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Software Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

17 July 2023 , by Josh Nel

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In 2023, South African software developers saw their salaries increase across the seniority spectrum. Juniors received the biggest increases while seniors saw the lowest overall increases. However, higher inflation has eaten into that growth.

Here, we’ll look at average developer salaries and how they compare to those for 2022.


Average entry-level and junior software developer salary trends

The average entry-level software developer salary starts at R24 509 per month for developers with fewer than two years of experience. That’s approximately 21.4% higher than entry-level developers earned in 2022. After adjusting for inflation, entry-level developers are earning 11% more in real terms than they were last year.

Once they’ve been in the profession for at least two, the average salary for a junior software developer increases by 36.3% to R33 414, which is 10% more than they earned in 2022. However, it’s only 1.6% higher than last year’s average salary when factoring in inflation.

Intermediate software developers with at least four years of experience can look forward to a 42.6% increase. This happens to be their most significant salary increase of their careers and gives them an average monthly salary of R47 635, 6.1% more than 2022s average for developers with comparable experience.

Why the significant increase at this stage? 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.

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

Despite this significant increase, high inflation means they’re earning 1.8% less than they were in 2022.

Average Software 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 R24,509 R29,500
2-4 R22,500 R33,414 R35,500
4-6 R32,500 R47,635 R55,500
6-10 R42,500 R65,868 R77,500
10+ R62,500 R88,413 R97,500

Senior software developer salary trend

Senior developers with at least six years of experience can expect a 38.3% pay rise giving them an average monthly salary of R65 868. While this is 7.1% more than they earned last year, it translates to a 1.2% decrease after factoring in inflation.

Salary growth for seniors slows slightly 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 R88 413, 7.1% higher than 2022’s average but 1.3% less after adjusting for inflation.

Why does salary growth slow for senior developers? In addition to senior developers generally changing jobs less often than juniors, companies also have to start thinking about salary increases as a developer’s salary level becomes “more expensive”.

Average Developer Salaries in 2022 vs 2023

Years of Experience 2022 2023
0-2 R20,182 R24,509
2-4 R30,373 R33,414
4-6 R44,883 R47,635
6-10 R61,520 R65,868
10+ R82,552 R88,413

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.

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 software developers and find software engineer jobs.

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