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Last Updated: February 4, 2023

Programmer Salary

How much money do programmers make?

How much money can I make as a programmer? Well, depends. But probably a lot.

So, let’s do this, some people are going to read this and get excited. Some are gonna be pissed. Some will say this guy is full of shit. Some will get offended. Others will be like 'Damn right!'. To the rest of you I say, what up?

Look. Facts and facts. I don’t make them. I’m just telling you what’s happening in the industry and how it's treating people. I’m gonna give you some numbers. By the way, all the numbers I’m giving you here are US market only.

The short answer is entry level developers college degree not required, but with some kind of training, maybe with ColorCode :)... can start from 40k, 50k, sometimes 60k.

According to glassdoor salary average for Junior Developers is $72,712 a year.

Experienced programmers can go up to 140k, 150k, 160k depending on where you are in the country. But those numbers are not that crazy for solid experienced devs. After that, career advancement is all up to you. We live in a capitalis economy where you can essentially go up as far as you you can imagine. Other people have done it and it's certainly possible in the world of technology and programming.

But those numbers depend on a lot of things. So let me explain...

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a government agency, the average salary of all workers in the US in 2015 (I know it’s not from this year but it’s the last one they had ok?)... anyway, average of all workers’ income was $36,300. This is for all jobs in the US. You know what it was for Computer Programmers? $79,530. That’s more than double. This is big.

Job outlook was 17% higher than the average in the US. Which means employment is growing fast and there is going to be a lot more jobs available. Even more than today.

Fine, those are just numbers and that’s just an average and I don’t care. Or they’re not from this year. Or bla bla bla. Here’s the bottom line.

What I’m talking about here is the result of basic economics. Supply and demand. If you have something rare that a lot of people want, the value of that thing is gonna go up. Like gold, or diamonds. Because more people want it, than the number of that thing available.

Why do you get minimum wage, or close to it, if you make coffee for a living? Because almost any adult has the skills necessary to make a cup of coffee. Those skills are not rare or unique.

You know I’ve talked a lot about the growth of software and how it’s become a universally acceptable tool to help us do our day to day stuff, from work to entertainment to dating and so on. It’s everywhere. So the demand keeps going up. Which means the demand for engineers goes up and up. Which means those jobs are gonna pay more and pay. It won’t be forever. But it is the case for now.

Unless something crazy unpredictable happens, I can tell you in big cities in the US, if you are really good at something specific, whether it’s JavaScript, mobile development, or even if you just want do styling with CSS, with only a few years of experience you can make 6 figures, meaning over a 100k. But remember I said ‘really good at something specific’.

Oh yeah, of course, Sina! If you’re really good at anything specific you can make a lot of money. True. But the difference is in how long it takes to get there. Take medical for example. To really specialize and become a super badass doctor you need to invest about a decade of your life, more or less. Plus a pretty sizable amount of college money, and a whole lot of lack of sleep, from what I hear.

Tremendous respect for my doctor friends, you guys are at a different level. But the reality is you can easily get a job in software development in a matter of months if you work hard and know your shit.

Bottom line is if you do your homework, know your stuff and enjoy it, in only a few months you can make enough to support yourself and more. If you continue to grow and learn the latest technologies, and you can deliver quality code and you’re a cool person to work with, you will make more than you need within a few short years.

All that, while you got your headphones on and listen to your music. Very few jobs allow us to do that and make this much. From there you can only go up. Not too many glass ceilings in the world of technology, generally speaking, and in the world of programming that might even apply to women. And that’s a very good thing.

Anyway, from New York with love, see you next time.

Money is a poor indicator of success. - Sir Richard Branson