The 18 highest paying developer roles in 2021

Some developer jobs command higher salaries than others. Aiming high? See what you can expect to earn in these software developer roles.

The 18 highest paying developer roles in 2021
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The pandemic has sped up efforts to offer more digital services for employees and customers, while also pushing forward cloud strategies, driving up demand for software developers across all industry sectors.

At the same time, “we’re in the middle of the Great Resignation where employees are quitting their jobs at record-setting rates,” wrote Josh Brenner, CEO of tech recruitment specialist Hired, in a recent report. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many entered a period of reflection, reevaluating their career paths with newfound perspective. Some people vowed never to work from an office again, while others sought out better benefits and work-life balance. This has led to high employee turnover and a spike in demand for top tech talent.”

These trends are reflected in the average salary of those defined as software developers on Hired’s platform, with salaries across the US steadily rising since 2019, from $146,000 to $152,000 in 2020 and now $153,000 in 2021.

Here are the highest-paying software developer roles in the US according to Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide, which is based on research conducted during the summer of 2021. These figures represent the national average salary range for the 50th and 75th percentile of applicants.

Cloud and software architects

The highest paying non-C-suite role in 2021 is the cloud architect. Organizations are looking for talented engineers to guide their digital transformation efforts.

  • Cloud/network architect: $153,750-$180,500
  • Applications architect: $150,500-$180,250

Software developers and engineers

Software developer job titles have proliferated in recent years, and there is a clear need for mobile and applications developers, who get paid on average far better than their colleagues still working on mainframes.

  • Software and applications manager: $142,500-$166,250
  • Mobile applications developer: $137,250-$163,750
  • Senior software engineer: $135,250-$162,250
  • Software engineer: $124,500-$147,250
  • Software developer: $122,250-$142,750
  • Developer/programmer analyst: $112,500-$133,750
  • Mainframe programmer: $70,250-$87,500

Web developers

Developers responsible solely for web applications get paid on a slightly different scale than standard software developer job titles.

  • Senior web developer: $128,750-$151,000
  • Web developer: $111,000-$131,500
  • Front-end developer: $93,250-$107,750

Devops engineers

The rise of the site reliability engineer (SRE) has seen average salaries for that role spike, with candidates able to display these skills earning more on average than their colleagues in the devops function. The line between these functions is a gray one, but there is some demonstrable extra incentive for anyone that can subtly pivot from devops to SRE.

  • Site reliability engineer: $126,750-$154,250
  • Devops engineer: $125,750-$149,000

QA and testing

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

  • Testing/QA manager: $106,500-$124,000
  • QA engineer, automated: $92,500-$108,750
  • QA engineer, manual: $78,500-$89,500
  • QA analyst/associate: $81,250-$96,750

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