Software Engineer Salary Guide: Code It and They Will Click

liyan425 (engineer) 路人转粉
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发表于:2015-09-28 11:04 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

Show Me the IT Money

In today’s digital economy, how much are software engineers worth? More importantly, how much are you worth? In this guide, we’re going to explore these questions. We’ll also take a deep dive into the skills you need to earn a more-than-respectable living as a software engineer. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get a promotion or a raise, and more.

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks. According to PayScale,1 the average median salary for a software engineer is $74,197.

average median salary software engineer

Average median salary for a software engineer, according to


However, other career websites split this job into “levels,” which go up the more skills and years of experience you have. For instance, the average median salary for a Level 1 software engineer2 is $61,305, according to

average median salary software engineer

Average median salary for a software engineer, according to


Indeed, how much a software engineer earns depends on numerous factors,4 including:

  • Area of specialty
  • Years of experience
  • Size of the employer’s company
  • Geography
  • Bachelor’s degree or associate degree
  • Professional certifications5
  • Other skills, qualifications, and training received from organizations and companies that aren’t traditional universities or professional associations

Add More Skills, Earn More

If you’re a software engineer, how do you determine whether adding a new skill will be financially beneficial in the long-run? Will skilling up in PHP or .NET, for instance, eventually fatten your wallet? According to a Robert Half report on salaries for technology professionals,6the following skills will increase your salary:

If you have this development skill …You can earn this much more …
Java/Java EE9%
Visual Basic4%

The following image shows another way to look at how specific skills could influence your earning potential.7 Notice how the following job titles are simply prefixed by a skill, such as MQ Communications (which relates to IBM’s WebSphere MQ software) or ABAP SAP (which relates to SAP’s programming language, Advanced Business Application Programming).

Software engineering skills potential earnings.

Software engineering skills and potential earnings.


Live in a Major City, Earn More

In the US, how much you can expect to earn as a software engineer greatly depends on where you live. Some examples are in the following table.6

If you live in this US city …You can earn this much more…
New York City41%
San Francisco36%
Washington, DC31%
Los Angeles25%
Miami/Fort Lauderdale7%

According to the US Department of Labor,8 the top five highest-paying US cities for software engineers are:

1. El Centro, California$128,000
2. Haverhill, Massachusetts$126,000
3. Dalton, Georgia$117,000
4. San Jose, California$116,000
5. Punta Gorda, Florida$112,000

According to Glassdoor,9 the average software engineer salary for select US cities is represented in the following image.

average software engineer salary US cities

Average software engineer salary for select US cities.


In the UK, location also effects a software engineer’s salary. In the following table are average salary ranges for select cities in the UK.10

If you live in this UK city …Average salaries are between this …And this …

Stay in the Game Longer, Earn More

As you’d expect, the longer you work as a software engineer, the higher your salary will rise. But by how much? According to PayScale,11 software engineers can expect to earn the following according to their experience:

software engineer experience graph

Tips for Software Engineers on How to Get Promotions and Raises

Think you’re worth more than what you’re currently earning? Feel like it’s time for some more job responsibilities? Keep in mind that not all promotions come with raises, and vice versa. Therefore, decide if you want to be promoted to a higher position (and perhaps a new job title), if you want an increase in salary, or both. Here are some tips.

  • If you have an offer for a software engineering job with another company, yet could be talked into staying with your current one, consider using that job offer as leverage in your negotiations.
  • If software developers, project managers, and some of your other IT colleagues have previously gotten promotions and raises, find out how they did it and customize your request accordingly.
  • Know what software engineers in other companies and industries are earning. In addition to using this guide, plug some of your statistics and dates into and to see how you compare to others.
  • Tie your request to performance. Bring lists of all of the apps you’ve coded, systems you’ve maintained, bugs you’ve fixed, and so on. These lists should form an objective basis for your request.
  • Ask for endorsements from your IT coworkers. Also consider asking them to post their endorsements to your LinkedIn so that they appear in the “Recommendations” section of your profile.
  • If your responsibilities have increased since you started, such as you’re now responsible for coding and maintaining more complex systems, then use this as a bargaining chip.
  • Given that timing is everything, pick the perfect moment to ask for a promotion and/or raise. That is, ask when you think your boss is most likely to grant it. This sweet spot will change according to the personalities and projects in play. It might be right at the start of a new software development project, in the middle, or at the end. It’s up to you to make a choice and go for it.12

All IT Professionals Are Not Placed or Paid Equally

If you’re hunting for a software engineering job, and you’re scrolling through seemingly endless lists of job postings, it might seem impossible to estimate how many of the available IT jobs relate to software engineering. Fortunately, the technology recruiting firm Mondo released data about the share of jobs that they filled in 2013.13 As you can see in the following image, software engineers, who are frequently part of software development, are a large part of the IT pie.

software development jobs


Be Your Own Boss

According to,14 around 10% of software engineers are self-employed.

There are numerous financial benefits from being a self-employed software engineer,15including tax deductions for:

  • Home office expenses
  • Phone expenses
  • Internet expenses
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Interest expenses related to business loans and credit cards
  • Self-employed retirement plans
  • Self-employment tax

Software Engineer Salaries by State

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,16 the average annual and hourly wages for software engineers per US state are:

US StateAverage Annual WageAverage Hourly Wage
New Jersey$96,380$46.34
New York$94,510$45.44
Rhode Island$92,550$44.50
District of Columbia$92,430$44.44
New Hampshire$91,130$43.81
North Carolina$88,760$42.67
New Mexico$84,560$40.65
South Dakota$74,070$35.61
West Virginia$73,490$35.33
South Carolina$71,750$34.50
North Dakota$59,310$28.52

The Big Players Are the Big Payers

IT companies that are household names pay their employees handsomely. We all know this. Yet which companies around the world pay their software engineers the most? According to a study by Glassdoor and Business Insider,17 the highest average base salaries are paid to US-based software engineers of the following companies:

1. Juniper Networks$128,378
2. Google$124,520
3. Twitter$120,768
4. Facebook$118,857
5. Apple$118,192
6. LinkedIn$116,375
7. Brocade Communications$111,858
8 eBay$108,461
9. Bloomberg L.P.$108,430
10. Zynga$107,242

$oftware Engineer $alaries and Bonu$e$

Not only is the job market promising for software engineers, as shown in the following graphic …

Projected Growth of ComNoputer Software Engineers.

Projected growth of computer software engineers18 .

… but a survey by the IT career website,,19 reveals good news about a trend in bonuses for software engineers. Of 700 surveyed employers with software developers on staff, 11% currently have bonus performance programs specifically for software developers. Furthermore, 65% of the companies surveyed said at least some software developers participate in performance bonus plans.

Given that software engineers earn almost three times as much as the average median wage for all professions,20 there couldn’t be a more profitable time to start writing code. You’re also in luck if your professional aspirations don’t solely relate to money. CareerCast has listed software engineering in its “Top Ten Best Jobs” for three years running.21 This is a helpful reminder that your net worth shouldn’t only depend on how fat your wallet is. If you can have a personally rewarding career—in software engineering or in another field—wouldn’t that ultimately be more fulfilling?

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