A front-end and a back-end developer don’t make the same. Even two programmers with similar technologies earn different salaries. A range of factors like experience and skillset determine how much programmers earn.
We will explore the average salaries of front-end and back-end developers based on different factors like expertise, experience, skillset, and location. We’ll discuss the difference between front-end and back-end developers’ skills. We will use data from authoritative websites like Indeed.com, Payscale, and Glassdoor to conduct detailed research on front-end and back-end developer salaries.
So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
What is the Role of Front-End Developers?
Front-end development (or web development) deals with the user experience and interface of apps and software. A front-end developer designs the layouts, visuals, and interactions on an app’s user-side. As a result, the front-end is responsible for building user experiences.
Whether creating a website, mobile app, software, or game, companies need a front-end developer to visualize their ideas. With the help of a UX/UI and web designer, front-end developers create the visual aspects with which your users directly interact.
What are the Basic Front-End Development Skills?
All front-end developers use CSS and HTML. These are the foundations of web development for building the structure and style of any website or app.
Moreover, front-end developers must stay updated on the latest UX/UI design trends, as they collaborate with designers directly to create the best user experience for software, a website, or a mobile application.
Front-end developers must also work on keeping their interview skills sharp. Questions or problems asked at interviews can often be very different from the day-to-day tasks of a front-end developer.
This is primarily because a lot of tech companies test engineers on problem-solving skills by posing complex coding or system design problems. In addition, engineers are also tested on behavioral skills.
Dedicated interview prep courses, like Interview Kickstart’s Front-end Developer Interview Course, can help developers prepare for and crack all tech interview rounds.
What is the Salary of a Front-End Web Developer in the US?
Entrepreneurs and startup owners track the average front-end developer salaries to understand web development costs. According to Indeed, a front-end developer earns $101K per year in the US on average. Additionally, they receive annual cash bonuses of $12K on average.
In addition, employers need to pay for benefits and allowances if they hire an in-house software developer. They also have to provide resources like tools and desktops. However, hiring freelance programmers or remote software developers eliminates the need to pay for these extras benefits. However, when hiring a software development team from an outsourcing agency, the total cost will be higher because they include those administrative expenses.
Front-End Developer Salary by Experience
Experienced senior front-end developers command higher salaries. The average software developer’s salary depends on the engineer’s skillset and experience. Let’s take a look at the average front-end developer salary based on experience:
- An entry-level programmer earns an average annual salary of $59,747.
- A front-end developer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average salary of $100,958 annually.
- Senior web developers with 5-9 years of experience make $130,000 per year on average.
- Front-end web developers with more than 10 years of experience earn $147,109 annually on average.
The above data was compiled from Indeed. Keep in mind that these are averages salaries for web developers—excluding benefits and administrative expenses.
Front-End Developer Average Salary by Location
Average salaries vary by region across the US. For example, software engineers in California, Washington, and New York earn more than programmers in other locations. According to Indeed.com, in California, front-end programmers earn 14% more than the national average, while developers in New York earn 7% more.
Here are the average annual salaries for web developers across the US:
- New York–$112,829
- Los Angeles–$109,866
- San Francisco–$155,761
- Salt Lake City–$110,833
The US has some of the highest salaries for front-end developers. However, employers can greatly increase their options by outsourcing front-end web development or web design positions. Doing so allows them to hire software engineers of the same or better quality programming language skill set—but at lower rates. Here are the average salaries of front-end developers from various top outsourcing destinations, according to Glassdoor:
What Front-End Developer Skills Demand a High Salary?
Software engineers with specific skills and technological expertise are more in demand. The technologies and programming languages required for a job will affect the number of competent developers available. Their individual skill sets will determine the rates they can charge for their services. According to Indeed.com:
- Front-end developers with a grasp of Amazon Web Services (AWS) earn over 13.46% more than their counterparts.
- Knowledge of machine learning increases web developers’ average salary by at least 17.06%, while familiarity with continuous integration boosts earnings by 13.54%.
- Additionally, software engineers who understand data structures make 11% more. The ability to work with enterprise software also increases salaries by 17.82%.
- Natural language processing is also a high-paying skill and increases front-end developer salaries by 21.7%.
What is the Role of Back-End Developers?
Back-end developers work on the server-side of software and apps. They write code that helps apps exchange information with the database. Back-end programmers work with server logic, integration, APIs, and several other back-of-the-screen processes. Additionally, they incorporate what front-end developers do with the client-side.
What are the Basic Skills for Back-End Development?
Additionally, back-end developers use database technologies for data structures. In 2023 the two most popular were MySQL and PostgreSQL. Regarding managing servers, Linux, Microsoft IIS, and Apache are among the common technologies used by back-end developers.
Working with APIs also pays off, as 66.5% of developers plan to expand the use of APIs in 2022. Popular technologies related to API are JSON and AJAX.
Moreover, it pays to have a basic understanding of front-end technologies like HTML and CSS. It helps back-end developers understand the process deeper from the client-side and server-side.
However, it’s highly unlikely that any front-end web or back-end developer is familiar with all the frameworks and technologies. Usually, employers research programming languages so they know which they prefer for their web design and development and which technologies they would like used for back-end development. With that knowledge, they look for a candidate matching that technical skillset.
Like front-end developers, interviews for back-end developers include solving tough coding and system design problems in a time-constrained environment. Developers must thoroughly prepare for this, as solely relying on previous work experience can prove inadequate.
Interview Kickstart also offers a Back-end Engineering Interview Course, which is tailor-made to help back-end developers prepare for tech interviews. They offer 18 courses in total, covering the most in-demand roles in tech. You can attend their Free Interview Prep Webinar to learn more about it.
What is the Average Salary of a Back-End Developer in the US?
In comparison, the average salary of a back-end developer is higher than a front-end developer. According to Indeed.com, back-end programmers in the US earn an average annual salary of $158,096. Additionally, they make an average bonus of $4,000 per year.
Payscale quotes a lower salary for US developers at $90,567 per year. Glassdoor, on the other hand, lists the average salary for back-end engineers in the US at $91,869. However, compiling the data shows that the salary range for an engineer is between $59,000 and $145,000 annually.
Remember, though, hiring an in-house programmer will also incur additional expenses to cover benefits and administrative costs. Employers will also need to provide resources like a desktop and tools for software development.
However, employers can avoid paying for allowances or benefits if they hire a remote software developer. The only extra fees the company will incur are the commission charges for using a freelance hiring platform. Furthermore, hiring costs will be higher as well if working with an outsourcing agency.
Back-End Developer Salary by Experience
The salaries range for back-end developers depends on their experience. Let’s explore the annual salaries programmers can command based on their work experience. According to Payscale:
- Entry-level back-end developers earn an average salary of $67,000 per year.
- Middle-back-end programmers with 1 to 4 years of experience earn $91,275 yearly.
- Senior back-end developers with 5 to 9 years of experience can earn $125,000 annually.
Qualified engineers with solid experience and management skills can earn up to $138,000 per year (+bonuses).
Back-End Engineer Salary by Location
Back-end developer salaries vary greatly by region. Therefore, employers can save a significant amount on payroll expenses by outsourcing programmers from countries with lower average salaries.
For example, back-end developers in California earn 11% more than the national average, according to Indeed.com. While developers in Colorado and Washington bring home 10% and5% more, respectively.
Here are some average salaries of back-end programmers across the US, as per Indeed.com:
- New York – $143,150
- Seattle – $134,435
- San Francisco – $165,982
- Chicago – $119,618
- Mountain View (California) – $139,550
- Las Vegas – $102,853
- Boston – $141,413
- Washington – $126,846
- Dallas – $106,199
- Colorado – $132,886
Below are the salaries of back-end developers in leading outsourcing regions:
Outsourcing may be a cost-effective choice for US projects based on the higher average salaries. Employers can save money by accessing global talent by hiring a remote programmer.
Front-End vs. Back-End Developer Salary
When hiring a developer, it’s worth considering the difference in salaries based on different hiring models. The following table breaks down the average rates for programmers.
|Freelancers on Upwork
|Full-time contractors hired with YouTeam
|In-house US developers
It’s important to understand that the final cost includes more than the developers’ rates. Employers must also factor in any commissions or administrative costs for each hiring model. For example, when hiring freelancers from Upwork, employers pay a 3% commission in addition to the hourly or fixed rate. However, when hiring contractors using the staff augmentation model with YouTeam, employers again pay a commission for companies’ services, but this fee is calculated as a percentage of the developer’s monthly salary. Finally, when hiring in-house engineers, companies may pay recruiters to help find suitable candidates, plus extra costs, including taxes, bonuses, non-financial benefits, office rent, and support. Clearly, hiring in-house engineers are the most expensive option.
Is there a Difference between Web Developer and Mobile Developer Salaries?
Website and mobile app development are two different projects with different processes and requirements. So, can mobile and web developers earn the same salaries?
Compensation will vary on experience and other factors, but web developers from the US earn an average annual salary of $97,837.
In comparison, a mobile developer can earn $116,863 in the US. The reason is that often, mobile developers attend to both front-end and back-end responsibilities and, thus, demand higher pay.
What Back-End Developer Skills Demand a High Salary?
Software developers who make an effort to acquire the latest skills and in-demand programming languages earn more than their colleagues. Back-end engineers can earn more by taking up the following skills, as reported by Indeed.com:
- Back-end developers with Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations (XSLT) skills earn 51.06% more than average.
- Knowledge of Haskell can increase salaries by 19%.
- Familiarity with Go can help developers earn 10.35% more.
- Developers that know Scala make 9.85% more.
- Grasping C and C++ increases salaries by 8.05%.
- Knowledge of Pig increases salaries by 34.86%.
- Developers who know Python can earn 6.11% more.
- Machine learning skills help a developer earn 13.08% more.
Who Are More in Demand: Front-End Web Developers or Back-End Developers?
While front-end programmers help you build your user interface and all the interactive features, back-end developers handle the server-side of things and background processes by adding functionality. Companies need front-end and back-end developers to build an app or software—it’s about great teamwork. Or you can hire an experienced full-stack developer who can create the front-end and back-end of a project.
However, the demand in the software development market is high and continues to increase. For example, currently, there are 4,000+ open vacancies for front-end developers in New York and 3,000+ developer jobs available for back-end engineers.
A comparison of front-end vs. back-end developer salaries is essential when hiring the right talent for your software development needs. Annual salaries can reach $155,761 for a front-end developer—plus benefits, bonuses, administrative expenses, and tools and equipment. On the other hand, salaries for back-end developers may be as high as $165,000 annually in big US cities. As a result, considering a full-stack developer for your project may be a more cost-effective solution. This article’s data will help you compare and analyze different specialists and understand which engineers best suit your company.