NetSuite is a great application to build your career around. More than 31,000 companies use NetSuite in 217 countries and people who know it are in high demand. NetSuite’s customer conference, SuiteWorld, attracted 8,000 people in 2021. It’s a thriving ecosystem.
On top of that, NetSuite can be complex, which means the companies that need you really need you. Managing it can help you grow into a developer who’s enough of a “systems thinker” to not just update configurations, but to build virtual products and solve company-wide problems.
So how much can you get paid for doing that? It depends on many factors, most notably experience and location, but the average salary is near six figures in the U.S. And if you want to grow to that point or beyond, there are lots of ways to do that.
How much does a NetSuite developer make? (U.S.-centric view)
The average NetSuite developer salary in the U.S. is a full 50% more than the median household income. But, that varies quite a bit depending on whether you’re looking at Glassdoor or ZipRecruiter data. The former says the average is $97,000 at the time of writing, the latter says $126,000. (A big range, and probably just a question of datasets. Probably best to average the averages.)
The biggest factor in your salary is experience
This is good news. It means your earnings are positively correlated with how much you’re learning and growing. Entry-level salaries begin at $63,000 and $51,500 (Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter respectively), but can more than triple to $212,000 and $189,000.
If we break down Glassdoor’s data, you can see how pay increases as you move from being the person who implements configuration changes to being more of an advisor. (What Glassdoor calls a “functional consultant.”)
If you want to leap from individual contributor to manager, those salaries start at $124,000, according to Glassdoor, and jump modestly to $129,000 at the director level. (With a maximum reported possible $254,000.)
The second biggest salary variable is location
Location matters a lot and the highest paying locations may not necessarily be the ones you think. Yes, California’s Silicon Valley dominates. But so do spots all along the Pacific coast down to Irvine and Los Angeles.
Then, a surprise. Fourth up is Green River, Wyoming, and not far behind is Bozeman Montana. These shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows about the slow trickle of tech founders to the American West. Back in 2011, Oracle acquired the Bozeman-based RightNow Technologies for $1.8 billion, seeding the area with tech talent and money, and spurring a minor lifestyle-driven exodus. Since then, Jackson Hole, Wyoming has attracted lots of investment as well.
Many of these companies need someone to manage their NetSuite, and are willing to pay San Francisco prices.
Outside of the U.S., salary data on the two main job sites we’re drawing from drops off and becomes unreliable. But here are some hypotheses:
- European NetSuite developer roles tend to be lower. Entry-level roles begin at €40,000 and rise to €110,000.
- There are jobs in the U.K. and German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)—NetSuite launched in the former in 2003 and built data centers throughout the latter in 2015.
- Tel Aviv, a tech hotspot, pays well.
Does a remote Netsuite developer receive a lower salary?
Yes, usually, but it’s case dependent. If you’re comfortable with remote work and know you have the skills to command a top salary in a major tech hub, and just want to work from where you are, look for roles in California, Wyoming, Washington, and the like, and ask if they would consider you working fully remote.
Given that nearly half of businesses went remote or hybrid over the last two years and many are now reporting a talent shortage, they might make an exception for the right person. (Also, look at newer companies—they tend to be remote-only at about twice the rate as companies that existed prior to the pandemic.)
How to increase your salary as a NetSuite developer
Beyond moving, there are many things you can do to increase your skills to increase your salary.
1. Know NetSuite’s roadmap, and your own roadmap
Something that can set a NetSuite professional apart from peers is their ability to speak to recently released NetSuite functionality, or things scheduled for release—both in your instance and in NetSuite’s product. This shows that you aren’t just working on configurations in isolation, but understand the whole system. It also suggests you have a lot more insights to offer, and can advise on projects.
All too often, administrators and developers don’t gain this full understanding simply for a lack of bandwidth. But it’s worth the effort to carve out this time, and actually block study time out in your calendar. Be in the know and you’ll stand out among your fellow NetSuite professionals.
NetSuite has two major product releases each year. Typically, in the spring and fall. Set reminders to read the release notes and use NetSuite’s release preview environments to test new functionality before anyone else.
2. Work on projects where you learn about payment processing
More and more companies are connecting NetSuite with their banks for vendor payment processing, and with their credit card processors for customer payment processing. Having a working knowledge of the SuiteApps Electronic Bank Payments and Advanced Electronic Bank Payments will set you up to play a part in these initiatives. It’s a chance for you to be a strategic partner to other parts of the business.
Vendor payment processing will involve capturing vendor banking information as part of the vendor onboarding process. Consider how you would configure a custom vendor approval workflow in NetSuite that includes the vendor banking information, as this request typically goes hand in hand with establishing an automated vendor payment process.
Learn more about payments-related SuiteApps.
3. Understand the general ledger impact
Many NetSuite professionals sit within IT, while their primary users sit in finance. That can create a gap in understanding (IT tends to know less about finance), but it’s a big opportunity for you to study up and attain a broad and deep understanding of the NetSuite general ledger and how it impacts everything you build or modify.
This will set you up for success when digesting finance’s requirements. If you can speak to both the technical and functional sides, you’ll be much more useful. (And strategic.)
4. Understand NetSuite change management best practices
Did you know that since 2011, 63% of technology IPOs have been NetSuite customers?
That’s a big deal because once companies prepare to go public, they’re suddenly subject to strict rules and regulations like Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) which require extra-sensitive change management best practices.
These change management policies and procedures will apply to the NetSuite environment, so it is essential the team administering NetSuite is equipped with the right tools and processes to manage the system in a compliant manner.
(A tool like Salto really helps with this visibility and control. It can help you document and automate to reduce the risk of human error during a NetSuite migration.)
Read our guide to making NetSuite SOX compliant.
5. Learn to think like a solution architect or “business engineer”
Earlier in this article, we discussed the benefits of being able to speak to the more technical and functional areas of NetSuite, as well as understanding inbound and outbound integrations. I really can’t stress the importance of that. The deeper your understanding, the better your designs, the less maintenance you and others will have to do, and the better job you’ll do solving business challenges. (Not just NetSuite configuration challenges.)
Consider supporting your career path as a future NetSuite solution architect by completing the official NetSuite certification program. There are a number of technological and functional certification offerings to align with your career goals.
Learn more about getting NetSuite certified.
6. Recommend SuiteApps
Any experienced NetSuite administrator or developer should have a number of SuiteApps in their pocket that they understand backwards and forward. Likely, things you’ve implemented before, and which can be used in lots of scenarios. We of course touched on the bank payment SuiteApps earlier, but you might also consider:
- Subsidiary Navigator (20k+ installs)—Allows you to quickly filter key reports and metrics to specific NetSuite subsidiaries or groups of subsidiaries. It also includes a group structure chart. (Note: the interface isn’t the friendliest.)
- Application Performance Management (20k+ installs)—A must have for any NetSuite administrator who wants to better understand system performance issues. Drill down to specific scripts and workflows that are slowing down the NetSuite environment, so focused development enhancements can be adopted to have the most impact.
- International Tax Reports (15k+ installs)—Essential for any international business reporting VAT and GST. This bundle allows you to file returns directly from within NetSuite, based on NetSuite data.
- File Drag and Drop (10k+ installs)—As the name implies, this SuiteApp lets you drag and drop files to specific NetSuite records. Think about the records where this could significantly improve processing time i.e., vendor bill processing.
7. Learn about Advanced Revenue Management
A NetSuite professional who can speak at length to topics like revenue recognition or how NetSuite influences money will stand out from the rest. And if you know Advanced Revenue Management, or “ARM,” you’re in high demand. Not all companies have it, and so the companies that do, or want to, need real experts to implement and maintain it.
Learn more about Advanced Revenue Management.
Choose languages with some overlap with what you do, so you’ll have an opportunity to practice them on the job. (There’s no use learning Python if it never comes up.) It’ll be useful to know a coding language, but it’ll be doubly useful to steep yourself in the cultural practices, methodologies, and tools of software development, many of which translate nicely into managing NetSuite.
Also: Consider documenting your skills by taking tests on Codility or HackerRank.
Sonny is a seasoned NetSuite veteran, with more than 7 years experience implementing NetSuite and architecting NetSuite solutions for a wide variety of public and private companies, on a global scale. He leverages his background both as a Chartered Accountant and Certified NetSuite Administrator to design and build NetSuite solutions that solve real world problems. Sonny is an active member of the NetSuite community, participating in local NetSuite meetups, NetSuite forums and groups focused on financial system optimization.