $107,602, with $213,223 at the high end and $54,301 at the low end.
AI engineers are at the cutting edge of new technologies, including the development and testing of machine learning.
As of May 2023, the average salary for AI engineers was $149,336, with $195,875 at the high end and $102,797 at the low end.
How Much Coders Make by Skill Set
Some code is more complex to write than others. And some languages or frameworks are more popular than others. The coding languages you know will affect how much you get paid.
Ruby on Rails Coders
Ruby on Rails is known for being easy to learn and popular to work with. It’s a sought-after skill for coders to learn and is commonly used in e-commerce websites, like Shopify and Groupon. The national average salary for coders who know Ruby on Rails is $107,381.
- Average Salary for Ruby on Rails Programmers in 2023
- Can You Learn Ruby on Rails with No Experience?
Python is a popular first language for coders because it’s so straightforward. It’s also used in many popular programs – including Netflix and Instagram. On average, a Python coder can earn around $121,071 a year.
Learn More: Average Salary for Python Programmers by City
C++ is used in virtual reality, cryptocurrency, and video gaming. It’s great for innovative coders who want to write software for emerging technology. The average C++ coder makes about $106,028 a year.
How Much Coders Make by Industry
Coders work in the tech industry, but they’re needed anywhere people use machines or data. Coders are required not only to create programs for the general public but for private businesses and specific fields: think about the systems that hospitals use that track patients or banking software. The industry you work in will help determine how much your coding job will pay.
Someone needs to keep all those programs running and bug-free. Why not you? Be the person who helps make the technology possible for everyone. If we look at the average salaries from the top tech companies — including Cisco, Google, Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft — the average coder in the tech industry makes around $130,500.
Today’s healthcare industry depends on massive amounts of data and up-to-the-minute technological advances to care for patients. A software developer in the healthcare industry can expect to make around $86,134 a year. Other positions in the industry, such as research software engineers, can bring in as much as $200,000 a year.
The more people shop online, the more coders will be needed to keep websites and apps running smoothly. This goes from initial customer experience to transactional data and every part of the shopping experience in between. In e-commerce, the average developer can make anywhere from $64,918 to $88,492 a year.
How Much Coders Make by Level of Education
As with many other fields, your educational degree matters when it comes to your salary as a coder.
Without a college degree that helps prepare you for a job as a software engineer or developer, you’ll most likely have to take entry-level roles to start working your way up in the industry. As an entry-level programmer, you can expect to make $49,151 a year.
Learn How to Get Started in Coding Without a Degree:
Coding Bootcamps or Courses
Coding bootcamps or online coding courses can teach you the skills you need to know. Bootcamp graduates can generally expect to earn more than those without a degree, and sometimes on the same level as those with a relevant bachelor’s degree.
In 2019, the average first-year compensation for App Academy graduates from our New York City program was $86.913 and $104,037 for those from our San Francisco program.
A coder with a 4-year degree in computer science or a related field will probably start out making around $81,000 per year.
If you’ve gone that extra mile and earned a Master’s Degree in computer science or a related field, you can expect to start at $96,000 per year (or more).
Learn More About Your Options for Learning How to Code:
- Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree: Which is Better?
- Is a Software Engineering Degree Worth It?
- Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
- The 11 Best Free Coding Bootcamps
How Much Coders Make by Experience Level
Regardless of your industry or skillset, coders make more money the more experience they have. Thankfully, working your way up to a Level 2 coder can be done in only a few years. Along the way, you’ll learn more coding skills and immerse yourself in your chosen industry.
Entry-level coders are also known as “Level 1 software engineers.” Everyone needs to start somewhere! As you get your feet wet in software engineering and gain real-world experience, you’ll probably make around $62,000. Remember, you’re still learning the ropes and proving yourself at this stage.
Learn More: The Easiest Programming Languages to Learn
Mid-level coders, or “Level 2 software engineers,” have been in the field for a few years. By now, you may be trusted with your own projects. Your teammates will look to you for more hands-on help. You’ll be well-oriented in your industry and have the skills and experience to show for it. You can probably expect to earn around $70,979.
By this point in your career, you’re managing projects, overseeing team members, and maybe even mentoring Level 1 software engineers. You’re now a leader in your field and your industry. As a Level 3 software engineer, you can earn around $80,000 a year.
How Much Coders Make by Location
Where you live will play an enormous role in how much you make as a coder. Remember to factor in the cost of living, as well; New York is a more expensive city to live in than Philadelphia, for example. Before you jet off to earn a big salary in San Francisco, look at how much it will cost to live there compared to how much you can make based on your skill set, industry, and experience level.
These four cities pay top dollar for coders.
San Jose, CA
Due to its proximity to Silicon Valley and the demand for trained software engineers, coding jobs in San Jose pay well. The average salary for coders here is $144,132.
San Francisco, CA
Even closer to Silicon Valley, coding experts can expect to make around $126,220 annually.
New York, NY
New York City is a global trade, finance, commerce, and technology center. Working a coding job here will earn you around $132,652 a year.
While it may not be a hotspot for technological opportunities like San Francisco or New York, Philly still needs coders and will pay them well. Philadelphia also has a lower cost of living than the other two cities mentioned. An average yearly coder salary is $108,431.
In addition to Microsoft headquarters, Seattle is home to Starbucks and other major global brands. A coder can expect to earn about $133,804 a year there.
These are just the top-paying cities in America for professional coders. Does your city make the list of well-paying coding hotspots?
Start Developing Your Skills with App Academy
Are you ready to earn a living as a coder? App Academy has everything you need to learn the in-demand skills you need to get started.
Take our online quiz to learn which program is right for you, sign up for a live online info session to learn more, schedule a 1:1 call with one of our team experts, or submit a request with our convenient online form. Start your software engineering career today with App Academy and make the salary you’ve always dreamed of!
And, if you’re ready to dig in deeper, start exploring our programs to see which one might be a good fit for you!
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