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Staff Software Engineer Salary

Average pay for a Staff Software Engineer in the United States is considerable, rounding six figures at $117K per year. Cash earnings for Staff Software Engineers — which occasionally include more than $20K from bonuses and more than $25K from profit sharing — stretch from around $80K to approximately $162K. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by the specific employer, followed by the particular city and experience level. The vast majority of Staff Software Engineers (88 percent) survey respondents are men. Most Staff Software Engineers are fairly content with their jobs, and work satisfaction falls in line with the national average. Almost all claim medical and dental insurance and a large number get vision coverage. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$77,671 - $147,878
MEDIAN: $116,708

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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.
$77,671 - $147,878  
$1,443 - $20,229  
Profit Sharing
$1,003 - $24,747  
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).
$80,067 - $161,804  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 950
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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' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like Principal Software Engineer. Median pay for Principal Software Engineers is $125K. The most common career progression for Staff Software Engineers leads to becoming a Software Engineering Manager, where average pay is $124K annually. However, many Staff Software Engineers also opt to become Lead Software Engineers. Typically, a Lead Software Engineer brings home $104K.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

Many Staff Software Engineers can be found at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Intuit Inc., and eBay Inc., firms that are at the top of the field. Although Intuit Inc. offers the highest salaries (median pay is $185K), survey participants reported a rather limited pay range of $144K to $216K. Juniper Networks, Inc., eBay Inc., and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Staff Software Engineers earning around $151K, $151K, or $143K at each firm, respectively.

Staff Software Engineers will find the worst pay at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., where the median salary crawls in at $86K. Furthermore, compensation is curbed at $119K, leaving little room for growth. Employees at Lockheed Martin Corp, Visa, Inc., and Paypal, Inc. can also expect below-average earnings of $121K, $127K, and $129K.

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Survey results imply that Staff Software Engineers deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Most notably, skills in Java/J2EE, Software Architecture, Linux, and JavaScript 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, C#, and SQL. It is often found that people who know C are also skilled in Linux.

Pay by Experience Level for Staff Software Engineer

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

Experience seems to be a major factor in determining the incomes of Staff Software Engineers. Folks with fewer than five years of experience earn around $82K on average, but respondents who have racked up five to 10 years benefit from a six-figure median of $116K. For Staff Software Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $131K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $133K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

For those looking to make money, Staff Software Engineers in Mountain View enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 35 percent above the national average. Staff Software Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Santa Clara (+18 percent), Palo Alto (+17 percent), San Jose (+16 percent), and San Francisco (+16 percent). Compared to the national average, Raleigh Staff Software Engineers have considerably lower salaries, 31 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Austin and Portland (27 percent lower and 15 percent lower, respectively).

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.

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Experience Affects Staff Software Engineer Salaries

National Average

Skills That Affect Staff Software Engineer Salaries

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National Average

Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
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Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 187 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: 93%
vision benefits Vision: 82% employee benefits None: 3%