How much money does a Bubble.io Developer really get paid and what is the earning potential for different levels?Oct 04, 2023
I've resisted writing this article for a long time. Partly I've been trying to answer this question for myself and my company. Partly I've been learning more and more about the market.
But now I'm ready. I've hired over 50 devs in the last 3 years. Some didn't fit, some did their time with us and found an opportunity to work long term with a product company, and some have stayed.
The ones that have stuck around have a unique profile that I uniquely value.
So buckle up...let's talk Bubble developer pay rates!
Bubble is international
First, let's start with the factors that will influence price upwards or downwards. Bubble is an international skillset. You can sell your skills across borders, and reach places in the world previously inaccessible economically speaking.
This can be advantageous, especially if you can sell your skillset into higher income countries than your own. Live anywhere and earn in USD. A senior rate for you is a junior rate for your client.
A takeaway coffee in Sydney, Australia costs $3.50-5.00 (USD) but a coffee in your location may cost $0.50-$1 (USD). So you may take advantage of a low cost of living earning rates that put you in the top 1% of earners in your country. This also has great implications for digital nomads.
Language and cultural compatibility
Your level of language and ability to relate to the culture of your client or boss is a huge factor. Without compatibility, interactions with your boss can have massive friction. They can take 2x, 3x, 5x or 10x longer to get "on the same page". This is a massive toll for your boss or client to pay, and can make the working relationship impossible. Don't underestimate this as the major factor preventing you from selling your skillset internationally.
If you want to sell into a different culture, be realistic.
You MUST have a strong grasp on their language. You MUST know their culture.
- If you're selling into the USA startup market in California, learn about it. Watch some TV shows and, like, learn the casual vibe of the place.
- If your selling into Mumbai, again immerse yourself in some Indian culture and while you're at it, become a fast talker or you won't last long!
Of course, you need to know your stuff.
You have to:
- Ask the right questions
- Problem solve
- Explain your proposed solution
And then you have to make it happen.
You need to back yourself to know you can pull off that integration, successfully migrate data, implement privacy rules, or configure a notification system that doesn't spam their whole database in testing. 🤦
Having the official Bubble Developer Certification under your belt will be a huge boost. Or you will be stuck in the "junior zone".
Working in the same timezone is also a huge boost. When I hire a developer, I know that I am making a long term investment into a relationship. Over the years this relationship will become exponentially more valuable.
And the only way to make this work is to have a lot of face to face time.
If we need to workshop out an idea, we can do it. If we need to do a code review, easy. Jump on a call.
There are different roles within Bubble.
- Juniors often work in the world of UI implementations and basic workflows.
- Mid levels can pump out basic work 2-4x faster than a junior, and start to bring some problem solving into the mix.
- Seniors may focus more on integrations, complex workflows, and configuring apps.
- Technical architects can design complex databases, and plan out the overall application structure.
- Consultants can explain Bubble at a high level, present options A, B and C, direct technical product strategy and communicate this to key stakeholders.
All of these roles are paid at different levels.
Onshore vs Offshore
Working onshore can present more opportunities to collaborate and grow as a team. Timezone, culture, and technical capabilities can all be supercharged when you spend time in the same room as your team.
Also onshore is often a proxy for "people like me". Even though the world of tech is one of the most diverse in terms of language and culture, understanding this tension matters.
Ability to be "client facing" and communicate well
If you know how to work well with people, especially in the country you are selling your skills into, and you have some basic project and product management skills, you will multiply your potential value and rate of pay.
I've seen juniors and mid level devs who manage clients punch above their weight in terms of opportunities that open for them.
Sometimes it's not just what you know, but who you know.
All I will say is this:
Think and plan carefully about your networks, and how you can build relationships with the kinds of people who can open the doors to bigger opportunities. This makes all the difference, especially with the asymmetrical power that social networks and online personal brand can bring.
About 50% of my work has come through good organic marketing, and about 50% through our networks.
So show me the numbers*
There is no clear guide to the value a Bubble developer can offer a company. There are many variables. But from everyone I've spoken to, and the many people I've hired, in 2023-2024 I would suggest going rates of:
- Junior - $7.50-$15 USD/per hour (e.g. full time / part time role as a contractor) doing basic tasks with direction.
- Mid - $15-30 USD/per hour (e.g. full time / part time role as a contractor) showing more independence on intermediate tasks. Often works 2-4x the speed of a junior.
- Senior / Technical Architect - $30-50 USD/per hour (e.g. full time / part time role as a contractor) performs complex integrations, can model data and workflows effectively.
- Consultant/Specialist - $60-$120 USD/per hour (e.g. mentoring, teaching, providing high level guidance, or doing a complex specialty e.g. payment integrations. These higher rates apply on a casual basis, e.g. 1 to 5 hours per week as a contractor).
- Rockstar - Name the price. You will need to excel in everything I've said here (I'm talking 11/10). It will take you 5-10% of the time to solve the kinds of knarly complex problems that take a regular dev days or weeks. Or you may simply provide an alternate solution, e.g. buying in a component of the app for 5% of the dev costs to building it. In the Bubble world, rockstar is definitely a thing, and I know a handful of people at this level.
*Contractors usually take home 10-30% more than employees, because their roles do not have leave and other employment benefits included.
All of the variables I mentioned above will bump the prices listed here up and down. If you are technically competent but your client can't understand you and you live half way around the world, you won't be a valuable hire, even as a junior. Don't target clients where timezone, culture and language are barriers. It just won't work, even if you are a "cheap" resource for them.
You can ask for a price, but if you can't deliver in the real world, and understand what your client or boss want, you won't last long. Test projects and a good portfolio are essential to evaluate a potential hire's skills.
Be realistic and work your way up to the higher levels. One strategy is to start as a junior, but ask for your boss to bring a consultant in for 1hr per week to mentor you and push the project forward. Or put you through Momentum Academy, where we provide this and more! It will be well worth it for everyone involved. Develop the soft skills as well as the hard skills.
At Momentum Academy, we prepare you for the real world of Bubble Development, including helping you get to the rates you want to charge through building skills, networks and your portfolio. We will help you achieve what you are worth, and walk with you on the path to get there.
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