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Staff Software Engineer Salary (United States)

Bountiful salaries abound for Staff Software Engineers in the United States, with average pay above six figures ($119K) per year. In the world of Staff Software Engineers, total cash compensation can vary between $79K and $159K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $20K and $27K, respectively. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the company, followed by the particular city and experience level. Nearly all enjoy medical and dental coverage in this occupation, and a solid majority get vision benefits. Most people in this profession are content with their work, and moderate levels of job satisfaction are reported. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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 may not experience a change in pay as they move on to an upper-level role like Principal Software Engineer. Principal Software Engineers usually make $124K. A Lead Software Engineer role is the most prevalent career advancement for Staff Software Engineers. Paychecks for that role are $103K on average. The Software Engineering Manager position is another common transition for Staff Software Engineers; in this role, salaries are typically at the $123K mark.

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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. Although the highest salaries can be found at Intuit Inc. where median pay is $183K, there is little variation in compensation; paychecks are spread only between $143K and $207K. Other big spenders include Juniper Networks, Inc., Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., and Qualcomm Inc, top-paying firms where Staff Software Engineers see paychecks nearing $153K, $144K, or $136K.
Less than half of the top paying employer's rate, International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. offers a median salary of just $83K, consistently last on the pay scale ladder by far. Other low-paying employers include Lockheed Martin Corp at $109K and eBay Inc. at $124K, though some Staff Software Engineers there earn up to $164K.

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 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. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include ASP.NET, SQL, and C#. Those proficient in C are, more often than not, 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 is an important factor influencing the compensation of Staff Software Engineers. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $79K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $111K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $127K. Staff Software Engineers with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $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

Mountain View
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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.
For those looking to make money, Staff Software Engineers in Mountain View enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 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. Staff Software Engineers in Austin report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 31 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay.

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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Software Architecture
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National Average
Embedded / Real-Time / RTOS
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Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
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%