Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salary

A sizeable majority of Software Design Engineers in the United States are men. In this role, average pay is around $85K annually. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography. Most Software Design Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Read More
$59,382 - $122,715
MEDIAN: $85,172

Add this chart to your site: 640px    300px

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.
$59,382 - $122,715  
$0.00 - $15,617  
Profit Sharing
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).
$59,815 - $132,602  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 139
United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

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.


Software Design Engineer (SDE) Tasks

  • 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.
  • Test and document software for client applications.
  • Write, modify, and debug software for client applications.

Common Career Paths for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Add this chart to your site:   640px 640px    300px 300px

While Software Design Engineers do not often become Senior Software Development Engineers, the job pays $106K per year on average.

Software Developer Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Skills for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

Software Design Engineers report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in .NET, C#, ASP.NET, and C are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include C++, Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS, and Java. Those with knowledge of .NET tend to be skilled in C# as well.

Pay by Experience Level for Software Design Engineer (SDE)

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

Folks with fewer than five years of experience earn around $76K on average, but respondents who have racked up five to 10 years benefit from a six-figure median of $102K. Software Design Engineers with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $113K. Software Design Engineers who claim more than two decades of experience actually make somewhat smaller average paychecks of $103K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $88,219

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

For Software Design Engineers, Redmond provides a pay rate that is 33 percent greater than the national average. Software Design Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+19 percent).

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salaries

up arrow 17%

National Average

Skills That Affect Software Design Engineer (SDE) Salaries

up arrow 16%

up arrow 14%

up arrow 2%

National Average

up arrow 1%

up arrow 2%

up arrow 4%

Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
up arrow 6%

up arrow 9%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 35 votes.


10 %
90 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 95%
dental benefits
Dental: 90%
medical benefits
Vision: 84%
dental benefits
None: 4%