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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Developer or Programmer in 2023

This article aims to provide insight as to what the average rates of software developers are, and which factors affect these rates.

It goes without saying that in this day and age, businesses across every industry require the skills and expertise of a software developer or programmer for one purpose or another. The cost of hiring a programmer is therefore something which many are curious about, as the expense is essentially a necessity to better their performance, along with customer experiences.

This article aims to provide insight as to what the average rates of software developers are, and which factors affect these rates in order to help provide a better picture for how much it could cost your business to hire a programmer in 2023.

Which factors affect developers’ rates?

There are different ranges for developers’ hourly rates and salaries as a whole, as they rely on various elements. The key causes for these ranges, as well as what they could cost your businesses, are as follows.

Salaries for different tech stacks

The median salary for a software engineer in the United States is around $127,900 per year. However, this differs when taking a look at the average salary for the different frameworks, languages, and tech stacks that these developers specialize in. 

Full stack developer salary 

A full stack developer earns an average salary of $106,000 per year in the United States, and receives a cash bonus of around $5,500 in addition to their salaries. They can range from $95,200 to $123,400.

Java developer salary

Java developers in the United States usually make an average of $112,500 annually. Entry level developers’ salareis start at around $95,000, while the most experienced Java developers make up to $146,200

MERN stack developer salary

The average MERN stack developer salary in the United States is $108,300 per year, ranging from $87,500 for entry level positions, and up to $146,250 for the most experienced workers.

PHP developer salary 

In the United States, PHP developers make an average of $84,300 per year. The lowest salary among PHP developers is around $55,000, and the highest can be around $94,800.

Python developer salary

On average, Python developers make an annual $96,750 in the United States. Salaries typically fall between $88,700 for new hires, and $105,200 for more experienced developers.


Overall Average Salary ($)

Salary Range ($)
Full stack 106,000   95,200-123,400
Java 112,500 95,000-146,200
MERN 108,300 87,500-146,250
PHP 84,300   55,000-94,800
Python 96,750   88,700-105,200

Senior software developer salary

Selecting a developer with the right level of expertise for the job is one of the first things to consider when hiring a programmer. The type of experience the talent possesses comes with different roles and responsibilities delegated to them, which consequently come with their own salaries and rates as well.

Entry-level salary and hourly rates

Junior, entry-level software engineers often have less than two years of expertise in the field. They may be familiar with common languages, and are trained enough to work on smaller projects and monitor system performances, but have minimal work experience. While many may be skilled for their experience level, they often lack the full qualifications necessary to join a company’s tech team as a lead software engineer. 

In the United States, beginner software developers make an average of $75,300 per year as of, with rates falling between $33 and $40 an hour.

Mid-level developer salary and hourly rates

Mid-level software developers typically have three to five years of professional experience, and have a few small to medium sized projects under their belt. They are capable enough to overlook junior developers, and can create new code on top of debugging and correcting existing ones

As developers at this level undertake more responsibility, their pay increases to match, with an average salary of mid-level developers in the United States being $94,700, with hourly rates between $42 and $50.

Senior developer salary hourly rates 

Typically, a senior software engineer is expected and required to have five to eight years of working experience. They should have worked on several large-scale projects, be proficient in multiple programming languages, and be able to fulfill various roles such as creating, testing, and maintaining software. In addition to this, their experience comes with greater responsibility when it comes to leading and managing their juniors.

Because of all this, seasoned developers make the most, with an annual average of $118,000, and hourly rates which can start at $100 per project.

You must have a clear idea on what are the expectations of your candidate before you even start interviewing them. This can be confirmed at the verification stage, where the HR team can confirm this with candidates. If the expectation is higher than the offer, it is better to drop the application.

Hiring programmers based on the scope of your project

Determining the level of seniority of the developer you are hiring depends on the scope of your project. Different levels of knowledge are required for the nature of the work that needs to be completed. 

If you need to create an app or a webpage, it would not be feasible to go directly to hiring a senior developer or a CTO, and in doing so you would obviously be wasting money by underutilizing their talent. 

Generally speaking, the larger your project, the more specific skills are needed to bring it to life, and because of this, you require a developer with more seniority, or may even require more than one developer. This naturally incurs a much greater cost than a simple, short-term project, and the cost of hiring a developer and calculating a proposed cost relies heavily on the scope of your project.

In the same vein, a developer may charge differently based on the expected duration of the project. Short-term work with rigid deadlines often requires greater rates, while a long-term contract which allows them more work flexibility could come with a better negotiated price for the business.

Software developer hiring costs according to country

As mentioned, developers from different areas result in different salaries, largely due to the cost of living. Many leverage this by hiring developers from different states, and more often from different countries in order to collect greater savings on programmers.

Hiring software developers from China

Countries such as China are the go-to locations for offshore, remote hiring, as not only is it cheaper, but because the overall IT skills of their developers are some of the best among the world. Thus, on top of saving on the cost itself, by considering a global talent pool, you open up the possibilities to hiring a better fit for the job itself as well.

Hiring software developers from India

Similar to China, the options for hiring developers from India are broad and varied, especially considering the sheer number of new developers and fresh graduates originating from the country each year.

Hiring software developers from Brazil

Brazil has recently become a burgeoning hub for IT talent and because of this has become a choice for a significant amount of businesses looking to outsource their tech teams as well.

Hiring software developers from Pakistan

Recent revolutions in Pakistan’s tech startups and companies have also enabled it to become a favorable option for hundreds of companies looking to recruit offshore developers.

Seniority Overall Average Salary ($) Hourly Rates ($)
Entry-level developer 75,300 33-40
Mid-level developer 94,000 42-50
Senior developer 118,000 100+

Types of recruitment models for programmers

When hiring a developer for a project, it is important to compare the different forms of recruitment that are available. Different options have their own pros and cons, and their costs also vary. And these are costs that need to be taken into consideration on top of the future salary to be paid to potential hires as well. Which hiring models better align with your company’s goals? The variability of pricing depending on these models affects the overall cost to hire a developer.

There are two key ways that hiring software developers is done presently: hiring freelancers, and outstaffing.

Hiring freelancer software developers 

Hiring freelancers is one common way that businesses are able to work with software developers. The majority of companies tend to require a developer’s expertise on a project basis, and are not looking to hire a full-time employee. Due to this, hiring a freelancer is the ideal way to go, as many smaller projects can be managed by an individual rather than a complete tech team.

Today, there are many platforms online which offer their services to connect companies with these freelancers. Toptal, Gaper, Upwork, and Fiverr are a few of the most popular choices. Each of them comes with different terms and costs. For example, some may require a deposit upfront, and others may require higher service fees.

These are costs that are added on top of what you will be paying the freelancer as well, so it is imperative to research which company best suits your needs, and which offers the best services, such as handling all of the legal paperwork for you and handling the freelance developer’s payment.

Outstaffing companies for software developers

Where outsourcing through a freelancer means hiring an individual outside of a company, outstaffing is when a professional is leased from another firm to work for a business. The leased talent is usually expected to work exclusively with that one client on a project basis.

This is usually less costly than outsourcing, as you do not need to pay by the hour and instead pays one flat fee to an IT company for a member of the outstaff team, which covers all expenses. It comes with less flexibility in terms of the work being done by that developer, as they are left completely in charge of the task, but if your business would rather have the straightforward pricing model, it’s a great option.


The different costs for hiring software developers rely on many factors, and they can present themselves differently depending upon what your business prioritizes when it comes to fulfilling technical needs, from specific skill sets, required levels of pre-existing experience as a developer, to preferring remote hires. The insights provided above should help you get started on determining just how much it could cost you based on what best suits your needs.

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