how to become a software engineer (2022 Guide)

How Much Do Software Engineers Make?

BrainStation’s Software Engineer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a career in software engineering. Read on for an overview of the average salary for software engineering jobs.

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The average Software Engineer salary is roughly $108,000 in base salary per year plus an average $4,000 in bonus pay, according to Indeed.

Of course, Software Engineer jobs will offer varying salary ranges based on factors like location (with the San Francisco area offering much more money than the rest of the world), years of experience, and the size of the company (with giant tech companies like Google and Facebook offering premiums).

According to Indeed’s numbers, even an entry-level software engineering job for a candidate with under two years of experience will still come with a six-figure base salary plus bonus money.

The location premium for software engineering jobs seems to be higher than other positions. The highest Software Engineer salaries are in the San Francisco area, where demand for Software Developers has led to the average software engineering pro earning around $145,000 in base salary plus bonus pay. Although the cost of living there is higher, Indeed’s numbers show that two-thirds of Software Engineers report making enough money in average total compensation to cover the cost of living in their location.

Software Engineers with backgrounds and skills in related tech fields like data, machine learning, software design, or web development and programming can negotiate better paying salaries. Similarly, Software Engineers whose development expertise extends to both the front-end and back-end – Full Stack Engineers, in other words – or Developers with an advanced degree in a related field can also demand higher average pay.

With a few years of career experience a tech worker can qualify for Senior Software Engineer jobs, which tend to be the highest paying on average. The average salary for a Senior Software Engineer is $129,000 in average base salary plus another $5,000 in bonus cash.

Of course, the question “How much does a Software Engineer make?” doesn’t strictly refer to cash. Money isn’t the only way Software Engineers earn compensation – with companies and employers competing for top software engineering talent and demand remaining high, most tech jobs now come embedded with attractive benefits packages.

Common benefits employers offer in software development include stock options, commuter assistance, and 401(k) matching, while senior-level Software Developer jobs often come up with unlimited paid time off, more robust stock options and parental leave programs.

Highest-Paying Software Engineering Jobs


Here are some of the average salaries for common job roles in software engineering:

  • AR/VR Engineers: $180,000 (median salary)
  • NLP and Machine Learning Engineers: $134,000
  • Big Data Engineer: $130,000
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: $120,000
  • Gaming Engineer: $112,000
  • Embedded and Application Engineer: $108,000
  • Mobile Engineer: $112,000
  • Site Reliability Engineer: $130,000
  • Front-End Software Engineer: $111,000

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