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What's the salary range for a kick-ass front end developer?

I'll re-ask Stan's question minus the pasted job posting.

So, assuming this guy knows Javascript really well AND is a top-tier developer
in other languages i.e. NOT a JQuery jockey,

What are you folks having to pay for that kind of talent?


Please decide on your answer before you read mine below:






We've found that guys who really know what they are doing demand a minimum of $130k
in Austin and many of them expect $160k - $200k if they are truly top-tier all around architect-level
developers who also know Angular or Ember well.


13 Replies

Shannon Code
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Shannon Code Entrepreneur
Chief Architect
Many don't know what they should ask so you can probably find someone for $65k but if you want the best plan on spending between 95k and 160k depending on location.
Aaron Perrin
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Aaron Perrin Entrepreneur
Software Architect / Senior Developer
In the DC area, a similar developer would ask for around $150k+ salary plus other benefits.


John Wallace
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John Wallace Entrepreneur
President at Apps Incorporated
I don't think this is the right skill set to be asking about. What separates the $100K/yr guys from the $200K/yr guys isn't the languages they know. It's their ability to effectively create great products. It takes weeks/months to learn a language or framework. It takes years (and a lot of talent) to become a craftsman.
Mike Whitfield
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Mike Whitfield Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google
Steve,

If it isn't a crazy position that is over budget and behind schedule, you might consider me a resource. I can probably at least vet people for you.

Truthfully, however, I'd bump down your salary figures like $30k all around. I've worked at a number of companies so far that get this level of engineering on the frontend completely wrong. In other words, they think they can pay less to get it done but underestimate the level of complexity it adds to resource and schedule requirements.

I've written a whitepaper about this.

-Mike
Jonathan Barronville
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Jonathan Barronville Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at npm, Inc.
@Stan SF:

The specifics you provided for the position isn't for a front-end developer.

You're asking for PHP and .NET experience, SEO/SEM experience, intermediate to expert knowledge of CMSs; all of which shouldn't be the job of a "front-end developer". Also, CodeKit is just a desktop app ... any competent developer should pick it up in 15 minutes, so I wouldn't even put that in a job description. Lastly, IMHO, having a "formal education" won't make your front-end developer even better than the rest given that, AFAIK, there's not one college out there that teaches students modern front-end development, so I wouldn't consider that a plus. Literally 100% of the front-end developers I know learned 100% of front-end on their own, with somewhere between 60-70% of them having CS degrees and whatnot.

As for salary, it highly depends on location. I know folks in Denver making $65K and they're happy with it, and folks in Boston making $90K and they're happy, while those in the bay area wouldn't go for anything less than $100K.

- Jonathan
Jonathan Barronville
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Jonathan Barronville Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at npm, Inc.
@Shannon Code:

"Many don't know what they should ask so you can probably find someone for $65k [...]"

I disagree with this type of thinking so much. Just because a developer is ignorant of the market, that doesn't mean you should take advantage of that like this, because if they are indeed a great developer, once they figure out that they're being underpaid, with all the competition out there, you just lost your developer. Instead, I'd take advantage of that situation the other way, by actually offering them a market salary, which in turn will make that developer even more excited to work with you, because they'll see that you understood their value. This also has two other great side-effects. One is that that developer will most likely be more loyal to you and your company, and the other, because they didn't know, they'll feel that they're being paid really well, and they'll work much harder to produce enough to justify their salary.

- Jonathan
Chris Phenner
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Chris Phenner Entrepreneur
Director, Enterprise Sales @ Gimbal
$125k - $150k base.
Jordan Stone
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Jordan Stone Entrepreneur
Technical Co-Founder, Chief Software Architect at Notion
I would agree with that. You have to assume a rockstar freelance web developer will probably charge around $100-$150/hr, or more in some cases. Also consider the cost of living. The developer in San Francisco is going to ask for more than the same one in Kansas City.
Michael Hoffman
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0
Michael Hoffman Entrepreneur • Advisor
Incubating a Revolution – Microsoft HoloLens
My experience:
$100K - $135K base
$100 - $135/hr contract
Josh Benjamin
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0
Josh Benjamin Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder of Lifechime | Authentic Human Being
No one has yet mentioned the impact of the company's prestige nor it's equity upside, both of which have had huge influence on cash portion of salary in my experience. Enterprise vs Consumer is a good place to start - enterprise often pays 30-60k more!
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