The most active and vibrant online watercooler for the Victoria tech scene is the #YYJTech Slack community.

Employee compensation is a hot button issue there. So much so that the community self-organized and created a salary survey that saw 200+ respondents anonymously submit their salary data, along with details about their role and company.

I analyzed the data, and here are the findings.

Questions on the survey included:

  • Annual salary
  • Size of company
  • Years of seniority in your role
  • Job function
  • Self-identified as a minority
  • Self-assessed negotiating ability

I spent a few hours on Sunday combing through the data. 

Tech Job Statistics in Victoria, BC

In total, there were 189 respondents with usable data. (See the end of the post for details on data prep). Of those, most respondents were software developers, working at smaller firms, with multiple years of experience:

  • 60% of respondents came from companies of 100 employees or below.
  • 45% of all respondents were full-stack developers.
  • 57% of respondents were senior, with >5 years of experience, more than junior and intermediate roles combined.

Other findings:

  • Company size has a big impact on annual salaries, with software developers at companies with more than >100 employees earning about 30% more than software developers at smaller companies.
  • Software developers tend to out-earn front end developers and designers.
  • Specialized technical positions (DevOps, System Architects) tend to make more than management/team lead position.
  • Years of work experience has a strong positive influence on salaries, except for team leads, whose salaries didn’t change as much (though this may be an artifact of how the data was collected)

Software Developer Salary in Victoria, BC

The biggest question, and in my mind, what spurred this survey to take place, was how much software developers earn in Victoria.

When reviewing the data, the two biggest variables that impact software developer salaries seem to be:

  • Years of experience, and
  • Size of company

Comparatively experienced software developers make 30% more working at larger companies than at smaller ones.

YYJ Tech 2019 Salary Survey

The average Junior Software Developer in Victoria BC makes $52k working at a company of less than 100 people, and 30% more ($68k) working at a large company.

The average Intermediate Software Developer, those with 2 – 5 years experience), make $68k working at a small company, and 30% more ($89k) working at a large company.

The pay gap narrows for Senior Software Developers of 5 or more years experience, with those at small companies making an average of $102k while those at large companies make 21% more ($123k).

Tech Salaries for Victoria, BC

When looking at the overall ranges of salaries, it’s possible to generalize a few things:

  • Most software developer roles start in the $65k – $105k range and cap out around $165k.
  • Leadership roles (team leads of software developers) are higher, $100k – $120k and cap out around $165k, with some outliers as high as $196k.
  • Front End Designers and Product Designers range from $54k – $85k and cap out around $120k.
  • Project Managers are among the most consistently paid at around $80k – $100k with less variability in salary amounts.
  • Specialized technical roles are around $81k to $151k, with some going all the way to $200k for a Systems Architect and $350k for DevOps.

Salary Increases for Tech Jobs

When comparing job function with job seniority (in other words, years of experience in the job), most salaries increase over time.

A few notes on how to interpret the data. 

  1. It’s possible that the respondents who provided data self-reported their years of experience as “0-2 years of experience as a team lead”, implying that they might have more years of seniority as a developer.
  2. Similarly, both Systems Archichtests and DevOps engineers (bucketed in the group called “Specialized Talent”) often have considerable job experience before going into those roles. While it’s possible an entry-level DevOps engineer going straight into the role from school, may out-earn a full stack developer, I think it’s more likely that the DevOps average is skewing high based on total experience being higher than the experience in that role, which was reported.

Entry Level Tech Jobs in Victoria, BC

What is the highest paying job I can get in tech, fresh out of school?

College grads everywhere

Skip the startups, go to a big company.

Looking only at annual salary, new tech workers entering the workforce will make more if they work at larger companies (>100 employees) than smaller ones. 

This makes sense, as compensation at smaller companies may include additional benefits such as stock options, greater work flexibility, office snacks, but may not have as much cash compensation.

Notes on Data Preparation

There were a few entries that were thrown out due to missing job title data. 

Participants who listed themselves as “co-op” status (similar to interns) appeared to be a mix of annual salary and term/monthly salary and these were all removed.

I also normalized the job titles into common job functions, and grouped the roles into “Front End”, “Full Stack Developer”, “Team Lead”, “Specialized Technical” and “Project Management”. Most of them fit neatly, although ‘Specialized Talent’ is a bit diverse in that it includes both DevOps and Systems Architect.

Lastly, the self-reported “Minority” data included values “Yes”, “No”, and “Maybe”. I’ve simply ignored the “Maybe” data.

The company sizes were self-reported and ranged from:

  • 1 – 50 Employees
  • 50 – 100 Employees
  • 100 – 500 Employees
  • 500+ and up

Note that Victoria doesn’t have many 500+ companies headquartered in town, but it does have a sizeable population of remote and branch workers for larger firms such as Shopify, Amazon and Workday.