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Tech Career Insights: Kotlin Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

Kotlin Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

By Josh Nel

Mastering niche programming languages is one way developers can increase their earning potential. For example, while only 4.4% of South African developers list Kotlin as a primary programming language, it is one of the best-paying languages in the country. Here, we look at the average Kotlin developer salaries by experience in 2022.

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Entry-level salaries for Kotlin developers start at an average of R17 333 per month. This makes Kotlin one of the lowest-paying languages for entry-level developers.

However, it doesn’t stay that way for long:

The average junior Kotlin developer salary nearly doubles to R34 653 after they’ve been coding professionally for at least two years.

Average Kotlin Developer Salaries by Experience

Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R10,000 R17,333 R25,000
2-4 R22,500 R34,653 R38,750
4-6 R42,500 R55,152 R67,500
6-10 R53,750 R73,365 R86,250
10+ R82,500 R94,224 R115,000

Average salaries for mid-level Kotlin developers continue to rise once they pass the four-year experience mark. They can look forward to a 59.1% pay rise giving them an average monthly salary of R55 152.

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

Why do Kotlin developer salaries rise so quickly during the early stages of their careers?

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

Companies are also more inclined to offer what looks like a significant increase because, overall, the salary range still isn’t that high.

Salary growth for developers starts to slow once they reach the senior level. This is a common trend across roles, development frameworks and programming languages:

Why does salary growth slow at the senior level? Companies tend to be less inclined to offer significant increases on larger salaries as senior developers’ salary increases become “more expensive”.

However, senior Kotlin developers are not easy to find, which gives them an opportunity to negotiate higher average salaries despite their slow down in salary growth:

The average senior Kotlin developer salary increases 33% to an average of R73 365 after they’ve been in the profession for at least six years.

Once they pass the ten-year mark, salaries for senior Kotlin developers increase by an additional 28.4%, giving them an average salary of R94 224. This makes Kotlin the second-highest paying language for senior developers in South Africa, behind only Go.

Keep in mind

The data in this article is taken from OfferZen’s 2022 State of the Software Developer Nation Report. In this article, ‘salary’ refers to the gross monthly salary (before tax) provided by more than 3 200 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 significantly less than these averages. However, we hope to map 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 are dependent 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.

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