Cover image for This is how much you can really make in the top remote-working platforms (+100k USD)

This is how much you can really make in the top remote-working platforms (+100k USD)

caroso1222 profile image Carlos Roso ・6 min read

It was then when I heard her voice over the phone: Are you okay with us paying you 3x more than what you currently make? I obliged.

The next two paragraphs are verbose introductions. If you want to consume this article in 30 seconds just go through the headlines.

Before diving in, let me give you some personal context. I live in a South American third-world country. The minimum wage here is roughly 250USD and the average wage for a developer with 2-6 years of experience is roughly 1500USD/month. This means that something like 4k/month is a lot over here. Put on top that most currencies in the third world are heavily devalued against the USD. I know this is good cash for anyone in India, Africa, Central America, or even in Central/West Europe, so this might give you hope, too.

Also, just to clarify, I'm all in for pursuing a fulfilling life and working on what makes you happy, even if you're making cents. I myself work for free just for the fun of it. But, like any other person on this planet, I want money. Getting 4x or 5x of what I need allows me to invest, save, and help those in need. It also allows me to go navigate these COVID hard times with peace, spending time writing helpful content for you. Money is what you want it to be. For me it's freedom and mental sanity.

Let's jump right in.


TL;DR: 30k - 200k. Very likely to get 60k-80k/year.

You're going to read a lot of crap about Crossover online. I, on the other hand, can't be more thankful for this company. Sure they tracked my keystrokes and took screenshots of my work for 2 years (I'll talk about that in another post). But, all in all, I was able to land a 60k/year contract with very few years of experience (not even close to a senior). This is not bragging, all the salaries are public on their website. Some people have asked me if the salaries are legit because it looks too shady. Well, they're not. I genuinely worked with managers making 200k from the comfort of their home. I reported to a Senior VP who was making 800k/year, right from his home desk. I myself hired 100k developers.

I remember applying back then to a well-renowned YC company in my country. I built an Angular app to land a job as a frontend developer and got an offer of 1300USD/month. I rejected it and I applied to Crossover for the Software Architect position. It was a much stricter process but I got the good news some weeks later. It was then when I heard her voice over the phone: Are you okay with us paying you 3x more than what you currently make? I obliged.

I worked for 2 years at Crossover and a lot happened during this time. I got promoted a few times and managed to save a good pile of cash. I was featured on their site, you can read my story if you want.

Please, keep in mind, this is not to brag a damn here. 60-80k might not be a lot for you in your country or at this point in your career. But I know there are a lot of talented peers out there working for pennies where they could be making it big, with just a bit of research. Also, if I was a junior, I'd even take the 30k contract eyes closed. That's 2.5k/month net which would put me in the 90% percentile countrywide. Sounds ridiculous but it's true for a lot of folks.

I'm giving away a FREE guide to preparing for top remote tech interviews. Sign up for the waitlist today.


TL;DR: I'm under NDA, can't disclose rates. But you can make mid-six-figures over the years.

It's well known within the Toptal network that you can't disclose your hourly rate so "nobody does it". I respect my NDA so I'm not disclosing anything, either. Go read this post in their blog and you'll get a good idea of what you can expect. Let me quote them: "we’ll examine top freelancing tips from high-earning freelancers within the Toptal network: individuals who have accumulated high six-figure or million-dollar earnings over five or six years". You do the math.

Can you make bank working on Toptal? Yes, but here's the catch: It's very, very tough to get in. The screening is tough and then, when you're within the marketplace, you need to interview with clients and compete with fellows Toptalers to land jobs.

This is the big one, you may think. The one that makes you the big bucks. I think that's not completely true if you take a closer look. I've known peers who have had a hard time getting jobs when they get in. Also, most of the jobs are initially part-time or hourly, so landing a stable full-time job is no easy feat, but indeed doable.

You set your own rate. It's an open market with a somehow restrictive government: they let the invisible hand (the market) decide what customers are willing to pay and what devs should charge, but you'll normally find it very cumbersome to ask for a raise. It's a necessary business inconvenience, totally understandable. Do you want to charge 100usd/hour? cool, do it, but you should really have top credentials to convince a client to pay for that.

Apply to Toptal with my referral code and we both earn 500USD once you land your first job: https://www.toptal.com/#join-only-great-devs

Myth debunked: I don't know why but I've received dozens of messages like "I've heard Indians are no good fit for Toptal" or "I've seen women have a hard time getting in". It's a big No! I myself have talked to great devs from India in Toptal. I've known super talented women in Toptal working on Machine Learning and full-stack web dev. There's no bias and you can make it too.

Other options

TL;DR: For sure +50k. On average 70k. +100k doable with good experience.

I have only worked for Crossover and Toptal but I've received multiple offers from some other top remote work platforms. You can read the full post on my site to see 4 more alternatives.

Let me know in the comments if you know any other sites like these. I'm purposefully not including Upwork, Freelancer and so as they don't normally vet applicants and the pay rates are much lower.

Are you willing to put in the sweat?

If you have relatively good English speaking skills, I dare to say you're 3 months away from landing a high paying job in any of these platforms. I'm writing a FREE guide with a lot of tips and tricks to pass the interviews at these places. If you're curious, you can sign up on the waitlist here and be the first to get it.

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I normally write about career growth, interview preparation, and software. Feel free to shoot me a DM with your thoughts on Twitter and follow. Finally, see if you can get some inspiration from my story getting into the most exclusive remote working platforms or read my advice on the number one thing to avoid in your resume.

Thanks for reading.

Posted on by:

caroso1222 profile

Carlos Roso


Software Engineer. Former digital nomad at Toptal. Open sorcerer. Thoughts on career growth, remote work, and web dev.


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The thing with a lot of these companies, they let you do these "silly" math kind of problems to sift out candidates. Personally I don't believe in this kind of recruiting and it's a reason I don't use these sites. But they do pay well when you're on them


Right. It's fine to disagree with that method of recruiting. It's also intelligent to stay away from companies that don't align with your values.

I wouldn't call anything "silly", though, just "different". Matter of perspective. Cheers!


I put it in quotes on purpose, these of differences of opinion on what works. They're providing a service where there's demand, so good on them!


Hello Carlos, Very helpful post. Keep it up!
Just checked CrossOver's software engineer vacancy requirements. Are they actually tight with their 4 core languages(Java, C#, C++ or Javascript)? Can't a RoR developer apply?


Hey, thanks! Well, they are normally strict with those languages. Even if you manage to pass the interview, you'll likely work with those technologies at work. If you want to keep doing RoR I'd suggest you pass on Crossover.


This is very helpful post for every beginners. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post with us.
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"Getting 4x or 5x of what I need allows me to invest, save, and help those in need."

I like the last part. I believe when God blesses us, we are supposed to share those blessings with others.


The secret to living is giving!


Hey, I joined the wait list through carlosroso.com/cracking-the-toptal... but it looks like I don't get any confirmation that I've joined while using windows explorer or firefox. I checked on chrome and I did get a "Oops. It seems like you're already subscribed." So it appears the info went through. Just thought I'd let you know.


Hey! Hmm I need to check out how it's working on Firefox. Thanks for letting me know. If you're getting that "you're already subscribed" you can rest assured you're good to go. I suppose your email is gl...on@gmail.com, so you're fine.


Are these platforms for senior developers or juniors have a chance as well?


Juniors have a lot of chances too. I applied to Crossover with very little experience. I just worked on my Github and a lot of side projects to make myself look more experienced. The other options I mention are also junior friendly.


Thank you, I'll give it a try then.

Let me know how it goes. I'm always happy to help!

Which one would you recommend to be the most junior friendly? I've been coding for a year now but I think these are out of my league.

I'd recommend you to prepare in algorithms, do some side projects, and try any of those. I've genuinely seen juniors get into these platforms just because they pass the interviews.

Nothing is out of your league!


Exactly , the minimum amount I can make from toptal is still 3-4 time of an above average developer income in india


Right, that sums up my experience so far, too.


Will you release the book before august of this year?