Hourly rates for software developers in California?

Hourly rates for software developers in California?


California has often been termed the epicentre of technical innovations, and the city has always been at the forefront as the heart of Silicon Valley. The thriving software development scenario has been a major boost for companies including startups to set up base there, and the huge demand for skilled developers grew, while the market became as competitive as ever. 

Understanding the hourly rates for software developers in California

The hourly rates for developers in the city vary on several things like location, company size, experience of developer, tools and methodologies used, and project complexity. Nevertheless, if you want to look at some numbers, you can say the lowest rates start at $50 per hour and $200+, and even this is subject to change. 

The hourly rates will also vary according to the soft and technical skills of the developer, and what will be needed for the project. Junior developers have limited skill levels and knowledge and thus they charge less than medium-skilled and highly-skilled developers. And the geographical location matters. It depends on where in California you are planning to hire because the rates differ based on which city you are hiring them from. Expertise in technology is another major determining factor. The tech stack consists of different frameworks and programming languages.

Many companies prefer to hire full-stack developers because they know both backend and front-end development. Developers that specialise in different technology stacks can command higher salaries, like for example, cloud computing, DevOps, cybersecurity, and so on. If you are looking to hire freelance or contract developers for short-term projects that would be more cost-effective, if that is one of your criteria. Full-time hires will be more expensive in the long run, and you have to manage their benefits and perks. 

The factors that influence the salary of developers at a glance:

  • Soft and technical skills of the developer
  • The skill level of the developer
  • Expertise in technology
  • Location varies according to the cities in California
  • Employment model – whether they are freelance or full-time hires 

Breakdown of the rates in the different cities in California

Check out the different rates developers charge in the different cities in California:

San Francisco Bay Area: San Francisco developers charge the highest because it is one of the most expensive cities in the US. This is 40% higher than the developer rate in Austin, Texas. The cost of living is a major factor in the exorbitant charges. You may have to pay a senior developer $200+ per hour, while junior developers charge around $80 per hour.

Los Angeles:  The developer rates are slightly lower than in the Bay Area, and you can expect competitive developer rates. You can get Senior developers in the $150-$200 per hour range, and Junior developers for around $70 per hour.

San Diego: San Diego makes it easier because the developer rates are cheaper than LA. A Senior developer charges in the range of $120-$180 per hour, while junior developers might command $60 per hour.

Sacramento: Companies can breathe a huge sigh of relief because Sacramento developers charge even lower. You can hire Senior developers in the range of $100-$150 per hour, and junior developers for around $50 per hour.

The rate varies according to the technology stack used by the developers

Post Excerpt It depends on where in California you are planning to hire because the rates differ based on which city you are hiring them from.

Let’s have a look at that next.

Technology stack and the changes in rates

The developer’s knowledge of particular technology stacks also dictates their hourly rates. 

Front-end development and Javascript – Developers who are experts in all the famous front-end frameworks will charge higher. So if you are looking to hire senior developers with expert knowledge in React, Angular, Vue/js, etc you can expect their charges to exceed $150 per hour.

Backend development – Developers with knowledge of Python and Data Science are in huge demand. And so are developers with knowledge of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. If you are looking for such a developer, be ready to pay around $120-180 per hour, and this varies with project complexity and developer expertise. Some developers charge more than $200 especially if you need expertise in cross-platform development frameworks like React Native, Flutter, etc.

Enterprise development – Java is the main pillar of enterprise software development, so developers who know Java with expertise in frameworks like Apache Kafka, Hibernate, and Spring Boot are in huge demand, and they charge between $100-$150 for an hour. 

Mobile development – Developers with knowledge of cross-platform development platforms like Android and iOS charge higher than native platform developers. You can expect the charges to go above $80-$90 per hour for a decent job.

Cloud computing and DevOps – cloud computing platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are in huge demand, and with this came a huge demand for DevOps engineers and cloud architects. They have a very critical job and their responsibilities include managing infrastructure as code, executing continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), and automating deployment pipelines. They charge very high hourly rates ranging from $120 to $180 per hour. 

Web development technologies that the developers in California utilise to deliver great work

The developers in California are always updated with the latest technologies and trends so they always remain competitive in today’s digital business platforms. The current main technologies for web development involve the following:

Cloud computing – Developers work with applications that can be saved and updated in the cloud, mainly AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Drive. 

Computerised code evaluations – When code evaluations are automated, work moves faster and you can expect super quick results. Automated code reviews detect the inefficiencies in code and developers will be notified of any vulnerabilities in the code. 

Web3 – This is a new version of the web that utilises blockchain to run decentralised apps on the blockchain. This technology utilises HTML, JS, and CSS to create secure and decentralised apps and websites.

Knowledge of PWA – Developers use HTML and Javascript to create progressive web applications or PWA and many companies and corporates have shifted to this technology to relate to their customers better and improve user experience and increase organic traffic. 

Advanced AI – Using Artificial Intelligence in web and app development is not novel anymore, but developers who use it to their advantage speed things up and make superfast deliveries, with faster time to market.


Utilising these web development technologies and tools dictates the hourly rates of the developers in California. If the developer has expertise in JavaScript, Python, Java, cloud computing, and similar in-demand technologies and based on their location, the hourly rates can be commanded. Check the current market rates before hiring your developer. 

Interesting Links:

Check out the salaries of Software engineers in California

The Salary Of A Software Engineer In California Is Finally Known

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