Freelance programmers in Romania can earn up to $10,000 a month, far more than salaried IT professionals, according to Lemon.io, a Ukrainian startup that functions as a job marketplace for vetted programmers , which has created a payment calculator that provides transparent information on the fees specialists registered on the platform can earn, based on programming languages, level of experience and country of residence.
After extensive research into payout differences between different countries, Lemon.io found the minimum, average, and maximum hourly payout rates for 83 technologies and programming languages. Depending on the peculiarities of the market, tax systems and the cost of living, the rates may vary according to the specificities of the countries.
Eastern Europe, still unequal to the West.
A programmer residing in Romania and specialized in Python, one of the most popular languages in the world, can earn up to $80 per hour if he has experience at the Tech Lead level (more than 7 years of ‘experience).
A mid-level programmer with 3+ years of experience earns around $24 per hour for the same programming language.
The same rate applies to programmers from Poland, Hungary, Moldova. In contrast, for programmers in Ukraine, the average rate for Python programmers with more than 3 years of experience is only $19 per hour.
In stark contrast are Italy, Spain, Germany, and Malta, where a programmer with 3 years of Python experience can earn up to $31 per hour on average.
Comparing the countries of the main IT hubs in Eastern Europe, we notice that the rates for Romania are about on par with Poland, Bulgaria, Moldova, Hungary and the Czech Republic for the most part programming languages, but in Ukraine the rate is only $54 per hour.
For rarer programming languages like Clojure or Rust, fees can go up to $100 per hour for specialists with more than 7 years of experience at the Tech Lead level.
Independent or salaried, what could be more profitable for a programmer?
Unlike those who are employed with employment contracts in various businesses, freelance programmers must own a business (VAT-registered or not) or operate as a licensed natural person (PFA).
Even after the application of the new measures of the Tax Code, which entered into force from January 1, 2023, for small businesses, the net monthly income of a freelance specialist can still exceed the salary of a salaried developer in a Romanian company , because the average net monthly salary of a Romanian programmer is 9,331 lei, according to the June 2022 report published by the National Institute of Statistics.
The business model of the start-up Lemon.io, founded in 2015, was designed to do justice both to the programmers who are thus fairly compensated, according to experience, and to the customers who receive high quality services at reasonable prices.
A programmer will know approximately the total amount received for a month of work even before registering on the Lemon.io platform, thanks to the payment calculator developed by the Ukrainian start-up.
Payment transparency is gaining popularity among technology and IT companies, especially in the context of closing the gender pay gap at European level.
According to the latest Eurostat reports, the pay difference across Europe is 13%, while in Romania the difference is much smaller – men only earn 2.4% more than women.
In some regions, displaying the salary scale in job offers is a legal obligation.
Employees appreciate the transparency of companies in terms of remuneration because they know before applying what salary they could receive.
Lemon.io strives to attract responsible and disciplined developers, specialists with at least 3 years of programming experience. The company wishes to engage with full-time and part-time programmers (minimum of 20 hours of work per week).
Lemon.io was launched on the Romanian market in March 2022 and is looking to add more than 100 programmers from the local market to its platform to join the 60+ Romanian programmers already working remotely on projects for start-ups in Silicon Valley. .
Currently, Lemon.io collaborates with more than 630 developers from 46 countries.