Software Development Engineer (SDE) Salary

Salaries for Software Development Engineers in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($96K) per year. Total cash earnings of Software Development Engineers range from $66K on the low end to $133K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $24K and $17K, respectively. Location is the main element affecting pay for this group — the specific employer and experience level are driving factors as well. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. Most Software Development Engineers report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$65,934 - $120,114
(Median)
$66K
$96K
$120K
MEDIAN: $96,109
10%
50%
90%

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$17.01 - $60.86
(Median)
$17
$37
$61
MEDIAN: $37.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$65,934 - $120,114  
   
Bonus
$993 - $24,324  
Profit Sharing
$1,016 - $17,152  
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).
)
$65,688 - $132,710  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,833
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$17.01 - $60.86  
   
Overtime
$22.65 - $65.89  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$993 - $24,324  
   
Profit Sharing
$1,016 - $17,152  
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).
)
$65,688 - $132,710  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 72
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Job Description for Software Development Engineer (SDE)

A software development engineer tests and documents software for client applications, server applications, and websites. The engineer uses source debuggers, visual development environments, program dumps, and performance monitoring tools to ensure the quality of the software. The engineer will work with designers and content producers to get the desired results for clients. The software engineer will write code to create many types of software, such as multi-threaded networked server applications and single-threaded or user interface event-driven applications (either stand-alone or those that access servers and services). The engineer may write code to create webpages or access database information and business logic servers. The engineer will be able to write as well as modify and debug software for client applications, server applications, and websites. Excellent communication skills are a must in order to work with clients and understand what is desired as an end result as well as communicate back to clients what is actually possible to achieve. A software development engineer should be able to function as part of a productive team working toward a common goal and should be able to provide and respond to constructive criticism. Education requirements vary depending on the employer, but an engineer should at least have a high school diploma or GED, and a college degree in information technology or computer sciences is desirable. A software development engineer should be well-versed in a number of different computer programming languages such as C, C++, Java, HTML, Python, or Perl. Experience building systems on a cloud infrastructure is also helpful.


Software Development Engineer (SDE) Tasks

  • Write, modify, and debug software for web sites.
  • Test and document software for client applications.
  • Use source debuggers and visual development environments.
  • Test and document software for web sites.
  • Work with with designers and content producers.
  • Write code to generate web pages, access databases and business logic servers.
  • Use source debuggers, program dumps, and performance monitoring tools.
  • Write code to create multi-threaded, networked server applications.
  • Write, modify, and debug software for server applications.
  • Write code to create single-threaded or user interface event driven applications, either stand-alone and those which access servers or services.
  • Write, modify, and debug software for client applications.
  • Test and document software for server applications.

Common Career Paths for Software Development Engineer (SDE)


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Software Development Engineers who become Software Development Managers position may earn slightly higher salaries. The median income for that position is $113K per year. When Software Development Engineers are ready for the next step in their careers, they often become Senior Software Development Engineers or Lead Software Development Engineers. Those roles pay an additional $6K and $3K, respectively.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Software Development Engineer (SDE)


Leading companies who hire large numbers of Software Development Engineers include Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp, Yahoo! Inc., Expedia, Inc., and Dell, Inc. Yahoo! Inc. pays the most with a median salary of $120K, though there is little variation overall ($98K to $136K).

Not only do salaries lack room to grow — pay ranges from $66K to just $104K — but Dell, Inc. offers the lowest pay in town to boot, with a median paycheck of $81K.

Popular Skills for Software Development Engineer (SDE)


Survey results imply that Software Development Engineers deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Object Oriented Programming, C, .NET, and Java are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include HTML, SQL, and ASP.NET. Most people experienced in .NET also know C++.

Pay by Experience Level for Software Development Engineer (SDE)

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


More years of relevant experience do not necessarily translate to higher paychecks. Individuals with less than five years' experience take home around $97K. In contrast, though, people who have been on the job for five to 10 years report a six-figure median of $109K. Software Development Engineers bring in $113K after working for 10 to 20 years. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make about the same as folks in the 10-to-20 year range.

Pay Difference by Location


Sunnyvale is home to an above-average pay rate for Software Development Engineers, 20 percent higher than the national average. Software Development Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Redmond (+13 percent), Santa Clara (+11 percent), San Francisco (+9 percent), and Bellevue (+9 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Software Development Engineers is geography, with workers in Atlanta earning a whopping 25 percent below the national average. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Austin (24 percent less) and New York (7 percent less).

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Experience Affects Software Development Engineer (SDE) Salaries


Late-Career
up arrow 13%


National Average
$100,000


Skills That Affect Software Development Engineer (SDE) Salaries


C
up arrow 3%

Java
up arrow 1%

.NET
up arrow 1%

C++
0%

C#
0%

National Average
$100,000

Python
up arrow 2%

PL/SQL
up arrow 2%

Linux
up arrow 3%

JavaScript
up arrow 3%

UNIX
up arrow 3%

ASP.NET
up arrow 4%

Microsoft SQL Server
up arrow 4%

SQL
up arrow 7%

up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 283 votes.

Gender

Female
11 %
Male
89 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
28%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
2%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 94% dental benefits Dental: 86%
vision benefits Vision: 75% employee benefits None: 5%
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