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Jobs, jobs, jobs: The highest paying tech skills in SA

Learners play with robotics at the launch of 4iR STREAM Lab at Goodwood College in Ruyeterwaght.. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Learners play with robotics at the launch of 4iR STREAM Lab at Goodwood College in Ruyeterwaght.. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 28, 2022


Johannesburg - The South African arm of the recruitment group Michael Page released its Salary Guide and Hiring Insights report for 2022 in early February, and it has been followed by the 2022 South Africa report by tech recruitment platform OfferZen.

The reports show that tech developer salaries have increased by 7.4% on average since 2019, though in reality, this increase has only been for those with upwards of four years of experience. On the other hand, the general demand for developers of all experience levels has increased, especially in areas of cloud computing and data analytics.

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FinTech and Cloud Technology continue to be the best paying industries for South African developers. The ubiquity of cloud technology and the increased need for digital business means it is unlikely these areas will be removed from their top spots any time soon. That said, eCommerce and Telecommunications have seen the biggest growth in salaries, with eCommerce salaries actually averaging the highest for entry level positions.

While salaries between sectors do differ significantly on average, it’s often more useful for you to look at pay differences based on the type of work you’ll be doing. Developer roles are usually sorted roughly into back-end (behind the scenes), front-end (what the customer interacts with) and full stack (everything) work. Back-end developers earn the highest average salaries, followed by full stack and front-end. These differences are minimal for entry level positions but widen with experience level.

Average entry level salaries range from R17,000 for front-end work and R21,000 for back-end work, increasing to R26,000 and R32,000, respectively, with 2-4 years of experience. It is important to note that these are averages across the sector, and the lower quartile of entry level positions ranges between R10,000 and R13,000.

Showing that it still pays to invest in niche skills, Go, Kotlin and Ruby have come out as the highest paid programming languages across experience levels (though Kotlin does lag behind in entry level positions).

There seem to be little meaningful differences in average salary between the rest of the usual players when comparing solely by language, with the likes of Java, Python and C# coming out roughly equal across experience levels.

Interestingly, Capetonian developers have earned more in lower experience level positions for the last three years, compared to Johannesburg and Pretoria.

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