How Much Do Tech Employees Actually Make in Chicago?

No secret that finding and hiring the right talent for your software product development today is a really tough job. Chicago is no exception. No matter if you're going to kick off a new project locally and need to staff your project team fro scratch or if you're just looking to hire part-time resources to help execute certain project tasks, be ready for 1) a pretty lengthy time to hire, and 2) pretty high developer salaries.

Thanks to a study conducted by Built in Chicago, we have a breakdown of the salary ranges for some of the most common tech roles in the city. So check them out below to have a better understanding of how much it'll potentially cost you to hire tech talent in Chicago as of spring 2017. Also, don't forget that salary alone isn't the only price forming factor when it comes to HR recruitment, and I encourage you to check out this blog post by our partner company Digi117 about the true cost of your IT hires.

Backend Developers in Chicago

Annual salary: $85,000 - $105,000

Backend Developers are required to design, build, and deploy software applications efficiently. They are also expected to work closely with other software developers, product managers, QA engineers, marketers, sales representatives, and executives to meet the needs of the customer.


  • Android (Java)
  • API best practices
  • C#
  • DevOps
  • iOS
  • Java
  • Javascript
  • .NET
  • Objective-C
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Python
  • QA
  • Ruby

Backend developers are also expected to develop efficient and scalable software as well as identify and address performance issues. You will be required to participate in design and code reviews, be skilled at performance debugging and benchmarking, and identify and prototype best practices for backend engineering.

When it comes to senior backend developers, be ready to hire one for $100,000 - $120,000 a year. The expectations here are the same as what’s expected of a Backend Developer, but the difference is that the individual in a senior position must display a higher level of competency.

Front End Developers

Annual salary: $75,000 - $100,000

Front end development is what websites, software, and apps are all about as it’s where software design meets the user. Proficient front end developers are not only able to deploy applications that are easy to use, but also perform well technically.

Front end developers work closely with the engineering team, UX designers, and the product development team to create software, websites, and apps that are the closest to the user and their needs.


  • CSS
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • Multiple web browsers

They are also expected to implement graphical designs, interactive front end features, and write clean and high-performance code. Furthermore, they are also required to collaborate extensively with the engineering department as well as other departments in an agile software development environment

Responsibilities of front end developers also include working with designers to turn mockups and wireframes into the final product. Additionally, they will have to be able to create maintainable, scalable, reusable, and testable applications.

Mobile Engineers

Annual salary: $80,000 - $100,000

Smartphones continue to be popular, so mobile engineers are still in demand. As a result, there are plenty of companies looking for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile engineers to achieve the next generation of computing.

Mobile engineers are expected to work with a diverse set of team members. They are also required to have a strong understand of UX and be up-to-date on this rapidly evolving technology.


  • Agile software development
  • APIs
  • Android SDK
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • iOS
  • Javascript
  • Objective-C
  • SDK
  • Windows SDK

Mobile engineers are expected to develop, release, and maintain mobile apps. But they are also expected to collaborate on various software development projects with backend developers, QA engineers, UX designers, and project managers.

They’re also required to participate in design and code reviews, display extensive knowledge of UX best practices, agile software development, and other development methods.

Data Scientists

Annual salary: $80,000 - $100,000

Big Data is here to stay, so data scientists will continue to be in demand as companies try to make sense of the ocean of data in their possession. As a result, they will be expected to distill that information and turn into something valuable and actionable.

Data scientists are expected to be expert statisticians, have extensive knowledge and experience with analytical software, and be savvy at understanding user behavior to help companies improve their performance.


  • Business best practices
  • Marketing
  • Matlab
  • Python
  • R
  • Statistics
  • Tableau
  • User behavior

Data scientists should also have knowledge and experience with probability models and machine learning (ML). They must also have the ability manipulate software to identify patterns in the data.

To help the company better understand their customers, they will have to work with marketers, engineers, backend developers, and system administrators. Beyond that, they should also display the ability to visualize and articulate data patterns in a manner that is easily understood by colleagues.

UX Designers

Annual salary: $80,000 - $95,000

UX Designers will be responsible for enhancing user engagement on mobiles apps, software, and websites. Additionally, they will be expected to study user behavior, conduct A/B testing, and ascertain how changes in the design can influence user behavior.


  • A/B Testing
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • CSS
  • Design abilities
  • Google Analytics
  • HTML
  • Javascript

UX Designers will be expected to design and prototype interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing. They will also be required to work closely with product teams and engineers to define and develop new features. They will also have to test new features and optimize the design based on user feedback.

Bad news is that your chance of finding and hiring these specialists in Chicago fast is pretty slim unless you're one of the Ivy League companies like Google or Facebook or a famous unicorn everyone wants to become part of just because that's cool. Advanced developers are attracted by challenging and sophisticated projects and big brand names, so you'll need to use a lot of innovative strategies to get them on board. You'll most likely have to engage a local agency to hire tech talent, which will increase your cost of hiring a new talent. Most of local IT recruiting agencies have similar candidates databases and source from the same pool which adds complexity to the process and extends the timing. We invite you to try our IT staffing solutions as they really make a difference. We source from a pool of fresh talent with new resumes added on a daily basis and this pool isn't seen elsewhere by other local agencies or recruiters. As such, we can shorten your time to hire and save your hiring budget in the mid- and long-term.

Submit your request now to get the senior IT talent readily available to join your project team fast and cost-effectively!

Featured image: WeWork

Andrew Zola is a freelance writer, designer, and artist working in branding and marketing for over ten years. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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