Despite the economic climate, over sixty percent of US-based Microsoft .NET developers who participated in a recent survey had seen a rise in their pay in 2012 and the average salary reported was $94,381.
These results come from the second annual Salary Survey conducted by Visual Studio Magazine and the sample, self-selected from among subscribers to the magazine and to its related eNewsletters, .NETInsight and Redmond Developer, may be far from representative.
Even so the survey presents interesting data, including the finding that while average salary of respondents was up by over $1,600, the median salary was down by $2,000:
A statistic quoted in the report on this survey is that the national median salary for software developers in the United States in December 2012 was $75,000, so we need an explanation of why the median salary found in this survey, conducted in November 2012 was $90,000. Age, experience and education seem to be the most likely factors. The median age of the 1031 respondents was 46, on average they had 12.5 years in Microsoft development and 42.9% reported 10 or more years with their current employer; 73% had a 4-year college degree or higher and as this table shows salary was highly correlated with level of education:
Another interesting finding is that it is most lucrative to work for an independent software vendor or, almost equally good, a third party solution provider.
Those in this survey who were self-employed had above average salaries but were few in number. The largest group in this survey was those working for a corporate, including Microsoft itself, and the average salary for this group was slightly below the overall average. The group falling well below the average was those in government, education and non-profit organizations.
Hardly surprisingly, it is senior roles that command top salaries. 2.5% of the sample were CIOs and their base salaries were some $15,000 above the norm. Even more highly paid were those in research and development but they were a smaller group and presumably included some very senior people. Web developers appear to be the worst paid with $15K less than Application developers. Those claiming to the "Programmers" earned $12K less than "Software engineers". But becoming a "Senior Software Engineer or Developer provides a big boost in terms of remuneration to over $100K.
There is a disappointing gender bias; on average men earn more than women by $11K.
One finding that is either reassuring, controversial or depressing, depending on your viewpoint is that an overwhelming majority of those surveyed expected still to be working with .NET technology in 5 years time.