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SQL Developer Salaries: Benchmarks for 2024

In this article, we're going to learn what an SQL developer does, what factors impact SQL developer salaries, how the average SQL developer salary compares to the average salaries of other developer profiles, and how you can increase your salary as an SQL developer.
Mar 2024  · 7 min read

SQL developer has become a lucrative and highly sought-after role in recent years. The demand for such specialists is constantly growing, and so do their salaries. More importantly, this tendency is expected to continue for the years to come, making this profession a safe, future-proof choice for students and career changers.

In this article, we will learn what an SQL developer does, what factors impact SQL developer salaries, how the average SQL developer salary compares to the average salaries of other developer profiles, and how you can increase your salary as an SQL developer.

Please keep in mind that the salary figures cited in this article were obtained from public data sources (Glassdoor, Indeed, Payscale, Salary.com, Built In, etc.) at the moment of writing this article (February 29, 2024) and can be used for reference purposes only.

Let's dive in!

What Does an SQL Developer Do?

SQL developers are IT specialists who deals with designing, building, documenting, and managing SQL databases and database applications. In its turn, SQL, or structured query language, is a programming language used for interactions with relational database management systems (RDBMS). There are several flavors of SQL, such as SQLite, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or T-SQL. All SQL flavors have quite similar syntax, with slightly different additional features.

If you're new to SQL, the course Introduction to SQL is the right place to start, while the skill track SQL Fundamentals will allow you to build upon your initial knowledge. For those readers who are already familiar with SQL and have a solid foundation in it, the course Intermediate SQL will be a helpful resource for digging deeper and developing more advanced skills.

Factors Influencing SQL Developer Salaries

SQL developer salaries, while being consistently rather high, vary widely and strongly depend on numerous factors. Some of the most impactful drivers are:

  • Geographical location
  • Experience level
  • Education
  • Working SQL flavor
  • Industry

There are also some minor, less influencing factors, such as whether the position is remote or on-site. And, of course, last but not least, your salary as an SQL developer will strongly depend on your specific SQL skills, as well as your ability to showcase them at an interview and apply them to real-world tasks!

Given such a variety of objective factors, it doesn't make much sense to talk about "the average SQL developer salary," or even about an overall salary range. Instead, let's consider how SQL developer salaries change based on each of the main factors.

SQL Developer Salaries by Location

Geographical location, including a particular country, state, and sometimes even the city, has a huge impact on the average SQL developer salary, as well as the salary range. There is no surprise in it: all countries greatly vary in their gross domestic product (GDP), development stage, and hence the standards of living. Often, such differences can be traced at a more granular level as well: by state or city. The table below demonstrates the average annual SQL developer salaries for some countries in 2024, converted into dollars, for the sake of comparison:

  • Australia $114,831
  • The United States $96,461
  • Canada $75,944
  • Singapore $73,344
  • The United Kingdom $59,767
  • Germany $57,391
  • South Africa $31,055
  • India $15,084

We can drill down to the next level: the average annual SQL developer salaries by state. Let's do it for the USA and pick out the top five states:

  • Washington $103,358
  • California $98,738
  • New York $95,744
  • District of Columbia $95,574
  • Oregon $94,412

For comparison, let's see what the bottom five states look like:

  • South Dakota $70,467
  • Wyoming $70,601
  • Mississippi $71,915
  • Hawaii $72,683
  • Nebraska $73,194

Increasing again the granularity level, let's take a look at the highest-paying cities in the USA across the states:

  • San Francisco $107,237
  • Redmond $104,055
  • New York $96,033
  • Washington $95,601
  • Boston $94,040

The above tables clearly show considerable variations in the average annual SQL developer salaries not only worldwide but also inside the same country.

SQL Developer Salaries by Experience Level

Experience level, or years of experience, is another crucial factor directly influencing SQL developer salary. The more years an SQL developer worked in this sphere, the higher expertise they gained and the greater value they could potentially bring to the company. Hence, it's expected that more experienced professionals can claim a higher salary than less experienced ones.

Let's see how the average annual SQL developer salary in dollars varies for different experience levels in the USA in 2024:

  • Entry-level SQL developer (0-1 year of experience) $79,010
  • Junior SQL developer (2-3 years of experience) $88,976
  • Mid-level SQL developer (4-6 years of experience) $109,407
  • Senior SQL developer (more than 6 years of experience) $120,392

SQL Developer Salaries by Education

Education influences the salary at the initial career stages of an SQL developer. While it isn't feasible to demonstrate the exact difference quantitatively using public data (e.g. to say that "the alumni of the university X earn on average N dollars in the role of an SQL developer" or "an SQL developer with a Ph.D. degree earns X times more than the one without it"), it tends to happen in real life that an entry-level or junior SQL developer with a higher academic degree, or an education more relevant to the role in interest, or graduated from a well-known university can obtain a higher salary than an entry-level or junior without such advantages.

However, the education factor becomes less and less impactful as you proceed with your career as an SQL developer. Honing your practical SQL skills, growing your portfolio of completed real-world projects and case studies, gaining SQL proficiency, and, at the same time, improving your soft skills—all of these start mattering much more than your background when it comes to your employability and the salary you can count on.

SQL Developer Salaries by SQL Flavor

SQL developers working with different SQL flavors, other conditions being equal, are usually paid differently. As a general line, professionals specialized in more popular SQL flavors, such as MySQL and SQLite, tend to earn less than those having in-depth expertise in additional servers and extensions, like Oracle PL and SQL Server.

Below are the average annual SQL developer salaries in dollars for professionals specialized in different SQL flavors in the USA in 2024:

  • Oracle PL/SQL Developer $124,486
  • Postgresql Developer $123,262
  • SQL Server developer $105,061
  • SQLite developer $101,900
  • MySQL developer $97,500

To enhance your expertise in more valuable SQL flavors, consider the courses Introduction to SQL Server, Intermediate SQL Server, and Introduction to Oracle SQL.

SQL Developer Salaries by Industry

The sphere where an SQL developer works can also influence their salary. This factor may seem unobvious, especially in comparison with those described above. Indeed, various public sources provide different ratings of the average annual SQL developer salaries by industry. However, the majority of them mention sectors like healthcare, finance, customer support, transportation, software, e-commerce, business analytics, manufacturing, consulting, human resources, and insurance.

For example, the American website Glassdoor, which deals with company reviews, presents the following top five industries and their average total pay consisting of the average annual salary and additional pay, such as cash bonus, commission, or profit sharing, for an SQL developer (USA, US dollars, 2024):

  • Personal Consumer Services $107,526
  • Management and Consulting $104,737
  • Financial Services $103,954
  • Human Resources $103,519
  • Healthcare $101,445

Salary Comparison Between Various IT Developer Roles

For the sake of comparison, let's see how the average annual SQL developer salary suits with respect to the salaries of some other kinds of developers (USA, US dollars, 2024):

  • Software Developer $149,721
  • Full Stack Developer $147,234
  • iOS Developer $117,627
  • Python Developer $114,144
  • Android Developer $111,518
  • Javascript Developer $102,449
  • Power BI Developer $100,015
  • SQL Developer $96,461
  • Tableau Developer $94,349
  • Web Developer $92,435
  • RPA Developer $89,414
  • WordPress Developer $71,129

How to Increase Your Salary as an SQL Developer

After having read about the factors influencing SQL developer salaries, you may now have a question: are there some ways of turning matters in favor? Of course, you can relocate to another country, enroll in a prestigious university on a computer science or data science specialization, or dive deep into industry-specific topics related to, say, healthcare or finance, hoping to find a job exactly in those fields. Alternatively, and also more realistically, you can tune the subjective factors that impact your personal employability and potential salary. Let's see how:

Expand your SQL knowledge and learn new SQL skills

The best way to do so is to follow a well-rounded practice-oriented curriculum, like the Data Analyst in SQL career track, that would allow you to become a confident SQL professional.

Practice your SQL skills by solving real-world SQL problems and working on projects

For this purpose, the course Applying SQL to Real-World Problems is a helpful additional resource.

Build your SQL project portfolio that you can showcase at an interview

The article 10 Portfolio-Ready SQL Projects for All Levels can provide you with some good ideas for your SQL projects.

Get certified in SQL

While obtaining a certificate or even academic credentials of whatever level doesn't automatically guarantee that you'll be immediately employed—not to mention with a high salary—it will be reliable proof for a potential employer that you made enough effort to gain practical skills and theoretical knowledge in a new sphere and are highly motivated to advance and succeed in this new role. The SQL Associate Certification will help you demonstrate that you're capable of using your SQL skills to extract appropriate data from a database and use it to answer business questions. You can learn more in A Comprehensive Guide to SQL Certification on DataCamp.

At the end of the day, it's your hands-on SQL knowledge and practical skills, as well as the ability to clearly showcase them to an employer, that makes the difference and turns you into a valuable professional in the eyes of a company. If this is the case, you have a good chance of getting a well-paid job as an SQL developer under whatever other external circumstances!

To get ready for your SQL developer interview, feel free to explore The 80 Top SQL Interview Questions and Answers for Beginners & Intermediate Practitioners.

Conclusion

To conclude, we discussed the role of an SQL developer, the main factors influencing their salaries, together with some specific numbers, and how the average annual SQL developer salary compares to the salaries of other kinds of developers. What's more, we explored the proven ways of increasing our own SQL developer salary under any conditions.

Eager to become an SQL developer and launch a new career in this promising and future-proof field? Start learning SQL with the Data Analyst in SQL career track of DataCamp today to make the first step toward achieving your goal.


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Author
Elena Kosourova

IBM Certified Data Scientist (2020), previously Petroleum Geologist/Geomodeler of oil and gas fields worldwide with 12+ years of international work experience. Proficient in Python, R, and SQL. Areas of expertise: data cleaning, data manipulation, data visualization, data analysis, data modeling, statistics, storytelling, machine learning. Extensive experience in managing data science communities and writing/reviewing articles and tutorials on data science and career topics.

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