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Kotlin Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

17 May 2023 , by Josh Nel

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Mastering a niche language remains one of the best ways South African software engineers can boost their earning potential. Kotlin is one such language despite only being used by 4.1% of developers. Here, we look at the average Kotlin developer salaries by experience and how they compare to 2022.


Entry-level salaries for Kotlin developers start at an average of R36 500 per month, a whopping 87.5% increase on 2022’s average. This makes it one of the best-paying languages for entry-level developers. At this stage of their careers, they earn 14.4% and 32.5% more than the average entry-level Ruby and Go developers, respectively.

As a result of their strong start, junior Kotlin developers see a 10.5% pay rise after coding professionally for at least two years. This gives them an average monthly salary of R35 928, 21.3% less than their Ruby counterparts.

Salary growth for Kotlin developers quickly recovers once they pass the four-year experience mark: Kotlin developers can look forward to a 47% pay rise giving them an average monthly salary of R52 800.

By this stage of their careers, Kotlin developers are among the best-paid in the country behind only other niche languages like Go.

Despite being the preferred language for Android development, Kotlin remains a niche skill among South African developers. This means that Kotlin developers are harder to find and companies using it in their tech stack must pay a premium if they want to hire developers with experience using it.

Companies are also more inclined to offer what looks like a significant increase because, overall, the salary range still isn’t that high, and developers have had an opportunity to demonstrate their coding skills to potential employers.

Average Kotlin Developer Salaries by Experience

Average Salary by Years Experience, showing 25th and 75th percentiles
Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R10,000 R32,500 R36,500
2-4 R22,500 R35,928 R48,750
4-6 R42,500 R52,800 R67,500
6-10 R53,750 R80,284 R92,250
10+ R82,500 R104,487 R115,000

Salary growth for Kotlin developers initially picks up once they reach the senior level.

The average senior Kotlin developer salary increases 52.1% to an average of R80 284 after they’ve been in the profession for at least six years. This is the most significant increase of their careers and makes it the second most-lucrative language for developers at this experience level after Go. They’ve also extended their advantage over senior Ruby developers to 4.2%.

Once they pass the ten-year mark, salaries for senior Kotlin developers increase by an additional 30.1% giving them an average salary of R104 487. This makes Kotlin the best-paying language for senior developers with more than ten years of experience. In fact, they now earn 3.1% more than their Go counterparts and 7.8% more than Ruby developers with comparable experience.

Why does salary growth for senior Kotlin developers remain strong? Although Companies have to start thinking about salary increases as a developer’s salary level becomes “more expensive”, senior Kotlin developers are not easy to find. That gives them an opportunity to negotiate higher average salaries than Java or Python developers.

Average Kotlin Developer Salaries in 2023 vs 2022

Years of Experience 2023 2022
0-2 R32,500 R17,333
2-4 R35,928 R34,653
4-6 R52,800 R55,152
6-10 R80,284 R73,365
10+ R104,487 R94,224

Keep in mind

The data in this article is taken from OfferZen's 2023 State of the Software Developer Nation Report. In this article, 'salary' refers to the gross monthly salary (before tax) provided by more than 4500 survey respondents.

Average salaries are single data points and only one part of a bigger story. It's expected that many respondents may earn significantly more or less than these averages. However, we hope to provide a picture of underlying trends by mapping the average salaries for different experience levels.

These averages should not be used to estimate what your actual salary will or should be.

Salaries depend on the industry, individual, perks and nature of work. These factors all influence the salary a company will offer to a prospective hire. In addition, most developers are "fluent" in several languages, which will affect the final figures.

It's also important to remember that every individual's context is different. Ultimately, salary is a personal conversation that should take place between employee and employer.

On OfferZen, you can hire Kotlin developers and find Kotlin developer jobs.

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