Before we learn about the money, let’s get this question out of the way:
What Is a Chatbot Developer?
A chatbot developer creates software to automate communication with customers and users. An example chatbot application is in customer service for an eCommerce website. Chatbot developers use machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to communicate with humans via text or audio.
- Machine Learning Engineer — Income and Opportunity
- TensorFlow Developer — Income and Opportunity
- PyTorch Developer — Income and Opportunity
The following video shows an interesting niche as a Chatbot developer on Upwork:
How much does a Chatbot Developer make per year?
The average annual income of a Chatbot Developer in the United States is between $82,585 and $121,875, with an average of $103,644 and a statistical median of $105,449 per year.
This data is based on our meta-study of six (6) salary aggregators sources such as Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and PayScale.
Also, if you learn machine learning anyways, you can also broaden your area of expertise by switching to the generalized machine learning industry:
The average annual income of a Machine Learning Engineer in the United States is between $112,000 and $157,000, with a median of $131,000 per year, according to multiple data sources such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Payscale.
Let’s have a look at the hourly rate of Chatbot Developers next!
Chatbot Developers are well-paid on freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr.
- Related Article: What’s the best freelancing platform?
If you decide to go the route as a freelance Chatbot Developer, you can expect to make between $30 and $60 per hour on Upwork (source). Assuming an annual workload of 2000 hours, you can expect to make between $60,000 and $120,000 per year.
⚡ Note: Do you want to create your own thriving coding business online? Feel free to check out our freelance developer course — the world’s #1 best-selling freelance developer course that specifically shows you how to succeed on Upwork and Fiverr!
But is there enough demand? Let’s have a look at Google trends to find out how interest evolves over time (source):
The supply of people interested in learning about chatbots is relatively constant over the last decade and has grown by factor 3x compared to the first decade of the century.
Let’s have a look at the demand to “Hire Chatbot Developers”:
More and more clients want to hire them, but the supply of good developers stays relatively constant—a bullish indicator for your career as a chatbot developer!
How Can You Become a Chatbot Developer?
Top qualifications to become a chatbot developer include a formal degree (e.g., bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.) in a related field such as AI, data science, computer science, or machine learning.
Also, you’ll need to understand basic programming languages such as Python. If you work as a chatbot freelancer, you’ll need credibility and ratings from previous clients.
In particular, have a look at the following learning path to becoming a chatbot developer:
Learning Path, Skills, and Education Requirements
Do you want to become a Chatbot Developer? Here’s a step-by-step learning path I’d propose to get started with Chatbot :
- Step 1: Introduction to Computer Science (~40 hours)
- Step 2: Introduction to Algorithms (~40 hours)
- Step 3: Introduction to Machine Learning (~20 hours)
- Step 4: Introduction to Machine Learning (Free Video Courses) (~10 hours)
- Step 5: Introduction to Python (~10 hours)
- Step 6: Introduction to Machine Learning (~40 hours)
- Step 7: Introduction to TensorFlow (Free Video Courses) (~10 hours)
- Step 8: Introduction to Keras (~20 hours)
- Step 9: Introduction to Keras (Free Video Courses) (~10 hours)
- Step 10: Introduction to Chatbot (~20 hours)
- Step 11: Introduction to Chatbot (Free Video Courses) (~10 hours)
You can find many additional computer science courses on the Finxter Computer Science Academy (flatrate model).
But don’t wait too long to acquire practical experience!
Even if you have little skills, it’s best to get started as a freelance developer and learn as you work on real projects for clients — earning income as you learn and gaining motivation through real-world feedback.
🚀 Tip: An excellent start to turbo-charge your freelancing career (earning more in less time) is our Finxter Freelancer Course. The goal of the course is to pay for itself!
Which Programming Language is Best for Chatbot Development?
The best programming language for chatbot development is Python due to its support of advanced machine learning libraries (e.g., Scikit-Learn) and deep learning frameworks (e.g., TensorFlow, PyTorch). Python also has outstanding programmer documentation as one of the largest programming languages in the world in terms of developer and community activity.
Have a look at this tutorial that shows you how to create a chatbot in Python:
How Much Should You Charge for a Chatbot?
Say you’ve created a great chatbot and want to sell it to clients (e.g., on Upwork or Fiverr). How much should you charge for your valuable creation?
Based on my experience as a freelancer on Upwork and hiring hundreds of freelancers for similar activities, I’d say you should charge roughly $500 for setting up a chatbot and $300 per month for maintenance and support.
In particular, here’s a broader fee range:
|Simple chatbot script||$200-$2000 (one-time)|
|Chatbot software platform||$50-$500 per month|
|Ongoing chatbot support and maintenance||$100-$2000 per month|
You can find more job descriptions for coders, programmers, and computer scientists in our detailed overview guide:
Related Income of Professional Developers
The following statistic shows the self-reported income from 9,649 US-based professional developers (source).
💡 The average annual income of professional developers in the US is between $70,000 and $177,500 for various programming languages.
Question: What is your current total compensation (salary, bonuses, and perks, before taxes and deductions)? Please enter a whole number in the box below, without any punctuation. If you are paid hourly, please estimate an equivalent weekly, monthly, or yearly salary. (source)
The following statistic compares the self-reported income from 46,693 professional programmers as conducted by StackOverflow.
💡 The average annual income of professional developers worldwide (US and non-US) is between $33,000 and $95,000 for various programming languages.
Here’s a screenshot of a more detailed overview of each programming language considered in the report:
Here’s what different database professionals earn:
Here’s an overview of different cloud solutions experts:
Here’s what professionals in web frameworks earn:
There are many other interesting frameworks—that pay well!
Look at those tools:
Okay, but what do you need to do to get there? What are the skill requirements and qualifications to make you become a professional developer in the area you desire?
Let’s find out next!
General Qualifications of Professionals
StackOverflow performs an annual survey asking professionals, coders, developers, researchers, and engineers various questions about their background and job satisfaction on their website.
Interestingly, when aggregating the data of the developers’ educational background, a good three quarters have an academic background.
Here’s the question asked by StackOverflow (source):
Which of the following best describes the highest level of formal education that you’ve completed?
However, if you don’t have a formal degree, don’t fear! Many of the respondents with degrees don’t have a degree in their field—so it may not be of much value for their coding careers anyways.
Also, about one out of four don’t have a formal degree and still succeeds in their field! You certainly don’t need a degree if you’re committed to your own success!
Freelancing vs Employment Status
The percentage of freelance developers increases steadily. The fraction of freelance developers has already reached 11.21%!
This indicates that more and more work will be done in a more flexible work environment—and fewer and fewer companies and clients want to hire inflexible talent.
Here are the stats from the StackOverflow developer survey (source):
Do you want to become a professional freelance developer and earn some money on the side or as your primary source of income?
Resource: Check out our freelance developer course—it’s the best freelance developer course in the world with the highest student success rate in the industry!
Other Programming Languages Used by Professional Developers
The StackOverflow developer survey collected 58000 responses about the following question (source):
Which programming, scripting, and markup languages have you done extensive development work in over the past year, and which do you want to work in over the next year?
These are the languages you want to focus on when starting out as a coder:
And don’t worry—if you feel stuck or struggle with a nasty bug. We all go through it. Here’s what SO survey respondents and professional developers do when they’re stuck:
What do you do when you get stuck on a problem? Select all that apply. (source)
To get started with some of the fundamentals and industry concepts, feel free to check out these articles:
- Freelance Developer – How to Code From Home and Earn Six Figures [Industry Report]
- How to Become a Python Freelancer—and Earn $1,000 on the Side? [A Step-by-Step Tutorial]
- How Adam Earns $5000 per Month as a Python Freelancer on Upwork [Month 4]
- Chatbot Wikipedia
- Learn Chatbot Google
Where to Go From Here?
Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!
Coders get paid six figures and more because they can solve problems more effectively using machine intelligence and automation.
To become more successful in coding, solve more real problems for real people. That’s how you polish the skills you really need in practice. After all, what’s the use of learning theory that nobody ever needs?
You build high-value coding skills by working on practical coding projects!
Do you want to stop learning with toy projects and focus on practical code projects that earn you money and solve real problems for people?
🚀 If your answer is YES!, consider becoming a Python freelance developer! It’s the best way of approaching the task of improving your Python skills—even if you are a complete beginner.
If you just want to learn about the freelancing opportunity, feel free to watch my free webinar “How to Build Your High-Income Skill Python” and learn how I grew my coding business online and how you can, too—from the comfort of your own home.
 The figure was generated using the following code snippet:
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt import numpy as np import math data = [82585, 111506, 103945, 95000, 121875, 106953] labels = ['Glassdoor.com', 'ZipRecruiter.com', 'Talent.com', 'PayScale.com', 'SpecIndia.com', 'MobilUnity.com'] median = np.median(data) average = np.average(data) print(median, average) n = len(data) plt.plot(range(n), [median] * n, color='black', label='Median: $' + str(int(median))) plt.plot(range(n), [average] * n, '--', color='red', label='Average: $' + str(int(average))) plt.bar(range(len(data)), data) plt.xticks(range(len(data)), labels, rotation='vertical', position = (0,0.45), color='white', weight='bold') plt.ylabel('Average Income ($)') plt.title('Chatbot Developer Annual Income - by Finxter') plt.legend() plt.show()
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.