Developer salaries in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria revealed

OfferZen has released its 2021 State of the Developer Nation report, detailing developer career trends and the most popular programming languages in the local developer industry.

The report is based on a survey of more than 3,500 South African developers and found that there is a significant shift towards cloud-based development and machine learning in South Africa.

Developers in cloud-based engineering feel most confident about their career growth compared to any other industry, another indicator of this up and coming sector.

“Developers are, by the very nature of their work, at the cutting edge of technology and they’re telling us that ML and AI are not going to be on the edge for very long,” said OfferZen VP of Growth Stephen van der Heijden.

“It’s going to be right in the middle of what we do and what we build – even more so than they already are.”

The survey also found that 1 in 3 local developers are looking to change jobs in the next 12 months, with younger developers being particularly partial to challenges – 80% of developers aged between 18 and 20 aimed to learn a new programming language every few months.

“This eagerness to continuously learn means the tech industry remains adaptable and shifts faster than any other,” said van der Heijden.

The OfferZen report includes a ranking of the most popular programming languages in South Africa, as well as a comparison of software developer salaries in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

This information is detailed below. The full report is available from the OfferZen website.


Software developer salaries – Joburg vs Cape Town vs Pretoria

Cape Town is the best place to be for software developers looking to earn as high a salary as possible.

Developers in Cape Town earn the highest average salaries throughout their careers when compared to developers in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

For most experience brackets, average salaries in Pretoria are the lowest. Johannesburg consistently sits between Pretoria and Cape Town in terms of developer remuneration.

The graph below shows average monthly developer salaries in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town at various experience levels.

OfferZen average salaries 2021


Developer salaries by industry

Developers in fintech industries earn some of the highest average salaries across the different industries in South Africa.

OfferZen said this made sense due to the relative size of businesses in the fintech industry compared with other sectors.

“For developers who don’t want to go this route, cloud-based solutions and consulting are other well-paying industries,” the report stated.

Below are the software developer salaries across various industries in South Africa.

OfferZen average salaries by industry 2021


Highest-paid programming languages

OfferZen noted that developers with knowledge of programming languages in higher demand generally earn higher salaries.

“It’s no secret that high-demand skills in short supply generally earn higher salaries,” the report said.

“If developers want to earn more, they should work with niche languages like Go or Ruby.”

Ruby and Go were consistently among the highest-earning languages, while PHP is the least lucrative of all languages across experience levels.

OfferZen average salary by language 2021


Most-used programming languages

The most-used programming language in South Africa is by far JavaScript. It is used the most among senior, intermediate, and junior programmers.

OfferZen also noted that around half of the developers who work in SQL also work in either JavaScript or TypeScript.

“It seems that front-end developers are also doing database and other server-side work,” the report stated.

Other popular languages include C# and Python.

Below are the most-used programming languages by South African software developers.

OfferZen most used languages 2021

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Developer salaries in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Pretoria revealed