Staff Software Engineer Salary

Generous salaries abound for Staff Software Engineers in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($119K) per year. Final cash compensation to Staff Software Engineers varies from around $81K to approximately $169K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $22K and $28K, respectively. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is the company, though geography and tenure have a (lesser) impact as well. Medical and dental coverage is claimed by nearly all, and most earn vision coverage. Men account for the majority of Staff Software Engineers who responded to the questionnaire — 88 percent to be exact. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Staff Software Engineers. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$78,686 - $151,052
MEDIAN: $119,156

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.
$78,686 - $151,052  
$1,226 - $22,002  
Profit Sharing
$981 - $28,062  
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).
$80,703 - $169,226  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Sep 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,032
United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

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 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

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

Many Staff Software Engineers move into a Principal Software Engineer role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Principal Software Engineers on average bring in a similar salary to Staff Software Engineers. Becoming a Software Engineering Manager or a Lead Software Engineer is a common transition from a Staff Software Engineer role.

Software Developer Job Listings

Search for more jobs:

Popular Employer Salaries for

Staff Software Engineers flock to International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Intuit Inc., and eBay Inc., highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Intuit Inc. pays the most with a median salary of $184K, though there is little variation overall ($144K to $215K). Staff Software Engineers will also find cushy salaries at eBay Inc. (+$152K), Juniper Networks, Inc. (+$151K), and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (+$142K).

Workers at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp, and Paypal, Inc. also face smaller salaries than the rest of the field — average earnings for these employers come to $88K, $118K, and $129K respectively.

Popular Skills for

Staff Software Engineers seem to exploit a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Software Architecture, Linux, Java/J2EE, and Java are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 7 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include ASP.NET, SQL, and C#. The majority of those who know C also know Linux.

Pay by Experience Level for

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

For many Staff Software Engineers, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $84K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $121K. Staff Software Engineers see a median salary of $134K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Staff Software Engineers who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $135K.

Pay Difference by Location

With a pay rate for Staff Software Engineers that is 36 percent greater than the national average, Mountain View offers a comfortable salary for those in this profession. Staff Software Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Francisco (+16 percent), Santa Clara (+16 percent), San Jose (+15 percent), and Palo Alto (+14 percent). Staff Software Engineers' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Staff Software Engineers in Raleigh bring in salaries that are 34 percent lower than the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Austin (30 percent lower) and Irvine (12 percent lower).

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

United States (change)

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »

Experience Affects Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Salaries

up arrow 6%

up arrow 6%

up arrow 2%

up arrow 1%

up arrow 1%

National Average

Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
up arrow 2%

up arrow 2%

up arrow 2%

up arrow 3%

up arrow 5%

up arrow 10%

up arrow 10%

up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 169 votes.


12 %
88 %

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: 92%
vision benefits Vision: 83% employee benefits None: 3%