How Much Freelance Developers Really Get Paid

IDE Developer
Freelance developers can make quite a bit.

Freelance developers have a lot going for them. The ability to work from anywhere and choose clients are among the best perks, but how much can you actually make? A new study gives us a granular look.

Code Mentor queried 5,302 freelance developers to get insight into how much they get paid. As you might expect, those in the United States make the most on average, along with those in Australia and New Zealand: up to $70 per hour. Canadians pull in $65 per hour. Those in the Middle East and Western Europe make $64 and $63 per hour, respectively.

The extent of this survey is critical to understanding Code Mentor’s findings. Only 91 Australians and New Zealanders responded, which may have skewed the numbers a bit when you consider the highest hourly wage reported worldwide was Australia at $74.

JavaScript was far and away the most popular language for freelancers, but didn’t command the highest price; JavaScript developers make an average of $61 per hour. AWS developers earn $74 per hour, the highest rate in this survey. Android, C# and Ajax developers earned the least: $59 per hour.

Rates also vary by city. A freelance developer in Munich commands an average of $91 per hour. In Palo Alto, freelancers pull in $87 per hour, the same rate as Brooklyn. Phoenix freelancers earn $86 per hour. Mountain View freelancers (who live in the belly of the Silicon Valley beast, mind) earn $81 per hour. Those in Portland and Austin receive $80 per hour, while sunny Philadelphia sees freelance developers making $79 per hour.

The Dice Salary Survey echoes these findings. While admittedly U.S.-heavy, freelancers tell Dice they make $69.05 per hour. With an average annual take of $114,473, that means contractors work about 32 hours per week.

Code Mentor’s survey hints at how developers get to that high salary level, too. Seasoned freelance developers (i.e., averaging eight years of experience or more) get the job done right and on-time. Between their expertise, networking and ‘gig’ boards specifically geared toward freelancers, it’s easy to see how some end up making a very nice living.

7 Responses to “How Much Freelance Developers Really Get Paid”

  1. I am confused. First there are agreeing values in “the highest hourly wage reported worldwide was Australia at $74.” “AWS developers earn $74 per hour, the highest rate in this survey.”

    But then, “A freelance developer in Munich commands an average of $91 per hour.” Palo Alto, $87; Phoenix, $86; Mountain View, $81; Portland/Austin $80; Philadelphia, $79.

    So it would seem the highest is something north of $91, not $74. Please clarify.

    • i don’t blame you for getting confused – the author has done a bad job of mixing numbers & situations

      there are at least 2 different surveys talked about (Code Mentor, Dice and maybe coding language surveys)

      there are national averages – regional averages – city averages – and individual wages

      even if you produced a table in an effort to get things straight – the table might not be correct due to ambiguities in the article

  2. Sad to see the US Freelance Developers get today almost exactly the same rates they got in 1980, while the mighty US dollar today is worth 1/3 of its buying power then.

    In other words, there was a precipitous decline in rates, in some large measure attributed to the H1-B visa debacle, but also because IT professionals never organized to form an association like accountants, lawyers, psychologists, and other professional consultants to maintain their value in the marketplace.