Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salary

Very much a male-dominated career in the United States, Software Design Engineers earn an average of $82K per year. Geographic location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Most Software Design Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$64,577 - $124,979
$65K
$82K
$120K
MEDIAN: $81,924
10%
50%
90%

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$23.55 - $64.75
$24
$40
$65
MEDIAN: $40.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$64,577 - $124,979  
   
Bonus
$1,932 - $21,365  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$59,390 - $139,890  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 60
© PayScale, Inc. @ www.payscale.com
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$23.55 - $64.75  
   
Overtime
$36.00  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$1,932 - $21,365  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$59,390 - $139,890  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 11
© PayScale, Inc. @ www.payscale.com

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Job Description for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

A software design engineer (SDE) is a key member of a software development company. He or she helps identify problems and figures out how to create programs that will automate or ease those situations. Typically, the design engineer will look at existing processes and then work to design or refine software to increase the efficiency or ulity of users. This can involve creating a new product or iterating on existing software products to improve them.

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Software Design Engineer (SDE) Tasks

  • Test and document software for client applications.
  • Write, modify, and debug software for client applications.
  • Write code to create single-threaded or user interface event driven applications, either stand-alone and those which access servers or services.
  • Use source debuggers and visual development environments.

Common Career Paths for Software Design Engineer (SDE)


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At the upper end, Software Design Engineers who move into a Senior Software Engineer role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Senior Software Engineers is a much higher $108K per year.

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Popular Skills for Software Design Engineer (SDE)


Overall, survey participants reported applying a fair number of skills to their work. Most notably, facility with C#, .NET, and ASP.NET are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 21 percent, 15 percent, and 8 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS, C++ Programming Language, and SQL. C# is a skill commonly found among those who know .NET.

Pay by Experience Level for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Software Design Engineers — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. People who have worked for fewer than five years earn around $81K, and folks with five to 10 years of experience see a modestly higher median of $83K. Between one and two decades on the job, average salaries pass the six-figure mark at around $100K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Software Design Engineer with more than 20 years of experience can earn $103K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $83,168

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Seattle is home to an above-average pay rate for Software Design Engineers, 43 percent higher than the national average. Software Design Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Redmond (+15 percent).

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 12 votes.
Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
46%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
13%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salaries

Late-Career
▲24%

▲20%

National Average
$83,000

▼1%

▼2%

Skills That Affect Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salaries

C#
▲21%

▲15%

ASP.NET
▲8%

C
▲5%

C# Programming Language
▲5%

Java
▼0%

National Average
$83,000

C++
▼4%

SQL
▼9%


Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
▼13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 12 votes.

Gender

Female
8 %
Male
92 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
46%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
13%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 80%
dental benefits
Dental: 71%
vision benefits
Vision: 71%
dental benefits
None: 18%
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