Full-Stack Web Developer Salary: What Can You Expect to Make?

By: Fullstack Blog Staff

Software development is one of the most in-demand, lucrative professions today. But programming is a valuable career for more than just monetary reasons. Soon, every industry is going to be dependent on software. Even if you don’t want to be a career developer, some programming skills will help you maintain your level of work independence as software keeps taking over the world.

If you do decide to pursue a career in web development, building your skill set is key. Whether you are self-taught, get a degree from a university, or attend an immersive coding bootcamp like Fullstack Academy, there are plenty of learning options.

Once you become confident in your coding skills, it’s easy to start imagining yourself as a successful developer making big bucks, but a lot of how much you can expect to make is tied to which aspects of development you’re trained in and how in-depth that skill set is. Let's dig in.

Average Full-Stack Web Developer Salary

A full-stack web developer can do it all. They have proficient skills in both front-end and back-end technologies. That means they feel comfortable working with code that affects the user experience, but also with the logic that drives the back end. They’re proficient with languages like JavaScript, C++, Ruby, HTML, and CSS--plus they have the expertise to make beautiful, functional, interactive front-end web applications. If you can master the skills to do what typically requires two employees, you can expect to garner a higher salary than either a strictly front-end or back-end developer.

According to Indeed.com, as of 2018 the average salary for a full-stack developer in the United States is $111,644.

Two Hands Fanning Out Money

Average Front-End Developer Salary

When we get into the specifics of a developer’s salary in relation to their particular programming skills, definitions blur and borders become less rigid. In reality, "front-end developer" is a relatively new term, replacing what used to be known to as a “web designer.” While front-end work was formerly focused on markup languages, there’s now a significant amount of down-and-dirty programming work to be done, particularly within JavaScript. As a result, front-end developer salaries can now rival those of back-end devs.

As of 2018, the average front-end developer salary according to Indeed is $102,799.

Average Back-End Developer Salary

According to Techopedia, “A back-end developer is a type of programmer who creates the logical back-end and core computational logic of a website, software or information system. The developer creates components and features that are indirectly accessed by a user through a front-end application or system.”

Sounds impressive and difficult, no? It’s common in the tech industry for back-end developers to be paid more because the work is more technically driven and therefore seen as more demanding. But the gap is closing--particularly as front-end development becomes more technically rigorous and more technologies are shared between the two roles (JavaScript server-side applications through node.js, for example).

The average back-end developer salary in 2018 is, according to Indeed, $121,071.

Average Salaries for Different Programming Languages

Another factor that influences your developer salary is how in-demand your skills are. At any given time, the software engineering industry will converge on just a handful of key languages. If your specialty is Perl, you may find work, but it’s unlikely you’ll be pulling in the same kind of paycheck as the Python developer next door.

Three very sought-after programming languages are JavaScript, Python, and Ruby. Using a simple search on indeed.com for “(language) developer salary” in New York, we can see that all three have relatively high average salaries, between $125,000 and $130,000 annually. These averages also vary based on how much experience the role requires. (Note: These figures change incrementally as listings are added and removed. We recommend conducting your own search for your specific needs.)

JavaScript Developer: $127,086

Python Developer: $130,071

Ruby Developer: $126,937

When deciding which programming language to learn, you should also consider the sheer number of job openings per language. If we run that same Indeed.com search, again using New York as an example, here is the number of job openings for each language:

JavaScript Developer: 2,177

Python Developer: 2,146

Ruby Developer: 402

According to these results, learning JavaScript or Python would be your best bet, as they offer both better job prospects and compensation.

Birds eye view of NYC

How Location Affects Your Salary

The numbers above are for New York City, a large metropolitan area with a high cost of living. To compensate for that inflation, salaries are higher there. But to give you an idea of how earnings vary by location, here are the salary estimates we found after searching “web developers” on Indeed.com across five different metro areas.*

San Francisco, CA: $118,000

New York, NY: $109,000

Dallas, TX: $87,000

Omaha, NE: $75,00

Columbus, OH: $70,000

*Disclaimer: The validity of any statistics depends on the calculation criteria and search terms used. For example, searching “software developer,” though synonymous with web developer, yields different results.

But salary isn’t the only element of the equation that varies by location. Demand for specific technologies also changes. While languages like JavaScript, Python and Ruby are in demand everywhere, a language like Java will be more prevalent--and thus offer more prospects--in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., since it’s the basis for Android development, and Android is commonly used in government organizations.

Remember, You Can Negotiate

Developer salaries are like any other job: If you have previous industry experience, you’ll bring more value to a prospective employer and be qualified to receive a higher salary. Graduates of Fullstack Academy who are straight out of college are more likely to receive an entry-level salary (around $80,000 per year in New York), while those with previous experience could move directly into a six-figure income.

Salary negotiations are intimidating, but because they help determine your short-term and long-term compensation, they can pay off quite handsomely. Before going into negotiations, set your minimum acceptable salary, or your "walk away number." Then, conduct some research to come up with a desired salary range based on your experience level, skill set, location and any salary info you can find on the company or its competitors. Glassdoor and Payscale can be useful resources to reference.

Check out this video for more salary negotiation strategies. Know your worth and don't sell yourself short, and you're likely to come out on top.

What Next?

Thinking about becoming a full-stack developer? You'll need to buckle down, hit the books, and keep building your coding skills. Getting a top-tier tech job is challenging, and you'll need to stay committed.

Fullstack Academy’s immersive program is designed to advance your career, and graduates have landed roles at Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other prestigious tech companies. Learn more about their award-winning program here.

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