The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 162,900 openings for software engineers each year for the next decade. And they aren’t bound by geographical limitations; companies can hire them from anywhere in the world. But how much do software engineers make?
Let’s explore the specifics and take a closer look at how experience, industry, and location influence a software engineer’s salary.
Competencies and experience
High salaries depend on competency and experience. As a software engineer, you will need an in-depth understanding of at least one, or sometimes two or more, programming languages.
There are hundreds of programming languages to choose from. And each one has a specific use case. An explicit language depends on the area of software engineering you want to specialize in. Fortunately, there are some programming languages that are relatively easy to learn. (You can read more about them here!)
While a mastery of several programming languages does not ensure a high salary, it does make an SE more valuable to the company. And businesses are willing to pay more to retain a precious generalist. Sometimes it’s enough to know one programming language, so long as it’s the most popular.
On the other hand, experience has weight. Per Glassdoor, the average annual salary of a software engineer with less than one year of experience is $101,082.
The further it goes, the bigger it gets. It’s enough to get one to three years of experience to get $114,177 per year. Besides the previous skillset, an SE must have a knowledge of database concepts and a grasp of software engineering development processes like gathering, design, testing, and deployment as well.
Specialists with more than ten years of mastery can earn $145,204. Such an income brings additional responsibilities: seniors have to master more advanced skills and undertake management.
Based on Glassdoor, the top five paying industries for a software engineer in the United States include:
Profitable industries are also open to newcomers. For example, an entry-level software engineer can earn from $64,000 to $102,000 in real estate. You can see a few recent openings below.
According to LinkedIn, retail and wholesale have had more than 60 new openings for entry-level SEs in the past week. And even more than 50 openings in arts, entertainment, and recreation. Without well-paid work, nobody will stay.
Even in the middle of 2023, location matters. ZipRecruiter identified 10 cities with software engineering salaries above the national average:
As you can see, companies from Silicon Valley, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington offer some of the highest, as confirmed by Indeed.
That is a good opportunity for economic advancement but yields limited wage advancement potential. Remote work is one possible solution to this. Software engineers can access job opportunities from companies located anywhere in the world and find positions that align better with their skills and interests.
For example, SEs earn good money in Europe as well. Qubit Labs conducted salary research based on the data of calculators such as SalaryExpert, Glassdoor, Payscale, etc. The results show that the highest average software engineer salaries in 2023 are being paid in Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, and the U.K.
But it’s essential to point out that tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft Corporation, Amazon.com, Google, Facebook, Oracle, and so on are primarily based in the United States. As a rule, these companies offer the highest salaries and most attractive working terms.
A software engineer can expect to earn the highest salaries at top technology companies. According to Glassdoor, entertainment, E-commerce, and energy solution companies top the list.
But most of the jobs with high salaries are provided by tech companies. For the best chance to join one, an entry-level software engineer needs to develop technical skills, build a portfolio, and prepare for technical interviews.
A software engineering career opens up a long path of development. You can start as an Intern SE and grow into high-level positions, like Senior Director of Software Engineering.
There are over 104,000 openings for novice professionals on LinkedIn. About 90,000 companies are looking for senior software engineers, offering salaries up to $180,000 per year. Plus, over 900 companies need directors, and 274 companies are ready to hire executive SEs with incomes up to $420,000 per year.
An impressive salary can be obtained only by one means — achieving the necessary skillset.
How to become a software engineer?
Good news: you do not need a degree to achieve an impressive software engineering salary. And even mastery of the programming language is not the main thing. What's more important is persistence and a willingness to learn new things. Moreover, skills can be acquired in just a few months.
TripleTen's Software Engineering Bootcamp prepares beginners for work. During the ten-month program, graduates will learn how to write code in several programming languages and be able to work in other programs. With six projects in your portfolio, we’re confident you’ll successfully find your dream job.