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How software developers can make more dough

There are subtle differences across Europe in developer salaries, depending on experience and demand for front-end, full-stack or front-end roles

Software developers who want to earn the most should be working in Munich, at least according to talent.io, the recruitment platform which has about 150,000 developers on its books.

Businesses using talent.io include Deliveroo, VW, TripAdvisor, TransferWise, American Express and Renault.

The company analysed more than 100,000 vacancies in various cities around Europe and London, looking at salaries and daily rates of both permanent and freelance professionals,focusing on four main positions: back-end, front-end, full-stack and lead developers. The study found that Munich is the city with the highest median salary for software developers (€70,000), followed by London (£60,000/ €66,000), Berlin (€60,000), Amsterdam (€57,500) and Paris (€45,000).

During 2020, there was an increase in remote working, which talent.io’s CEO, Nicolas Meunier, said was reflected in demand for remote software developers. When the company surveyed its clients at the start of the pandemic, three-quarters  experienced minimal impact during the transition to remote working, said Meunier.

“Companies realised that remote working could actually work in a great and efficient way and tech teams have always been leaders in pioneering new ways of working,” he said.

The data from talent.io shows that developers gain the biggest increase in salary when they move from having up to three years’ experience to the four to six-year bracket.

Asked how developers progress to becoming software development leads, Meunier said: “Software developers wanting to progress to become lead developers first need to build the skills to become senior developers. Lead developers are responsible for mentoring junior members and helping them to ramp up their technical skills. A lead developer needs years of practice to develop strong expertise in the language and frameworks used in their team and company.”

He said they also need expertise in how to build software from the moment a feature or product is prioritised, to the moment it is deployed. “The developer needs to acquire know-how on all the stages of development for features and products,” Meunier added.

Another essential requirement on job specification is project management, he said. This means having expertise in project management and coordinating people towards the completion of a project and having good communication and setting objectives.

Asked about the specific programming skills that are most in demand, Meunier said: “We have observed Node.js and React are some of the most in-demand technologies at the moment.”

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Looking at talent.io’s data reveals that in Berlin, companies appear to be paying a premium rate for front-end software developers with four to six years’ experience. Annual salaries jump from €50,000 for developers with three years or less of experience to €60,000 for those with four more years.

According to talent.io, the annual salaries of London front-end developers does not seem to increase beyond £50,000 until they gain seven or more years’ experience, when their salary jumps from £50,000 to £63,000.

Explaining the difference in salaries and the hike in Berlin, Meunier said: “There is a high demand for front-end developers with four to six years’ experience in Germany because of the way the industry is structured. E-commerce or marketplaces, for instance, are more sensitive to front-end developers in the German tech market.”

Talent.io’s data also shows that there is a relatively big jump in salary for London back-end developers with four to six years’ experience. According to Meunier, this is because such developers are now in high demand.

“The most in-demand back-end profiles on our platform are developers with four-plus years of experience,” he said. “As a result, companies have to attract them with more competitive salaries. Let’s also not forget that these developers often have several job offers, so they use this as leverage when choosing a company.”

Meunier said the salary jump can also be explained by the fact that many developers change their job after just one year in a company, which allows them to command a higher salary.

In London, talent.io’s data suggests that a lead developer with seven years or more experience can earn as much as £70,000 (€77,000) a year, while those with four to six years’ experience typically earn around €74,000. This is on par with Munich-based lead developers.

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