If you’re considering a move into software development, you’ll want to understand how much software developers make and the long-term career prospects.

If you’re considering a move into software development, you’ll want to understand how much software developers make and the long-term career prospects. To determine the salary outlook for software developers in the United States, we have to answer a few fundamental questions:

  • What does the job entail?
  • How easy is it to find a qualified candidate for the position?
  • How much supply and demand exists for a particular specialization?


Let’s explore those questions here.

So what do you do as a software developer?

Software developers write code in various programming languages at various levels. These pieces of code typically fall into several broad categories including:

Application Software: Software designed and developed to solve a specific problem. There are unlimited problems for applications that can be solved through development

Systems Software: Every application needs a system. Systems are the environment in which Applications run. Systems software is developed to run on a range of hardware such as desktop computers and mobile devices. Examples of systems software are Microsoft Windows, Linux, Apple iOS, Android OS and so forth.

Embedded Software Systems: An example of these kinds of systems is a a home security system which includes both a system layer of software and an application layer of software. Embedded systems software is typically built as a customized real-time OS that will provide a multitasking environment for an application to perform various functions, such as monitoring a temperature device connected to a security system.

Demand for software developers is rising rapidly.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of software developer jobs in 2016 was 1,256,200, which is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2016 to 2024. Why? Because although the demand for jobs is growing, there are fewer applicants trained to fill those positions. That is why accelerated career-focused training programs like Woz U ‘s Software Developer courses are so necessary–they train people to fill these gaps for high paying positions.

What training do software developers need?

An entry-level software developer will typically have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as engineering or computer science. However, the field of software development is one of the few fields where a formal degree is not necessarily a requirement. What is essential, however, is that you have an in depth understanding of how to write software in at least one programming language. Sometimes you must also know some higher-level mathematics, but usually these are specific-use mathematics that can be learned on the job.

Today, there are many opportunities to learn in a variety of environments. Some prefer to go at their own pace and rifle through free resources online. For those looking for efficiency, there are more hands-on structured online software development programs that are reasonably priced and will not leave you buried in student debt. For example, you can hone your skills in virtual learning environments by training up through our Software Developer program.

What is the typical software developer salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2017 median software developer salary was $103,560 per year. That ‘s$49.79 per hour, based on a 40-hour work week. It is not likely that most software developers will spend only 40 hours per week on the job because a salaried job in this field typically demands more hours than the standard 40. However, if you are a contract employee, well-versed in your niche, you might easily make $49.79, or much more per hour. Contract jobs have the ability to make more than that because it allows you to bill for each actual hour of work.

Should a software developer look for a contract or salaried job?

A software developer salary role comes with a median Salary of $103,000, which is well above most skilled labor positions. It will likely come with the usual benefits, such as an employer-augmented 401K savings plan, health insurance anda nice facility in which to work. If you forgo a software developer salary in order to work only on contract jobs, your raw pay can be much higher than a salaried job. However, as a freelance software developer, you must provide for your own health insurance and you must pay self-employment tax, which is higher than your Federal W2 deductions would be for a salaried job.