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How much can you earn as a Web Developer: Freelance or Full-Time?

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How much can you earn as a Web Developer: Freelance or Full-Time?

 

While there are some successful web developers who work full-time for one company, freelancing has grown equally lucrative in recent years. With the passage of time, society’s perspective has shifted, and freelancers are now treated equally. Freelancers also have the convenience of working from home and the ability to create their own work schedule. The most essential factor is that, as a result of increased globalisation and technological advancements, large opportunities have opened up in a variety of areas.

 

Regardless of whether you work full-time or as a freelancer, a  solid understanding of programming languages is required. While learning as many languages as possible is crucial, keeping up with new technological advances is also important because it improves your profile and increases your chances of getting lucrative and unique assignments.

 

Earning as a Freelance Web Developer:

 

It’s often difficult to estimate how much freelance web developers make with different sites quoting varying estimates. If you are a complete beginner with a fairly new portfolio you will struggle to negotiate higher rates. However, this also boils down to how much convincing power you hold and your ability to convince the client of your capabilities as a developer. 

 

It’s safe to say though, that web developers generally enjoy higher hourly rates than most other jobs. According to some resources the average hourly rate is around $60. Also, it’s only fitting to mention that freelancers enjoy the flexibility in work hours compared to traditional office jobs. They don’t have to clock in or out, they can adjust their working hours depending on each project and they also get to enjoy the privilege of working across borders.

Lets now compare a “true” freelancer to people who are employed full-time but are allowed to work remotely hence enjoy some of the same benefits along with a sense of security. According to some estimates, the average salary of people working full-time remote web developer jobs is between $70,000 to $100,000. 

 

According to 310 employeesband past and present job postings on Indeed in the last 36 months, the average WordPress developer pay in the United States is $58,254 per year as of December 4, 2019. According to ZipRecruiter, the average yearly compensation for a WordPress Developer in the United States is a little more than indicated on Indeed, at $63,478 per year as of December 2, 2019.

 

Salary of a Front-End Web developer: 

If you are new to the world of web development, let’s first quickly go over what a front-end developer usually does. Front-end web development, also sometimes referred to as client-side development, is the process of creating HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for a website or Web application so that a user can see and interact with it directly. 

 

It’s important to mention that with front-end development the tools and technologies are constantly changing so you will have to learn and adapt constantly. It’s important that the end product is not just responsive and interactive but also adaptable to different screen sizes and resolutions. There is also an added struggle of different browsers. 

 

Now let’s talk about the payscale. Obviously, the salary will depend on the language you know but generally front end developers earn on average $75,000/year. There are different salaries quoted on different sites. We will take a look at the top 3 sites:

 

Glassdoor: Reports a maximum  of $131K/year for top-tier developers

Payscale:   Reports a maximum  of $109K/year for top-tier developers

Indeed:      Reports a maximum  of $107K/year for top-tier developers

 

Salary of a Back-End Web developer: 

Server-side development is referred to as back-end development. Databases, scripting, and website architecture are all covered under the umbrella of back-end. It describes the operations that take place behind the scenes when a user performs a specific activity on a website. It could be logging into an account or purchasing anything from an internet retailer. Back-end developers write code that allows browsers to interface with database information.

 

Back-end developers generally earn more than their front-end counterparts with the average earning around $100,000k/year. 

 

Glassdoor: Reports a maximum  of $102K/year for top-tier developers

Payscale:   Reports a maximum  of $72K/year for top-tier developers

Indeed:      Reports a maximum  of $128K/year for top-tier developers

 

Salary of a Full-Stack Developer: 

 

A full stack developer is someone who works on both the front and back ends of a website or application, which means they may work on projects involving databases, user-facing websites, and even working with customers during the planning stage.

 

As a Full-Stack developer you should be familiar with HTML,CSS and Javascript. You should also know at least one back-end language. Although most full stack engineers specialise in one back end programming language, such as Ruby, PHP, or Python, some, especially if they’ve been working as a developer for a while, work with multiple. In most job postings, you’ll find phrases like “full stack Ruby developer” etc. 

 

You will be surprised to know that some places require full-stack developers to know project management as well as UI/UX. Full-Stack developers generally earn the highest in the trio. The average salary of a full-stack developer is anywhere around $91,000/year. Let’s look at some of the estimates given on some sites: 

 

Glassdoor: Reports a maximum  of $69K/year for top-tier developers

Payscale:   Reports a maximum  of $75K/year for top-tier developers

Indeed:      Reports a maximum  of $113K/year for top-tier developers

 

How much does experience count in a web developer’s salary? 

When looking for jobs or even when researching online, you must have come across terms like a junior web developer or a senior web developer. Some companies also classify these as a entry-level web developer, a mid-tier web developer and a high-tier web developer meaning you have probably a decade or more of experience working in web development and are familiar with a multitude of technologies and languages

 

For senior positions at least 5+ years of experience is required after a professional degree such a bachelors. According to Skillcrush, for an entry-level front- end web developer, you can  expect to earn on average $61,000/year. If you have an experience of 3 – 5 years this can go upto $100,000+/year as you will now be considered a mid-tier or experienced web developer and will have a nice portfolio as well. So it’s safe to say that experience counts!

 

However, even if you are just starting out and have no experience under your belt, not all is lost. One way to build experience and a great portfolio is to look for projects that are open-source and want developers to contribute to. A great example of this is Shopify. All of Shopify’s themes are built on an open-source theme framework and tonnes of “Shopify” jobs that are advertised on platforms like Upwork right now. If you contribute to this, a potential shopify client down the label will definitely consider this as a good and relevant experience. 

 

Experience also allows you to specialize and “become an expert” so to speak. According to John Morris following the completion of Michael Hyatt’s membership site, a group of his followers sought to build something similar to what he had. They then began  the hunt for the developer who was behind it. And because he was the only person (literally) on the planet who knew the exact code and could create it for them, he was able to convince every single one of those clients to employ him! 

 

Conclusion: 

 

To round it out,  a survey conducted by Payoneer revealed that of 23,000 freelancers in 180 countries, the average freelancer works 36 hours per week and earns $21/hour. That works out to $39,000 each year. So what you earn as a freelancer or a full-time developer depends on varying degrees of experience, skill-set, job category and even location. 


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