Cobol Developer Salary: What You’ll Make and Why

Cobol developers make around $65,290 to $106,906 on average in the US, depending on experience, location, skills, and other factors.

According to various salary aggregate websites, a Cobol developer’s average salary in the US ranges between $65,290 and $106,906. As of March 2022, the average base salaries for Cobol developers are as follows:


Keep in mind: Salary aggregate websites typically rely on data submitted anonymously by individuals using their site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of data of either higher or lower than average salaries, which may affect the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is a Cobol Developer? How to Become One

What influences a salary?

The salary of a Cobol Developer can be impacted by a number of factors, including experience, education, certifications, and more. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how these factors can affect your earnings potential.

Years of experience

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. In general, the more years you spend working as a Cobol developer, the more you can expect to earn. Here’s how experience can impact your Cobol developer salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$61,393
Early career (1 to 4 years)$77,206
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$99,239
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$122,733
Late career (20+ years)$154,235

Where you live can also impact how much you can make as a Cobol developer. Typically, working in a large metropolitan area correlates to a higher salary, as well as a higher cost of living.

Here is a list of some major cities with their corresponding average Cobol developer salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$132,449
Washington DC, DC$110,948
Chicago, IL$109,491
Houston, TX$109,448
Boston, MA$108,213
Milwaukee, WI$88,454
Tampa Bay, FL$85,170
Omaha, NE$84,906
Oklahoma City, OK$84,114
Detroit, MI$80,840

How does this compare to similar jobs?

Here’s how a Cobol developer’s salary stacks up against similar jobs.

Related JobsAverage Salary
Mainframe Developer$101,045
Assembler Language Developer$71,317
RPG Developer$96,568
CLLE Programmer$74,239
Natural Programmer$86,523
JCL Programmer$111,406
PL/1 Programmer$71,963
CICS Programmer$104,497
IMS Programmer$86,820

How to increase your Cobol developer salary

Now that you have a better idea of what you could expect to earn as a Cobol developer, let’s look at ways to boost your salary.

1. Strengthen your skills

Pursuing and improving in-demand skills could make you more competitive for promotions and higher-paying positions. These skills include:

2. Go back to school

Cobol is an older programming language, but it’s still in use in many industries. If you want to improve your salary as a Cobol developer, consider going back to school to get a more up-to-date qualification. Alternatively, look into taking some online courses to keep your skills sharp.

3. Talk to Recruiters

If you want to learn what your skills are worth in the current market, talking to recruiters is a good way to get an idea. They’re usually happy to chat, and can give you a sense of what companies are willing to pay for your skillset. You can also use this information to negotiate a higher salary when you’re offered a job.

Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “National Compensation Survey,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

3. Payscale. “Senior COBOL Programmer Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

4. Ziprecruiter. “Cobol Developer Annual Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

5. Indeed. “Indeed Salary Finder,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

6. “Cobol Developer Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “Cobol Developer Salaries,,15.htm.” Accessed March 23, 2022.


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