French Developers can earn double in Silicon Valley

Sep 2, 2014
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rocketspace-coworking

Photo: The Rocketspace incubator in San Francisco

Developer salaries are increasing in Paris, according to a recent study by  IT recruitment firm Urbanlinker, who looked at expected salaries for varying experience levels across different technologies/roles, including: PHP, Java, .NET, Ruby, Front-/Back-End (HTML, Node.js, Angular), Big Data, Mobile (native & hybrid), as well as UX & UI design. Starting Salaries across the board

The study, which looks at salaries ranging from beginning PHP programmers (25-30K€) to Senior Data Scientists (<75K€), comes in contrast to the recent announcements about ever-increasing developer salaries in the Silicon Valley, which pin the average salary just north of $150,000/year (nearly $200,000 if you include benefits like free lunch, transportation, etc.). The average salary in the study is somewhere between 40-50K€, depending on the profile & langauge, meaning that a French developer in the Silicon Valley is making double his counterpart in France.

Figures like this have solicited claims of a “talent exodus” in France – I’ve been contacted several times by British journalists looking to confirm their preconceived notions about French entrepreneurs fleeing in droves – and, while many who remain will speak of the efficient health care system, the quality of living, and the overall lack of appeal of living in country where #Ferguson can happen, these points are relatively moot.

Higher Salaries mean employees are in it for the money

The first employees of Apple did not make killer salaries, nor the first employees of Google or Facebook. They were paid enough to live, but the investment was a long-term one, which paid out for those who could see the vision or follow the founders who had one.

Today’s Silicon Valley companies have such a problem retaining talent, who jump from one company to the next playing the talent crisis in their favor, that the Silicon Valley’s largest companies have been taken to court over a ecosystem-wide agreement to fix wages. While the act is deplorable, it’s not as if those wages have been fixed at a level that impaired quality of living, and it underscores a state of affairs.

Good talent will always be worth paying for; however if the same good talent is making 60-100% more just by changing zip codes or cities (Los Angeles to San Francisco, for example), then there is an inequality in the ecosystem which will ultimately normalize.

The same study which spoke of Paris developer salaries makes note of the rising cost of developers – French wages are slowly adapting to London & New York wages, and thus investment rounds have also been on the rise to compensate. Most every developer in Paris is “underpaid” for the startup they work at; however, that means that every developer is in it, not for the money, but for the passion.

To work for a startup is a risk in and of itself, and developers are taking stock options over financial sector salaries, which is a great sign when you’re an entrepreneur trying to get a small team of talented individuals to push towards the same goal.