Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE) Salary
Generous salaries abound for Lead Software Development Engineers in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($102K) per year. Cash earnings for Lead Software Development Engineers — including $24K in bonuses and $15K in profit sharing proceeds near the top of the pay scale — generally stretch from $76K to $154K depending on individual performance. While geography and experience level impact pay for this group, the company is the most influential factor. Most Lead Software Development Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and most collect dental insurance. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE)
A lead software development engineer will lead efforts to create software that fits certain needs within a company. Work may be done for a consulting company that provides software solutions to various companies, or it may be done directly for a company. This software can have various purposes. In any case, the engineer will often try to make the format of the software easier to use for the end user.Read More...
Since this is a lead position, it usually involves managing a team of engineers and working with them to come up with ideas. The lead software development engineer will also oversee the work of other software engineers. He or she will make sure that the work that they do is on track, so that deadlines can be adhered to. Before software is released, rigorous testing should be carried out, in order to discover any bugs that might be present. After the software is released, continuous work may be done on it to provide updates and improvements.
Problem-solving and analytical skills are essential. Strong knowledge of various programming languages, such as C++ and Java, is necessary. It may be necessary to work with various computer software operating systems, such as Linux, Mac, or Windows. This job is usually done in an office environment. Some telework may be permitted. Usually, an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in information technology or computer science is needed. Since this is a lead position, many years of experience in the field may be needed.
Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE) Tasks
- Write, modify, and debug software for server applications.
- Write code to create multi-threaded, networked server applications.
- Use source debuggers, program dumps, and performance monitoring tools.
- Test and document software for server applications.
- Write, modify, and debug software for client applications.
Common Career Paths for Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE)
As Lead Software Development Engineers transition into upper-level roles such as Software Engineering, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Software Engineering Directors earn $138K on average per year. The most common next step for a Lead Software Development Engineer is to become a Software Development Manager or a Software Architect. The former position pays an additional $7K per year on average, and the latter position pays $4K more per year.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE)
Leading companies who hire large numbers of Lead Software Development Engineers include Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Wipro Technologies Ltd., Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp, and Accenture Technology Solutions. Although Amazon.com Inc boasts the highest average salary in town at $152K, employee compensation still varies greatly — workers can make as little as $89K or as much as $196K.
Popular Skills for Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE)
Survey takers working as Lead Software Development Engineers report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Java/J2EE, C++ Programming Language, Java, and C++ are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 9 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include SQL, ASP.NET Framework, and Microsoft SQL Server. The majority of those who know .NET also know ASP.NET and Java.
Pay by Experience Level for Lead Software Development Engineer (SDE)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Lead Software Development Engineers with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $88K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $96K. Professionals who spend a good 10 to 20 years in the workforce haul in an average of $117K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $127K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Lead Software Development Engineers, busy San Francisco offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 33 percent above the national average. Lead Software Development Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Redmond (+31 percent), Seattle (+25 percent), Bellevue (+23 percent), and New York (+22 percent). Falling short of the national average by 17 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Atlanta. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Minneapolis (15 percent lower) and Philadelphia (10 percent lower).