How Much Do Software Engineers Make in 2024? Salaries Revealed

What is a software engineer’s salary? If you are considering improving your career prospects or just starting your job in tech, you might have wondered what a software engineer’s prospects might look like.

In this deep dive, we’ll demystify the complexities behind the salaries of software engineers, decode the variables that shape the figures, and view the trends that could help you define your new career.

Key Takeaways:

  • The average software engineer’s salary in the US is around $136,295. However, it varies depending on expertise, location, industry, and the specific demands of each unique role.
  • The software engineer’s average salary in Big Tech is predictably higher and can come up to $2.5m per year for principal software engineers and partners.
  • Software engineering can be lucrative. But weighing other aspects such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and personal interests are also crucial.

Average Software Engineer Salary in the US

In 2024, the average base salary for a software engineer in the US is $136,295, but some companies offer an attractive compensation package. An additional average cash compensation of $18,737 brings the average total compensation for a Software Engineer to $155,032.

These figures, gathered by Built In from anonymous responses from software engineer employees across the US, offer a realistic overview of what one can expect to earn in this field outside the realm of major tech giants.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary

Entry-level software engineer roles offer an excellent gateway for newcomers to the tech industry. You can expect to work under senior developers and engage in basic tasks like troubleshooting, testing, debugging, writing new code, and updating existing code for feature enhancement.

Typically, these positions require familiarity with programming languages such as Java, Swift, or C# and experience in collaborative environments. A computer science degree or equivalent experience in a related field is also a standard qualification. These positions offer a competitive starting salary for a software engineer and serve as a foundational step for further career advancement.

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Earning Potential: $58,729 to $97,648 per year

Junior Software Engineer Salary

In the United States, a junior software engineer’s compensation reflects their early career stage, combining technical knowledge and growth potential. A junior software engineer earns a base salary of $89,264 annually. They often receive additional cash compensation, averaging $9,903, which accounts for bonuses and profit sharing. Consequently, the total average compensation for a junior software engineer amounts to $99,167.

It’s important to note that these salary ranges can significantly vary, influenced by candidates’ educational background, specific certifications, additional skills acquired, and overall professional experience in the field. Websites like Salary.com provide real-time compensation data, assisting individuals in accurately determining their pay target within the junior software engineer bracket.

Earning Potential: $89,264 to $99,167 per year

Senior Software Engineer Salary

On average, a senior software engineer earns a base salary of $152,987. In addition, they often receive extra cash compensation, which averages $21,958, typically from bonuses and profit sharing. This brings the average salary for a senior software engineer to $174,945.

A senior software engineer usually has over five years of experience. Essential skills for this role extend beyond technical expertise, including effective communication, technical project management, and the ability to architect complex software solutions. These comprehensive skills and experiences are reflected in the substantial compensation packages for these senior positions.

How Much Do Software Engineers Make in Big Tech?

The software engineer’s average salary in Big Tech is predictably higher.

Google Software Engineer Salary

In the tech industry, each job level is clearly defined by a specific set of responsibilities and an associated salary range, with a software engineer’s duties, autonomy, accountability, and pay grade generally increasing with their level. At Google, these levels are designated by an “L” followed by a number indicating seniority (from lowest to highest).

According to Indeed, the average salary for a Google software engineer in the United States is around $147,826, an incredible 31% above the national average. But if you are highly ambitious and have the drive to dedicate your time to advancing your career, the sky is the limit, with a salary worth millions rather than thousands.

Amazon Software Engineer Salary

Becoming an Amazon software engineer should start with assessing your current skills. Successful candidates typically possess a bachelor’s degree in software development and are comfortable using programming languages such as C++, Java, and Python. They usually also have at least five years of professional experience.

However, highly dedicated and successful individuals could find themselves on the path to earning the dream software engineer salary of nearly $1M annually.

Microsoft Software Engineer Salary

A Microsoft software engineer will have a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a similar technical field. This is typically complemented by experience in programming languages such as C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, or Python. Alternatively, equivalent practical experience is also acceptable.

Microsoft structures its software engineering roles into nine distinct levels. Starting with software development engineer I (levels 59/60), advancing to software development engineer II (61/62), then to senior software engineer (63/64), followed by principal software development engineer (65/66/67), and reaching up to partner (68/69).

Microsoft provides varying salary tiers within each level, allowing for salary progression without necessarily advancing to a higher position. But once again, the carrot on the stick is working towards that million-dollar salary.

Apple Software Engineer Salary

At Apple, there are also a series of levels that offer software engineers a clear path forward. The ICT2 level is typically reserved for newly graduated individuals embarking on their careers. The ICT3 level is designed for software engineers with an intermediate level of experience, while the ICT4 level requires three to five years of experience in software development.

Moving up the scale, the ICT5 level represents a senior team member, comparable to a team leader or staff engineer, and the ICT6 level marks the final senior position, akin to a principal engineer or senior software engineer.

Meta Software Engineer Salary

Meta also employs a leveling system that standardizes salary bands, aligning them with specific qualifications and responsibilities across various job roles. For software engineers, the journey begins at the entry-level position of E3. As they advance in their career, demonstrating professional expertise and skill, they can rise through the ranks up to E8.

Alternatively, those who excel in leadership and management may progress to an M2 level, equivalent to a software engineering manager, reflecting their evolved role and responsibilities within the company.

The Bottom Line

There is so much more to a career in tech than securing a lucrative software engineer salary.

You could find a rewarding role where you solve complex problems and make a difference in your organization. If this blend of financial rewards and intellectual challenges appeals to you, consider this your true calling.

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Neil C. Hughes

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with over two decades of IT experience. Celebrated as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in technology and recognized by CIO Magazine and ZDNet for his influential insights, Neil has contributed to publications like INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews while also hosting the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast.