Staff Software Engineer Salary

Wages for Staff Software Engineers in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($116K) per year. In the world of Staff Software Engineers, total cash compensation can vary between $80K and $161K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $20K and $25K, respectively. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the company, followed by the particular city and years of experience. In this profession, almost all enjoy medical and dental coverage, and a large number have vision insurance, as well. Staff Software Engineers who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 89 percent. Most people on this career path report moderate levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$77,355 - $147,128
MEDIAN: $115,510

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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.
$77,355 - $147,128  
$1,470 - $20,198  
Profit Sharing
$1,004 - $25,168  
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).
$79,630 - $161,076  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 944

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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. Becoming a Lead Software Engineer 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. A median salary for a Lead Software Engineer is $104K. Another frequent advance is for Staff Software Engineers to assume a Software Engineering Manager role; in this role, workers often take home $124K.

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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer

Staff Software Engineers flock to International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, Lockheed Martin Corp, eBay Inc., and Intuit Inc., highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Salary cannot be beat at Intuit Inc., where median pay comes to $183K. The range seems somewhat confined, however; the lower end sits at $144K, and the higher end is not far away at $205K. Staff Software Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks at Juniper Networks, Inc. ($151K), eBay Inc. ($151K), and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. ($143K).

The lowest pay by far can be found at International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. — this employer offers a median salary of $85K, less than half of the top paying employer's rate. Lockheed Martin Corp, Visa, Inc., and Paypal, Inc. are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($120K, $127K, and $129K respectively).

Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer

Staff Software Engineers seem to require a rather large skill set. 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. 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.

For many Staff Software Engineers, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $81K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $114K. For Staff Software Engineers, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $129K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $132K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

Mountain View is home to an above-average pay rate for Staff Software Engineers, 37 percent higher than the national average. Staff Software Engineers will also find cushy salaries in Santa Clara (+19 percent), Palo Alto (+18 percent), San Jose (+17 percent), and San Francisco (+16 percent). The lowest-paying market is Raleigh, which sits 29 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Austin (29 percent less) and Irvine (15 percent less).

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.

Related Job Salaries

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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 199 votes.


11 %
89 %

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: 92%
vision benefits Vision: 82% employee benefits None: 3%