What Each U.S. State Pays Software Developers

Companies that want to hire software developers to build applications know that securing the right talent can often prove quite expensive. They’re also well aware that the cost of talent varies depending on city and state. Across the United States, the mean and median salaries of software developers who build applications can swing wildly, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars annually.

In well-established tech hubs such as San Francisco and New York City, tech professionals of all kinds can stand to make a lot of money, provided they have the right combination of experience and skills. The cost of living in many of those “hot” areas is really high, though, which can somewhat blunt the impact of a larger paycheck. Companies in these hubs often find themselves in bidding wars for certain candidates, which can skew average salaries still higher (for instance, the white-hot hype around artificial intelligence means the most experienced A.I. experts can rack up seven-figure compensation, once you throw in benefits such as bonuses and stock options.)

Less-established areas, meanwhile, offer a whole basket of perks—cheap housing, easier commutes, better work-life balance—provided a candidate can actually find a job. Companies might not need to offer the same level of salary as they do in the major cities, but they have to remain aware that software developers can just as easily take on remote work, building applications for rivals that are hundreds or even thousands of miles away. So there’s an element of competition there, as well.

With all that in mind, here’s a multi-state (and territories—can’t forget about Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico!) breakdown of what a software developer who specializes in applications can earn. How does the salary you’re offering software developers match up to your state’s mean and median? (The chart below is multi-page, so just click through if you don’t see the state you want; also, for some strange reason, the original dataset neglected to include New Mexico.)

This data is derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and comes from mid-2018. However, our most recent Dice Salary Survey suggests that tech professional salaries have largely stagnated, so it’s unlikely that these salaries have shifted very much over the past year.

Let’s take a look at which states and territories earned the highest median salary:

These results certainly aren’t shocking: Washington and California host some of the nation’s biggest tech hubs, largest tech companies, and swarms of aggressive startups with a thirst for tech talent. In addition, they’re also the homes of thousands of corporations that are building and maintaining applications and platforms of all types. Washington, D.C., meanwhile, needs tech pros to help service the enormous federal IT infrastructure (as well as the many subcontractors who carry out federal contracts).

Now let’s take a look at the states and territories with the lowest salaries for software builders who focus on apps. In descending order:

What can we conclude from this? Although all of these states need tech professionals, there clearly isn’t the same level of demand as in other places. And that’s too bad—but it’s also an opportunity for companies in these states. Local tech professionals are no doubt interested in what any new firm can potentially offer.