Staff Software Engineer Salary

On average, Staff Software Engineers in the United States earn six-figure salaries ($117K) annually, making for a very well-paid profession. Total cash compensation to Staff Software Engineers approaches anywhere from $80K on the lower end to $162K on the higher end; in exceptional cases, this can include more than $20K from bonuses and upwards of $25K from profit sharing. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but the particular city and years of experience are influential factors as well. For the most part, Staff Software Engineers enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. In this profession, almost all enjoy medical and dental coverage, and a large number have vision insurance, as well. Male Staff Software Engineers far outnumber their female contemporaries among those who completed the questionnaire. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$77,618 - $147,783
MEDIAN: $116,861

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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.
$77,618 - $147,783  
$1,443 - $20,329  
Profit Sharing
$1,000 - $24,566  
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).
$79,631 - $161,754  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 960
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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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Many Staff Software Engineers move into a Principal Software Engineer role, which does not lead to a big boost in pay. Principal Software Engineers on average bring in a similar salary to Staff Software Engineers. More often than not, a Software Engineering Manager role is the next step for Staff Software Engineers moving up in the field. Software Engineering Managers usually make $124K per year. Many other Staff Software Engineers choose to take on a Lead Software Engineer role, where salaries are typically $104K.

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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, Intuit Inc., and eBay Inc. are leading firms in the industry. With a median salary of $185K, Intuit Inc. offers Staff Software Engineers the highest pay. However, earnings don't seem to live on a large spectrum; they generally peter out at $144K and are capped at $216K. Other leaders in compensation levels are Juniper Networks, Inc. at $151K, eBay Inc. at $151K, and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., where Staff Software Engineers annually earn $142K.

Workers at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp, and Visa, Inc. also face smaller salaries than the rest of the field — average earnings for these employers come to $87K, $121K, and $128K respectively.

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Staff Software Engineers report using a deep pool of skills on the job. 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 seem to negatively impact pay include ASP.NET, C#, and SQL. 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.

For many Staff Software Engineers, more experience generally translates to higher pay. The relatively untested earn a median of $82K per year, but survey respondents who have racked up five to 10 years of experience report a six-figure median of $116K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $131K in this role. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $133K.

Pay Difference by Location

Home to some of the best pay for Staff Software Engineers, Mountain View offers exceptional salaries, 32 percent above the national average. Staff Software Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Santa Clara (+19 percent), Palo Alto (+17 percent), San Jose (+16 percent), and San Francisco (+16 percent). Staff Software Engineers in Raleigh report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 32 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay. Workers in Austin and Portland earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (28 percent less and 15 percent less, 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 175 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%