Across South Africa, there is a high demand for developers, especially in intermediate to senior positions. For most professionals, choosing to work in Johannesburg means a higher salary premium than in Cape Town; however, this may not be true for developers.
Income variation by city
In Johannesburg, the median salary is R274 957, which amounts to R22 913 per month. On average, entry level jobs allow for a monthly salary of R21k, ranging from R10k to R33k, whereas intermediate roles allow for a salary of R30k per month on average – ranging from R18k to R60k. Senior roles translate into a salary range between R25k to R80k per month.
In Cape Town, the median salary per year is R293 191, which amounts to R24 432 per month. On average, entry level jobs allow for a monthly salary of R21k. The range is between R11k and R34k. Intermediate roles command a salary of R33k on average and range from R24k to R51k per month. Lastly, senior developers bring home, on average, a monthly salary of R48k, ranging from R28k to R67k.
Overall, the median salary in Cape Town is about R20k higher than Johannesburg. Confirming this, Offerzen, a developer recruitment agency, states that entry level developers earn, on average, 38% more in Cape Town. This could be due to many factors, one of which could be the lack of affordability of Cape Town. Even with a higher salary, the cost of living is higher than Johannesburg, and thus the purchasing power of both regions remains relatively similar. There may also be more companies in need of junior developers in Cape Town, due to it being the tech hub of South Africa. This would increase demand leading to more competitive salaries. The skills with the highest paying jobs are Microsoft SQL Server and .NET for this job level.
The minimum salary for developers with 3-5 years experience is higher in Cape Town than in Johannesburg; however, there is more earning potential in Johannesburg, as the top end earns more in this region. The jobs paying the highest salaries in Johannesburg are C++ Programming Language, Java, Linux, and Internet Information Server (IIS), whereas in Cape Town, the highest paying jobs for this level are in Python and Delphi.
So wherever you choose to live, know that your earning potential is somewhat dependent on the region. Junior developers have better opportunities in Cape Town, whereas more senior developers have higher earning potential in Johannesburg. Whether you choose lifestyle or income, you are now informed and it’s your move.
Let us know your thoughts and where you would prefer to stay and why. Here’s more information about international developer salaries by region. And if you want to change career or upskill, check out HyperionDev’s software developer courses.