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Hourly Wages of Developers

Updated on July 15, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Software developers create computer software that enables systems to run or allows users to perform tasks. They typically work in comfortable offices, though some are able to work at home through telecommuting. About a quarter worked more than 40 hours a week in 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Systems Software

Developers who specialize in system software earned a mean $48.28 per hour, which equals $110,420 per year. This is as of May 2011, according to the BLS. However, the lowest-earning 10 percent made less than $30.03 per hour and the highest-paid received over $70.69 per hour. They earn their wages by developing and testing software that allows computer hardware to function. They also handle compilers and network distribution software. Most worked in computer systems design at mean wages of $47.66 per hour. But their best pay was in other schools such as those for fine arts, sports and recreation, exam preparation and languages. Mean salaries here ran $64.69 per hour.


Applications developers received a mean $44.27 per hour or $92,080 per year in 2011, with a range of $26.43 to $65.62 per hour in 2011 states the BLS. They create software with which users can perform tasks such as organizing customer records, preparing corporate budgets, writing school reports and playing games. They may work individually or as part of a team, and may supervise computer programmers. Most worked in computers systems design to earn mean wages of $44.25 per hour. However, their highest pay was in animal slaughtering and processing, with averages at $72.34 per hour.

Front-End Web

Front-end web developers working full-time earned a median $30 per hour, or $60,000 per year, according to the 2011 salary survey compiled by the American Institute of Graphic Design. The 25th percentile made $25 per hour and the 75th percentile earned $37.50 per hour. Front-end specialists creates the interactive parts of a web page such as buttons, drop-downs and text boxes that users can use to enter information. Websites can then use the entries to display related data or to create database records. Independent web developers earned a median $60 an hour. This rate is higher because freelancers have to pay for their own benefits, such as health insurance, and must account for time not spent working, such as during marketing.

Back-End Web

Full-time back-end web developers made median $35 per hour with a range of $27.50 to $40 per hour in 2011, states the AIGA salary survey. They develop code that processes web information unseen by the user. This includes the Internet databases that records customer purchases or programming interfaces that links web entries with software on user systems. Freelance web developers made a median $60 per hour.


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    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I actually kind of wish I had steered my career toward this direction. I was intrigued to read what my salary would have been had I done so. Great information. I really enjoyed reading.

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 5 years ago from Japan

      Very interesting hub, I knew I should have stuck with this type of career.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      I returned to this, as I am considering learning how to create websites, and maybe some basic programing. Will see if I can get my head around it all, but this is certainly an inspiration.

      Shared once more, for anyone considering their career options ...

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting to know what work these different types of developers do and their earnings.

      voted up, interesting and sharing.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Web developers are highly paid in my country, but not near to what you have shared here.

      Thanks for always writing useful contents.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 5 years ago from Thailand

      Wow, can you imagine earning those salaries from home!? I would love to just make it into the thousands of dollars bracket, tens of thousands would be awesome though! ha ha.

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      alocsin, your hubs are resourceful esp for people who wanna make a choice of what path to go on in their careers. Informative hub, indeed!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Yes, I am in the wrong field. Awesome job as always Alocsin. I would like to do this myself. Work at home, plus make over a $100,000, heck yeah!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very useful information and a great series. Thanks. :)

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      I think I should have picked a different career. These wages are nothing to sneeze at! Alas, I don't have the gift for some of them, even if I did seek the training. Not that technically oriented. You have to LOVE it to do it fulltime.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Another fascinating read is this great series of hubs. Interesting that the best hourly wages of developers is in the meat processing sector. Maybe I am in the wrong industry. : )

      Voted up awesome interesting and useful sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This seems like a good area to study and master. Knowing the "in's and out's" of anything to do with computers.....especially if combined with other fields seems like an intelligent way to go. This was interesting as your entire series is with regard to what people can earn by way of their chosen careers. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Overall, this is a good industry to pursue. It is to grow through the next five years and will provide steady work. They do work hard at their jobs.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Probably just as well that this isn't my profession, UnnamedHarald.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      It's soooo nice to know how much more money everyone makes than I ever did!!! lol! Just kidding

      In a case like this, I think they deserve every penny. Your articles on salaries and wages for various jobs is a really great series....and obviously popular!! Great hubs, Alocsin! UP+++

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Very infomative hub. According to, web developing in one occupation that will be lucrative for years to come. Have you any statistics on freelance writers?

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Very nice article and these figures certainly sound accurate (with the usual caveat of where you work is a large factor). Developers do earn good pay, but the work environment is and has been eroding. As wages stagnate (or go down), the sweat-shop mentality is creeping in. I know many developers who, because of their drive and professionalism, put in many hours, at least when deadlines demand it. This has always been the case and has even been a point of pride. Now there is the push for "scrums" where teams work together in the open, with no privacy and micro-management on a daily basis. It's the "new" thing, though it's been around for a while. Developers have always worked in high-stress conditions because that's the nature of working with complex technology, but bureaucracy, number-crunchers and process controls add to the stress. Good pay but please look behind the curtain. The good old days are fading away and there's all kinds of global competition from very talented developers in other lands.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      I would say the job outlook is *fabulous* for anyone who deals with web-development. This is great information...and I have to wonder if maybe I should look into it if this writing gig doesn't work out. Ha! Just kidding. But, useful information nonetheless.

    • jenniferg78 profile image

      jenniferg78 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      This is a great series! I love these kinds of articles and finding out how much money people earn (I am a very curious person :) )

      Great post.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I sort of wish I went into this field. The wages are great. Who knew! I look forward to reading this informative series. Well done!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      I have an aquantance that does this sort of job in the UK, I remember my friend telling me that it is a really well paid job, great series, and very useful, cheers nell

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love this series, Aurelio! Very interesting information my friend; well done!