How Much Does It Really Cost to Hire a Software Developer in 2019?

At Builder, we understand the price tag of software can democratize its’ creation. Creating software has become an absolute need in today’s tech-focused marketplace--so price matters. An affordable price point can spell the difference between bringing their idea to life or feeling dis-empowered. But how much is too much to spend on creating an app? Across our social media channels, we’ve heard a wide variety of common misunderstandings so we thought we should address the issue. Also, we continue our conversation on how price intersects with software development taking an essential question into consideration--how much should my software cost me to create? We believe the price of turning a dream into software can depend on different factors. What does it really cost to hire a software developer 2019 (and soon, in 2020)? We will consider four different aspects of software development: geographical area; experience; working conditions and hourly rate.

What role does geography play?

Of course, geography plays a very important part in determining the salary of a software developer -- no matter the coding language they’ve mastered (think: Python versus Salesforce developers). Here is a table of information compiled by For cities outside the US, the salary is shown as equivalent to US dollars. The values are based on an annual salary.

City Country Low Medium High

New York City USA $68,000$91,000$126,000

Atlanta USA $63,000$84,000$113,000

Austin USA $68,000$88,000$119,000

San Francisco USA $84,000$113,000$150,000

London UK $38,125$58,458$89,000

Tel Aviv Israel $4,315$6,330$8,630

Beijing China $6,826$25,457$50,202

Moscow Russia $1,243$2,097$2,796

Bucharest Romania $691$1,215$2,073

Paris France $40,764$51,782$67,334

Melbourne Australia $41,251$57,481$81,150

Buenos Aires Argentina $517$1,034$1,852

Johannesburg South Africa $1,092$2,456$3,753

If you’ve already checked out costs, you’ve probably heard the wide range of rates charged based on the geographic location of the software developer. You’ve also probably read the facts and opinions (positive and negative) for hiring a software developer outside of your own geographic area.Some cities, states and countries have a much cheaper cost of living, so software developers located there can charge lower rates. Software developers in the US, Australia and the UK can charge hundreds of dollars per hour, and sometimes more in hubs like New York, Sydney or London. However, the cost of living in countries such as Russia or India is much lower and therefore, software developers can charge lower rates.

Other factors related to geographic areas include language and time zones. If software developers do not speak your language, there’s an increased possibility of miscommunication. Another related issue is that of time zones. Will different time zones impact your project positively, naturally or negatively? At Builder, we’re glad to use various project management tools (that we’ll talk about on the Builder Blog) to remain in touch with our Builder clients. Stay tuned to our blog to found our list of recommended agile project management methods in December, Builders!

What role does experience play?

Experience also plays a very important role in determining the salary of a software developer. Do you need someone fresh out of college who may have more enthusiasm than experience? That’s not a bad thing to want a more affordable, less experienced developer. Often times, these are highly motivated professionals. But maybe you’d prefer a senior developer that you can just turn loose on the project knowing it will get done and meet your expectations? If you’re using a traditional software development consultancy, this still can take a significant amount of time. Side note: Only with Builder Studio (and soon, Builder Now!) you can create a tailor-made mobile responsive specification in mere minutes without having previous experience--or a designer or developer sitting next to you! There are many different ways to judge the skill level of software developers, this is just the start. In this article, we've organized software developers into three categories by their knowledge, skills and work experience. Additionally, we've noted three levels of experience: ie, entry-level, intermediate or senior software developers.

Entry-level software developers

Usually, these software developers have just started their working path and still require direction from more experienced colleagues. They have zero to one year’s experience. As a result, they work in a team of qualified software developers and are able to perform simple or elemental tasks. These software developers often know only one programming language (or have recently graduated).

Intermediate software developers

As software developers work, they gain more experience and know-how. Intermediate software developers can work on a project independently and deal with complex technical problems. They likely have 1 to 3+ years’ experience in the field.

Senior software developers

This group of software developers can provide you with the most effective ways to develop your project and they also happen to charge the most. For example, they are able to recommend different programming languages, create and manage the technical architecture of an application and also, how the feature should work from the user standpoint (among many other tasks and activities of a Senior Software Developer). Offering these recommendations, they are able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of choosing them. They likely have 5+ years’ experience.

What would you build?

Different projects require different levels of expertise and experience. Software developers with different levels of expertise obviously charge different rates. If their expertise is based on a “hot” (or more trendy) development tool then you may pay a premium for their service.You may want to go the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) route. An MVP is the absolute minimum requirements needed to get the product launched to test user enthusiasm in the market. This will reduce costs while still providing you with the product you want. You might need a software developer who can create a database, software or design. All of these types of software developers charge different prices per hour.

What's the scope of the project?

While it’s sometimes hard for a non-developer to fully understand the scope of a development project, it’s one of the biggest factors that account for cost. A small, simple app could only take a few weeks to engineer, but some applications can take months to complete because they have such a large scope.There will be a lot of back-and-forth for the larger scope projects, and that involves more testing. It’s hard to estimate the size of the project scope for an idea written on the back of a napkin—you need to consult a software developer to come up with a plan, requirements, a deadline, and some milestones to be completed throughout the duration of the project. Each factor should be thoughtfully contemplated before you make your choice.


As you can see, there are many factors that can affect your decision to hire software developers. Luckily for you, you don’t need to hire software developers when you create software with Builder Studio (and soon, Builder Now!). We lead you through the process to creating your idea--even if you have zero technical knowledge. Without hiring a software developer! Turn your dream into software with just a few clicks here right now.

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