The Bay Area is a booming tech metropolis, and San Francisco boasts some of the highest salaries in the country. Pay for tech workers is shockingly high in the city, and web developers are no exception. The average salary for tech workers in San Francisco is $144,000! Web developers can expect a similar salary, but there’s a lot of factors that can make a difference. Web developers and software engineers enjoy a healthy income in the city, with an average salary of $135,000 across the field. In San Francisco, your salary as a web developer depends on your education and experience. The more you have, the more you’ll make.
Specialization Can Help
Web developers in San Francisco benefit from specialization. For example, web developers who specialize in website reliability earn nearly $10,000 more than the average developer with no specialization. Large tech companies hire from enormous talent pools, so having a niche stands out. Software engineers and web developers can choose from many specialized fields, including:
- Database Administration
- Data Science
- UI (User Interface) Engineering
- Search Engineering
- Website Management
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Originally, web developers in Silicon Valley began their careers in other computer fields, many as software engineers. Nowadays, web developers can train from the ground-up to specialize in any area of the industry. Web developer salaries vary depending upon experience and ability, so read on to know what to expect.
Junior Web Developer Salary
Junior web developers have minimal experience. People who graduate college or coding bootcamp with less than five years of experience are generally considered junior developers. These individuals enjoy a healthy starting salary of $90,000 in San Francisco. The Bay Area is home to some of the biggest names in tech, such as Facebook, Apple, and Google, and while candidates who land jobs at these companies sometimes earn less than average, the opportunity for growth outweighs the lower pay.
The average salary for all workers (including tech workers) in San Francisco is $87,000. As an entry-level web developer, you can expect to earn that or better. Junior web developers can expect an annual pay increase of $2,000 with every year of experience until seniority. It doesn’t take long to become a senior web developer in San Francisco, and the increase in pay might be surprising.
Senior Web Developer Salary
Senior web developers come from many backgrounds. Most senior web developers have between three to five years of professional experience and mastery of multiple coding languages. Some earned a Master’s degree in Software Engineering or Computer Science, while others worked their way to the top with little-to-no formal education. Most importantly, though, senior web developers demonstrate a strong ability to solve problems and manage websites, coupled with some work experience in the field.
In San Francisco, senior web developers earn between $125,000 and $195,000 annually. That’s an impressive pay bump from a junior position, but individual salary can vary between companies. Well established companies often pay at the higher end of the scale, but startups offer senior developers awesome perks. Hiring managers usually prefer candidates with skill and experience, so senior web developers enjoy better job prospects.
How to Become a Web Developer in San Francisco
Web developers in San Francisco come from many work and educational backgrounds. You don’t have to be a programmer to become a web developer, but education is necessary. Tech companies aren’t that picky about school as long as candidates can do the work. There are three proven ways to become a web developer in Silicon Valley, and we’ll go over the benefits and downsides of each.
Out of all the proven methods, this is the least reliable. There are stories on the internet about self-taught software engineers who made it big, but they are few and far between. Coding is difficult, and companies need proof that candidates know what they’re doing. The web developer market is saturated with self-taught programmers, and they’re competing against graduates for the best jobs. Chances of failure are high– and so is unemployment for self-taught developers.
- Computer Science (or related) Bachelor’s Degree
Most web developers went to a four-year college and ended up in the field. Many didn’t even learn to code in college; they simply used their degree as leverage to break into the industry, and learned to code from work experience alone. While having a college degree may help you in the initial application process, a college degree doesn’t matter as much as experience and ability in the long run. You can go to college, but you’ll likely end up with massive student loan debt and marginally improved job prospects. If you’re determined to become a web developer, you won’t benefit from waiting four years. The industry changes fast, and there’s a better way to learn the skills without the time and expense of college.
- Coding Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps are everywhere in Silicon Valley– for a good reason. These fast track programs teach students the specific skills needed by the industry and prepare them for a job in web development. Most coding bootcamps last between five months to a year, and web development graduates can expect a handsome starting salary. Attending a coding bootcamp is the most affordable path to web development. Anybody can break into the tech industry with a coding bootcamp as long as they have the right motivation. Coding bootcamps pack years of specialized schooling into a few months, so it takes some grit to get through. Tech companies hire directly from coding bootcamps all the time, but the process is competitive. Career Karma can help find the best coding bootcamps in the San Francisco area.
San Francisco is like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for tech workers. It’s the heart of the industry, and web developers in the city earn higher average salaries than anywhere else in the country. While a move may not be the best choice right away, you should consider San Francisco as the ultimate destination to build your career in web development.