Income as a High End PHP Developer

It is clear to me that the there really is no limit to how much a PHP programmer can make as a freelancer.

  1. What salary range would you consider a top PHP developer to make in this day and age, as an employee?

  2. As a PHP programmer who is an employee, is a six digit income out of the question?

I am thinking in US dollars here. Before I had thought that $50,000 - $80,000 covers the top tier of PHP programmers without getting into management roles (like project manager, production manager, etc), but I’m curious at what you think on this.

With so many people out of work, jobs are going to the lowest bidder. That brings down the average salary. However, I don’t think it’s uncommon for a good programmer to make $60k+. Many make into the low 6 figures.

Whether or not a 6-digit income is possible depends on the situation, company and many other factors. I would say it’s unlikely under normal circumstances, though. It’s much more likely when the programmer has a share of the profits - an option I find highly effective.

My experience has been that companies are still looking for top quality employees as php programmers, and are willing to pay extra for them. It is going to be interesting to see how things turn out when the US economy starts to recover. At least with the jobs I’ve had, it hasn’t seem to slow our industry down…but I do understand that this is probably not how it is across the board.

if the person or employee has better programming skills and output is satisfactory then he or she can earn like anything as PHP programmer. I think so…

Part of being free-lance is being able to be creative with the money stuff as well. For example, many programmers will charge a monthly rate for hosting. 100 sites at $30/month would be some good extra money. Also, efficiency is important. I spent some of my own time developing flexible scripts. I was able to cut my time four times doing this and increased my hourly rate. In the beginning, I realized that making money is its own craft independent of programming itself. Myself, I’m in your range, but why stop there?

I was offered a job in Virginia. Original offer was $45k. I turned it down. Final offer was $60k+. They offered to pay moving expenses, pay for my visa, and few thousand bonus. When I turned it down they asked “how much?” That was a little over a year ago. (I’m Canadian, I turned them down because I was involved in a youth program and couldn’t work within their time constraints). I’m NOT even close to top-tier. I’m a self-taught programmer (so read: “uneducated”). But I’ve got experience behind me, and a small startup. I think if you can show you’re more than a programmer you can expect to tap more. I’ve got a lot of business sense and it shows on my resume. It means there is room for growth. They also realized that I’m easily trained, and passionate about code (I told them I wouldn’t even consider it without a few thousand dollars a year for training/books/seminars).

eruna…I did try some contract work and a some freelancing for about 3-4 months, but it didn’t work out too well for me. I like the idea, but at this point the “security” of being an employee is more valuable to me. With that said, I do think I have the kind of diverse skill set that one needs to be successful at freelancing.

jeffvdovjak…I would totally agree with the idea that if you are more than a programmer, that adds extreme value. I too am a self taught programmer who did not go to college.

As an employee, I saw my pay go from $8/hour to about $30/hour in about 6 years, and so I am curious to see how high I can push the envelope. I find being organized and having project management skills is what can really separate you from the massive amount of people who “claim” to know PHP.

I don’t know any 100% php programmers, most have a few skills of DBA and PHP combined. But I know one guy making about 60k. Previously made almost 6 figures a year at another job. But these jobs are both for DBA, though they include a lot of PHP work in his part.

Yeah, I assumed that a DBA would be involved…usually MySQL. I don’t know anyone who would be able to fill a PHP role without at least knowing how to work with MySQL. :slight_smile:

But that was a good clarification.