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Tech Career Insights: Ruby Developer Salary Trends in South Africa
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Ruby Developer Salary Trends in South Africa

16 October 2023, by Josh Nel

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Ruby remains one of the best-paying languages for South African software engineers. In this article, we’ll look at what Ruby programmers in South Africa can expect to earn across various experience levels.

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There are fewer Ruby developers in South Africa even though Ruby is a widely-used backend programming language. As a result, companies that use Ruby in their tech stack will need to pay a premium to attract developers with some experience using the language. Mastering niche programming languages like Ruby are one-way developers can increase their earning potential.

Average junior Ruby developer salary

There’s good news for those starting their careers working in Ruby, as salaries for beginners have increased 29.2% (R6 421) since 2022, resulting in a starting monthly salary of R28 421. That’s higher than many other rookie programmers – 21.2% (R4 971) more than Python, 15.9% (R3 898) more than Go, and 59.1% (R10 556) more than PHP.

After at least two years on the job, Ruby developers see the greatest increase of their careers: a colossal 60.5% (R17 204) that brings their remuneration to R45 625. That’s 18.3% (R7 054) more than they would’ve earned in 2022, while being 30.3% (R10 619) more than Python, 4.3% (R2 041) less than Go, and 68.3% (R18 512) more than PHP.

Increases for mid-level Ruby developers have slowed a little compared with last year. An increase of 14.4% (R6 554) for the four-to-six-year bracket is hardly a slouch, bringing the monthly salary to R52 179, but it is 8.7% (R4 987) less than 2022. At this level, Python developers earn 2.5% (R1 279) less, Go devs a notable 21.2% (R14 050) more, and PHP 51.8% (R17 811) less.

What explains these significant early increases? One explanation is that juniors tend to change jobs more frequently than more experienced developers. This grants them the opportunity to negotiate for higher wages than what they might earn through inflationary increases working at the same company.

Average Ruby Developer Salary by Experience



Average Salary by Years Experience, showing 25th and 75th percentiles
Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R17,500 R28,421 R35,500
2-4 R22,500 R45,625 R49,500
4-6 R38,750 R52,179 R66,250
6-10 R67,500 R77,055 R92,500
10+ R72,500 R96,935 R110,000

With six-to-ten years under their belts, Ruby devs should see another large increase of 47.7% (R24 876) to a salary of R77 055 – a nominal 0.8% (R592) behind 2022. Similarly, experienced Python developers earn 11.7% (R8 060) less, Go 7.5% (R6 250) more, and PHP 43.9% (R23 510) less.

Highly experienced Ruby developers with more than ten years of experience are in for another hefty pay rise of 25.8% (R19 880) to earn R96 935 – that’s better than 2022 by 5.9% (R5 414). This compares reasonably with other languages: Python developers earn 4.5% (R4 176) less, Go 4.4% (R4 459) more, and PHP 22.4% (R17 769) less.

As mentioned earlier, Ruby is a somewhat niche programming language in South Africa, meaning those who are proficient in it can charge a premium for their skills. This explains why Ruby developer salaries continue to increase handsomely as they rise in seniority.

Average Ruby Developer Salaries in 2023 vs 2022

Years of Experience 2023 2022
0-2 R28,421 R22,000
2-4 R45,625 R38,571
4-6 R52,179 R57,167
6-10 R77,055 R77,647
10+ R96,935 R91,522

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 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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