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Belgium, the Netherlands or further afield: where will your JavaScript skills earn you the most money?

If you speak JavaScript, your skill set is in great demand. JavaScript experts are highly valued all over the world. A godsend for jobseekers: scarcity on the labour market gives you a strong negotiating position and that can soon lead to a great salary. How much you will earn naturally depends on your exact job description, the company you work for and your experience, as well as the country you work in.

According to the international State of JavaScript survey, about half of JavaScript developers in Belgium pick up more than USD 50,000 (currently around EUR 50,000) per year. 14.4% even bring in over USD 100,000 per year while for just under one per cent, the figure is USD 200,000. At the other end of the scale, 31.7% make between USD 30,000 and 50,000, according to the survey, with 18.4% of respondents getting less than this for their skills. Note that these are not net amounts.

JavaScript developers with some experience certainly don’t make a bad living, even though Belgium lies just below the international average. The Netherlands ranks higher, with around 63% of the respondents bringing in more than USD 50,000 per year. Our European neighbours all fall into about the same category, without any major structural differences.

1. Overseas

When we look across the pond, the picture is somewhat different. JavaScript developers earn significantly more in the US. There, barely 8.5% of those surveyed fall below the USD 50,000 level. That is especially striking given that the survey includes far more American respondents.

For 74.5%, their JavaScript box of tricks gets them more than USD 100,000, and structurally 16.1% even pick up over USD 200,000 per year. The difference is huge, although we should take the figures with a pinch of salt. Far less is taken away from salaries in the US, of course, but employees are expected to pay for more things themselves. Nevertheless, this does not explain the size of the gap.

2. For all developers

Other surveys back up the figures. CodeSubmit looked at the average salary of a software developer this year and put the US at USD 117,000 per year. The first EU country on the list ranks sixth. That is Norway, where salaries are traditionally higher than here. There is one bright spot: Swiss companies pay their developers an average of USD 97,000. The State of JavaScript survey ranks Switzerland equally well, in third place after Australia. So Ryanair will get you to the big bucks.

Do these figures mean that you should pack your bags right now? Not necessarily. After all, a job is more than the salary and just try finding a café abroad with a decent range of beers and acceptable opening hours. Both surveys do, however, show that Belgium has a hard time getting hold of talented developers. You can try to make use of this to some extent.

3. Negotiating arguments

For instance, when negotiating your salary you can ask for more money because you think your work is important, but you can back up your arguments too. Worldwide, an annual salary of over USD 100,000 per year is standard for those with ten years’ experience in the sector. From six years’ experience, 56% of JavaScript gurus earn more than USD 50,000. Every country is different of course, but the figures give you an idea of what is seen as a reasonable reward for your skill set.

On the other hand, we should point out that workload, work-life balance and fringe benefits are important, too. Belgium does pretty well here, but that is not reflected in the bare figures. Other standard Belgian benefits that raise eyebrows abroad, such as meal vouchers and eco-cheques or cafeteria plans, also tend to get left out of straightforward salary surveys.

It’s no secret that developers in general and JavaScript experts in particular can do well for themselves. What’s more, your skill set gets you a fairly good deal in Belgium, if you take the average international salary as the standard. But other countries do better and that is at least something to bear in mind.

Time for the next step in your career? At CHRLY you can opt for a job in Belgium or for an international career. Check out our vacancies or send us an unsolicited application today.

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