In this post I will share my thoughts on both the current state of the Django Developer Job Market and the trends we've seen with Salary levels recently.
The last 12 months have been pretty tough, with the big tech lay-offs at the end of 2022 and in early 2023 affecting most tech sectors. This led to a lot of smaller companies reducing the size of their engineering teams too.
Towards the end of 2023, we saw a definite increase in the number of tech jobs being signed off again and new positions created. I believe that in Q1 of 2024 we’ll see this improvement continue across most sectors and more jobs becoming available.
Asking these companies why they are now ready to hire again has seen similar comments from most, with organic growth/industry revenue being the key metric used to trigger hiring.
This is actually in line with the trend we saw throughout 2023. Where companies who have been profitable in their own right and not relying on investment put them in a comfortable position to hire.
Without big rounds of outside investment, salaries have been a little lower than in the past but this comes with the security that the company/employer will be more stable and the job is less likely to be at risk.
Some industries have still been paying above market rates but even those in the FinTech and Finance sector have seen some form of normality return.
Before I move into the figures, I want to stress that the numbers below are based on the assumption that the position is fully remote and the “employee” is based within the United States.
We will write about Contractor rates another time, this is for Permanent Employment Salaries only.
There will obviously be some variation in the figures depending on what State the company is based in and the historic economic factors in play. For example, you can easily add another 20% onto the salary if the company is based in the Silicon Valley.
This report is broken down by position and I'll give some context around these numbers too. I've added a few tips to help you with the job search process.
The final note before you get to the numbers is that this is a report based on conversations we have had in the last 6 months with real Django Developers in the United states.
It’s hard to quantify what level of prior experience justifies a Junior Developer title. I would usually say this would be your first official Tech Job. Whether you are a career switcher via a bootcamp, a hobbyist developer turning pro or a university graduate you’ll be competing for the same opportunities.
Companies will be looking for value for money in a junior hire so make sure you are asking for the right level salary within their budget for your needs rather than what you have heard you can make in a career as a Django Developer.
You’ll make your money when you have more experience.
This is probably the widest bracket as it’s probably the broadest in terms of what constitutes a Mid Level Developer role. Each company is different and may promote from junior based on different criteria to others.
Likewise the bar to reach a Senior Developer role is going to be different with each company too.
Mid Level Developers were the most sought after last year as companies added to their teams to get work done without too much of a learning curve. Mid Level Developers are likely to have between 18 months and 5 years of experience, sometimes more.
If you are applying for a Mid Level Django Developer position this year you will be competing against the biggest field of applicants so work out ahead of time what salary you want/need and what’s going to be most important from your employer in the new job.
Think about progression opportunities, personal development, tech-for-good industry, tech stack specialisation etc and target those companies first.
Where possible, personalise your approach and don’t just send a copy of your Resume hoping for the best.
Here’s a link to a talk titled "Unlocking the Django Job Market: Strategies for Developers and Employers" that I gave last year in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I feel that this year there will be a lot of people stepping up into Senior Developer positions as a result of the shortage of roles in 2023.
Companies will have a choice of promoting from within or hiring a new Senior developer from elsewhere - both are good options and there will be a lot of good people moving into these roles.
This will have a knock on affect to the number of Junior Developer opportunities as teams are built around these new Seniors.
A lot of employers look for their senior developers to have 4+ years of experience and to have worked in a couple of different companies already.
You will not just be hired based on the length of your career but also the variety of roles and the war wounds collected from working on different projects.
When applying for Senior Django Developer roles, make sure you understand what the company will be expecting of you.
Some will see this as a code only position where you’ll be responsible for your own projects and helping some of the team with their bugs etc.
Others will be looking at their senior developers to lead on projects and start mentoring Junior Developers.
The Senior Developer position is typically where you forge the next stage of your career, code or people. Each route suits different people.
Interviews at this level are significantly tougher than you’ll have faced before as you’ll need to show your worth and be prepared to provide some good references too.
Principal/Staff/Lead Developer $165,000-$200,000
Similarly to Senior Developers, there wasn’t a lot of Principal/Staff or Lead Developer hiring in 2023.
These roles have always been quite tough to quantify from an experience level. I would usually say that if you are around the 8-10 year mark in your career and you have several interesting positions behind you then you’ll be in the right place looking for a P/S/L role.
A lot of employers are looking for their P/S/L Developers to be comfortable leading on projects, helping with architecture decisions, mentoring juniors and being able to present or talk tech to non-technical people.
Speaking at conferences or meetup groups is a good way to demonstrate your ability to step into one of these roles to your next employer.
Salary levels here are often as inconsistent as the criteria but in the right company you are likely to be well rewarded and in startups you can expect some decent equity offers.
Don’t be put off from applying for jobs at this level if you feel you are ready. Applicant numbers are usually high because of the salary offered but most people will not be qualified and will be rejected.
I would definitely recommend reaching out personally to people you know within the company to highlight your interest in the position and to make sure your resume gets in front of the right people.
We only saw a handful of new Management positions in 2023, this was likely because of internal promotions or with investment harder to receive there were not as many companies growing new engineering teams.
In addition, CTO’s would have picked up a lot of this work with support from lead developers.
The salary levels for management positions are often similar to the experienced individual contributors, your package however should reflect the experience you have gained throughout your career and the knowledge you’ll bring to the role.
Equity offers are likely to be a lot higher, 401k contributions will be higher, your PTO will be higher, you’ll probably get a better healthcare and dental benefits too.
Before you go into job search mode, have a search through your Linkedin network and see who you know in a CTO role, and ask about opportunities they know of within their own team or wider network.
In summary, salary levels and volume of new jobs should be on the rise in 2024 but make sure the next role you are taking fits the stage of your career that you are at now. Ensure the new role allows you to grow and develop your own skills.
When negotiating your salary look to offer as much value to your next employer as you can without underselling yourself.
Please feel free to reach out to one of our team members for advice at any stage of your job search for a FREE consultation where we’ll review your resume/LinkedIn profile (CV/Resume Tips blog post here) and share some of our best job searching tactics with you.
Check out our other blog posts for more information and tips to help with your job search.