Staff Software Engineer Salary

Staff Software Engineers in the United States can expect to earn a very generous salary, with average salaries (in the ballpark of $117K) surpassing six figures annually. 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 $22K from profit sharing. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the specific employer, but geography and years of experience are influential factors as well. The vast majority (88 percent) of Staff Software Engineers who answered the questionnaire are male. Work is enjoyable for Staff Software Engineers, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. Nearly all enjoy medical and dental coverage in this occupation, and most get vision benefits. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$77,889 - $148,266

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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.
$77,889 - $148,266  
$1,208 - $20,291  
Profit Sharing
$979 - $22,468  
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).
$79,907 - $161,995  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 959
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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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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. 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 $124K. 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

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. Salary cannot be beat at Intuit Inc., where median pay comes to $185K. The range seems somewhat confined, however; the lower end sits at $144K, and the higher end is not far away at $216K. Juniper Networks, Inc., eBay Inc., and Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. also offer top salaries for Staff Software Engineers. Workers at these firms can expect to earn about $151K, $151K, and $142K, respectively.

National Instruments Corporation offers the least pay with a median salary of $77K; furthermore, salaries there max out at only $83K. Also sliding in at the lower end of the scale are International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. ($87K), Lockheed Martin Corp ($121K), and Visa, Inc. ($128K).

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 between 6 percent and 8 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include ASP.NET, C#, and SQL. Those educated in C tend to be well versed in Linux.

Pay by Experience Level for Staff Software Engineer

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $82K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $117K. Staff Software Engineers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $132K. 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 $133K.

Pay Difference by Location

For those looking to make money, Staff Software Engineers in Mountain View enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 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 Jose (+16 percent), and San Francisco (+15 percent). Place of residence plays a huge part in a Staff Software Engineer's salary, with Raleigh Staff Software Engineers earning salaries that are 31 percent less than the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Austin (29 percent lower) and Portland (16 percent lower).

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 173 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%