Staff Software Engineer Salary (United States)

Compensation for Staff Software Engineers in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($119,395). With some bonuses approaching $20K and certain profit sharing proceeds close to $27K, overall incomes in the Staff Software Engineers from $76,544 to $145,263 depending on individual performance. The company is the main element affecting pay for this group—geography and experience level are driving factors as well. Work is reasonably fulfilling for most Staff Software Engineers—the majority report average levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this outline were provided by individuals who took 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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Staff Software Engineers do not enjoy an increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. More often than not, top-notch roles like Principal Software Engineer will not offer more money than lower-level jobs in the same field. The most common promotion for Staff Software Engineers, a Lead Software Engineer position actually brings in $16,243 less. Another standard transition for Staff Software Engineers seeking advancement is to assume a Software Engineering Manager role, where pay often climbs by $3,855.

Staff Software Engineer Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

Known for taking on a considerable number of Staff Software Engineers, International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Juniper Networks, Inc., and Intuit Inc. are leading firms in the industry. Intuit Inc. pays the most with a median salary of $183,084, though there is little variation overall ($142K-about $210K). Other employers shelling out big bucks include Juniper Networks, Inc., Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., and Qualcomm Inc, where Staff Software Engineers typically earn around $152,706, $143,755, or $136,297, respectively.
Find the lowest pay by far at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp.—the company has a median salary of $83,408, less than half of the top paying employer's rate. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Lockheed Martin Corp at $108,722, and eBay Inc. where $124,103 is the norm, but it is worth noting that 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#. Most people 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.
Experience is important when determining pay for Staff Software Engineers. Salaries jump from $79K at career start to more than six figures at $111K after five to 10 years. Those who spend a decent amount of time in this profession—one to two decades—usually make about $127K. After 20 years in the field, Staff Software Engineers see their salaries growing more slowly, eventually averaging out to $130K. The majority of Staff Software Engineers have only 10 to 20 years of practice in the field. Workers with one to 10 years make up the second biggest group followed by those with more than 20 years under their belt.

Pay Difference By Location

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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.
Mountain View offers some of the highest pay in the country for Staff Software Engineers, 40 percent above the national average. Also paying near the top of the field are Santa Clara, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale, where Staff Software Engineers annually earn 21 percent, 20 percent, 17 percent, and 17 percent more than the national average. Place of residency plays a huge part in a Staff Software Engineer's salary, with Austin Staff Software Engineers earning salaries that are 31 percent less than the national average.

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

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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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