Mid-career tech pros are often at a crossroads. Oftentimes, relocation and/or quality of life play a role in their job-related decision-making. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to live – and work – when it comes to Java developer salary, especially for those devs with a bit of experience. (In coming weeks and months, we'll expand this feature to other tech roles; we're starting with Java because a lot of you use it as a core part of your job.)
For this study, we’re using the Dice Salary Calculator. We’re also keeping it simple; we simply parsed Java developers with ten years' experience. The metro areas were picked from our annual Salary Survey (to be equitable, we separated Washington D.C. and Baltimore, though they’re listed as the same metro area on the Dice Salary Survey).
The Java developer salary range is typically wide, mostly because skills matter as much as languages when it comes to pay. For example, a Java developer who learns JMS and AngularJS would see a nine percent increase in earnings, on average. It’s a very ‘your mileage may vary’ exercise, but one we think is useful.
After parsing the data, we used Bankrate’s cost of living calculator. It only allows for a city-to-city comparison, so we used San Francisco as a base; considering so much tech comes from that area, and so many companies have a footprint there, we thought this was fair.
Our findings were intriguing. Based on the data, no mid-career Java developer is suffering: the average annual salary is just shy of $89,000, while the average cost of living requires that you make at least $67,340 (again, outside of San Francisco and Silicon Valley).
We used the cost of living calculator to determine how high a Java developer salary would need to be in order to sustain the same quality of life elsewhere. Only New York, NY was particularly close to Silicon Valley when it came to salary and cost of living, and even that can vary from borough to borough.
Some metro areas might leave a Java developer feeling like they’ve hit an entirely new tax bracket. We’ve told you before that leaving Silicon Valley may actually be a boon to your checking account, and our findings here back that up. Dallas was the best city for punching above your weight; mid-career Java developers earn an average of $82,750, and would only need $49,575 to keep the same quality of life they’d have in Silicon Valley. That leaves $33,175 extra, annually.
Minneapolis was nearly as lucrative when it comes to a "standard" java developer salary. Java developers there would be left with an extra $29,183 every year. If you lived in Baltimore, it’d be $29,810. Denver Java devs would see a surplus of $28,460.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, Philadelphia may be a smart move: It had the best salary increase in our Salary Survey, and that trend might continue. We also like Denver and Dallas, in part because housing prices have yet to go haywire as they have in places such as Seattle or Los Angeles.