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Tech Career Insights: Software Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

Software Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

By Josh Nel

Since 2019, salaries for South African software developers have increased by an average of 7.4%. Senior developers with more than ten years of experience have seen the largest overall increase at 19%. Here we’ll take a look at average software developer salaries and how they compare to those in 2021.


Average entry-level and junior software developer salary trends

The average entry-level software developer salary starts at R20 182 per month for developers with fewer than two years of experience. That’s approximately 3.6% lower than entry-level developers earned in 2021.

This decrease can be explained by Covid-19 accelerating a shift to remote work: As more companies embrace remote, they’re hiring and onboarding fewer junior and entry-level developers than they did before the pandemic because it feels harder to train junior developers when they’re siloed at home.

We’re also seeing more junior developers entering the job market. As a result, there are fewer positions available for juniors, making it harder for less experienced developers to get a foot in the door.

This starts to change once developers manage to get some experience under their belts.

Once they’ve been in the profession for at least two years, the average salary for a junior software developer increases by 50.5% to R30 373, which is roughly the same as they earned in 2021.

It also happens to be the most significant salary increase of their careers.

Why? While they are still finding their feet in the early stages of their careers, developers tend to change jobs more. This gives them a chance to negotiate a higher market-related salary than the inflationary increases developers can expect if they stay with one company for a long time.

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

Average Software Developer Salaries by Experience

Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R10,000 R20,182 R27,500
2-4 R22,500 R30,373 R37,500
4-6 R32,500 R44,883 R52,500
6-10 R42,500 R61,520 R77,500
10+ R62,500 R82,552 R97,500

Salary growth for South African software developers remains strong as they reach the mid-career level.

Intermediate software developers with at least four years of experience can look forward to a 47.8% increase. This gives them an average monthly salary of R44 883.

They’re also earning 9.6% more than 2021’s average for developers with comparable experience.

However, salary growth for software developers begins to slow once they become seniors.

Senior developers with at least six years of experience can still expect a 37.1% pay rise giving them an average monthly salary of R61 520.

This slows to 34.2% once they pass the ten years of experience mark. The average senior software developer salary for developers with more than ten years of experience is R82 552, 9.9% higher than 2021’s average.

In addition to senior developers generally changing jobs less often than juniors, companies also have to consider salary increases more carefully as a developer’s salary level becomes “more expensive”.

Average Developer Salaries in 2022 vs 2021

Years of Experience 2022 2021
0-2 R20,182 R20,925
2-4 R30,373 R30,334
4-6 R44,883 R40,953
6-10 R61,520 R54,620
10+ R82,552 R75,117

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 3200 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 track 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.

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