Find a dev jobHire developers
2022 South Africa Report

State of the Software Developer Nation

In this report


South African developer salaries have increased — The best paying roles are on the backend.



Over the past two years, software has proven to be a formidable force. Even when entire industries had to fold, the African software engineering industry experienced unprecedented growth in 2021. In South Africa alone, 89 tech startups, including the likes of Yoco and LifeQ, raised over R5 billion together.

As South Africa's largest tech talent marketplace, we've seen the second-order effects of this from the frontlines: Our account managers and talent advisors interact with hundreds of software developers and hiring companies every day. In the past year, we’ve seen record numbers of companies hiring software developers on OfferZen, rising salaries, and developers in more demand than ever.

At the same time, many things are still in flux: How many companies will return to the office after the big shift to remote? How are companies dealing with the international competition for local talent? How are developers looking at their career development after so much uncertainty?

The data of this year’s annual report shows that South African developers may be staying in their current jobs for longer, which could make hiring local talent harder. Developers now also care much more about work-life balance.

I’m very grateful that we’re able to bring you this annual data report on developer careers for the third time. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the over 3200 South African developers who responded to our survey.

I hope you find the report as insightful as I did. If you have any feedback or questions, give me a shout @PhilipJoubert on Twitter.

I’m looking forward to the discussions!

Philip Joubert
OfferZen Co-founder and CEO
Philip Joubert
OfferZen Co-founder and CEO


South African developer salaries have increased — The highest paying roles are on the backend.


South African developer salaries have increased

Senior developers have seen the biggest salary increase since 2019

Average developer salary by year

Years of Experience

Since our first report in 2019, developer salaries have, on average, increased by 7.4%.

Developers with more than 10 years of experience saw the biggest increase: They are now earning a whopping 19% more than in 2019.

In order to give further context on the distribution of our data, we’ve also included the 25th and 75th percentile salaries in this and the following salary graphs.

Share this insight:

Backend developers earn the highest average salaries among South African developers

Average developer salary by role
Full stack

Years of Experience

Backend developers earn the highest average salaries, followed by full stack and frontend developers.

On average, backend developers earn 27% more than their frontend counterparts. The difference between these roles is widest for senior developers with more than 10 years of experience, at a steep 33%.

Share this insight:

Software developers still earn more in Cape Town – but Pretoria is catching up

Average developer salary by location
Cape Town

Years of Experience

Cape Town is still the best place to be for developer salaries: Capetonian developers have earned the highest average salaries in South Africa for three years in a row.

In Gauteng, however, salary outlooks have changed since last year: Pretoria's developer salaries have caught up with Johannesburg's and are even on par with Cape Town's from 6 years of experience onwards.

Share this insight:

FinTech and Cloud Technology are still the best paying industries for South African developers.

Average developer salary by industry
Cloud Technology
Data and analytics
Retail / eCommerce
SaaS development

Since 2019, FinTech and Cloud Technology have continuously been the best paying industries for software developers.

However, since last year's report, developers working in retail or eCommerce and Telecommunications have seen the biggest salary growth at an average 9%. The lowest increase since last year came to SaaS developers with a modest 2% pay rise.

Share this insight:

The best paying programming languages in South Africa are Go, Kotlin, and Ruby

Average developer salary by programming language

Years of Experience

If you’re looking to earn more money as a developer, it still pays to master niche languages: South African developers working with Go, Ruby, and Kotlin continue to earn the highest average salaries.

Share this insight:
Want more detailed salary information?

Check out our articles on developer salaries

Front End
Full Stack

Tech's gender pay gap

Female developers in South Africa still earn less than their male counterparts

Average developer salary by gender

Years of Experience

On average, female developers earn 17% less than their male counterparts. This gap has increased by 2% since our 2021 report. At the 6-10 year experience mark, this gap even increased from 3.5% to 15.5%.

The gender pay gap is widest between developers with more than 10 years of experience: Here, women earn 19% less than their male counterparts. This is despite female survey respondents being proportionately represented across industries, languages, and location.

We hope that, by providing salary transparency on our job platform and in reports like these, we will equip all developers with the knowledge and confidence they need to earn the salary they deserve. We're also planning to publish further insights on this topic in the future.

Share this insight:

Education and Learning

1 in 4 South African developers with a degree majored in STEM subjects – Self-taught coders use online tutorials.

Education and Learning

Developers learn to code through university, tutorials, and breaking things

More than one third of South African software developers did not study Computer Science

Developers' further studies' focus area

The majority of software developers, unsurprisingly, chose Computer Science as their field of study.

What's more interesting is that one third studied other fields: STEM subjects are the second most common educational background, followed by Business and Humanities.

Share this insight:

Online tutorials are the most common learning resource used by self-taught developers

Resources self-taught developers used to learn to code

In our 2019 report, we found that 1 in 4 developers are self-taught.

So how did these developers learn to code? 72% used online tutorials to teach them the basics of their craft. Another 49% spent time working on side projects, while 46% completed an online course.

Across the experience levels, only tech leads indicated that their most prevalent way to learn to code were books and other physical media.

Share this insight:

The majority of South African developers have brought down production at least once

Number of times developers have brought down production

Practical experience is the best teacher and mistakes are an important part of a developer's education. Bringing down production is one such opportunity for learning.

Over half of South African respondents admit to having brought down production at least once during their careers!

Share this insight:

30% of developers are looking for work in the next year. Are you?

OfferZen is the developer job platform that takes the guesswork out of job searching. Companies reach out to you with upfront role,
tech stack, and salary information.

Find a developer job

Not job seeking at the moment? Join the OfferZen community

Create articles with our editorial team

Write your own article on your learnings or projects with the help of our Source editorial team.


The data in this report does not claim to be representative of the entire South African developer population. Any time the term ‘developer’ or 'South African developer' is used, it refers to the group of developers who took our #DevNationSurvey between 18 October and 12 November 2021.

In terms of location, we only used Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in location comparisons due to sample size. In cases where no data slicing occurs, all 3294 valid responses were included. In order to shed light on survey participant characteristics, we’ve included the demographic breakdown of all 3294 valid responses below.

In some cases, we decided to exclude insights on ethnicity because we felt that we could not do these important topics justice in the short-form format of this report. We are, however, planning to deep-dive into these demographics in the coming months.





Coding experience

Industries developers currently work in

Organisation size by employees



OfferZen conducted a survey to find out more about skills, work experience and job search behaviour of developers. A total of 4527 people took the online survey between 18 October and 12 November 2021. Of these responses, 3294 were counted as valid because they were from developers, or developers who manage other developers, and are currently living in South Africa.

We hosted the survey itself on Typeform and recruited respondents via emails sent to more than 30 000 software makers in the OfferZen community and social media posts to the public. Data was anonymised in accordance with GDPR guidelines and is housed separate to any and all of OfferZen’s platform data. Percentages may not always add to 100% due to rounding.

Salary in this report refers to gross salary before tax and excludes benefits. Statistical analysis was conducted to verify insights regarding salaries and we have only included claims where we have at least 95% confidence.

About OfferZen

OfferZen is a developer talent marketplace by developers for developers. Our platform matches top software talent with exciting opportunities at companies, but this effort actually encompasses a much wider mission: To help developers and their teams thrive in the tech ecosystem.

Over the last five years, this mission has manifested in a multitude of ways from our core business of helping software makers find awesome new jobs, to hosting local maker evenings and tech events or helping makers share their experiences on our blog. We want to help build an inclusive, transparent, and thriving tech ecosystem.

Hire dev talentFind a dev job

Want more insights like this?

Subscribe to OfferZen’s newsletter to get tech insights straight to your inbox!

OfferZen Events|
OfferZen Podcast|
OfferZen Blog

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.