Report

Here is how much Ugandan software developers earn

3 Mins read
  • Software developers who work remotely, from Uganda, for companies outside Uganda, mostly in the US, seem to earn a lot more than the employees working for local companies.

Being a software developer in Uganda is one of the fastest rising avenues that the youth are flocking to see to it that they earn a decent living. Ugandan software developers have built quite an amazing reputation and amassed a fair share of innovations. 

The industry is consistently building up in terms of efficiency of service, competitiveness, quality of work, and rapidly expanding in size. As unemployment levels seem to skyrocket globally, it’s evident that more and more people are looking to the opportunities floating around on the internet to earn a living and being a developer is one of those. 

According to Glassdoor, one of the largest jobs and recruitment websites, 6 of the 15 highest paying jobs as of 2019 are in the software development industry. While a number of developers start out in the industry out of curiosity, and for some, it becomes a passion, most if not all would like to get paid commensurately for their skills and/or products. 

Software development promises to support the higher demands of the software industry as it continuously improves the country’s internet infrastructure and the good news is that the government is constantly working to create a stable business environment and now supports tech startups.

But one would wonder, what does it take to be a software developer and how much does a software developer in Uganda earn? 

After carrying out a series of studies in 2019, Andela Uganda recently released the first of its kind Uganda Developer Survey Report and they had some really interesting findings on how much software developers earn. According to the data obtained from the survey, Government and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) pay quite well (and this is because they are mostly funded with donor money and this generally comes with stipulations).

The skills required and the salary to go with them are usually outlined by the donor and those figures are set to attract the best possible talent, local or expatriate. Some of the government contracts, particularly in the tech space are also donor-funded and this might partly explain the somewhat higher salary ranges.

Corporate and multinational organisations pay better than the local startups and offer benefits on top of the basic pay. This results in better staff retention. Foreign startups in the market also pay at a similar scale. There is the exception of those working remotely from Uganda, for companies out of the country who earn significantly more than the average market rates.

The report also reveals that software developers who work remotely, from Uganda, for companies outside Uganda, mostly in the United States, seem to earn a lot more than the employees working for local companies. The highest gross salaries are above UGX10,000,000 for those working remotely. They are closely followed by people who work in corporate and multinational companies with an average gross salary of UGX5,500,000. 

The rest of the employees were found to be within the range of UGX 0 to UGX 2,500,000 with the more senior developers in the UGX 2,500,000 to UGX 5,000,000 bracket. However, what’s sad is that employees in startup companies exhibit the lowest salaries recorded according to the survey. 

Naturally, in majority work environments, the more years of experience one has, the more money they expect to earn. The study does not differ much from that expectation and respondents with 5+ years of experience were found to earn significantly more, upwards of UGX 5,000,000 per month. Most of these are expected to be mid-level to senior developers but most of the mid-level developers are earning a gross monthly salary between UGX 2,500,000 to UGX 7,000,000.  

More senior developers are earning a gross salary of over UGX 5,000,000 per month. There is an overlap in the UGX, 5,000,000 range for the mid-level and senior developers which can be attributed to varying skills and years of experience as the industry starts to differentiate the mid-level to senior developers; the type of employer has been found to be a factor as well. 

Most junior developers earn a gross monthly salary between 0- UGX 2,500,000 with the few in the UGX 2,500,000 – UGX 5,000,000 range most likely being at the stage when they start to transition to mid-level developers. This was attributed to the type of employer as corporate organisations and governments paying more than local start-ups which are limited in what they can afford to pay as they try to break even.

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