What is a typical C/C++ developer salary? It’s a question that might be asked by either a C/C++ coder who wants to understand their current market value. Or an organisation that needs to recruit software developers with a mastery of the programming languages. In this blog, we’ll compile data from around the world to benchmark average C/C++ developer salary ranges.
Software developer pay rates have seen significant inflation over the past couple of years with the trend accelerating throughout 2021. This means it is a good time to benchmark your salary level or what you might expect to pay for developers with C/C++.
Because almost all job postings require a combination of C and C++ our salary data analysis combines the two. Of course, developers able to programme in C/C++ will rarely be purely C/C++ developers and expertise in the languages will be part of a broader tech stack.
A ‘low level’, procedural programming language (relatively less abstracted from binary and close to machines) C is often considered a gateway language because it has many universal qualities that mean it is a great foundation to learning others. C++ extends C by allowing for the creation of objects and inheritance.
When an organisation is hiring a C/C++ developer they will also almost always have requirements around the broader tech stack a potential employee offers. And the salary of a C developer will, of course, be heavily influenced by that.
C/C++ knowledge as the tech stack priority is typical for developer roles working on:
You can also refer to our analysis of embedded software engineer salary ranges, which often state expertise in C/C++ as a requirement.
We’ll start our international survey of salary ranges offered for developers with C/C++ in our domestic market of Germany.
Glassdoor data puts the average German salary in 2023 for coders with C/C++ (data isn’t separated for C and C++ developer salaries) at €64,694 annually. The starting level for C developers is €49,000 and the upper end of the range reaches €91,000.
However, current jobs listings on the site for C/C++ developers indicate that current real salary levels may be higher than those averages with some postings advertising pay ranges of between €70,000 and €85,000.
On a city level, C/C++ developer salary ranges are slightly higher than the German average in Munich, where the average comes in at €69,334 with additional cash compensation of €765. In Berlin, the average C/C++ developer salary is €62,913.
Data on current C/C++ developer salaries in Germany from the portal Salary Expert paints a different picture and one that, based on live job ads on both portals, is probably more accurate. However, it should be noted that the data refers to C++ developers rather than C/C++ (it’s not possible to pull just C or combined C/C++ data).
The mean average salary for a C++ developer in Germany 2023 is calculated at €84.250 with the entry level salary for more junior coders €59.396 and the upper range for seniors up to €104.479.
East Europe is by far the most popular IT outsourcing location for organisations in West Europe. Lower salary rates, income tax and social security contributions (for both employer and employee) and general overhead costs like office space combine with geographical proximity which means time zones are aligned and travel convenient.
Several East European countries, like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania are also EU members which can be important for work involving personal data covered by GDPR regulations as well as easing cross-border accountancy.
When discussing software developer salaries for East Europe, it is important to note that the dynamics have changed considerably throughout 2021. Historically, average developer and IT specialist salaries in East Europe (between professionals with the same tech stack and experience and geographical location the only major variable) were around 30%-50% of those in West Europe. The higher the level of seniority, the smaller the gap.
That is no longer the case and the change has happened quickly. A combination of a tight labour market, generally but with the IT sector among those most impacted, and the Covid-19 induced remote work trend meaning geographical location has become less important to employers, has narrowed the gap to more like 20% to 30% in salary cost savings. For highly skilled and experienced seniors, sometimes less.
But East Europe is not a single, homogenous market for software developers. Salary levels vary from country to country. So let’s take a closer look on a country-by-country level.
When does IT Outsourcing work?
(And when doesn’t it?)
K&C head of HR Natalia Korol says that between around February 2021 and October 2021, salary demands of software developers in Ukraine have increased notably – by up to 30%. Local Ukrainian jobs listings portal Djinni’s salary data for C/C++ developers shows a wide range that suggests averages of between $2700 and $5000 and up to $7000 a month, or between $36,000 and $60,000 annually, up to $84,000.
Data from K&C’s internal recruitment department (good public sources from major jobs listings sites are unavailable) puts the average salary in Poland for developers with C/C++ at currently around 10% lower than in Ukraine. That equates to a monthly salary for mid-level seniors of circa. €4000 and €48,000 annually.
Data from K&C’s internal recruitment department (good public sources from major jobs listings sites are unavailable) puts the average C/C++ developer salary in Belarus at currently around 20% lower than in Ukraine. That equates to an average monthly salary ranging between $2500 (€2200) and $4000 (€3550) or between $26,400 (€23,500) and $42,600 (€38,000).
Data based on listings on U.S. jobs portal Zippia.com indicate the median salary of a programmer with C/C++ in the USA is about $106,000 annually or $50.98 an hour. An entry level C++ developer position starts at $75,000 and the top 10% best paid developers with expertise in the languages earn around $149,000 in the USA.
As is typically the case in the USA, average salaries for C++ developers are highest in San Francisco, where the median average reaches $134,378.
Glassdoor data, which is for C/C++ developers rather than just C++, corresponds very closely to the Zippia data, also putting the average salary at $106,000. Glassdoor, however, puts the top of the range at $156,000.
C/C++ software engineer salary levels are of course, as mentioned, highly dependent on tech stack and experience. SalaryExpert data shows the most in-demand additional skills/tech stack requested by job listings headlined by C/C++ as:
For each of the regions we have covered in this overview of embedded software engineer salaries we have included data sources from the biggest general and specialist jobs portals that cover the region. In the interest of brevity and clarity that has been limited to 1-2 sources per region. We always, however, analyse at least 2-3 more and dig deeper if there is any significant variation.
We also ensure only relatively up-to-date data has been incorporated. For example, we are not presenting data from StackOverFlow because their data is based on a 2019 source. Over the past 2 years, the market for software developers and other in-demand IT specialists has been especially hot and salary levels have risen considerably. That means 2019 data is no longer relevant.