This will come as no surprise to anybody familiar with the crypto space…
…but the solidity developer salary has EXPLODED over the past 12 months.
And to be fair:
You could run a generic “[insert crypto-related buzzword] EXPLODED in 2021″ headline for any number of articles, and you wouldn’t be wrong.
NFTs, the Solana blockchain, Layer 1 altchains in general, DAOs, the list goes on. All of those areas did see dramatic growth and success over the course of the year, and most of them seem set to continue into 2022.
But we have a very unique insight into the Web3 space at Plexus: because we help scale and grow Web3, crypto and blockchain companies. Every. Single. Day.
We’re able to spot hiring and growth trends early on and provide actionable insight on it. Like this article we published chronicling the noticeable uptick in the use of the Rust programming language, seen in the rise in demand (and pay!) for Rust programmers.
Companies like Voltz, Blockswap, Enso Finance, Dapper Labs, Spectral Finance and Stader Labs have had huge pushes for solidity developers recently. Solidity is following a familiar hiring pattern that a lot of other languages have, and we wanted to find out why.
In this article you’ll find out why the solidity developer salary has exploded over the past 12 months.
Let’s get into it:
Solidity has had a slow, but steady rise in popularity.
You can see small upticks going back into the final quarter of 2020, but the real jump hits in April 2021 and continues for most of the year.
There’s an obvious winter lull in the pattern – notice December’s equally low numbers for both years. That’s more an artifact of seasonal hiring patterns than anything else. Anecdotally, we’re seeing a continued demand for solidity devs into 2022.
Take a broader look, and the same pattern appears elsewhere.
Google Trends shows roughly corresponding trends in search patterns for solidity-related keywords.
Here’s the chart for “solidity developer”:
And again for “solidity developer salary”:
Search volume differs, but the broad pattern is the same – there was a spike back in 2017/2018, then interest appears to have fallen off, only to rebound in recent months and jump to new levels.
This increased search volume has had a direct and clear impact:
The ceiling of solidity salaries is much higher.
We’ll dig a bit more into the “why” of these trends shortly. One of them, at least, is easy to explain:
Increased searches for “solidity developer salary” can be at least partially attributed to an increase in those salaries.
In other words: follow the money!
According to itjobswatch.co.uk, the median compensation for solidity devs is just north of £80,000 per year (that’s a hair under $110k USD).
Those figures are roughly in line with our own info.
Data taken from the State of Crypto Hiring Report 2022
In fact, it correlates nearly exactly with what we’re seeing with junior-level developers. In 2021, those salaries ranged between 70k-110k, up 3% from the previous year.
(It’s worth remembering that the first chart shows a median, not an average, meaning there are an equal weight of salaries above and below that $110k line).
Our data backs that up as well:
The solidity developers with the biggest gains in 2021 weren’t the junior-level devs, but senior and principal developers. Those groups saw increases of 6% and 13%, respectively.
That’s a crazy percentage increase for just one year.
The average salary increase for junior solidity devs hasn’t kept pace with senior and principal for a couple of reasons:
1. Junior developers are so eager to start their journey in crypto, that they’re willing to take less to get their foot in the door (the crypto space is very, very enticing right now).
2. Start-ups are a huge percentage of the companies coming out of the crypto space right now, and they’re less likely to hire juniors (although this trend is beginning to change).
Here’s one final look at the data:
The chart is in GBP; notice the number of jobs above the 80k median. The range goes up to £170k per year, typically for principal developers.
Salaries aren’t the only thing that have increased, although:
There’s WAY more opportunities too.
The increase in pay is no mystery; there’s more demand – and more opportunities – for experienced developers than ever.
We looked at our internal data, and the number of job postings requiring solidity experience increased 8% in 2021, to nearly a quarter of all postings (you can see that report here).
Again, other data confirms this:
For the six-month period that ended in February, 2021 saw 17 permanent jobs citing solidity. For the same period in 2020, there were 9 jobs.
In 2022, that six-month period saw 149 jobs, over 9 times the previous period. In the UK alone, jobs that cited solidity experience increased dramatically as a percentage of all available jobs.
On LinkedIn you’ll find thousands of jobs that require solidity experience. A little digging shows that many of those jobs have only a handful of applicants, at least through LinkedIn’s in-house application system.
Which is why passive candidates are so crucial to engage with.
Solidity salaries have seen a big increase, no doubt. But you can go one step further:
Concentrated skill sets is where the real money is.
With ever-growing number of jobs and a fairly well-developed learning base (more on that shortly), it’s a bit surprising that there aren’t more solidity devs around.
Two factors seem to be playing a role here:
First, solidity is young. It only debuted under a decade ago, hardly enough time to develop (pun intended) an expansive base of users and programmers. Plus, like Ethereum itself, solidity isn’t the only game in town. Young, up-and-coming programmers might be tempted to focus on other languages with booming Web3 applications, such as Rust.
Second, the Web3 space as a whole is short on devs. A recent developer report from Electric Capital highlighted the discrepancy; there are over 2500 developers in the Web3 space. Of those, fewer than half – around 1000 developers – control projects with over $100 billion in total value locked (TVL).
That concentration indicates the sheer amount of money flowing into key projects, and the corresponding demand for developers with advanced skills in smart contract languages.
It also puts some of the compensation into perspective.
One detail will ensure the stable growth of solidity:
The well-established learning curve is a HUGE factor.
One of solidity’s strengths lies in a well-established learning curve.
Would-be programmers can start with the main solidity site, reinforced by further resources at the solidity GitHub. The solidity learning economy includes sites like CryptoZombies.io, where programmers build crypto games while learning the language. Beyond simple gamification, this allows developers to practice using smart contracts in a real-world use case – i.e., crypto gaming.
In short, there’s an easy on-ramp for the language that powers much of the smart-contract world.
That’s a pretty solid point in solidity’s favour.
This easy on-ramp means sustained growth and adoption of the language itself – but how will this impact salaries?
Short answer: They’ll level out.
We won’t be seeing the big 6% & 13% increases year-on-year increases that we have over the past 12 months. That type of growth simply is unsustainable.
Which is what makes this current Web3 market so appealing to developers.
Although, there are many branches of the Web3 space that developers will be able to specialise in:
Smart contracts use cases are almost infinite.
Ethereum smart contracts power the DeFi world, and as more and more projects enter that space, demand for experienced solidity devs goes up. Solidity smart contracts are also deployable on the Ethereum Virtual Machine, covering the entire Ethereum ecosystem.
Because solidity is the language of EVM-based smart contracts, use cases are as broad as smart contracts themselves. That’s more than just DeFi – crypto games and the whole broad world of Web3 all rely on smart contracts.
Unless EVM-based DeFi projects fade considerably, there doesn’t seem to be much chance that solidity will fall off anytime soon.
There’s an incredibly active community behind the language, with regular updates and releases every few weeks to correct flaws and improve usability.
Solidity is a high-level language, using letters and numbers rather than a simple binary code. While this can complicate security, it also makes the language easier to understand and work with.
Of course, there’s another big reason to feel bullish about solidity – especially if you’re already skilled with the language:
Developers can deploy smart contracts to generate tokens.
Solidity’s appeal is more than just “it works on Ethereum.”
Using solidity, developers can deploy smart contracts to generate tokens, making it ideal for projects with native tokens. And of course, the use of the EVM positions solidity as an integral part of the emerging world of smart contracts.
With more solidity jobs available, and higher pay at those jobs, solidity devs are in a good position going forward.
I love helping teams grow, and this is an exciting time for us all to work in the Web3 space.
Hello! I specialise in scaling web3-native projects. I love hearing what you’re building and I keep an ear close to the ground. If you have an interesting project, I’ll have an engineer for you…let’s chat! Here’s my LinkedIn, telegram wogan.eth and email.