Stories from our survey: Salary in the time of pandemic

Salaries for developers surged over the past few years, but those gains weren't even distributed globally.

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Salary growth in the tech world surged during the pandemic. From the three surveys conducted from 2020-2022, we collected developer responses on their roles and salaries at the time. 2020’s survey was conducted right before the pandemic took hold worldwide and 2022’s survey was conducted as the world was settling into remote, hybrid, or return to office (RTO) initiatives. There was a lot of change during those three years, including big pay bumps in Brazil and India, two of our top 10 respondent countries. In those countries, data scientists, back-end developers, and embedded application/device developers all successfully negotiated higher wages.

The Developer Survey asked respondents to supply country information so we can understand trends in salary roles while controlling for factors like experience and location. India and Brazil saw salary growth of 22.7% and 16.9% respectively across all tech roles, compared to 8% in the U.S. and 3.4% in Germany. India and Brazil’s large pool of educated and skilled workers may have been undervalued prior to the pandemic, and the increased demand for tech was good timing for these two countries in different ways. An increased willingness to hire remote for full-time roles in critical positions may also have driven this change.

The world had high demand for technology in 2022, and India was successfully positioned with the supply of talent to meet it. India’s revenue growth in the tech sector increased 10% year-over-year during the time our 2022 survey was collecting data, compared to 8.6% for the same year in the U.S.

While Brazil doesn’t have the population that India does, it is certainly supplying an abundance of new talent: data from Brasscom posits that even with ~250K new IT graduates per year and growing, the demand is still exceeding the supply of new talent available to work in a U.S. time zone. This new tech talent isn’t poised to reap the same salary benefits as experienced developers, but increasing demand and rising inflation will help drive up their salaries. A lot of the growth is also local. Venture capital investment into Brazilian companies in 2021 tripled from its pre-pandemic levels. Brazilian tech schools are growing to meet this demand.

The three-year growth results also show the velocity in developer role value (in USD) and trends where specific technology specializations may start to become localized. Data scientists and machine learning specialists in India have seen about a 32% increase per year in median pay, the highest rate of growth among our top responding developer roles.

Will data science/machine learning developers in India remain the top role for salary growth in 2023? Will we see continued improvement in prospects for back-end or embedded app developers in Brazil? Brazil and India’s competitive growth in developer salaries will certainly be a trend to look for in our 2023 survey findings. If you haven’t taken part yet, share your experience and add to this year’s Developer Survey.

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