Staff Software Engineer Salary (United States)

Staff Software Engineers in the United States see excellent average salaries—about $119,395 annually. While geography and experience level impact pay for this group, the particular firm is the most influential factor. Nearly all people have medical and dental plans, and a solid majority have vision insurance. Job satisfaction is considered about average by most people in this profession. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Staff Software Engineer Salary (?
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.
$76,544 - $145,263
MEDIAN: $113,430
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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.
$76,544 - $145,263  
$1,479 - $20,434  
Profit Sharing
$1,005 - $26,907  
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).
$78,762 - $159,117  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 818
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Job Description for Staff Software Engineer

A staff software engineer is one of the key members of an organization's technical team, working with other employees to develop, maintain, and repair company software for maximum efficiency and usability. This involves identifying problems within computer programs, creating and implementing solutions to deal with them, and keeping company technical architecture running as smoothly and effectively as possible. Staff software engineers usually work under a senior team member who develops the company's technical policies and goals, and follow this supervisor's direction to identify and resolve organizational issues and needs.
Staff Software Engineer Tasks
  • Write, modify, and debug software.
  • Design and develop application components.
  • Test and document software.
  • Analyze requirements and transform them into technical designs.

Common Career Paths for Staff Software Engineer

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Compensation does not increase for Staff Software Engineers who advance in their career. Oftentimes, upper-end positions like Principal Software Engineer earn similar amounts to lower-end positions. Given the $16,243 drop in salary, it may be surprising to find that a Lead Software Engineer is the most common role for Staff Software Engineers to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into a Software Engineering Manager role—which pays $3,855 more—is also typical for Staff Software Engineers, though less common by comparison.

Staff Software Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

Staff Software Engineers flock to International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Juniper Networks, Inc., and Intuit Inc., highly-regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Though salaries lack room to grow—pay ranges from $142K to just about $210K—Intuit Inc. still offers the highest pay in town with a median paycheck of $183,084. Staff Software Engineers will also find cushy salaries at Juniper Networks, Inc. (+$152,706), Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (+$152,706, $143,755), and Qualcomm Inc (+$136,297).
With a reported median salary of only $83,408, International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. easily takes the cake for lowest-paying firm in town; earnings are less than half of the top paying company's rate. Other low-paying employers include Lockheed Martin Corp at $108,722 and eBay Inc. at $124,103, though some Staff Software Engineers there earn up to $165K.

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Staff Software Engineers report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Linux, JavaScript, Java/J2EE, and Software Architecture are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts of 9 percent, 8 percent, 5 percent, and 5 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like ASP.NET, SQL, and C#. The majority of those who know C also know Linux.

Pay by Experience Level for Staff Software Engineer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Staff Software Engineers with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher salaries. Salaries jump from $79K at career start to more than six figures at $111K after five to 10 years. Earnings total $127K after one to two decades. A 20-year tenure heralds decreased salary growth, and Staff Software Engineers who have made it this far report earning around $130K per year. Those with more than 20 years of experience are scarcest in the field. Most typically, Staff Software Engineers report having spent 10 to 20 years on the job followed by those with one to 10 years.

Pay Difference By Location

Mountain View
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Santa Clara
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Palo Alto
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San Mateo
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San Francisco
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National Average
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Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Staff Software Engineers, working in the bustling city of Mountain View has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Those in search of high salaries should also consider checking out cities like Santa Clara, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale, top-paying markets where Staff Software Engineers rake in more than the national norm (+21 percent, +20 percent, +17 percent, and +17 percent). Staff Software Engineers in Austin report much lower salaries than the rest of the country—31 percent below the national average—proving that residency is a major factor in overall pay.

Staff Software Engineer Reviews

What is it like working as a Staff Software Engineer at Juniper Networks, Inc.?
Staff Software Engineer in Sunnyvale:
"Great Technology; Mediocre Management."
Pros: Juniper offers an opportunity to work with cutting edge technology on killer products. Developers are always challenged to think creatively and present their best work.
Cons: Juniper's Directors and VP's have their heads up their asses - couldn't sell a wool blanket to an Eskimo and couldn't predict a snowstorm in a blizzard. Do NOT allow your career to be mentored by one of these buffoons; take whatever technology you can learn and quickly leave the company for the next job offer before HR turns you into the next statistic during RIF season A.) Marketing has no clue - (look what happened to Netscreen and their security products) B.) HR is living in the dark ages - recently implemented a "no vacation" policy; routinely enforces stack-ranking and yearly "lay-offs" to cull the bottom ranks. C.) Managers have no loyalty - will throw you under the bus when projects head south, to keep themselves from looking bad and becoming one of the bottom feeders. It's a very cut-throat, un-friendly, sometimes hostile place to work.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Staff Software Engineer Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Staff Software Engineer Salaries

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Software Architecture
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National Average
Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
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Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 195 votes.


female alumni
male alumni

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: 96% dental benefits Dental: 93%
vision benefits Vision: 82% employee benefits None: 2%
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