Back in August, we analyzed data from 3K developers and over 150 transactions submitted to the GroupTalent marketplace looking for patterns on pricing, type and location of projects, choice of tech-stack, and overall trends in the marketplace for software freelancing.
All developers considered on this analysis are based in the US and include a healthy mix of full-time contractors, freelancers, moonlighters, and devs in-between gigs. You can see a number of their developer and designer profiles here in our gallery.
Why do we do this?
We hope to give guidance to developers and project owners about prices, hourly rates, and tech stacks. Everyone looking to get software made and making software in the US benefits from knowing rough costs of hiring developers in their city and what kind of technology choices to expect.
We also hope to give developers another set of data points when coming up with estimates for projects and for employers to know what price ranges are appropriate.
A Few Surprises
New York - The cheapest place to hire a freelance developer, and has seen more growth in both projects looking for freelance devs and developers signing up for freelance work.
San Francisco - Has a larger distribution of junior and senior developers, and on average has cheaper developers than Seattle!
Los Angeles The most expensive locality to hire a developer from, which does not bode well for their nascent startup scene.
Edit: We have seen some confusion that the data below is representative of the industry as a whole, when in fact we meant it to be representative of the developers using GroupTalent as of July. The image below has been adjusted to remove some confusing data.
Salary - As a developer in US you would make an average salary of $93K per year. Annualizing your average hourly rate as junior freelancer that number goes up to $209K! Clearly not apples to apples, but still a staggering difference not accounted for benefits, etc.
Benefits - Employers benefit from having a freelancer by not having to carry someone FT for a year when all you need is an app that could easily be done for $20-40K (vs having that dev at $93K+ benefits etc.)
Seniority - Senior devs are much pricier but also are better at managing themselves and others and managing expectations with clients. They are not particularly better at estimating but they are rigorous about following a process to get to a number. Junior devs tend to come from senior dev positions at tech companies – very talented but not married to a process and with opportunity for improvement in managing expectations.
This work is by no means definitive and obviously skewed towards open source technical stacks by the nascent nature of GroupTalent as a marketplace. That said, based on our conversations with projects owners and developers transacting outside of GroupTalent, these observations are a reflection of the broader marketplace for freelance software development and new apps in general.
Finally, the aim of this report is not to stereotype but to illustrate trends based on transaction data and segmentations we believe employers and developers understand. The standard distribution in some of these assertions is sometimes quite broad and deeper dive is required to explain all cases.
Agree/disagree? Let us know what you think below – or tell us what you would like to see on future analysis.
Care to discuss this article in your favorite forum? Vote on HN