Staff Software Engineer Salary

Compensation for Staff Software Engineers in the United States is generous, with average pay surpassing six figures annually ($117K). Overall cash earnings for Staff Software Engineers stretch from $80K on the lower end to $162K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $20K from bonuses and $25K from profit sharing. While geography and experience level impact pay for this group, the particular firm is the most influential factor. The majority of Staff Software Engineers claim high levels of job satisfaction. The vast majority of Staff Software Engineers (88 percent) survey respondents are men. Nearly all have medical and dental plans, and most have vision insurance. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$77,832 - $148,009
MEDIAN: $116,966

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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.
$77,832 - $148,009  
$1,216 - $20,312  
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).
$79,859 - $161,862  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 955
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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 who transition into an upper level Principal Software Engineer position will not necessarily make much more than they do in their current role. The average Principal Software Engineer makes $126K a year. Becoming a Software Engineering Manager is, more often than not, the most common role that Staff Software Engineers move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $125K. Another frequent advance is for Staff Software Engineers to assume a Lead Software Engineer role; in this role, workers often earn $104K.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

Leading companies who hire large numbers of Staff Software Engineers include International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, Intuit Inc., and eBay Inc. Pay for Staff Software Engineers is best at Intuit Inc., which offers a median salary of $185K. However, the highest reported salaries don't seem to be much higher than the lowest ones; the pay range here runs from $144K to $216K. Soaring salaries can also be found at Juniper Networks, Inc., eBay Inc., and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., where earnings of $151K, $151K, or $142K are standard for Staff Software Engineers.

A few other companies with smaller-than-average paychecks include International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. ($87K), Lockheed Martin Corp ($121K), and Visa, Inc. ($128K).

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Survey respondents exploit a significant toolbox of skills in their work. Most notably, skills in Software Architecture, Java/J2EE, Linux, and JavaScript are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts in pay of 7 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like 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 with a lot of experience tend to enjoy higher earnings. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $82K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $117K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $132K. 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

Mountain View offers some of the highest pay in the country for Staff Software Engineers, 32 percent above the national average. Staff Software Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Santa Clara (+18 percent), Palo Alto (+17 percent), San Francisco (+16 percent), and San Jose (+16 percent). Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Staff Software Engineers in Raleigh earning a whopping 32 percent below the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Austin and Portland (28 percent lower and 16 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

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Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 174 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: 83% employee benefits None: 3%