Self-employed programmers in Romania can earn up to $10,000 per month, much more than employed IT professionals, according to Lemon.io, a Ukrainian start-up that works as a job marketplace for vetted programmers, who has created a payment calculator that provides transparent information about the fees that specialists registered on the platform can earn, depending on the programming languages, level of experience, and country of residence.
After thorough research on the differences in payments between various countries, Lemon.io found the minimum, average, and maximum hourly payment rates for 83 technologies and programming languages. Depending on market peculiarities, tax systems and costs of living, rates may change by country specifics.
Eastern Europe, still unequal to the West.
A programmer residing in Romania specialising in Python, one of the most popular languages globally, can earn up to $80 per hour if they have experience at the Tech Lead level (over 7 years of experience).
A mid-level programmer with 3+ years of experience earns about $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 3+ years of experience is only $19 per hour.
At the opposite end are Italy, Spain, Germany, and Malta, where a programmer with 3 years of experience in Python can get as much as $31 per hour on average.
Comparing the countries in the top IT hubs in Eastern Europe, we notice that the rates for Romania are roughly at the same level as Poland, Bulgaria, Moldova, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for across most of the programming languages, but in Ukraine, the rate is only $54 per hour.
For rarer programming languages such as Clojure or Rust, fees can go up to $100 per hour for specialists with more than 7 years of experience at Tech Lead level.
Freelancer or employee – what is more profitable for a programmer?
Unlike those who are employed with employment contracts in various companies, self-employed programmers must own a company (VAT-paying or not) or operate as an Authorized Natural Person (PFA).
Even after the application of the new measures of the Fiscal Code, entering into force starting from January 1, 2023, for small businesses, the net monthly earnings of a self-employed specialist can still exceed the salary of an employed developer in a Romanian company, as the average net monthly salary for a Romanian programmer is 9.331 lei, according to the June 2022 report issued by the National Institute of Statistics.
The business model of the start-up Lemon.io, founded in 2015, was designed to do justice to both programmers who are thus paid fairly, according to experience, and customers who receive high-quality services at reasonable prices.
A programmer will know approximately the total amount received for a month’s work even before signing up 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 the reduction of the wage gap between men and women at European level.
According to the latest Eurostat reports, the difference in payment across Europe is 13%, while in Romania the difference is much smaller – men earn only 2.4% more than women.
In some regions, displaying the salary range in job advertisements is a legal requirement.
Employees appreciate companies’ transparency about remuneration because they know before applying what salary they might receive.
Lemon.io focuses to attract responsible and disciplined developers, specialists with at least 3 years of programming experience. The company wants to engage with both full-time and part-time programmers (minimum of 20 working hours per week).
Lemon.io launched on the Romanian market in March 2022 and is looking to add to their platform more than 100 programmers from the local market to join the 60+ Romanian programmers already working remotely on projects for start-ups in the Silicon Valley.
Currently, Lemon.io collaborates with over 630 developers from 46 countries.
The Lemon.io team filters projects from clients and assigns projects to collaborators based on qualifications, areas of interest and availability in the respective period.
Unlike classic platforms working with independent contractors, specialists who are accepted on Lemon.io and have successfully completed the verification process of the internal team will receive projects related to their level of expertise and pay.
In addition, developers who sign up on the Lemon.io platform do not pay any signup or withdrawal fees.