How much South African game developers earn - "Not a smart move if you care about making money"

Mystic Twilight

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Regarding starting salary, depends on the skill depth. There are graduates who on paper should know how to develop software, but give them an ide and they have no idea how to get a functioning login screen into a home page without spending a few days googling for a tutorial solution to copy, and they have an asking salary over 30k. The people who actually have the skills won't be earning 12k, the 12k earners are the ones who know how to parrot through university exams, not many sa universities have final year lecturer-hands-off full stack programming projects, and the ones that do exist are group projects that has a strong team lead to carry the rest.

Anyway, it would be better to learn the game development skills and then work elsewhere. Advantage of IT skills as opposed to say law is that it's globally applicable and easy to transfer between countries.
 
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koeks525

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Within CT, I'd say most in IT are underpaid as salaries have not kept up with inflation, especially as the CPI is not aligned to basically anyone who earns enough to pay taxes.
I strongly agree with this statement. When I entered the working world in 2019, I was horrified to see dev jobs in CPT that were paying R13, R14, R15K a month, and that is before tax, medical aid and pension is taken off. This is when I laughed the one day when I saw a recruiter calling Century City the next Silicon Valley... I was like "not with the low pay in CPT".
 

RedViking

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Damn, the privileged.

18000 is a lot of money. You can rent, buy food and save up for a car.
 

RedViking

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It is better to sit at home and do nothing than to be earning that much. You'll have more problems in your life with such a horrendous salary. If I was earning that much, I would have resigned ages ago and went home.
Sadly too many with this attitude in South Africa. Why I would rather work with Indian, Filipinos or Scandinavians.
 

Datura

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It is better to sit at home and do nothing than to be earning that much. You'll have more problems in your life with such a horrendous salary. If I was earning that much, I would have resigned ages ago and went home.
That is very money of you.
 

jackshiels

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Network engineering is more profitable for an individual and requires way less math, and "luck". It's a shame. But let's go ! 4th Industrial Revolution!

Game development is hugely complex, with advanced math and other skills required. Been there done that, and agreed. It's more like artistry than industry. Such a pity.
Yeah indeed. Advanced calc, linear algebra are pretty common requirements.

It's the only kind of work I enjoy, too. I've always been good at both creative and technical, and other roles simply don't cut the diversity of skills requires to succeed as game dev. Oh well.

Still gonna release our next game at the end of the year, but I moonlight as a systems dev to earn money at the moment.
 

Dylan_G

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If I sat at home, took on a few projects on the side, I would have made more than the 12K these companies are offering.
If you don't mind me asking, could you please explain more about this?

Have you done projects like these before?
What kinds of projects are these?
How many can opportunities you secure in a month?
How many can you complete in a month?
How much do you earn for each project?
 

koeks525

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Damn, the privileged.

18000 is a lot of money. You can rent, buy food and save up for a car.
After all deductions are taken, rent is taken, you really do not have much to work with, especially if you live in Cape Town (you would need to cut corners).

Sadly too many with this attitude in South Africa. Why I would rather work with Indian, Filipinos or Scandinavians.
And this is why many companies will continue paying below the line, despite individuals having the talent, skill and knowledge to solve business problems. "We can find anyone to work at any price".
 

rietrot

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After all deductions are taken, rent is taken, you really do not have much to work with, especially if you live in Cape Town (you would need to cut corners).



And this is why many companies will continue paying below the line, despite individuals having the talent, skill and knowledge to solve business problems. "We can find anyone to work at any price".
That's entry level. Someone fresh out of college university that knows nothing.
 

RedViking

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After all deductions are taken, rent is taken, you really do not have much to work with, especially if you live in Cape Town (you would need to cut corners).



And this is why many companies will continue paying below the line, despite individuals having the talent, skill and knowledge to solve business problems. "We can find anyone to work at any price".
The entitlement is what kills it.
R18000 is a lot of money to start with and then building from there.
South Africa has a 'I demand or I do nothing' attitude.
Attitude is the issue here.
 

RedViking

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It's not a lot when you can enter junior level systems at 30k with a good mark degree.
Sure.

IF in reality you CAN get that.

But let's be realistic here.

Some will rather sit in their bedroom and complain how disadvantaged they are than starting of with a lower but still good salary.

Entitlement. That is all it is.
 

RedViking

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That's entry level. Someone fresh out of college university that knows nothing.
Unfortunately they are brought up and told from a young age they deserve 30K and nothing less. Even though they still wet behind the ears.
 

koeks525

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Unfortunately they are brought up and told from a young age they deserve 30K and nothing less. Even though they still wet behind the ears.
The issue I am highlighting is not limited to entry level positions; I have seen several senior IT positions that also pay below what the market would pay. In fact, I have seen some senior positions that pay what a junior would get at a good company.
 

rietrot

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The issue I am highlighting is not limited to entry level positions; I have seen several senior IT positions that also pay below what the market would pay. In fact, I have seen some senior positions that pay what a junior would get at a good company.
Supply and demand.
 

Mystic Twilight

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The issue I am highlighting is not limited to entry level positions; I have seen several senior IT positions that also pay below what the market would pay. In fact, I have seen some senior positions that pay what a junior would get at a good company.
That's not really a problem, seniors worth their salt normally get market related or above. The "seniors" who get less are demonstrably less skilled.
 

Johnatan56

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The entitlement is what kills it.
R18000 is a lot of money to start with and then building from there.
South Africa has a 'I demand or I do nothing' attitude.
Attitude is the issue here.
Again, you're arguing from the point of an oversupply, software development is in high demand with huge impacts on the efficiency/success of a business. It's not a case of e.g. a secretary or domestic where you can pick up anyone off the street to do it (I exaggerate a little, but there's a vast oversupply)

Most companies a software developer will bring in huge amounts of revenue/profit for the company, I know at one of the largest web devs firms in CT where I interned I got basically minimum wage (around R20/hour), yet they were contracting my work out at R700-1500/hour. At R700/hour a junior dev should be around R200-300/hour for that as you'd *2 based on skill and downtime, so ~R500/hour, leaving a good R200 for the business to pay for rent, electricity, and other overheads, and that's at least R30k pm. Do you understand why R12k is such a joke?

I know they tried to offer my other friend interning there R9k, so R60/hour as they said they were doing so badly, and they tried to find BS excuses to not promote other juniors who had been working there for 2/3 years so they could justify R15k pm. Suffice to say, that company has gone downhill rapidly after about half the company left, got an offer for R500k/annum (R256 hourly) about a month ago to come back, no chance I'll do that as I know that will be the cap, plus it's less than I earn now not even 3 years down the line.

As long as I make my company enough money to make a profit based on my salary, they'll be fine with paying it/increasing to keep me, companies paying R12-16k pm are taking a chance because they can, they take advantage of the fact that people want to work in game development, and as long as everyone agrees to bad salaries, they'll continue to do so.

It shouldn't be you as the worker taking a salary hit for the risk, you have no vested interest in the company if it succeeds, if the game suddenly blows up, are you going to see any returns for the time/effort you put in when you could have been earning way much more anywhere else and done game dev as a hobby?

There's a huge difference between skilled work vs unskilled work (supply vs demand).
 

RedViking

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Again, you're arguing from the point of an oversupply, software development is in high demand with huge impacts on the efficiency/success of a business. It's not a case of e.g. a secretary or domestic where you can pick up anyone off the street to do it (I exaggerate a little, but there's a vast oversupply)

Most companies a software developer will bring in huge amounts of revenue/profit for the company, I know at one of the largest web devs firms in CT where I interned I got basically minimum wage (around R20/hour), yet they were contracting my work out at R700-1500/hour. At R700/hour a junior dev should be around R200-300/hour for that as you'd *2 based on skill and downtime, so ~R500/hour, leaving a good R200 for the business to pay for rent, electricity, and other overheads, and that's at least R30k pm. Do you understand why R12k is such a joke?

I know they tried to offer my other friend interning there R9k, so R60/hour as they said they were doing so badly, and they tried to find BS excuses to not promote other juniors who had been working there for 2/3 years so they could justify R15k pm. Suffice to say, that company has gone downhill rapidly after about half the company left, got an offer for R500k/annum (R256 hourly) about a month ago to come back, no chance I'll do that as I know that will be the cap, plus it's less than I earn now not even 3 years down the line.

As long as I make my company enough money to make a profit based on my salary, they'll be fine with paying it/increasing to keep me, companies paying R12-16k pm are taking a chance because they can, they take advantage of the fact that people want to work in game development, and as long as everyone agrees to bad salaries, they'll continue to do so.

It shouldn't be you as the worker taking a salary hit for the risk, you have no vested interest in the company if it succeeds, if the game suddenly blows up, are you going to see any returns for the time/effort you put in when you could have been earning way much more anywhere else and done game dev as a hobby?

There's a huge difference between skilled work vs unskilled work (supply vs demand).
I understand what you say and thanks for the explanation. But is it better to sit at home doing nothing or start working at 12-16K till you find a better opportunity?

I am not arguing the fact that companies are underpaying, but the fact that someone will rather sit at home feeling sorry for themselves than starting somewhere.
 

Johnatan56

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I understand what you say and thanks for the explanation. But is it better to sit at home doing nothing or start working at 12-16K till you find a better opportunity?

I am not arguing the fact that companies are underpaying, but the fact that someone will rather sit at home feeling sorry for themselves than starting somewhere.
No, you missed the point, what he was trying to say is that it wouldn't be worth even attending the interview for it, if you can make 50-100% more if you search for something else for 2/3 months, it means you can break even within 6 months while having more time to find a good job and up your skills (and you'd find a job pretty quick, being talented in that field means you're probably among the better software devs and it should be quite easy to land a job).
 

abzo

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@koeks525

You need to realize that not everyone can be in the fortunate position that you’re in to make such choices.

Also, you’re a young black gay person in STEM. You tick all the boxes HR currently looks for.

:whistling:
 
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