Here’s how much money developers make in South Africa


Tech talent specialist OfferZen has released its 2021 “State of the Developer Nation” report, one of South Africa’s largest data reports on developer careers.

The report, based on a survey of more than 3,200 local developers, found that salaries had increased by 7.4% since the first report in 2019. Senior developers saw the biggest win over the same period with a 19% increase, reflecting growing demand. for more experienced developers.

Backend developers have the highest average salaries among local developers – 27% higher than their front-end counterparts – followed by full-stack and frontend developers.

Cape Town developers said they earned the highest salaries for the third consecutive year, while Pretoria overtook Johannesburg as the second highest-paying city for local developers.

Data from OfferZen also shows that the gender pay gap remains persistent at all levels of experience and is greatest at the top level. Female developers earn on average 17% less than their male counterparts, despite women surveyed being proportionally represented in the highest paying languages, industries and locations.

“As the pandemic and remote working continue, there is a continued shift towards a more digital world. This is reflected in the industries we see becoming popular with developers,” says Philip Joubert, co-founder and CEO of OfferZen.

“We hope that by providing salary transparency in our jobs platform and in reports like these, we will equip all developers with the knowledge and confidence to earn the salary they deserve.”


When it comes to salaries, the survey found that backend developers earn the highest average salaries, followed by full stack and frontend developers.

However, as with most roles, this is highly dependent on the experience of the developer and where they are based.

Junior developers earn between R20,000 and R40,000 in all three areas, with intermediate backend developers earning more and more as they gain more experience.

“On average, backend developers earn 27% more than their front-end counterparts. The difference between these roles is greatest for those with more than 10 years of experience, at a high rate of 33%,” Offerzen said.

As of 2019, FinTech and cloud technology have consistently been the highest paying industries for software developers. However, since last year’s report, developers working in retail or e-commerce and telecommunications have seen the highest salary growth with an average of 9%. The smallest increase since last year came from SaaS developers with a modest 2% salary increase.

Junior developers earn between R23,000 and R35,000 per month in FinTech, while those in cloud-based engineering earn between R27,000 and R33,000.

Intermediate developers with 4+ years of experience earn R45,000-58,000 in FinTech, and R44,000-60,000 in cloud-based engineering.

The data also shows that developers with niche coding languages, such as Go, Kotlin, and Ruby, can command higher salaries. The starting salary for a Ruby developer is over R20,000, with developers with more than 10 years of experience being closer to R80,000 per month.

South African developers also earn more depending on where they work, with those living in Cape Town generally earning higher wages than elsewhere in the country.

AWS, JavaScript, and Python Take Top Spots for Developers

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google are the top three competitors in the “cloud war” – the battle to be the most widely used cloud service. South African developers tend to use AWS the most, well ahead of Microsoft Azure, which is more popular in companies with a team size of 5,000 to 10,000 people.

JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language in South Africa and TypeScript has been a notable driver, overtaking Java to claim fourth place.

Python is still the most sought after programming language by frontend, backend and full-stack developers in South Africa. TypeScript is the second most sought-after language, but only narrowly: it competes with Go, which overtook JavaScript to claim third place.

Finding great talent remains a challenge and remote work remains a popular choice

2022 is shaping up to be another good year for the local tech industry, which means increased competition for top developers. Nearly 30% of local developers plan to move jobs over the next 12 months. This is a lower percentage of developers on average than in 2021, which means that finding developers will become even more difficult.

However, the developers clearly know what they are looking for in a job. Work-life balance is the number one reason developers stay in their current job, followed by opportunities for growth and learning. When it comes to changing jobs, developers consider earning potential and challenging projects to be the most important factors.

Remote work continues to be the new norm among local developers, with 92% of them having the option to work from home and one in five developers working for companies based in a city different from where they reside. Less than 15% say they receive a budget for their remote installation.

“If companies want to recruit and retain skilled developers, they need to be aware of developer priorities,” Joubert said. “A lot of companies can offer a competitive salary, but they also need to focus on holistic work environments that encourage growth and balance.”

Read: Amazon is hiring again in South Africa


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