18 Jun 2024

Software Engineer Salaries in Dubai, UAE - An Ultimate Guide

The Dubai salary for a software engineer is confusing. Sites such as Levels.fyi, Glassdoor and Payscale quote all kinds of figures, making it hard to know what to believe.

This guide has a different approach. It looks at the average salary in Dubai for a software engineer in a completely new way.

I compiled it to help tech professionals like you understand the United Arab Emirates' salary landscape.

This is the last Dubai software engineer salary guide you'll ever need.

By the end of this article, you'll walk away knowing the real software developer salary in Dubai.

Furthermore, you'll understand the different types of companies in Dubai and the different monthly salary at each.

In this article: 📝

The Quick Answer

The average salary for a software engineer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is $114,000 USD per year.

This is the salary for a senior software engineer with more than 5 years professional experience, who is working at a top company in UAE.

This is the quick answer.

I also have a Dubai Software Engineer Salary and Cost of Living Calculator, if you're looking for a more personalised value.

However, to really understand the average wage in Dubai. particularly how pay varies for juniors, mid-level, senior staff and managers, I strongly recommend reading the rest of this article.

I also share wages at different kinds of company in Dubai and explain my calculation.

If you really want to understand salaries in Dubai, read on!

Dubai Software Engineer Salary

What Most Salary Guides Get Wrong

Many websites already tried and failed to calculate the average salary in Dubai for a software engineer.

Online salary data for Dubai is incredibly misleading. We regularly see ridiculous yearly pay scales for software engineers.

For example, at Payscale, we observe that senior software engineer salaries in Dubai range from 8,447 USD (AED 31,000) to 113,352 USD (AED 416,000). The highest salary is more than ten times that of the lowest salary.

How can two people at the same level in the same industry, possess such different salaries?

The truth is that there are two completely different types of tech company in Dubai.

Each kind of tech company has a wage structure and work conditions that are totally distinct.

Other salary guides fail to recognise this. They look at software engineer in dubai salaries as one large pool of data.

This results in confusing data. Data that tells us nothing meaningful about the average software developer salary in dubai.

For a clear picture of software engineer pay in Dubai, we instead need to understand the company types.

Understanding Dubai's Company Types

Understanding Dubai's Company Types

We can divide the kinds of company in Dubai into two main classes:

Top Companies

Top companies make high quality high cost products. They need skilled employees and pay excellent wages to attract the best talent from around the world.

In Dubai these can be large, world famous companies like, Microsoft, Oracle or Amazon. They can also be startups with a leading local technology product like Talabat, Careem or Noon. Well funded, smaller companies in the crypto or the AI space also fit this description.

Budget Companies

Budget companies invest less in their technology product. They try to work with smaller budgets and pay their employees less, often relying on less experienced or less skilled labour.

In Dubai these companies tend to be agencies, small-scale consultancies and startups with less funding. We also find budget companies in industries which are not software centric, such as construction and real estate.

Why Averaging Salaries Doesn’t Work

Other guides average together the salaries from Top Companies and Budget Companies. The result is numbers that don't represent either company type.

The graph below shows what happens when you average together salaries from Dubai's two types of company.

Average Salary in Dubai for Software Engineers for All Company Types

When we combine the company types, we see only a few salaries at the average. Meanwhile, the range of salaries reported is extreme. In other words, these numbers don't represent the actual salaries well at all.

This makes it impossible to understand what a software engineer salary in UAE usually looks like.

A Better Way: Average Salaries by Company Type

By looking at salaries by company type, we get a much clearer picture of wages in Dubai.

First, we separate out Top Companies from Budget Companies. Then we average the salaries for each type.

Average Salary in Dubai for Software Engineers by Company Type

When we take this approach, we get a meaningful average salary for each. We also get a narrow range of wages for each company type that is believable.

In other words, this information gives a realistic picture of what salaries for software engineers in Dubai look like.

Discovering the Real Dubai Software Engineering Salary

We can use other websites' salary ranges to unearth what the real average wage in Dubai looks like.

Glassdoor, Salary Expert and Gulf Talent work with different types of companies. For example, Gulf Talent works with a lot of Budget Companies. Whilst Salary Expert works with lots of Top Companies.

By looking at how their salary estimates change, we can estimate the Top Company and Budget Company salary ranges.

Levels.fyi: More Top Company Salaries

Levels.fyi is a great resource for comparing tech salaries worldwide.

A lot of their data comes from tech workers at well funded startups and well-known companies. We also see some salaries from Budget Companies, but a lot less.

We can see their median salary for software engineers in Dubai below. We see fairly high averages across the board.

Experience Level Yearly Salary USD Yearly Salary AED
Senior 100,080 367,300
Average 88,493 324,767
Junior 40,033 146,920

We can also see companies in Dubai with wages similar to other global tech hubs.

For example, an L3 position at Stripe offers a total pay package of $362,296 USD (AED 1,329,626).

We also see a string of companies with salaries of more than ($160,000 USD / AED 587,200). These wages are all at well known top companies; Amazon, Talabat, Careem, Binance, Revolut and Noon.

We also find evidence for Budget companies. For example, a mid level position at local HR company Bayzat offering just $18,015 USD (AED 66,114 AED).

This is $70,000 USD less than Levels.fyi's calculated average. A strong indicator that this salary is an outlier and doesn't come from the same type of company.

Glassdoor: A Mix of Top and Budget Companies

Glassdoor has data from both types of company.

We see an extremely broad software developer salary range of $22,889 USD(AED 84,000) to $323,706 USD (AED 1,188,000)

This is just what we would expect if there was a mix of Top and Budget companies.

Looking closer at the actual company by company data shows both types of company to be present.

For example Top Company Talabat has software developer salaries ranging from $76,000 USD to $135,000 USD per year. A median salary of roughly $101,000 USD per year.

Similarly for Careem, we see salaries for senior software engineers listed from $105,000 USD to $163,000 USD per year.

At world-renowned company Amazon, mid-level software engineerse have salaries in the $67,000 USD to $100,000 USD range. While seniors, such as engineering managers have salaries in excess of $190,000 USD.

We also find plenty of Budget Companies offering salaries in the low $20,000 range. For example, we see Bayzat with a median salary for a software engineer of under $18,000 USD per year (65,856 AED).

Salary Expert: Mostly Top Companies

Salary Expert sources their salary data from Top Companies using internal and third-party surveys. As such, we expect to see higher salaries.

Salary Expert estimates that the total average software engineer salary in Dubai is $96,237 USD (AED 353,189). This is regardless of seniority.

By looking at this data, we get a good idea of what the Top Company salary range looks like.

Experience Level Yearly Salary USD Yearly Salary AED
Senior 119,636 439,063
Average 96,237 353,189
Junior 64,801 237,821

Gulf Talent: Mostly Budget Companies

Gulf Talent is a job site that lists all manner of jobs in the Gulf states, from childcare to petroleum engineering.

When we look at their software engineers listings we see jobs mostly from Budget Companies. We therefore expect to see lower salaries.

For software engineers Gulf Talent reports the average salary to be just under $23,000 USD per year (AED 84,000).

For senior developers the average is $44,141 USD (AED 162,000).

For junior developers they report an average of $21,254 USD (AED 78,000).

By looking at this data, we get a good idea of what the Budget Company salary range looks like.

Experience Level Yearly Salary USD Yearly Salary AED
Senior 44,141 162,000
Average 22,889 84,000
Junior 21,254 78,000

Payscale: A Mix of Top and Budget Companies

Payscale create their salary guide using 3rd party data, including government reports and industry data. We therefore expect to see both types of company well represented.

Again, as with Glassdoor, we see an incredibly broad salary range.

80% of the salary data falling between $8,447 USD (AED 31,000) and $111,717 USD (AED 410,000).

Just what we expect from a mix of Top and Budget companies.

The Software Engineer Salary You Can Expect in Dubai Dollar Bills

Our Result: The Software Engineer Salary You Can Actually Expect in Dubai

By looking at how the salaries change between our sources, I've created my personal salary estimates.

Rather, than sharing one average, I share averages for each type of company. I also share averages for four different levels of seniority.

Top Company Salaries for Dubai 2024:

Junior Software Engineer:
$38,000 - $49,000 USD per year (AED 140,000 - AED 180,000)

Mid-Level Software Engineer:
$60,000 - $85,000 USD per year (AED 220,000 - AED 310,000)

Senior Software Engineer:
$91,000 - $136,000 USD per year (AED 330,000 - AED 500,000)

Engineering Manager:
$125,000 - $204,000 USD per year (AED 460,000 - AED 750,000)

Budget Company Salaries for Dubai 2024:

Junior Software Engineer:
$9,500 - $19,000 USD (AED 35,000 - AED 70,000)

Mid-Level Software Engineer:
$17,700 - $32,700 USD (AED 65,000 - AED 120,000)

Senior Software Engineer:
$35,400 - $49,000 USD (AED 130,000 - AED 180,000)

Engineering Manager:
$49,000 - $68,000 USD (AED 180,000 - AED 250,000)

An Even Clearer Picture: Join The Tech Worker's Salary Survey

Our salary ranges are a great starting point for understanding what you could earn in Dubai.

We want to make an even more accurate picture of the tech landscape in the UAE.

That's why we've started a tech worker's salary survey so we can bring you even more accurate data.

Click here to read more about our survey and how you can help.

Dubai is a Great Option for Software Engineers View of Burj Khalifa

Dubai is a Great Option

Our estimates show that it's possible to earn great money in Dubai.

Does Dubai pay as well as Silicon Valley? Definitely not, but with income tax-free living possible for most of us and cheaper living costs, it’s a great option for many.

The key thing is being selective about where you work.

Ultimately, finding a job as a software developer in Dubai at a Top Company should be your priority.

Check out our guide for finding a job as a software engineer with one of Dubai's Top Companies.

Or, click here to start your search right now for software engineering jobs in Dubai.

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