Software developers work in almost all industries. Modern information technology is used everywhere from business and administration to social and artistic fields. Due to the wide range of applications, software developers are in demand and are well paid.
After studying computer science, engineering or a scientific subject , software developers have different career entry options – depending on their subject specialisation. Software development is a job description that does not necessarily depend on a specific degree programme. There is currently no protected job title for this job in Germany and Austria, so software engineers and computer scientists in particular are able to specialise in this field. However, engineers from other disciplines and natural scientists often decide to work as a software developer after graduation – in addition to general interest in the field of work, the good salary and career prospects also make this an attractive choice.
Software developer – salary depends on degree
As is common in academic professions, a software developer's salary depends on their degree or professional qualification. If a student is awarded a master's degree, they can expect to earn approximately €350 more per month as a civil servant than graduates with a bachelor’s degree or advanced technical college diploma, according to information at oeffentlicher-dienst.info.
A master's degree is required for employment in the higher grades of the civil service (see classification examples at oeffentlicher-dienst.info) with correspondingly higher payment. The same is true in many companies: here, applicants with a specialisation are in particularly high demand. As software development is only offered as a separate field of study at a few universities, graduates of various degree courses specialise in this subject by attending separate seminars or additional training courses. An interesting alternative is a degree as a software engineer. Businesses are particularly interested in these candidates and are willing to pay more – as one of many other factors that companies can offer to software developers.
Entry into business or administration
Software developers choose to work in public administration or in a private company. Authorities develop their own software in many areas and often work together in a network of administrations. Software developers are therefore also in demand in the public sector and are often subjected to the same level of performance and success pressure as those working in private companies. Salaries for a software developer in the public service are bindingly specified in the collective agreements for public servants (TVoeD, TV-L) (Source: oeffentlicher-dienst.info, valid 2015):
Monthly starting salary with a bachelor's degree or advanced technical college diploma: €3,022–3,129
Monthly starting salary with a master's degree: €3,489.
According to gehaltsvergleich.com, the average starting salary of a software developer in the private sector is also approximately €3,200 gross per month and is therefore lower than a civil servant's earnings in some cases.
Professional experience and personal responsibility pay off
Professional experience and personal responsibility have a greater impact on salary than graduation. For example, the monthly gross salary for software developers increases in line with professional experience as follows:
What software developers earn as they gain professional experience
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According to computerwoche.de, software developers with personal responsibility are categorised in significantly higher salary bands. If they manage their own team, they can earn up to €90,000 per annum.
Software developer in Germany – salaries also industry-specific
Salary differences between the various industries in the private sector are particularly high. According to data from computerwoche.de, software developers receive exceptionally high salaries with annual incomes between €60,000 and €65,000 in major banks, insurance companies and medical technology companies. In education and research institutions, advertising or PR salaries are significantly lower at €43,000 to €46,000 annually. In general, salaries are also generally said to be higher in the metalworking industry due to the collective bargaining policy in the industry compared to, for example, retail or construction.
Company location and company size influence salary
Smaller companies pay software developers a salary that is significantly lower than in large companies. The difference between the salaries paid by a company with up to 500 employees and one with more than 1,000 employees can be as high as €800 gross monthly. The location of the company also plays a crucial role when it comes to salaries, as demonstrated by the following overview at gehaltsvergleich.com.
What software developers in Germany can earn per month
Salary range of the average monthly salary for software developers (in Euro)