back to article US is best place to be a software engineer, salary survey finds

A survey has highlighted the disparity in engineer salaries around the world, with US developers pocketing far more than their British equivalents. The report, from gamified programming outfit Codingame, was culled from its community of two million developers (along with tech recruiters) and showed that the US remained the top …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's more to the "best place" than salary; Canada has a lot of social advantages to the US, not the least of which is the fact you don't have to be paranoid about nutbars running around with guns because they want a "fix."

    1. Korev Silver badge

      And if one of the nutters does make it out of the US then at least getting yourself repaired won't bankrupt you...

      1. Drew Scriver

        If you can find a hospital bed, that is. If you do get a bed you'll be laying there thinking of the poor chap whose scheduled surgery got bumped (again) and hope he doesn't perish in the meantime.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, much better to bankrupt them and destroy their lives while "saving" their lives Right Now Cause We Can't Wait.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nutters with guns

      My experience has been the nutbars with the guns are less likely interested in getting a fix than in implementing an extrajudicial fix. Minor technicality I know; you don't want to meet up with either.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Quite true. Cost of living also a factor, for example Switzerland is far more expensive to live in than any of the other countries mentioned.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Cost of Living

        A programmer earns roughly the median salary in Switzerland with substantial swings either side the median.

        For a country where 30% of the population does not own the property within which they live, a programmer that saves has the potential to buy an apartment or house.

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Cost of Living

          Not in a lot of the country on that wage. House prices are crazy last time I checked. Lots of people live in other countries and cross the border each day to work.

        2. anonanonanonanonanon

          Re: Cost of Living

          Even among home "owners", most never pay off their mortgages due to various factors.

          If you are renting, there seems to be considerably better protections for tenants than the UK, speaking as someone who was persuaded to move to Switzerland after having their rents raised so much I moved 3 times in 6 years in the uk. Rent raises were solely due to the fact that they could, my wage did not match. Switzerland offered me a considerably higher wage and cheaper rent (and lower taxes)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        After adjusting for exchange rate, the cost of food, clothing, etc, is the same in Switzerland as in the UK. Housing is *cheaper* in Switzerland than the UK. And average salaries are far higher in Switzerland.

        Source: Swiss acquaintances complaining about the cost of things in the UK whilst on holiday.

        1. teknopaul Silver badge

          I used to work on a London wage and live in Manchester. Housing was a tiny fraction of my spending (many years ago mind)

        2. Fred Daggy Silver badge

          Apples to äpfel

          It probably all depends upon where you are.

          Central Zurich vs Central London - Probably about the same in terms of hosing. A coffee and/or pint was much more expensive in Zurich, though.

          Out in the sticks? Probably cheaper in UK. there is no "cheap" housing in Switzerland, merely less expensive.

          Of course, one needs to compare apples with äpfel. Don't mix inner city and country .... well, anywhere.

          As for internet, no doubt cheaper in the UK, but at my GF parents house in "rural" Switzerland, the 50Mb SDSL feels like dial-up compared to my 1Gb/s in a Cantonal capital. 10Gb/s is available, but probably overkill for me. However, neither internet ever goes down nor slows down, even in the worst of weather. Colleagues from the UK constantly complain.

      3. Fred Daggy Silver badge

        Just checked the 2022 Big Mac index. And Switzerland tops the list at a tick under $7 US for a Big mac ($6.98).

        "Britain" comes in at $4.82 US for a large dose of salt, sugar and regret.

    4. Snake Silver badge

      RE: nutbars with guns

      Nice to know that Regtards can make [negative] commentary on living in the U.S. without knowing a single actual fact about doing so. As usual.

      The locales that hold the vast majority of technical jobs are also the locales that hold the vast minority of neo-conservatives. Meaning, that the majority of places that call High Tech home - Silicon Valley, CA; New York; Austin, TX, etc - and the suburbs that house their employees, are bastions of pretty liberal (read: anti-gun) politics. Even when they are located in majority conservatively-controlled states (Austin, for example, is in a constant political battle of wills against the conservative Texas governor's whims).

      Therefore, using an American phase, Get a Clue. All some of you do is throw shade at anything that isn't British.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: nutbars with guns

        Actually, I spent over 10 years of my career working in the US east coast on visas. So I'm QUITE familiar with life in Austin, Baltimore, Wilmington, and Orlando. And what I saw was cesspools next door to walled gardens with armed guards, block after intermingled block, and enough police with body armor to make anyone shudder.

        The US is an armed police state, and that was 20 years ago that I left, before things REALLY got nuts as the post 9/11 paranoia settled in. :(

        1. Fat Guy In A Little Coat

          Re: RE: nutbars with guns

          > And what I saw was cesspools next door to walled gardens with armed guards, block after intermingled block, and enough police with body armor to make anyone shudder.

          Go ask anyone who actually lives in those cities if they wished the police weren't there.

          I just got back from downtown Baltimore - there were police at several locations and it was obvious that it was by request of the businesses.

          Also, huge difference between cities and other towns in cost of living and type of life.

  2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

    96K doesn't sound that high

    Does it include medical insurance and a decent number of holidays, because if not you'd probably be better working in the EU, plus you don't get to be exposed to some of the insanity in the US

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

      Averages don't tell the whole story.

      There is a lot of difference between a developer at a silicon valley FAANG / Wall St bank and doing reports at a supermarket in Arkansas

      The industry is also very steeply curved. There are a lot of new graduates, fewer higher paid 5year staff, much fewer very well paid 10 year developers and a very few very very well paid 20+ year experts

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

        On the other hand this is a self report "survey" by a games site - so it's a complete consignment of geriatric shoemakers

        1. mutantrob

          Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

          It's always worth inflating bypur salary for a self-reported survey. Then you can go back to your employer and say you are underpaid and need a raise.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

      Also it depends on net/gross salary, and what the difference between the two are, and what expenses (i.e. health insurance) and other features (i.e. paid medical leave/holidays, paid overtime, etc.) are included or not.

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

        ... and being sacked at a moment's notice with no redundancy pay.

        Life is pretty harsh in the USA.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

      Depending on the state, lower tax rates in the states go some of the way to compensating for significantly higher healthcare costs in the US. But the main incentive in the US remains stock options which let people dream of retiring when Unicorn™ goes public in five years. During which time they're prepared to put in oodles of unpaid overtime, forego holidays right until the pink slip arrives…

    4. Stork Silver badge

      Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

      If you valmue holidays more than money of course. Preferences differ.

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

        That's like saying if you value living over working.

        Holidays in the US are often only 10 days a year. Not long enough to travel far.

        In Spain we get 23 days (paid) and 10-15 national holidays (depending on the region) as a minimum.

        You can go away for a month each year and still have plenty of long weekends.

        Or, if you max out "puentes" (national holidays that fall on a Tuesday or Thursday), you can have six week long relaxing holidays a year.

        And 6 months off (unpaid) every 4 years. Literally, this was a life saver after lockdown.

        In Finland you get 30 days (paid) holidays so you can get some southern sun in the long northern winter.

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: 96K doesn't sound that high

          I agree with you, I just know that some people really identify with their work and it is my impression there are more of them in the US. Culture and stuff.

          On a different scale, the Swiss some years ago (~2010?) voted against increasing statuary holidays from 4 weeks.

  3. charlieboywoof


    ..................who would live in a s hole like Canada?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: BUT.......

      You want maybe we send all the Canada geese to you ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BUT.......

      Careful. We'll cut off your Timbits and maple syrup supplies. :P

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: BUT.......

        Nobody goes to Timmys since Burger King made the coffee crap and we have a strategic Maple syrup reserve

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: BUT.......

        In the US they could make all maple syrup from high fructose corn syrup, sugar, xantha gum and artificial coloring and no one would notice.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: BUT.......

          But then what would you use to make your cheese and beer ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US is best place to be a software engineer ...

    ... except when you have to dodge the bullets, and then go bankrupt with the Hospital Bills if you fail to do so.

    1. oiseau Silver badge

      Re: US is best place to be a software engineer ...

      ... except when you have to dodge the bullets, and then go bankrupt with the Hospital Bills if you fail to do so.

      Or belong to a an ethnic group with a skin colour different from what their standard is.


      1. A Nonny Moose

        Re: US is best place to be a software engineer ...

        Or be unfortunate enough to have your reproductive organs on the inside

  5. RyokuMas


    I think I'll stay on this side of the pond with my 29 days per year holiday (plus bank holidays, of course).

    Once you've got enough to get by, time becomes far more precious than money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm...

      >I think I'll stay on this side of the pond with my 29 days per year holiday

      And post-Brexit you can enjoy them in either Margate or Bangor (the one in Wales only) ;-)

      1. RyokuMas

        Re: Erm...

        Funny how many people seem to think "getting by" includes a holiday overseas...

        There's plenty in this country, pre or post Brexit.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Erm...

          Not any more there aint. This year our cottages are booked solid but if our cleaners are sick then the shit hits the fan, The local media are full of request for cleaners but covid seems to be knocking them down again and again.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Erm...

            My favourite beach front apartment down on the south coast of England was booked solid until November 2022 when I tried to book it at the start of 2021. I managed to get a week in August 2023 by booking early in the morning on 1st Jan when the 2023 availability was released.

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Erm...

            It's almost as if Covid precautions have been turned into yet another part of the culture war and not accessible to people on low wages rather than sensible health guidance for all to follow.

            1. fajensen

              Re: Erm...

              The neoliberal religion:

              1) Because Markets.

              2) Now Die!

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    best place to be a software engineer

    I thought we were all supposed to be working "in the cloud" by now. So it wouldn't matter where we lived.

    But no, cant be having that for the companies and software developers actually building it, apparently it's not good enough for them to use effectively, even though all their advertising says it is. I also expect the metaverse companies to insist on their employees attending the office, to sit and together with their VR headsets on all day, building their new worlds where we can all exist together, but obviously not well enough to communicate effectively.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: best place to be a software engineer

      This is why so many US companies get their software written outside the US and there is so much spam coming in that says you can save money by using programmers outside the US. We were employing many in the Ukraine until recently.

  7. mutantrob

    There's more to a job than a salary

    Is it worth working 60+ hours/week, with expensive health care (even with expensive insurance), and much less time off for holidays or sick leave?

    1. Alex Stuart

      Re: There's more to a job than a salary

      I think most software engineer jobs would come with company health insurance as a benefit.

      I've looked at quite a few jobs over there as looking at the idea of migration, and all of them had company health + dental insurance. And more holidays than just national ones - I agree with you WRT time > money and I wouldn't take a job with only 10 days off per year, but many jobs offer more.

      A lot of shade being thrown at the USA on this thread - some jokes, some serious - but from what I can tell, professionals can expect a higher standard of living than in the UK. Better pay, lower tax, cheaper housing, cheaper fuel. And way more flavours of Ben and Jerrys...

  8. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    $200k to work in the US

    I’d happily take half to live in Europe or Canada.

    Health care, fewer gun-nuts and no Republicans.

    1. oiseau Silver badge

      Re: $200k to work in the US

      ... and no Republicans.

      Hmm ...

      Maybe not by name.

      But members of the same species abound in Europe.

      And Canada, albeit to a lesser extent.


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software Engineer or Developer?

    The title talks about the former then the article discusses the latter.

    A lot of coders aren't qualified engineers. I would hope those that are get better paid in the early stages of their career than those that aren't. In later career, results should dictate pay.

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Software Engineer or Developer?

      this sounds like a definition that you've made up

  10. DrXym Silver badge

    Salary isn't everything

    Salary by itself isn't sufficient to gauge quality of life.

    If you work in silicon valley, e.g. Mountain View, then your salary is going to be destroyed by rent and the general cost of living. And if you live further afield to avoid the rent then you get to enjoy long commutes. I'm sure there is a similar picture in most other places we might consider software hubs - New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.

    We've also seen how programmers, especially at lower grade can scarcely afford to live anywhere so are forced to live in dorm style setups, or out of vans.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Salary isn't everything

      I did live and work in Walnut Creek, Bay Area for a while. It was absolutely wonderful life for me as I wasn’t one of the poor souls who had to ride the BART into the city every morning. A pool in the yard, humming birds, summer and the the occasional PG&E power cut. Glorious! I also lived in northeast USA , at no stage did I ever need to fear guns, in fact I could go out in the evening and rarely saw the UK standard entertainment of drunks fighting. It was a wonderful time and I had the opportunity to stay there. But I feel a strong pull to my roots and I longed for home, despite all its faults. I guess I was lucky I didn’t ever need healthcare, though I believe I was covered.

      In the end I found ways to earn well in Blighty, now I enjoy 2 or 3 days a week from home, no pressure. I love travelling and love being in other places, but none are home. So I would take the lower salary.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's with all this (commentard) negativity about the USA?

    From 1990 till 2014, my work took me to Michigan (6 years), Tennessee (2 years) and North Carolina (16 years). In that time:

    - I was well paid

    - Two thirds of my health care insurance was paid by my employer

    - Most years I got a bonus

    - My moving expenses (well most of them) were paid by my employer

    - I never heard a gunshot....not once

    Not only that, but (unlike some of my UK friends) I wasn't pushed out when I got to fifty years old! In fact, I changed jobs for another pretty good situation in my early sixties. experience in the USA is this: there's a pretty good focus ONLY on the skill and experience of the candidate/employee.

    What's not to like?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's with all this (commentard) negativity about the USA?


      -well paid is relative

      -My employee pays for all my medical expenses via NI. With an average hospital bill in the US being $2,600, a 5 day visit would cost you over $4000, and that is just the start. Also my medical care is transferrable, so I cannot be held to ransom by my employer

      - I get a bonus, most places do

      - A lot of places offer moving expenses, but the distances are shorter so there is more scope based on how far you want to travel

      -Never seen someone brandish a gun...ever

      - Never had a issue finding a job. In fact there is such a shortage that finding a new position would not be an issue

      Plus - far more holidays, better work life balance, work from home if required,

  12. Gwaptiva

    And yet, they couldn't pay me enough to actually want to work there.

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