Discover the factors that can influence your salary as a software engineer and explore the range of specializations within the field, from front end to back end to full stack web development. Learn about the impact of education, industry, location, and experience on your earning potential.

Key Insights

  • Software engineers need to be adept at every stage of the development process and able to work across functional teams that include other engineers, developers, designers, scientists, and non-technical staff.
  • Several factors can affect a software engineer's salary, including level of education, amount of experience, industry, location, and area of specialization.
  • While a college degree can lead to a higher starting salary, many companies accept non-degree certifications from coding bootcamps.
  • Experience is a significant factor in determining salary, with longer tenures in the field generally leading to higher pay.
  • Specialized knowledge in high-demand technologies, such as augmented reality or virtual reality, can significantly boost a software engineer's salary.
  • According to, the average base salary of a software engineer in the United States is $127,000, with salaries ranging from roughly $119,000 for those with less than a year of experience to nearly $160,000 for those with more than 10 years of experience.

Software Engineer Salary: How Much Do Software Engineers Make?

What is a Software Engineer?

Software Engineers create web applications, mobile apps, video games, robots, operating systems, and network systems we use daily. Software engineers pair knowledge of programming languages and frameworks with engineering principles. Software engineers' solutions can vary depending on the business or consumer needs. Software engineers can work on various projects, and the roles and responsibilities can vary depending on where you land in the field. 

The software engineering field is broad, and there are a variety of specializations that an engineer can focus on, including front end web development, back end web development, and full stack web development. Regardless of your specialization, Software Engineers must be comfortable being involved in every stage of the development process and able to work closely across functional teams with other engineers, developers, designers, scientists, and non-technical staff to develop systems and software. 

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What Affects Your Pay as a Software Engineer

Software Engineering salaries are known to be lucrative when compared to other professions. However, the salary you will make as a Software Engineer will vary depending on several factors, including education, experience, industry, location, and specialization.


Your level of education is a major factor in determining your salary as a Software Engineer. For example, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related field will typically get you a higher salary when you start in the field. A college degree is not a requirement, and many companies accept non-degree certifications from coding bootcamps in lieu of a college degree. Generally, you will find that the more education you receive to build your skills and knowledge will translate to more pay. 


Your salary is typically linked to the amount of experience you have in the field. The longer you have worked as a software engineer, the higher your salary will be. Your job experience is based on the amount of time you have spent working in the field. This can include full- and part-time experience, freelance and contract work, and volunteer work that is relevant to the role of Software Engineering.


The type of industry you work in will affect your Software Engineer salary. Major corporations or large tech firms tend to offer higher salaries than small businesses or non-profits. If you plan to offer up your services as a freelancer, you will be able to set your own rate. However, you will likely work with smaller businesses and nonprofits when you start out, and will need to accommodate those smaller budgets.


Where you live may impact your Software Engineer salary. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you can expect to make a higher salary. But those living in major cities will also experience a higher cost of living when it comes to rent, housing, and groceries. With more remote work options, some organizations are moving away from location-based salaries and instead are paying employees doing the same work the same salary, regardless of where they live. 


Technology is continuously changing, and Software Engineers must be lifelong learners in order to compete in the field. What you know and the skills that you have can impact your salary. For example, Software Engineers with knowledge of specialized technology, such as augmented reality or virtual reality, are in high demand and will earn a higher salary.

Pay Range for Software Engineers

According to, the average base salary of a Software Engineer in the United States is $127,174. As mentioned previously, the years of experience you have in the field can greatly impact your earnings. For example:

Salaries by Years of Experience in the United States 

Years of Experience 

Annual Salary

Less than 1 year 


1 to 2 years


3 to 5 years 


6 to 9 years


More than 10 years 


Data is from

As you’re exploring the salaries of Software Engineers, you will also find that they will fluctuate depending on location. For example, according to, the average salary of a Software Engineer in New York City is $141,922, whereas a Software Engineer in Atlanta can expect an average annual salary of $104,132. 

How Do I Start a Career in Software Engineering?

Briefly summarize the skills and experience parts of the “How to Become a Software Engineer” article to give future employees in the field a sense of where to begin, with an emphasis on learning the skills and tools of the trade. In this section, include link(s) to Noble certificate program(s) related to Software Engineering since these courses provide career support and mentorship sessions to help students prepare to enter the field.