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Ask HN: How do I earn more as a developer?
98 points by raejumping 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments
I have immigrated to France for a better life a little over 2 years ago, and I have been working as a frontend developer ever since.

I have managed to move from a little under 2000€/month as a starting salary to around 2500€ now. Which is OK but not great.

But since money is a delicate subject here and people try not to talk about it, I'm clueless about how to progress and what kind strategies I should be taking.

I was wondering how all the people are landing the big bucks? How can I move to a bracket that would allow me to eventually buy a house and start a more stable life.

Learn about business.

Ultimately, the job of a developer is to write code which achieves a business goal. If you have a better understanding of those goals, and can anticipate them, you become more valuable to the people writing the checks.

Not only that, there are few jobs from which it's easier to start your own successful company than as programmer. Build a useful thing that people love, and you might end up making more money than all your previous bosses and then some. Risky and requires a lot of luck, but it's an option that other jobs don't have.

Or develop a clear expertise, blog about it, and start your own company selling that expertise to companies. Or even just become a freelancer and do the same work you used to, but keep more of the money.

Personal View: As with any other skilled job out there that is not based on commission like software devs unless you find a company that pays out big bonuses, you will have a cap as to what you can gain.

I don't think I know many software devs that make big bucks unless working at the 0.5% or something.

Usually in order to make big bucks you either start your own company or you work on a commission based occupation. That said a software developer can do commission based as a contractor and usually that has a lot of money involved, but again unless you have a company of contractors lets say and you are just 1 person I think there is an X amount of stuff you can manage a year which means that your 'salary' will be capped at some point.

Learn marketing, not "business". You're going to quickly get bored if you try to learn about "business", a lot of it won't apply to you.

Marketing is the highest leverage skill you can learn. Find an old course called "Magnetic Marketing" by Dan Kennedy. Listen to it at least 3 times (it's not that long). Trust me.

Dan actually sold all his stuff to a company few years ago, so I don’t know if that’s the original.

Here’s a link to the original - in kindle or audiobook


-edit, I’m actually not sure if that’s the original, I’m doing a search online and can’t easily find the original audio tapes which were recorded in the 90s. I advise you listen to the audio version.

Basically, stop doing development work and start doing Project Management, Product Management, Business Analysis, etc.

I'm not sure this is what the parent commenter meant. I think they meant the OP should get to the point where as a developer they can anticipate business needs.

That could manifest through areas like suggesting architectural changes that'll save money or open up doors in the near future, or finding pieces of the business that can easily be automated to generate / save money.

I think I've been misunderstood, I'm not advocating people to quit being a developer. I was pointing out that what the person was originally suggesting is actually start doing non-development work.

> where as a developer they can anticipate business needs

The thing is, a developer isn't normally in the business meetings where these are discussed. It's not a developers job to be in on a meeting about using X pricing model over Y.

A developer is a doer job. Developers do things. They don't decide things other than the technical details. If you're going to learn the business properly, you need to start entering other areas. Such as product management, start defining problems with the product and what can be changed. That a developer can start doing, but sitting here pretending it's not developers work is just lying.

Too often I read on the internet and hear at conferences that "every developer should do X for their company". Guys, I'm going to break it to you guys. X is literally another person' job, if I start doing it, they're going to get pissy real quick (or they're lazy and will just take credit for it) For some reason people seem to think developers are swiss army knives of businesses. It's not our job to find problems with the product, that's the product managers job. We can start doing it but we're going to start moving away from development work and towards product work. That's not a bad thing per say, it is just what is.

... not to belabor the discussion, but have you ever run across a scenario where one of the non-technical people tried to insist on something absolutely boneheaded from either a business or technical perspective? Who gets blamed if the dev just shrugs and does it?

Hint: not the person who insisted on it. The developer.

I've seen that play out too many times. Expanding out of a strictly coding role isn't just good for career progression, it's a necessity for career self-preservation, too.

Yes, refusing to do things that are technically bad is a technical matter hence a developers job. And what happens if you say no, they either go find a developer who will do it (seen that so often) or they go to the CTO/Engineer Manager/etc to try and get them to agree. In both cases, a developers job is to give technical feedback such as "Sorry but that's a security threat, you'll need to figure a new approach. Maybe try Z." not, "I think it is a better idea to work on X instead because it's going to generate Y". One is technical feedback on their idea and the other is a product/business idea.

> Expanding out of a strictly coding role isn't just good for career progression, it's a necessity for career self-preservation, too.

The first part is pretty much my point. To progress in a career in IT you have to stop doing technical work to progress. Development is a dead end job, just a reasonably well paid one. The second part, for the most part, I've never really seen. Most developers I've worked with haven't been held accountable for anything in such a long time that they get offended when you point out 500 servers going down in 20 countries because of one Redis server is embarrassing and we should work on stopping that from ever happening again and give excuses why it's not.

I was just typing out a reply suggesting the same thing.

The "trap" in development is in having non-technical roles view your role, essentially, as one in where they make all of the business decisions, and you as the coder take their orders to implement them.

That's no good for career progression or effective development, either. I'd deliberately cultivate some of the same PM and business analytics skills alongside your technical skills.

I completely agree that it's useful to cultivate PM and BA skills, if anything just to help with empathy across teams and enable you and the team to work better.

There are more and more companies slowly developing career pathways with technical only routes, but it's definetely not enough places.

I wouldn't stop doing development work, especially if you enjoy it.

Doing the other roles is a way to learn about some business. By doing them you'll have a better understanding of what happens behind the scenes, and will interact better with those roles.

Do you think your scrum master is done after the stand up? Oh no, there's a lot more to do.

> Do you think your scrum master is done after the stand up? Oh no, there's a lot more to do.

You know scrum master doesn't do development, they do project management work. Their entire job is to make sure the project is not impeded.

Nonsense. I probably make more than my line managers line manager as a developer.

If you love being a developer/programmer stick with it. You will love what you do and will eventually earn more.

Join a remote company that doesn't pay solely based on location. eg. Zapier, Buffer, or Canny. ;)

Check out Buffer's transparent salary calculator. https://buffer.com/salary/software-engineer/low. For an entry level software engineer in a low cost of living area (which France is probably not), you'd be making double what you're making now.

I think with the massive shift that's happening with remote work, market rate salaries will roughly converge no matter where you work.

> you'd be making double what you're making now

Need to know if his quoted income is pre or post-tax. France is a social country and you pay a lot of taxes for the social services, so his €2500 may be after tax and his gross is close to double that.

Is staying in France a requirement? Because if money is your concern, you should be in Silicon Valley. That's where your skills are valued. That's where they pay you what you're worth.

Why would you do local theater when you could audition for roles in Hollywood?

From what I've heard Silicon Valley is also very expensive. Apart from that for non US citizens I reckon its hard to land a working visa with the current situation in the US and immigration.

I feel like what pays you higher than SV etc is if you can land a nice US remote work at about $100-120k but live in a place like Portugal or whatever that its very cheap VS your salary.

American visas are notoriously difficult too. If you're not American or something like Singapore which has good immigration laws with the US, you'll have a hard time. There's also other downsides like poor healthcare and vacation time, but some companies can make competitive offers for that.

The amount that you would make in SV and a position with a top company would more than allow you to have a top tier health plan. Couple that with the Bay Area being a prime research region, you’d be in an snacking position if anything catastrophic happened.

Where are you in France? There is basically two kind of salary in France: Paris vs everywhere else. In Paris area, 2k/month for a junior fresh from school is not a lot. 2,5k is more common. After 2 years, you should be able to reach 3k/month. I am in this case and I currently earn 3,2k/month (.NET house fullstack job).

My main advice is to know that the market wants you. You are in very sweet spot. Always ask more and be ready to bluff an alternative if needed.

My second advice is to always be "à l'écoute du marché". Be ready to switch if something really nice show up. You can go to an interview even if you think you are not going to change. Take the 'propal'.

My last advice is to be willing to switch. I read somewhere that most developer got a better raise by getting a new job. In my own experience, it is true.

Finally if you find a really sweet job, maybe you should keep it. Even if you could earn more somewhere else. Big bucks is useful to pay your debts, but at 3k you should be able to have a peaceful life in France. Enjoy your stay.

Edit: We are talking about "net" salary here without bonus or shenanigans.

Edit2: Yes we hire (like everybody). (C#, F#, Typescript, React, SQL)

> but at 3k you should be able to have a peaceful life in France

I don't know about the French market and how expensive it is, I only know that Paris is very an expensive city.

I also don't know if you have kids etc, but I feel like your statement about 3k being good to live on is sort of directed to a solo scenario? Can you have an ok life having 3k a month + a spouse having 2k a month + 2 kids in Paris for example? From my recent visit I found that its very expensive and a 5k combined salary would be considered low to survive. Again I might be wrong but enlighten me please, am interested.

5k is more than enough to "survive" in France. If you get 2.5k you are part of the 20%. And having childs means you pay less tax.

In much of Europe, software salaries are in two separate modes or tiers. Local mode and international mode. This is true in neighbouring countries (Germany & England) too.

Ie, some jobs are part of the global software development market, and they pay salaries close to what you'll find in software hubs like silicon valley.

Very generally, these tend to be in the software business. Ie the company makes its revenue from software products rather than (eg) an insurance company that employs devs to customize their CRM instance. Also, if English is used as a working language, it's a better bet.

In the UK you only really see those sort of salaries for high pressure financial IT jobs (well, last year I looked 3-4 years ago). Whether those jobs will suddenly disappear soon is a good question.

Or you become a contractor, which pays almost double what a salaried employee makes, but is less stable.

2500 after the tax ? That's not bad after 2 years. I've only heard horror stories in France when it comes to salary negotiation. Basically the regular devs (=not very specialized field) have no bargaining power and there is this silent seniority (sometimes plain cronyism) in which only a few people CAN become harder to replace (working on core things) and get slowly promoted - no matter what they do. The rest are being deliberately kept out of important/complicate/sensitive work. My observation is that there are basically 2 ways to get a raise in France (again, if you are not very specialized) :

1) jump from job to job every 2 years max asking for more and hoping there is no recession

2) stay in the same company forever and/or become friends with the important guys.

Both are risky. In my limited experience the French companies put significantly less value on experience and/or skill compared to US.

Three paths:

1. Start applying for new roles at new firms and asking for more.

2. Ask your manager what you need to do at work to move up to the next level of compensation and responsibility (if they don't have a good answer for this it's a warning sign).

3. Start your own side business (either consulting or selling a product).

I agree with each of these three options, but probably not all three at once. Given the original question, probably 80% focus on number one and 20% number two.

Of course, iteration as necessary

I am sorry to say this but europeans are delusional and naive. The only time my quality of life improved was when I got a better paycheck not your "socialist" perks.

When I worked in Vienna for €55k/pa my life was not really that comfortable.It was balancing on the verge of good enough or not saving anything every month. I did not get ANY, literally ANY feeling that I am getting enough for the taxes I paid on this income. The doctors were good enough, the transportation was good enough, the living condition were good enough BUT that's about it. Getting a higher salary was almost impossible but even if i did i would pay much higher taxes and would become too expensive for the company.

I moved to Seoul for $100k/pa and my life is MUCH better here all things considered.

Dont get fooled by socialism and always put your interests first.

Depends which part of Europe. My friends in UK have nothing but praise for their socialism.

But I think it works well for the people who plan to live and grow up there, no so much for the people who can get a $100k job in Seoul lol.

If you move to a different city, like Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, there'll be more competition; you may even end up competing against the people who are involved in creating and maintaining tools, like Reactjs, hypothetical speaking. If you are a user, have in mind that Reactjs is the jQuery of nowadays, there's a lot of people doing the same and not many contributing. Money is not everything in life, but if that's important, try to open a business if you want to have more control over your earnings, but have in mind that is not a easy for anybody. Appreciate where you are a the moment, educate yourself financially and maybe start investing; invest in your education: AI, ML, etc pays professionals quite well. And money can grow if you invest it properly...

If you have passion about something, money will come; if what drives you is money, you'll end up unhappy or the richest unhappy man at the gravyeard.

Good luck!

Make yourself a "hot" hire:

Learn SQL. Learn something about data mining. Those skills are rarer than many, and therefore in demand.

Look at your own company. Are there any particular specialties that your company needs? If so learn about them and start meeting that need. Similarly, look at software / IT help-wanted ads in your region, pick out the tech buzzwords, and learn enough to be qualified for more of those open positions.

Then look for a higher-paying job, and ask your current employer for some kind of promotion.

This will take some of your personal time. But if you already have a laptop and internet access it won't cost anything; many big software stacks have excellent community editions.

Much good advice has been given here. You should consider it all. I am here to offer another approach for consideration. My perspective is from working in Silicon Valley in the US most of my career.

During my 20+ years in this field I have seen when

- IBM was declared "dead" before Gerstner came in, and it's capitalization was below the value of the real estate it held. It's hard to imagine now.

- Apple dropped to almost nothing in stock price, and Jobs was pushed out by Sculley.

- Cisco became a real company.

- Netflix came on the scene.

- Amazon came on the scene.

- Facebook IPO'd way too low. (I know someone who piled in, and bought a Tesla 6 months later).

2 of those opportunities, because I understand this industry, I recognized and took advantage of by buying the stocks. Others I did not even see. I lost a little money alot, but made alot of money a few times. The key is never to bet too much on the same company, so you can win if you are right only 20% of the time.

Today I am following the economic shift from the U.S. and companies that are capitalizing on the rapid maturation of machine learning. I've also taken a job at a machine learning startup where I negotiated harder for equity than pay.

Don't even get me started on blockchain. I did not make free bitcoin early on, and sometimes still berate myself. But banks and governments will increasingly regulate cryptocurrency, taking away the liberty it brings while reaping the benefits of more efficient operations. Those are trends I can safely invest in. Look at hyperledger, JPM coin, Ripple, that sort of thing.

(As an aside, every 5 years in technology has been "the most exciting time ever to be alive". We are lucky to be around at this point in history, and in the countries we are in.)

My theory has been: you can see what your industry is doing to the world. Place your bets. Ride the ups and downs for a few years (3 to 10 -- Netflix took along time to become obvious; so did Amazon). Reap unreasonable profit.

To summarize, the biggest dollar per hour wins in my life have been investments, not income. Being higher in the hierarchy has only increased this trend. Make sure you think about this avenue as well.

(For another example, during the dot com boom I saw a co-worker use naked calls to turn USD $20,000 into millions. But they were naked calls -- he lost it all when the market crashed, less than 6 months from his planned retirement. That level of risk is not for me.)

So your advice is buy stock? ;). Might make you some money but not sure how it will help them earn more as a developer :)

Technically my advice is to expand his focus to building wealth from more than just increasing income. But yes, you get the idea. Stock, options, etc.

Meanwhile somewhere else there's a thread from a startup founder asking how to hire developers for less than six figures / SF market rate. Remote is the future, people!

USA based dev here. Keep learning and improving. Keep interviewing. 10% per year raises should be the norm until you reach median developer wages.

"10% per year raises should be the norm"

do you mean even while staying with one employer, or by jumping to a new employer?

I'm 10 years in with the same company and I still get a 15%, +/- 5%, raise every year. I don't believe this is normal, though. It's a smaller company, and I'm the lead developer.

I mean, if your current employer will do it and you're happy then why jump? I don't think 10% bumps with the same employer is the norm, but I do think it is when switching jobs as original comment suggested (until you hit median)

Without understanding the cost of living in France I'd suggest moving to Berlin. There are lots of good companies here with great culture and various growth opportunities. You might be better off salarywise as well - but apartment rental is not cheap. It's hard to tell your next best move without having more insight into your level of seniority, experience etc.

I made the move from france to Berlin.

Salaries are about the same as in Paris, taxes are higher though, but the cost of living in Berlin is much lower.

It's probably easier for a english speaker to blend in Berlin than Paris too.

Really interesting comment about Paris and English. When I was last in Paris nobody wanted to speak French to me when they found out I could speak English.

It depends in which part of the city you go I suppose. Touristic areas and tech hot spots should be ok.

In my view there are two steps.

1. Become worth more money. That is, you have to learn how to do things that will make the company more money. That can either be learning how to do harder things, or doing things that are more central to how the company makes money. This may require learning new technical things, and it may also require transferring to different projects, groups, teams, or divisions.

2. Get paid what you're now worth. This may require "marketing" yourself to management, pointing out to them what you're bringing to the company vs. what you're paid. Or, if you can't do that successfully (or if management won't listen), it may require switching jobs.

Keep interviewing at new companies, switch companies regularly and demand 15-20% more each time.

This is definitely the quickest and most effective method if making money is your only goal.

But once you reach a certain salary ceiling you might find that you're stuck at a company that you don't really like other than their pay.

How often is 'regularly'?

Every 2-3 years, give or take.

I'm a junior developer in Paris (~1.3 years of experience). I make 54.5k/y "brut", which is basically a bit under 3000 after tax per month. 2500 seems a bit low to me, especially if you are in Paris and have 2+ years experience.

You need to develop your profile. Have a great LinkedIn, GitHub, Twitter and don't forget to make yourself actually better in what you do. What is also important is to figure out how to improve the processes you're involved in. How to make things faster, make sure stuff is shipped faster or in a better shape. Be pro-active.

Then there's another level you need to play on, which is your role. You're now at the junior level, which means that you're not expected to complete complex tasks on your own.

You need to make sure that you grow to medior / senior level, medior meaning being able to build complex tasks and senior level means being able to understand if such a task should be built, how it should be built and more important than everything what it costs and how to actually get it shipped.

In short: you need to become a shipper. Nothing else matters. You should be able to tell somebody that interviews you "I have shipped X, Y and Z and the impact was...".

Once you've become a shipper and you know how to convince the world that you are one through your self-marketing it's time to move up. You can try to get a senior role in your own company but they rather pay you the same so that might be more difficult than just working in another company. So use this job to get more senior tasks, polish your resumé and move to another one. But don't be shy to just _ask_ your boss how to move into a more senior role. Being in a company and growing is good. Being for 5 years in the same company without growing is bad. Really bad. So don't stay too long if you're not growing.

After that it's about multiplying your salary. You'll earn twice as much if you're a fully booked freelancer and four times as much if you're a fully booked consultant.

Another interesting path is going to the US and be a low-level CRUD developer in a famous company like Google. But you need to be able to beat their tests, which means studying a lot of stuff you won't use in your daily work. I have a famous algorithm book that I read like once a month because I really want to learn it, but I'm perpetually just too busy :(

Having been a professional programmer for 29 years now, it's been my experience that the single biggest factor is the company you choose to work for.

Find a company that's rapidly growing, has a good product base and rising revenues. In such an environment pay raises are not infrequent and surprise bonuses might come your way. Opportunities for advancement also present themselves.

The alternative-- a stagnant company or a shrinking one-- instead offer layoffs, pay/benefit reductions, and constant worries.

Look for the right company! It's worth it.

Good luck.

If Salary is your only concern, your best option would be to move to the US. The process for getting a H1-B Visa is honestly quite difficult, but assuming you can get a company to sponsor you and you win the visa-lottery, you will probably see your salary double/triple (from about 30k to 70-100).

Alternatively, if you want/have to stay in Europe, start applying to other companies. Your current employer is not going to raise your salary unless you pressure them into doing so, and the only way of doing that is to have another job offer. Sadly, Job-hopping literally pays

> Sadly, job-hopping literally pays

It is not necessarily sad. If another employer has a role where the OP can generate more value, it’s in everyone’s best interest that they move there.

There are plenty of problems with analyzing ethical decisions solely with classical economics, but this feels pretty defensible (as long as you apply The same ethical standards to choosing your new job as you did it to choosing your current job)

Get a sense of salary ranges in your current company. Most of the managers, recruiters, HR/finance know ball-park figure if not an accurate one. You'll then be able to place yourself on that scale and in turn evaluate if its worth investing to grow within the org or look outside.

A well known heuristic (backed by some data) is that changing jobs once every ~2.5 years will maximize your life-time earning.

Also, ask yourself if you are aiming for local maxima or global maxima (i.e., with city/France/EU/Global??). Be flexible with relocation depending on the answer.

Usually changing jobs helps. But don’t forget one thing: ask regularly for more money at your current job. A lot of people don’t do that. Let your bosses know you are not happy. Regularly.

The best way is to switch companies every 2/3 years.

Also if you're working at what's called SSII, leave and find yourself a company that values Seniority. Most SSII don't value it.

Become a contractor. When I was a perm I made awful money. Now as a contractor I make £10,000 - £14000 a month (assuming I work a full month :-)).

In case you really don't want to become a contractor and want to stay perm I recommend changing job every 2 years or so. Staying in the same job and getting small pay increases (or even a promotion) will always be less than leaving and going to a new job, which will pay more. Most people make more money by switching ladders rather than trying to climb the ladder.

Assuming moving isn't a possibility for you, the obvious answer is look for a new job. It is rare to ever get a raise for the amount you get with a new job. Negotiate high...too high...worst case scenario you stay where you are. Unsure if the area you are in is flush with jobs, but if they are this strategy is effective but can reasonably only happen every few years and only to a ceiling.

If your salary is about 2500 € per month, is it without or with the company taxes ("brut" or "net") ?

If I talk in the companies that I know in France, 2500€/months (with -"brut"- or without company taxes -"net"-) seems low to me. Maybe you can just find another job, the market is really open for developers ;)

is it Paris salary ? because even for Paris it's seems a lot to me. I'm in Toulouse and after 3.5 years of experience I can't barely find a job that pay 35k or more as a front end developer.

I'm basically making 42'000€ annually brut

move to Berlin, best disposable income of europe.

Switch to finance. You can get 55k (at 3-4 year of experience) within an agency working for banks.

How much experience do you have?

Apply here. Pretty sure they pay better and their office is nearby (Valbonne). If they ask, tell them yo're making 6k/month now: https://careers.ricardo.ch/jobs/151179-ingenieur-front-end-s...

With all the above and below said, if you're just starting out your career it's much more important to be at the right place than it is to earn a lot. Of course you shouldn't accept being underpaid but moving to a sh.tty company at which you're not growing just for a few more euros is suicide.

Join professional remote freelancers companies like https://www.toptal.com/#employ-bright-coders. You can start working hourly and move to a part-time or even full-time when you feel comfortable and stable.

If staying in Europe is a requirement, NL or UK usually pays much better than France (given that you're already an inmigrant and some companies may pay you less than a native unfortunately). Otherwise and as many others have suggested, US is the answer.

I wouldn't think about moving to UK right now, since the rules may change any day.

If staying in Europe is a requirement, obviously UK isn't a valid choice.

The UK may be leaving the EU, but it's still in Europe.

But I agree, it's not a good choice right now. Let the situation settle down there first.

NL is in my experience not great for employee developers. Somehow companies tend to believe managers should make more money than programmers.

For freelancers it's pretty good, though. Biggest boost to my income ever.

How should one go about finding freelancing opportunities in NL?

Recruiters. Many of them may be scum and parasites, but they also seem to be an essential part of the ecosystem. Make sure they know how to find you.

LinkedIn works quite well for me. Keep your CV up to date there, make sure it's clear that you're freelance and looking for work, and they'll find you. At least that's my experience. You can take a more active approach than that if you want, but this is working well enough for me.

Try to join a large company that earns a lot of money (Pharma, Oil, Banking ...) : the salaries are good and there are a lot of side perks like extra leave days, bonuses, additional bonus based on the company performance ...

Move companies semi-regularly - for roles that you really want, that will stretch you and that will interest you.

Remember no one will look after your career and salary, like you.

In the US, you do it by moving to a new company. Every significant double-digit percentage increase I've ever received was by changing jobs.

Move to the US. Anywhere will pay you more than that, tech hubs even more so. A more serious answer is try to get a remote job at a US company.

> Move to the US. Anywhere will pay you more than that, tech hubs even more so.

Raw salary for sure, take home salary after health insurance, pension, etc ... not so much. Unless you're 20s, live alone and don't plan to have kids.

I disagree. I'm nothing special as a developer and my disposable income (after rent, food, bills, etc. but not including savings) is more than OP's entire income, just from living in a tech hub and getting paid an average salary here. My work covers most of my health insurance costs, but I don't have a pension (aside from my own investment accounts) though I'd assume OP doesn't either. It's definitely a lucrative choice if you don't have kids, but it still might be even if you do and you're smart about how you live.

Commute time, working hours, vacation time, job safety, there are many thing to take into consideration.

I'm not saying one is objectively better, it all boils down to personal choices, but it's much more complex than "Go to SV and make 10x the salary".

I worked in mountain view before, now I'm living 300 meters from my office in central Berlin paying <20% of my salary in rent, I'm missing the 365 days of sun but other than that I don't think anything changed for the worse.

Out of curiosity. Where did you migrate from? I don't think France is the place if you want to make big bucks as a software developer.

But look into contract work. In particular in Scandinavia, London, Switzerland ...

(Though if you only have two years of experience then that might be too little to get this type of employment.)

Well, money isn't everything.

Despite all the bad things the US has to say about socialism it made France a really nice spot for "workers". Working conditions/hours, job safety, amount of vacation days, education, health, parental leave, retirement, overall quality of life, &c.

If you want to create a multi billion $ company, get absurd amount of investors money and don't like taxes you probably should look somewhere else.

Well. I am based in Denmark. And we get a lot migration here from Southern Europe because young people can't get a foothold in a labour market dominated by trade unions.

They can't get a foothold in a labour market where there are no jobs.

Relocate to a city in which the cost of living is heroically expensive. You'll earn much more than 2500€/month.

What's your area of expertise?

I have a software engineering degree.

Good with front-end (mainly React.js but also anything JavaScript), done a lot of back-end as well (Java Spring, Node, PHP) but i'm willing to pivot completely.

From what I've seen, working with a good software consultancy for a while is not bad since they will give you a lot of initial training in stuff like software project management and the latest continuous integration/unit testing/agile whatever, which seems to be highly valued.

Move to London, there's tons of places hiring for people with React experience and it shouldn't be hard to find somewhere paying £50k + if you've gone some years experience.

I'd recommend not moving to London. Three reasons. 1. brexit kerfuffle, 2. London is way too big commuting is a killer. 3. Even though you earn more, it doesn't make up for the living costs really.

Where in France?

Sophia Antipolis

42k in Sophia Antipolis seems like a really good salary for a 2 years experience javascript dev.

I don't think you can go really higher. If you want you will need to move to Berlin or London I think

Warning: between Antibes (Sophia) and Paris I would adjust salary value with a quality-of-life factor of about two. The length-of-life factor, eg. air-pollution, city stressors, and so on, is impossible to evaluate.

I work in Sophia Antipolis too! I'm 33yo with 9y of experience and my current salary is 56k "brut". If you work for an SSII your best chance of a salary increase is to become staff in one of the companies you are contracting for!

Then you can move to Paris to have a better salary but you will also pay more for your life... You could move seriously, there are a lot of companies in Paris that are looking for developers so they will pay more than what you earn now.

Move to London

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