The 12 highest paying UK developer roles 2021

Despite a tumultuous year in the job market, some software developer roles still punch above others when it comes to average salaries. See what you should be getting paid in 2021.

The 12 highest paying UK developer roles 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, where salaries across the UK have steadily risen since 2019, from £48,000 to £52,000 in 2020 and now £54,000 in 2021.

Below are the best-paying software developer job titles in the UK according to Robert Half’s 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.

Chief architect

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

  • Chief architect: £100,000-£120,000.

Engineering managers

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

  • Head of engineering: £91,000-£105,000
  • Lead engineer: £65,250-£77,250

Cloud engineer

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

  • Cloud engineer: £55,000-£61,000

Developers and engineers

Software developer roles are split neatly between front end and back end by Robert Half, with front-end salaries rising significantly over the past year to now be on a par with back-end developers. Robert Half also added the role of full-stack developer in 2021.

  • Full-stack developer: £48,000-£65,000
  • Back-end developer: £46,000-£65,250
  • Front-end developer: £46,000-£65,250

Devops engineers

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: £66,000-£74,000
  • Devops engineer: £57,500-£66,000

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: £48,250-£58,250
  • Applications support: £39,500-£49,000
  • Test analyst: £35,000-£40,000

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