If you want to learn coding and web development to start a career in tech, one of the first questions you have is: How much do web developers make?
After all, it’s only natural that you want to make sure you’ll get fair compensation for your efforts while learning to code, right?
There are tons of factors that affect web developer salary levels. You could also ask what’s an entry-level web developer salary, what is a back end web developer salary etc. Do back-end developers make more money than front-end developers?
To give you a good overview of web developer salary expectations, I’ll walk you through a few key points in this article.
You’ll learn what factors to keep in mind when choosing a specialization to secure a comfortable level of income.
Thus, if you want to find the most valuable skills to learn in order to become a web developer, you’re in the right place!
Let’s get started!
Related articles you might want to read:
- How to Make Money Coding? 4 Ways to Make Money as a Developer
- 8 Things You Should Know Before Learning Programming
- How to Find the Easiest Programming Language for Beginners
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Different types of web developer roles and jobs
Before we dive into the actual numbers, let’s take a minute to see what different types of web developer jobs you could land in the future.
Depending on what you wish to focus on in your job in the future, you’ll need to learn the right tools and skills that will affect your salary as a web developer.
Recommended: What Does a Web Developer Do Exactly?
Levels of experience: Entry-level, junior, and senior developers:
When you start browsing through web developer jobs, you’ll bump into a whole lot of terminology and experience level requirements.
Broadly speaking, most web programmer jobs are categorized into three groups according to the level of job requirements:
Level #1: Entry level web developer
First, you’ll probably see entry level web developer job openings. An entry level web developer is simply someone who’s fresh in the job market. If you’ve just finished a major coding course or bootcamp and you’re ready to apply to your first job, you’re an entry level web programmer.
Needless to say, the entry level web developer salary is the lowest of all. This is because entry-level positions are best suited for getting to know the ins and outs of a full-time job as a developer.
As an entry-level developer, you’ll be learning tons of stuff from scratch. The main focus with entry level jobs is to get acquainted with the “real world” and to learn how to work on real-life web projects.
Level #2: Junior web developer
Next, there are junior level web developer jobs. They’re perfect for someone who’s already gathered some work experience as an entry level web developer.
Of course, if you’ve been doing freelance web developer gigs while learning web dev skills, you could qualify for a junior position, too. It’s all about knowing the basics of how to work with clients and how to use your skills to build something valuable and functional.
Level #3: Senior web developer
Finally, you’ll see senior web developer jobs. If you’re just getting started with learning web development, senior-level positions make a great long-term goal.
Senior level web developer jobs require about 8-15 years of hard work and specialization. That’s how long it takes to learn the skills and expertise required. Most often, senior developers have gathered experience from working in various different roles during their career. They have developed highly sought-after skills that companies are willing to pay for.
Although this might feel like a long time, getting a senior-level position in the future is a great long-term goal. And the sooner you start, the faster you’ll get there, right?
It goes without saying that the salary level correlates with your experience and expertise. Here’s how the level of experience goes hand in hand with the expected salary for entry-level, mid-career, and experienced web developers:
It’s clear that you have excellent career and income opportunities in the long run as a web developer. And the best part is that you have full control over your career. You decide what skills to learn to boost your value in the job market.
Front-end, back-end, and full stack web developers:
Apart from the division into web developer jobs according to the level of experience, you’ll also see job descriptions with different skill requirements.
And again, you’ll see three main categories:
#1: Front end web developer jobs
Front end developers are responsible for the visible parts of a website. That’s everything the user can see or interact with directly in their web browser.
The most important skills for front-end web developers are:
Moreover, they need to be super creative, know their way around different front-end frameworks, and master responsive design.
#2: Back end web developer jobs
Back end web developers work on those parts of a website project that aren’t visible to the users. They make sure the different technical features and functions work smoothly “under the hood”.
To do this, back end developers build web applications that run on web servers. Those web apps control how data from the users is stored, processed, and managed.
If you’re interested in becoming a back-end web developer, you have a wide range of top web dev programming languages to choose from. Thus, it’s a good idea to research some job openings to see what tools your ideal employers are using before you start learning them.
#3: Full stack web developer jobs
If you can’t decide whether to focus on front end or back end development, you can just learn both of them. This would make you a full-stack web developer – and also a superhero, too.
Needless to say, becoming a full-stack developer takes tons of work. You need to learn a wide range of skills and know how to coordinate large-scale website projects.
If that’s something you’re interested in, make that your long-term goal and work towards it step-by-step. Learning one skill and specialization at a time is essential to maintain your focus and motivation.
Full-stack developers often work in team leader roles. They know exactly what it takes for a project to work smoothly on both the back-end and the front-end.
Web developer salary in 2019 based on level of experience:
By now, you should have an idea about the different job levels and skill requirements. Next, let’s take a closer look at how much do web developers make.
In general, web programmer salary levels vary a lot depending both on your location and your employer.
Even within the individual levels, you find a lot of variance. A startup can’t pay the same salary as a Fortune 500 company, right?
Furthermore, when you gain some working experience as a web developer, you can see a sudden increase in salary, too. Especially if you become an expert in a certain tool that’s rather rarely used, you can find extremely lucrative specialist job openings in the future. Just something to keep in mind.
Entry level web developer salary:
Let’s start with the entry level web developer salary levels. Entry-level developers are just starting to work in the field, so their salary level is the lowest. Makes sense, right?
According to Indeed.com, the average entry level web developer salary in the U.S. is around $20 per hour (March 2019). Assuming the average work week has 40 hours, this adds up to around $38,400 to $40,800 per year.
Now, doesn’t seem too astronomical, does it? But keep in mind that most entry level web developers are still learning. They’re not proficient enough to work 100% independently and need a good amount of guidance and support from their colleagues.
And hey, if you don’t like the sound of $20 per hour, there’s a way to go around it. You can gather practical working experience as a freelance web developer before you start applying for your first full-time job. Freelancing allows you to learn the skills that you need for a junior web developer position step-by-step.
Freelancing is the path I chose and to be honest, I didn’t even bother applying for a full-time job when I could have. I was making more than enough as a full-time freelancer already. Also, the freedom that comes with freelancing can’t be measured in money. Simple things like spending more time with my family and friends are something I never want to give up.
Junior web developer salary:
Junior web developers can expect a considerably higher salary than entry level developers. They’re already familiar with working on real-life projects and dealing with clients. They know their way around the tools used for web development and how to apply their skills to a plethora of different projects.
The average salary for junior web developers in 2019 in the U.S. is around $65,100 per year:
Hence, you can expect quite a big increase in salary in a junior position compared to an entry-level job.
Senior web developer salary:
What about senior level salaries for web developers, then? Let’s stay with Glassdoor here – according to their data, the average senior web developer salary in 2019 is $96,500 per year in the U.S.:
That’s a lot higher than the junior-level salary above. But as we discussed earlier, landing a senior-level job as a web developer might take roughly 8-15 years. Thus, this compensation is appropriate considering how much work you’ll put into advancing in your career.
Now, the thing with senior-level salaries is that any senior web developer has a highly specialized set of skills they get hired for. Therefore, the variance in senior-level salaries is relatively high compared to entry level and junior positions.
Looking at another source, Indeed.com, we get a somewhat higher average senior web developer salary in the U.S. at about $105,800 per year:
Thus, it’s safe to assume that the average senior-level salary is around the $90k – $110k range.
The exact figure depends on a number of factors like location and employer. A good rule of thumb is: high-tier companies usually employ more senior-level developers in absolute numbers while also paying higher salaries.
Salary based on role and specialization
So it’s clear web developers with more experience make more money. But what about the different skills and specializations we looked at earlier?
Is there a difference in front end vs back end developer salary? What about full stack developer salaries?
Let’s take a look:
Front end web developer salary:
First, let’s see how much do web designers make. Starting with junior front end developer salary in the U.S., the data at Glassdoor gives us an average annual salary of $77,900 per year:
This data is aggregated for all levels of experience, so it includes everything from entry level to senior level developers.
When we look at just junior-level jobs, the average salary in the U.S. is about $62,900 per year according to Indeed.com:
This is more or less in line with the overall junior-level positions we looked at earlier.
Bear in mind that sometimes the job titles for front end web developers and web designers are used interchangeably. Therefore, when you’re looking for front end jobs, make sure you check out web designer job openings, too.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for web designers in the U.S. in 2019 is around $57,500 per year:
When it comes to your location, keep in mind that front-end developers are in high demand across all states. In cities where the competition for top talents is hard, the average and median salaries tend to climb considerably higher.
For example, the average base front end developer salary in New York is around $108,200 per year according to Built in NYC:
Thus, depending on where you want to work, you should check the local website designer salary, i.e. front-end developer salary accordingly.
Back end developer salary:
When it comes to back end developers, there’s a lot of variance in the average salary estimations. If you decide to learn back end web dev skills, your salary expectations depend on a variety of factors, so it’s difficult to give an accurate estimate in advance.
Let’s look at our first data point from ZipRecruiter.com. According to their data, the average back end web developer salary in the U.S. is around $82,400 per year:
This beats the average front end developer paycheck. But we also see that the right-hand side of this range suggests a relatively high number of top-earning back end developers. The income gaps among back end developers are quite big and the sample shows an uneven distribution of salaries, too.
Looking at another source, Indeed.com gives us an average salary of $128,100 per year for back end developers in 2019:
All in all, the average salaries for back end developers vary a lot, to say the least. This could be a sign of salary differences between different back-end developer skills and specializations. As we discussed earlier, back end developers can choose between a wide range of programming and scripting languages and tools to learn.
Full stack web developer salary:
Full stack developers have a much wider range of skills than frontend or backend web developers alone. They know how both areas can work seamlessly together in real-life projects.
Therefore, full stack developers can expect to earn a higher salary, too. However, as we saw with back-end developers already, the huge variety of skills can result in an uneven and unpredictable salary distribution. It’s difficult to predict how much you could make as a full stack web developer. There is simply so much variance in the data.
The average salary for a full stack web developer in 2019 in the U.S. is about $75,500 per year according to Glassdoor.com:
However, according to Indeed.com, the average full stack developer salary in the U.S. in 2019 is around $113,500 per year:
Again, it’s safe to assume that when you’re applying for full stack developer jobs, you’ll see a lot of different salary levels in the job descriptions.
At the end of the day, your full stack developer salary will depend on your individual skill set as well as on your negotiation skills.
Average web developer salary
We see a lot of variance in the salary levels in general. They depend on both the specific job requirements as well as the level of experience.
Thus, it’s difficult to draw any objective conclusions on how much the average web developer makes in the U.S.
The truth is:
There’s no such thing as “the average web developer” out there. You are in control of the skills you learn to achieve your goals in the long run. If you’re someone with plenty of determination, persistence, and ambition, you can go very far as a web developer.
With that said, let’s look at a couple important factors that affect your potential salary level as a web developer:
1: Overall web developer salaries in the U.S.
In absolute numbers, the average web developer salary in the U.S. is around $76,100 per year according to Indeed.com:
This figure is a tad higher than the Junior web developer salary we looked at before.
However, when we look at the average salary according to Payscale.com, we see a big difference. Their data indicates an average salary of just $58,500 per year:
And looking at yet another source (ZipRecruiter.com), again we get a higher average pay level of around $73,900 per year:
Based on these data points, the average web developer salary in the U.S. in 2019 is roughly between $60,000 – $75,000 per year.
2: Location: Where can you find web developer jobs?
The biggest factor affecting salary levels is geography. Depending on where you’re located, you might find higher wages, more competition, or fewer employers, for example.
So, where are the high-paying jobs, then?
Here’s an overview of how your location affects the potential average salary level:
According to this data, the national average web developer salary in 2019 is about $56,400 per year. We see that the biggest tech hubs such as San Fransisco or NYC offer a lucrative salary in absolute numbers.
However, the average salary doesn’t really tell us much about the quality of living since the cost of living is so different across the country. Let’s take a closer look:
3: Quality of life: Adjusted average salaries in the U.S.
The sad truth is that your dollars are worth less in SFO or NYC, for example, where the cost of living is high. Adjusting the average web developer salary by the cost of living index should give us a somewhat better idea about the “real” salary levels.
Here’s an overview of the top 10 states with the highest adjusted average web developer salary (2016):
Does it come as a surprise that New York and California aren’t in the top 10? In fact, NY is at #32 with an adjusted income of $64,483 and California at #23 with $69,724.
Of course, web developers are in high demand across all states and the quality of life may vary a lot between the states, too. At the end of the day, you decide where you want to live and work and there are other factors to consider than just the level of salary.
What else should you consider?
The expected salary level is an important factor when you’re thinking about learning the skills to become a web developer. Your monthly paycheck will be the compensation for all the hard work you put into mastering the necessary skills and tools.
However, there are a bunch of other important points you should consider. The overall package should include other perks that add to your security and comfort.
For example, when you find an interesting job opening, find out more about the employer. What are people saying about the company?
You want to make sure your future employer values your time and dedication. Otherwise, you should just become self-employed and work for yourself.
Thus, when you’re going through job openings, take a few moments to check if the employer mentions any of the following:
- Healthcare: This is something you shouldn’t have to negotiate about. After all, how can employees do a good job if they’re not taking care of themselves?
- Paid leave: How many days per year? On what conditions?
- Overtime compensation: Will you get paid for working extra hours?
- Office perks: Location, facilities, atmosphere, activities… Free fruit in the kitchen doesn’t help at a sweatshop.
- Development opportunities: Do they offer courses, training, or education perks?
- Team and colleagues: Who will you be working with? Do you see yourself as part of your future team?
And more importantly, keep in mind that your job should be fun and enjoyable in the long run. Be creative, have fun, learn new things, and take care of yourself. Web development is the perfect field for all of that!
Final thoughts: How much does a web developer make in 2019?
By now, you should have a good idea about the salary levels for web developers in 2019.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that there’s a lot of variance in the field depending on your skills, specialization, location, and experience.
Out of all types of web developers, full-stack developers have the highest level of income. Their solid skills in both front-end and back-end development make them valuable in the job market.
As for the level of experience, you can expect your income as a web developer to increase considerably throughout your career. You can start in an entry-level job and work your way towards a junior web developer position.
All in all, the best way to find out how much you could earn as a web developer is to do research on employers in your area. Browse through jobs openings and read the job descriptions carefully. Find out what skills companies are looking for.
If you’re just getting started with learning coding and web development, make sure you check out my post on the best way to start learning coding.
And when you feel ready, head over to my article on what programming language you should learn first. I’ll see you there!
Here are a few helpful posts for you:
- 10 Powerful Tips to Learn Coding Faster
- How to Find the Easiest Programming Language for Beginners
- 8 Great Websites to Learn Web Development for Free
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