The current developer hourly rate comparison

Who has the highest hourly rates among developers?

In Part 1 of our series on the hourly rates of IT freelancers, we look at developers. Which programming language is financially ahead? Who has the highest hourly rates among developers? Our hourly rate comparison provides information.

Why another hourly rate comparison?

Most comparisons are based on surveys. A certain margin of error arises from the selection of participants or their estimates alone. For this analysis, we have only evaluated actual profiles. 2,900 freelancer profiles form the basis of our data analysis. A comparison of the hourly rates shows an interesting development: Python and Java are the bestsellers. Web and frontend developers occupy the lower positions. On average, freelance developers report an hourly rate of 77.64€.

Developer hourly rates

The hourly rate comparison: Python and Java at the top

Machine learning is one of the trend topics of the last few years. In addition, the open source programming language Python is considered an absolute all-rounder in terms of application development. This is reflected in the hourly rate comparison. Python developers are among the most sought-after freelancers in the IT sector. In addition, an increasing demand meets a comparatively low supply of skilled workers. This is reflected in the hourly rates: With an average of €83.67, Python developers report the highest hourly rate of all freelance developers.

Also an all-purpose weapon among programming languages: Java. No other language had as many projects advertised in 2019. Java programmers are still in high demand as freelancers and, with an average hourly wage of €82.93, are in second place in our ranking.

What can be derived from this? Specialising in a programming language can make sense. More general designations like software developer and fullstack developer are beaten by Python and Java in terms of hourly rate.

Front-end and web developers earn less - back-end developers too?

Front-end and web developers are left behind. At €71, they are clearly below the overall average. It may come as a surprise that back-end developers occupy one of the lower positions. A closer look at the data provides an explanation: back-end developers are sometimes described as developers in Java as well as in PHP or special applications such as Shopware. This means that there is a high spread of skills and hourly rates in this area, which score lower on average.

Where do the values come from?

For our hourly rate comparison, we have divided the job titles given by freelancers into occupational groups (e.g. Java Developer, Data Scientist, Project Manager & Co). This classification is based on the most frequent job titles of our

A deeper look into the data also shows that within these classifications the variation of hourly rates is very high. For example, depending on:

  • Project experience,
  • Region of residence,
  • Gender and
  • Specialised knowledge that sets you apart from the competition.

Especially in the higher-paid areas, the ranges of hourly rates are far apart. We want to decipher these influencing factors more precisely in future analyses.

Would you like to know what hourly rate is usual for your personal skillset? Or in which direction you should specialise? Register on our free platform Lyncronize and you get access to all the job profiles, hourly rates and projects that we crawl every day - every week several thousand project postings come together.