Software developer salaries in 2020 – Joburg vs Cape Town

OfferZen has published its developer salary data for 2020, comparing the average salaries of software developers in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

The company said a lot has changed over the past year, with the advent of COVID-19 having a significant effect on the software developer market.

“In April, hiring activity on OfferZen dropped by more than 25% when compared to last year,” OfferZen said.

“This shows the extent to which companies paused their hiring in response to South Africa’s lockdown.”

“However, we have since seen a recovery in this activity and are now seeing some of the busiest weeks of hiring on the platform ever,” the company said.

OfferZen said it is experiencing a strong recovery in the demand for tech talent after hiring activity dropped by more than 25% in April this year compared to the same period in 2019.

Average developer salaries

Offerzen’s data showed that junior developers Cape Town and Pretoria can expect an average starting salary of R27,500 and R26,645, respectively.

Johannesburg came in at third place with an average starting salary of R24,950 for developers with 0-2 years of experience.

Cape Town also leads the salary ranking for developers in the 2-4 year experience category. Capetonian developers with this level of experience earn R36,300 on average, compared with R33,500 in Pretoria and R31,400 in Johannesburg.

At the 4-to-6 year experience mark, developers from Cape Town earn R46,600 compared to R48,600 for Johannesburg developers. Developers in Pretoria at the same experience level earn an average of R43,400.

“When it comes to cost of living, Johannesburg-based developers enjoy higher purchasing power when compared to developers in Cape Town,” Offerzen said.

“Using Numbeo to adjust for the cost of living, OfferZen found that, when compared to Johannesburg, it is 8% more expensive to live in Cape Town, but 5% cheaper to live in Pretoria.”

It is important to note that this data represent developers who were placed on the OfferZen platform.

This salary information also does not reflect any existing employee salary reductions or raise freezes that may have occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A summary of the developer salary data is shown in the table below.

Average Developer Salaries
Experience Johannesburg Pretoria Cape Town
0-2 years R24,950 R26,645 R27,500
2-4 years R31,400 R33,500 R36,300
4-6 years R48,600 R43,400 R46,600
6-10 years R61,000 R51,000 R58,300
10+ years R70,000 R73,700 R74,700

Average developer salaries by location

OfferZen average salaries 2020


Average salaries adjusted for cost of living

OfferZen average salaries 2020 cost of living


0-2 years of experience

OfferZen average salaries by location


6-10 years of experience

OfferZen average salaries by location 2


10+ years of experience

OfferZen average salaries by location 1

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Software developer salaries in 2020 – Joburg vs Cape Town