How To Become A Rich Millionaire Software Engineer in 2023


When most people think of software engineering, they think of someone who lives a glamorous life with a bottomless pile of cash that allows them to do whatever they want. However, although you could be incredibly rich as a software engineer, that certainly is not always the case. If you are wondering how to become a rich millionaire software engineer, then this article is for you. Today we are going to break down some actionable steps to make more money as a developer and guide your career on the right path. Assuming you’re willing to work for it of course!

Jobs That Pay The Highest In Software Development

1. Tech Giants

If you want a high-paying job as a software engineer, your best bet is to try and land a job at one of the current top tech companies. Not only do these companies pay well, but they also look very good on your resume. Making it easy to job-hop in the future and set the rest of your career on the right path.

So, what are these top tech companies? Well, as society changes, so do the tech companies that operate around them. The top tech companies today won’t be the top tomorrow. With that being said, below we are going to break down the top companies in 2023 to get you a high salary in tech and make you a rich software engineer!

MAMMA (Previously FAANG)

In 2023, if you are shooting for the most prestigious companies with the highest salaries, you are probably looking at MAMMA. An acronym that stands for Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Alphabet. If you want to land a job with the best perks, the highest salaries, and the best way to fast-forward your career, you should be aiming for one of these jobs. However, with large tech layoffs and shifts in the industry, it is becoming harder and harder to land a job here. However, if you want the best of the best, look no further.

But wait, what about FAANG?

You may remember MAMMA as FAANG. This is because the biggest tech giants in the recent past consisted of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Since then, Facebook has changed its branding to Meta and Google has changed its branding to Alphabet. Netflix has also lost a lot of stock value due to major competition in the streaming market and Microsoft has grown too over a $2.5 trillion evaluation. So the two companies were swapped.

This is important to keep in mind because you want to be aiming to work for companies that will be relevant for a long time to come for job security and future growth! If you worked for Netflix, you would be in a much worse spot than if you worked for Microsoft in 2022 going into 2023. So don’t think that these top companies are the holy grail of places to work. There are plenty of other places to work in order to make bank as a programmer too!

Other Top Companies

A big pitfall of many high-achieving developers is that they overlook big companies that are not in the top 5. Although they don’t have a fancy name grouping them together, working at a company like Adobe, IBM, Oracle, Uber or any other major tech company will still reap many of the same benefits as working at a MAMMA tech giant.

These companies are easier to get into, while still providing the benefits, salary, and prestige that less well known companies do not. So if you are not interested in a MAMMA company, check out this list of alternatives.

How Much Can You Make At Top Tech Companies?

Of course, you are probably wondering how much money you could realistically make working at a tech giant. Well, although the number is going to vary greatly by company, location and job title, here are the general numbers.

In a MAMMA job [previously FAANG], the average is somewhere around $170,000 USD a year. If you work for a big tech company outside of MAMMA, you could still see an average of anywhere between $132,000 – $200,000 USD for a mid-level role.

Although these are big salaries, they probably won’t make you a millionaire anytime soon. However, if you combine this salary with some of the tips mentioned below, you could definitely become a millionaire in under 10 years!

2. Tech Startups

Although working at a big tech company sounds great, they are incredibly competitive and the jobs usually go to the brightest candidates with the best grades from top schools. While you could definitely be a self-taught programmer and work at a prestigious company, the odds aren’t exactly in your favor.

So what should you do? Easy. Go on the opposite spectrum and work for an early tech startup that you believe has a lot of potential.

There are a few key advantages to working for a tech startup:

  1. Companies will likely compensate with stock options so that your bank account grows with the success of the company
  2. Gives you an opportunity to work in many aspects of the development process and see a holistic view of how things work
  3. Allows you to see how the company started and where it succeeded so you can create your own products or better the products of companies you work with in the future

As you can see, working at a startup does a lot to help you advance your career and give you options you wouldn’t get working with a big company.

Bigger Risk, Bigger Reward

In fact, if you want to become a millionaire programmer and are willing to take the risk, you could become rich much quicker with a fast-growing start-up that offers stock options than at a big tech company. I know a few people personally who have taken this route and are now living very well. Just imagine you started working at Shopify before it became the e-commerce giant it is today. The stock options alone would likely outperform your salary!

As a self-taught developer, I can tell you this is a great option if you don’t have a degree in software engineering. You have a much larger pool of jobs to apply to and the requirements to be accepted are generally much lower. Mainly because there are a lot of start-ups and they know you are taking a risk by working with them.

If you want more information on how to get a job as a self-taught web developer, check out my step-by-step guide here.

Tips To Becoming Rich As A Software Engineer

So now you know the two main career paths to go down if you want to be rich and successful as a software engineer. Next, I am going to share a few tips to really help boost your total income as a developer.

1. Negotiate Your Salary

No matter what company you go to work for, you should always negotiate your salary. This will be the easiest and most critical time to talk about money. In fact, most companies will lowball your offer expecting you to counter. Assuming you can give solid reasoning why you deserve a higher salary, there is no downside to trying. A company will not revoke an offer if you attempt to negotiate in a professional and logical manner.

Even if the company cannot give you the salary, you still have the option to negotiate benefits, such as bonuses, vacation days, or remote work opportunities.

If you want to learn the art of negotiation, I recommend checking out this book. It has helped me a lot in both my personal and professional career and one that I always re-read to get myself in the headspace of negotiating.

2. Job Hop Often

My second major piece of advice would be to job-hop often. This is by far the easiest method to gain a higher salary quickly as a programmer. Trust me, I have gone down the path of asking for a raise and it is incredibly difficult to get a high pay-raise by working with the same company.

Instead, you should be constantly job-hopping. Find jobs that were originally out of your experience level when you started your current job and you will likely see a bump in pay of 20-30% each time if you’re early in your career.

Combining this with negotiating a salary can easily net you a 25-50% increase in income. Again, this would be if you’re early in your career. The later in your career you get, the harder it will become to obtain a high pay raise.

Also make sure you’re not job hoping too soon. Ideally, you want to job hop every 2-3 years. This way you prove to your future employer that you’re going to stick around and be worth the investment to train you.

Any sooner, and you risk not being hired for fear of leaving too soon. Any later and you will likely loose out on higher salaries that could have started working for you sooner.

3. Geo-Arbitrage

The problem with most tech jobs is that they are located in areas that are very expensive to live in. So that $100,000 – $200,000 a year salary ends up looking a lot less appealing.

However, it’s 2023 and we are in the age of the Digital Nomad! It is now easier than ever to land a remote job, especially in tech.

I actually spent the last 2 years traveling around South America while maintaining my job as a Web Developer. While it was a little stressful traveling while maintaining a full-time job. It funded my entire trip and I was still able to save money on top of that on a pretty modest salary.

I mentioned this in a previous article, but the amount of money you earn as a software developer is directly related to the country in which you get the job. If you live in a poor area, you should try and find a job in the United States or Europe. If you live in a developed country, you should consider moving to a developing nation and work remote.

Geo-arbitrage is growing increasingly popular and is totally doable. I have met hundreds of people that do it every day. So whether you live in a developed or developing country, I highly recommend trying this out!

4. Think Like An Entrepreneur Not Just A Software Engineer

What do Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Yes, they are all software engineer billionaires, but more importantly, they are entrepreneurs.

It’s easier to make money as an Entrepreneur than you think.

As software developers, we all have key skills that most do not. For starters, we can create literally anything we want with a computer. While most people get hung up on the idea of hiring an expensive software developer [sorry, not sorry], we have the ability to build elaborate and interesting systems on an extremely small budget.

Software engineers are also, usually, extremely good researchers and are able to figure out creative solutions to difficult problems. Putting us at an incredible advantage to build a product and sell it.

So if you want to become rich as a software engineer then start working on side projects! If you want some ideas to get you started, check out this article on making passive income programming. If you don’t know how to write your own projects, check out this article.

Building Software That Sells

If you want to learn how to build a profitable product, there are tons of good resources online that will help you get started. I highly recommend starting with INSPIRED. It is probably the best articulation of how to be successful in creating a product I have ever read. I ran into many bits of information that helped me overcome challenges in my own endeavors and I am sure it will help you too.

5. Contribute To Open Source Software + Create Personal Projects

Another important tip to becoming rich as a software engineer is to eat, sleep and breathe code. Learn how to create your own projects, start contributing to open-source software and write code as often as you can while maintaining a healthy life balance.

Ultimately, the things that are going to get you hired are the skills you have, the people you know, and the ability to sell yourself as the perfect candidate.

By contributing to open-source software, you are essentially networking and meeting other developers and learning all the necessary skills to contribute to a company codebase.

Employers love to see this because it shows you are passionate about code and are good at what you do. You also get the chance to meet other developers and help them with their problems. Creating these connections is a great way to get your foot in the door to companies they worked for and have a personal referral. This is incredibly useful when applying for jobs and gives you that extra edge over other candidates.

So start working on useful personal and open-source projects today!

6. Focus On In-Demand Software Engineering Fields

Not all software engineering jobs are created equal. There is no debate that a Software Tester working in Quality Assurance is going to earn less than a Web Developer or a Data Scientist.

If you are early in your career or haven’t landed your first job. This is a critical topic to think about. The tech world is constantly changing. A few years ago, web developers were all the craze, later came data science and machine learning. Now with ChatGPT blowing up in 2023, A.I. is the new hot thing and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

The area of software engineering you choose will directly impact how much you get paid today and it will indicate how much demand there will be in the future.

So what’s big in 2023? It is hard to say what is simply a fade in the tech world and what is around to stay. It is safe to say that there will be a future in A.I. and machine learning as well as the maintenance and future development of web applications. However, it is hard to say what will be around for another 50 years and what won’t.

However, if you are looking at the jobs that pay well today, that’s a bit easier to determine. If you want to know where to start, check out this list of the 40 top-paying tech jobs.


So that’s how to become rich as a programmer!

The first step is to get a competitive job with a high salary and benefits. Whether that means working for a tech giant or a fast past startup, working in a competitive job will get your career on the right foot and give you tons of disposable income to grow your wealth.

The next step is to learn how to negotiate your salary, continue to job hop and consider geo-arbitrage. This will ensure you’re steadily increasing your disposable income over the years and getting paid what you’re worth.

Finally, focusing on entrepreneurial endeavours, creating personal projects and working on open-source projects to keep your skills relevant, network with other developers and make a bit of money on the side!

Do all of these things and I assure you, you will see drastic positive changes as a developer and live the life you always dreamed of.

As always, happy coding and good luck!

Grant Darling

Grant is a full-stack / frontend software developer passionate about writing & coding. He has many years experience working in the tech industry both as a freelancer and as an employee.

The Code Bytes is all about providing people with honest information about programming. To learn more about Grant, read his about page!

If you’re interested in freelance coding / writing services or want to partner with The Code Bytes, you can get in touch with me here!