Salesforce Developer Average Salary Guide 2020

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Salesforce Developer salaries are a hot topic, and for good reason! The Salesforce Economy is growing at such a rate that Salesforce Developers find themselves in a favourable position, with higher average salaries than equivalent developer roles in other industries.

How much do Salesforce Developers earn, and how do you find out?

“Mogli”

At SalesforceBen.com, we have been enabling Admins, Consultants and Marketers with these statistics for a number of years – but this is the first time we have focused on Developers.

This guide will bring context to what your salary should be (or could be) with information to back up that figure, so that you can be armed with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role. Let’s first look at who Salesforce Developers are before diving into the salary figures.

Table of Contents

Who are Salesforce Developers? – Roles and Responsibilities

There’s no doubt that Salesforce Developers are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function that allows organisations to extend Salesforce beyond declarative (point-and-click) configuration, build apps, and in turn, optimise business operations. Developers will typically use two programming languages: Apex and Javascript.


A developer in the Salesforce world is typically expected to take on a broader range of responsibilities than developers in other industries. The range of responsibilities of a Salesforce developer go from the typical code-based tasks, through to work that requires a level of business acumen. The range of responsibilities tend to broaden with seniority but it’s not universally true.

On top of coding, Salesforce Developers as they progress can also spend their time on:


  • Declarative configuration (if it’s part of the code),
  • Business Analysis (BA) work (if it’s required to accurately gather requirements for the code),
  • Solution design.

Junior vs. Mid-Level vs. Senior Salesforce Developers

For the purposes of this guide, we will use the following definitions:

  • Junior developer: 0 – 2 years experience (possibly up to 3 years). Writing code based on specific requirements, (eg. basic Apex triggers), testing.
  • Mid-level: 2 – 4 years experience. Integrations, advanced triggers with multiple functions, and front end development.
  • Senior developer: 5+ years experience. Solution design, being the go-to resource!

You will find more responsibilities for each level later when we explore seniority in detail (see: Experience (Seniority)).


Salesforce Developers are also the most in demand role in the Salesforce ecosystem, according to research from Ergonized based on LinkedIn job roles and the Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report, annual research carried out by 10K Advisors.

Salesforce Developer Salaries

The data in this section is from the Mason Frank Salary Survey, based on self-reported information from 2,500+ Salesforce professionals, spanning a range of job titles, industries, and geographic locations.

 US ($)Canada
(C$)
UK (£)Ireland (€)
JuniorU$109,200C$114,300
£52,050
€43,500
SeniorU$144,000C$132,450
£77,000€70,000
ContractU$118.5 p/hC$118 p/h
£626.5 p/d
€584 p/d

  • $109,200 is the average salary for junior Salesforce Developers in the United States
  • $144,000 is the average salary for senior Salesforce Developers in the United States
  • $118.5 p/h is the average salary for freelance Salesforce Developers in the United States

 Germany (€)France (€)Spain (€)Italy (€)Belguim (€)Netherlands
Junior€65,150
€50,500
€34,500
€29,000
€49,320€46,800
Senior€78,450
€65,000
€43,500
€42,500
€58,920+€60,000
Contractn/a€550 p/d
€601 p/d
n/an/an/a

 Australia (AU$)*Japan
(¥)
Singapore (S$)India (₹)
JuniorAU$135,150
¥5,641,200
S$65,350n/a
SeniorAU$155,150
¥7,925,000
S$98,500
₹9,00,835
ContractAU$1,250 p/d
n/an/an/a

Salesforce Developer Salary Factors

One single figure without context can be misleading: there will be a significant difference in the salaries based on certain factors. We will dive into the following factors in this guide:

  • Experience (Seniority)
  • Background with Other Development Languages
  • Certifications
  • Generalists vs. Specialists
  • Location
  • End User vs. Consultancies

Experience (Seniority)

As with any profession, the more experience and responsibility you take on in your job, the higher your salary expectations should be.

We defined a junior/mid-level/senior developer based on years of experience and the types of activities they are carrying out in their role. Here is the list:z

Junior

0 – 2 years, maybe 3 years.

  • Writing code based on specific requirements
  • Basic Apex triggers (update a field)
  • Basic Visualforce pages/Lightning pages that have a single purpose
  • Testing
  • Absorbing knowledge around best practice development.
  • (occasionally) Salesforce Admin overlap, point-and-click configuration (if you work in a small organization, or are a solo developer)

Mid-level

2 – 4 years

  • Integrations
  • Understanding security considerations,
  • Working with large sets of data.
  • Advanced triggers with multiple functions (and interlinked), across multiple objects, multiple applications, eg. creating payment schedules for invoices (involves multiple functions).
  • Be proficient in best practice development, making decisions in-line with best practice independently.

What if you are working for an end user organisation that doesn’t have any integration requirements? Here are some typical activities:

  • Front end development, building beyond the standard Salesforce UI, eg. building a custom stock checker application (will need to build this using VF page or LWC).
  • Bulkification
  • Working with large data sets.

Senior

5+ years

  • You will be expected to work independently, and will become a resource for other team members to call upon for assistance.
  • Solution design (architecting), including the considerations, limitations, and the impact. (‘Technical Consultant’ is a typical label here – we will expand on this later. See: ‘In-house vs. Consultancies).
  • Know best practice development inside and out.
  • The split between practical work vs. overseeing work will vary from organisation-to-organisation (and the individual’s preference, to some extent).

Background with Other Development Languages

When it comes to determining your seniority, it is not only the experience you gain in a Salesforce Developer role, but also the previous experience as a developer you bring to the table.

Being proficient in other development languages, specifically Java, will mean you can grasp Apex easier – after all, think of Apex almost like a simpler version of Java. Couple this with knowledge of Javascript, you will be ahead of the game in exploring the newer Salesforce development framework, Lightning Web Components (which is based on the same language).

Progressing into the ‘mid-level’ responsibilities will be easier and faster, as you will be able to reuse those same JavaScript concepts which will enable developers to not only develop backend processes (through Apex) but also front facing interfaces for customised experiences.

Certifications

Salesforce Developer certifications are another factor that have the potential to influence your salary. We found something common with our other Salary Guides: the experience vs. certifications debate.

Of the 2,500+ Salesforce professionals that responded, 36% of respondents hold the Platform Developer I (3rd most popular certification), and 10% of respondents had Platform Developer II (9th most popular). Both certifications making into the top 10 makes a statement about their popularity, considering there are 30+ Salesforce certifications!

Salesforce professionals love getting Certifications – they are a milestone in your career, that prove that you know what you are talking about, and are leverage if you are looking for a more senior position internally, or looking for a job in another company.

In the Salary Survey, respondents were asked if they experienced an increase in their salary after earning a certification:

  • 44% did, reporting an average salary increase of 24%,
  • 56% did not, their salaries remained the same.

A 50/50 chance that your salary could increase the more certifications you earn can’t be ignored.

Refocusing back on developers, almost a third (30%) believe that holding the Platform Developer II is likely to increase your worth (ranked 4th), followed closely by Platform Developer I, where 28% of respondents were in agreement (5th ranked).

Notice how I said developer certifications have the potential to influence your salary. While this data is great to get a general snapshot, these figures may be clouded by what people think (their opinion), vs. what happens on the job market (the reality).


Based on my conversations with Imran and a few other developers, certifications won’t directly affect the salary you will achieve – your experience will. Let’s take two developers: Joe and Carole. Joe is a Salesforce Developer with 2 years experience, and has achieved 5 certifications (PD1, PD2, and others). He is interviewing against Carole, a Salesforce Developer with 5 years experience (some Salesforce development, web development, combined with an understanding of DevOps), and has 1 single certification (PD1). Assuming they are both good candidates with no major flaws, I would expect the hiring manager to hire Carole. I would also expect Carole to demand a higher salary based on her 5 years of experience and parallel skill sets.

If both individuals have equal technical experience, then certifications will act as the tie-breaker and justify a higher salary, too. Otherwise, Imran has seen that when both individuals have equal technical experience, they would command the same salary.

There is one exception – applying to implementation partners (AKA consultancies/SIs). Certifications help these partners achieve new tiers and recognition in their Salesforce partnership (this post goes into the details why); therefore, Certifications become a currency they value, more than an end-user would (we will expand on this later. See: ‘In-house vs. Consultancies’).

Generalists vs. Specialists

There aren’t many specialisations when it comes to Salesforce Developers – ‘Apex is Apex’, as Imran put it plainly, the staple skill to have as a Salesforce Developer, then applying Apex in increasingly complex ways to a variety of use cases.

Lightning Web Components could be a specialised pathway. LWCs are considered another type of Salesforce development (based on Javascript). However, a developer will not branch off to LWC only, Apex will still always be the core, eg. you will be an Apex developer and Lightning Web Component specialist.

As we will see later in the guide, there are certain ways you can specialise as a developer and find your niche, including Salesforce product specialisations (eg. Commerce Cloud), Salesforce Platform Specialisations (eg. Mulesoft), and skills outside of the Salesforce Platform (eg. AWS).

Location

Salary figures are influenced by location, due to the differences in the cost of living between countries – and within countries!

Converting all the salaries into US$ makes the geographic comparison easier. Senior developers in the US reported an average salary of around $154k. The UK developers on average earn $91k, in Spain $49k (!), and in Japan the figure is $68k.

Not only does the country’s economic climate influence salaries (by determining the cost of living), but also the Salesforce economy in these countries has an impact. The balance between supply and demand will determine an individual’s market value (refer to this Demand for Salesforce Developers post).

As a Londoner, I can vouch for how high the cost of living is, with a difference between the city and other regions of the UK. We see this reflected in the US data; Senior developers in San Francisco reported an average salary of around $154k, whereas equivalent professionals in Austin reported averages just under $140k, and for Juniors it’s $140k and $123k, respectively. Unfortunately, we don’t have a city breakdown for other countries, but it’s likely to be the same story.

End User vs. Consultancies

Making the decision to work in an end-user organization (a Salesforce customer) or in an organization that sells Salesforce services (a consultancy) sparks a discussion. There are multiple considerations for Salesforce Developers, which is why we expanded on this topic in “End User vs. Consultancy: Which Salesforce Developer Role Fits You Best?”.

Regarding salary, there is little evidence to suggest that working for a consultancy will give you a salary boost, however, developers are more likely to gain the experience that can increase their worth. At the end of the day, the choice is down to individual preferences on workload and lifestyle.

6 Ways to Increase your Salesforce Developer Salary

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: how you can increase your earning potential. Let’s see what practical steps you can take to climb the ladder.

Maximizing your Experience

Become a Junior Salesforce Developer:

  • Have experience in web development/Java, or you are a Computer Science graduate
  • Learn Apex. This is the best development language to learn because it is fundamental to Salesforce (plus, it’s a lighter version of Java).

Go from Junior → Mid-level Salesforce Developer:

Go from Mid-level → Senior Salesforce Developer:

  • Solution design and its considerations (security, scalability, limits)
  • Experience many projects and Salesforce implementations as you can!

There were some tips Imran (a senior Salesforce Developer) dropped into the conversation when I interviewed him that could help you to accelerate through the junior-mid-senior career path. You will have heard some of these already in the guide, and we expanded on these in our guide “6 Ways to Increase Your Salesforce Developer Salary” to give you some practical actions to take away. Here is what you will find covered there: 

  1. Rely on your coding background
  2. Choose a mentor or a team
  3. Know what’s suitable for self-learning
  4. Know which technical Skills will accelerate your career
  5. Get integration experience
  6. Understand technical specs

Summary

There’s no doubt that Salesforce Developers are deserving of their compensation – they carry out a core function that allows organisations to extend Salesforce beyond declarative (point-and-click) configuration, build apps, and in turn, optimise business operations.

I hope this guide has given some background into how the Salesforce Developer career path is structured, and what your salary should be in relation to where you are personally. You would have also heard some ideas and tips on how to increase your salary. With the salary data collected from the largest salary survey, you will be armed with ammo when asking for a raise, or applying for a new role.

Quick Note:

You may have noticed that I am not a developer! However, a large part of my research for this article was to speak with experienced Salesforce Developers, such as Imran Rahman. Imran is the perfect source of information – he’s a 16x Certified Technical Architect at EMPAUA, who has been through the whole Developer career path, starting in-house working on projects for Heathrow Airport, followed by a 5+ year career working for Salesforce Consultancies. He’s now pursuing the Architect track, now both a System Architect and Application Architect. I’m sure you will learn something from his insights.

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