Web Developer Wage in British Columbia
I recently learned that British Columbia has the lowest minimum wage in Canada at $9.75 per hour. In May, of 2012 this increases to $10.25. This got me thinking about Web Developers and what they could expect to be paid. Like many countries Canada runs an annual census to determine average wages in each province.
According to the 2011 survey a web developer in BC can expect to earn an average of $23.56 per hour. The low amount, useful for estimating Junior Developer wage expectations, is $14.00 hourly in the Vancouver and lower mainland region. An experienced web developer can see wages up to, and around, $30.41.
When I consider how long I’ve been in the industry I see $30.41 and immediately think that that is what I should be earning, as I have been a web developer for over 10 years. This also had me thinking about just what was expected from the job title of Web Developer. More important to consider is what we don’t do.
What You Know
If I work for a company and they suddenly ask me to work with Joomla or create a .NET application I will be forced to admit that I need to re-learn skills that I haven’t used in years. In much the same way as I have forgotten a lot of what I learned in High School since the 14 years I was last there, we only tend to retain a fluent skill set in our most recent activities.
Does this still justify a wage of $30.41?
So long as a reasonable amount of time is allowed for updating our skills then I would answer this with a resounding YES. If too much time has passed since last we used the requested skills then it would be appropriate for the wage to be lowered.
How Low Should the Wage Go?
So long as past experience can be used to quickly grasp current demands and technology then an experienced web developer wage should not dip below the wage median of $23.56.
The reason is because experienced Web Developers, even if required to learn a new language such as java, have the troubleshooting, testing, and logic that a junior or intermediate web developer simply do not have. With experience comes the ability to recognize patterns in code from one language to another and be able to quickly apply it in a fully functional manner.
- A junior web developer wage of $14.00 per hour makes sense as they are just learning to program, test, and troubleshoot their work.
- An intermediate web developer has learned the skills of a junior web developer and added logic, thus earning them $23.56 per hour.
- A senior web developer has learned all the skills of previous positions and added project management and systems analysis to their skill set, making them able to quickly adapt to changes such as new languages, technologies and meet greater demands then the previous positions can allow with such limited experience.
Nobody enjoys the question often asked at a job interview regarding wage expectations. After this article you should be able to reflect on your current skills to better determine what your wage expectation should be in BC, Canada. By using a regional census of web developer wages you will be better equiped to answer that daunting question and do so with confidence.