The 11 highest paying UK developer roles 2020

Despite a tumultuous year in the job market, there are still some roles which punch above others when it comes to the average salaries, see what you should be getting paid in the software developer jobs market.

The 11 highest paying UK developer roles 2020
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Before the pandemic upended everything, software developer salaries continued to rise at a rapid rate. General software engineering roles, as defined by the tech hiring platform Hired, saw average salaries in the UK’s tech hub of London rise 9% for the year to £67,000.

Now, in a jobs market where 9.6 million people had been temporarily laid off as part of the government’s voluntary furlough scheme, according to figures released by HMRC, competition is fierce and salaries may start to level off.

As the country faces down a potential recession, Robert Half’s 2021 UK salary guide found that tech salaries across the board have remained stable and the majority of CIOs said they plan on keeping salaries the same over the next twelve months, with better flexible and remote working opportunities being offered in return.

Despite the pandemic, expectations of a pay rise amongst IT staff remain high, according to research from CV-Library in August 2020, which found that 55% of IT professionals still expect to receive a pay rise from their employer in the next 12 months, so something will have to give.

Here are the best paying software developer roles in the UK according to Robert Half’s salary guide, which is based off of research conducted during the summer of 2020. These figures represent the national average salary range for the 50th and 75th percentile of applicants.

Chief architect

The highest paying non-C-suite role in 2020 is the chief architect. Organisations are looking for talented individuals to guide their digital transformation efforts.

The average chief architect salary is £100,000-115,000.

Development managers

Developer team managers can range in their scope, with most working their way up to developer lead or manager level. Once there, development managers often find themselves as the go between with business leadership and the developer team, setting priorities, managing headcount and budgets and eliminating toil where possible.

Developer lead: £75,250-90,250

Development manager: £64,500-83,000

Cloud engineer

One of the fastest growing roles as identified by Robert Half, the cloud engineer is responsible for designing and maintaining cloud platforms for organisations to run their applications on.

Cloud engineer: £53,000-60,000

Developers and engineers

Software developer roles are split neatly between front and back end by Robert Half, with those managing the knotty back end getting paid better than their front end peers.

Back end developer: £46,300-60,700

Front end developer: £42,000-52,000


As agile methodologies have proliferated across enterprises of all sizes, demand for devops engineers with both developer and system administrator skills has also grown. A good devops engineer will be laser focused on solving operations challenges using software and automation techniques, and will be able to bridge the traditional gap between developers and operations staff.

Devops manager: £65,000-71,000

Devops engineer: £60,500-68,000

Software testing and support

Testing and support functions remain amongst the lowest paid developer roles, according to Robert Half. These people are responsible for ensuring code releases are stable and free of bugs.

Test manager: £42,250-58,250

Applications support: £39,500-44,000

Test analyst: £35,000-42,500

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.