Staff Software Engineer Salary

Staff Software Engineers receive generous compensation in the United States — earning an average of $120K per year, their standard salaries shoot well into the six-figure range. In the world of Staff Software Engineers, overall income ranges from $82K near the bottom to $173K at the top; this can include more than $24K from bonuses and more than $30K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. While geography and years of experience impact pay for this group, the particular firm is the most influential factor. The vast majority of Staff Software Engineers (88 percent) who took the survey are men. Nearly all have medical and dental plans, and most have vision insurance. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$79,823 - $152,348
MEDIAN: $120,467

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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.
$79,823 - $152,348  
$1,249 - $23,970  
Profit Sharing
$994 - $30,000  
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).
$81,763 - $173,080  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,116
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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 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 Staff Software Engineer

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For Staff Software Engineers, career advancements do not tend to correlate with a rise in salary. On average, lower-level Staff Software Engineers earn similar salaries to those in higher-end positions like Principal Software Engineer. Staff Software Engineers most frequently advance into Software Engineering Manager and Lead Software Engineer roles even though the median salaries are $2K lower and $23K lower, respectively.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Visa, Inc., and Intuit Inc. are top-notch employers for Staff Software Engineers in this area. Intuit Inc. offers the best pay with a median salary of $185K, though salaries there don't seem that varied, bottoming out near $143K and maxing out at just $215K. EBay Inc., Juniper Networks, Inc., and Citrix Systems Inc are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Staff Software Engineers earning around $152K, $151K, or $147K at each firm, respectively.

Employees at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Dell, Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corp can also expect below-average earnings of $89K, $101K, and $118K.

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Survey participants wield an impressively varied skill set on the job. Most notably, skills in Java/J2EE, Software Architecture, Linux, and Java are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 5 percent and 7 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate 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.

Staff Software Engineers who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Individuals with fewer than five years of experience earn $87K on average, but those in the five-to-10 year group see a six-figure median of $123K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Staff Software Engineers make a median salary of $137K. Folks who have racked up more than 20 years in the field report incomes that aren't higher than less experienced individuals' earnings.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $127,796

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Staff Software Engineers, location is an influential factor in determining pay. Three cities in California — Mountain View, Palo Alto, and San Francisco — not only offer salaries upward of the national average, but are the highest-paid American cities for those in the field. Compared to the national average, Raleigh Staff Software Engineers have considerably lower salaries, 33 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin (29 percent lower) and Irvine (18 percent lower).

Staff Software Engineer Reviews

What is it like working as a Staff Software Engineer at Intuit Inc.?

Staff Software Engineer in Cambridge:
"Working at remote Intuit site."
Pros: Great team, really good manager, fun technology, great pay and benefits, good CEO.
Cons: Politics of a big company, lots of reorgs, layoffs yearly, not alot of respect for teams that are not located at corporate headquarters.

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

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Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 178 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: 95%
dental benefits
Dental: 92%
medical benefits
Vision: 84%
dental benefits
None: 3%