What Is The Average Software Engineer Salary?
The average salary of a Software Engineer in the US is $107,840.
It’s higher than many other roles in the IT industry. Then again, software engineers really need to know their stuff.
Let’s have a look at some related roles and their salaries:
|Java Software Engineer Architect||123,000|
|Java J2EE Software Engineer||97,000|
|Senior Net Software Engineer||91,000|
|Principal Software Engineer||102,000|
|Software QA Engineer||81,000|
|Senior Java Software Engineer||102,000|
|Senior Software Engineer||99,000|
|Embedded Software Engineer||92,000|
|Lead Software Engineer||102,000|
|Software Test Engineer||76,000|
|Java Software Engineer||89,000|
This table is a list of job roles related to a software engineer, and what their salary is.
What Does This Data Show Us?
Let’s break down the table here and work out what each of these jobs are.
- Java Software Engineer Architect – this seems to be a mix between engineer and architect, which may explain why it’s the highest paying salary on this list.
- Java Software Engineer, Senior Java Software Engineer, Java J2EE Software Engineer – each of these are Java-related Software Engineers and increase in salary, from 89k up to 102k
- Principal Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, Lead Software Engineer – these roles are more senior and not specific to a technology, which have a salary of between 99k and 102k.
- Senior Net Software Engineer – this is another senior role, but focused on .Net. Comparable to Java but has a lower salary of 91k
- Devops Engineer – an engineer’s role in the development/operations business unit, which has quite a high salary as well.
- Embedded Software Engineer – this role is for those developing software for use in devices and other embedded environments.
- Software QA Engineer, Software Test Engineer – both of these roles (testing and quality assurance) involve making sure the software is of high quality, and have similar salaries (76k and 81k)
So, it seems that software engineers can start anywhere around the 89k range and move into something around 102k.
How can you improve your software engineer salary so it’s more than these averages? Let’s take a look at five different ways you can do this.
Getting a certification is one of the best ways to improve your salary, so it should be no surprise that I’ve included it in this list.
I’ve written a recent article on software engineer career goals, where one of teh goals that I mention was to get certified. There are two organisations that provide certifications for these roles that are quite common – Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and IEEE Computer Society.
The Software Engineering Institute offers several certifications for software engineers:
- Computer Security
- Measurement & Analysis
- Resilience Management
- Software Development
- Service-Oriented Architecture
- Smart Grid
- Software Architecture
If you’re more interested in something from IEEE Computer Society, they offer two certifications for software engineers:
- Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA)
- Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP)
If you’re note interested in any of those certifications, you can look at getting certified from the vendor of your primary language, such as Microsoft, Oracle or somewhere else.
Learn Another Language
Adding another language to your toolbox of existing languages that you know is a great way to improve your salary. According to Robert Half Technology, some of the languages that can increase your salary as a software engineer, along with the approximate salary increase, include:
- C# (9%)
- C++ (5%)
- Java (9%)
- .NET (9%)
- PHP (9%)
- Web services (8%)
If there is a language here that you don’t know, but are interested in learning it, I would suggest looking into it as it would likely have a positive impact on your salary.
There are many ways that you can learn a new language, as We’ve highlighted in this post, so have a read and decide which style of learning you’re most comfortable with.
Another way to improve your salary is to get a role at a different company. This approach is one that isn’t widely taken, but many people say that the best way to get a pay rise is to move to another company. Using your negotiation skills and explaining the benefits to a company of hiring you can mean you get an increase in salary jsut by moving to another comnpaniy.
There are some people that like to move companies often, in an effort to improve their salary. Others like to stay at one company and work on improving it from within (like myself, currently employed at the same company for just over 7 years). While there are pros and cons of both approaches, it’s common to get a better salary by moving.
Make sure you do your research, though. Work out if you’re actually going to get a better salary before you leave your current job, because there’s no point leaving for a better salary if it’s not going to be better for you.
Get More Experience in a Different Area
If you want to stay with your current company, another way to improve your software engineer salary is to get more experience.
This doesn’t mean just spend a few more years on the job. I’m referring to getting involved in different projects or different teams. If you get a chance to work on different projects, you can get a better understanding of how different systems work and different areas of a company. This can improve your knowledge about your own role, and will make sure you’re better informed when designing and developing solutions for the company.
The more you know about the company and how the systems work together, the better it is for both you and the company. I believe that salaries are a reflection of your value to the company, so by doing this, you increase your value and therefore increase your salary!
Become a Team Leader
You could take a different approach to your career and actually become a team leader. Moving into a team leader role of software developers or software engineers will take some experience, some learning, and different skills. Some people make great engineers or developers, but not team leaders. It’s an entirely different skill set. But, it’s not impossible to learn.
To move into a team leader role, you’ll need to learn how to work with people, how to make decisions that affect a team, how to monitor a team’s workload, and all other kinds of people-related skills. This can all come with time and some training, so don’t get too worried. However, it is an option if you want to improve your salary. I’ve written a post about getting into a software team leader role that I think is worth reading.
Well, there’s the five tips on how to improve your software engineer salary. Do you have any other tips to offer? Share them in the area below.