Staff Software Engineer Salary
Six-figure salaries are the norm for Staff Software Engineers in the United States, with median pay hovering around $125K per year. Total cash compensation to Staff Software Engineers approaches anywhere from $87K on the lower end to $179K on the higher end; in exceptional cases, this can include more than $25K from bonuses and upwards of $34K from profit sharing. The specific employer is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography and experience level. Nearly all get medical and dental insurance, and most get vision plans, too. There are far more male Staff Software Engineers survey respondents than women, making up 86 percent. The majority of Staff Software Engineers claim high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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.Read More...
Staff software engineers spend the bulk of their working time with computers and other technology, both troubleshooting issues and creating new software. They may work with one or more other employees under the supervision of a department head. Additionally, these engineers usually take a certain number of continuing education classes each year to stay up to date on developments in the field; they may also be asked to attend conferences on behalf of their employer as another method of learning of new information and/or representing the company within the industry.
The position of staff software engineer typically requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related technical field. Some positions also require a master's degree. Individuals who are interested in becoming staff software engineers should be team players, be able to take direction well, and be able to communicate and work well with others to achieve organizational goals.
Staff Software Engineer Tasks
- Test and document software for client applications.
- Write, modify, and debug software for client applications.
- Write code to create single-threaded or user interface event driven applications, either stand-alone and those which access servers or services.
- Use source debuggers and visual development environments.
Common Career Paths for Staff Software Engineer
Staff Software Engineers' salary tends to stay somewhat level for those who assume higher-end positions like Principal Software Engineer. Median pay for Principal Software Engineers is $129K. Many Staff Software Engineers choose to become Lead Software Engineers and Software Engineering Managers as their careers advance. However, folks in those positions report median salaries of $28K less and $8K less, respectively.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Staff Software Engineer
Staff Software Engineers fill the offices of leading firms International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Qualcomm Inc, eBay Inc., Juniper Networks, Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corp. Intuit Inc. offers the best pay with a median salary of $186K, though salaries there don't seem that varied, bottoming out near $143K and maxing out at just $220K. Staff Software Engineers can also look forward to large paychecks at eBay Inc. ($152K), Juniper Networks, Inc. ($151K), and Citrix Systems Inc ($147K).
International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., Dell, Inc., and Lockheed Martin Corp are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($94K, $101K, and $117K respectively).
Popular Skills for Staff Software Engineer
Staff Software Engineers report using a large range of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Software Architecture, Java, Software Development, and Linux are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 8 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like C#, SQL, and C# Programming Language. The majority of those who know C also know 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. Although inexperienced employees take home approximately $92K, those who have five to 10 years under their belts benefit from a six-figure median of $137K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $142K. Staff Software Engineers who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are no higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years.
Pay Difference by Location
For Staff Software Engineers, top-notch salaries can be found in California: Mountain View, San Francisco, and Palo Alto offer exceptional salaries — better than the national average for those in this field and higher than any other city in the United States. The lowest-paying market is Raleigh, which sits 36 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Austin and Irvine are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 27 percent lower and 24 percent lower, respectively.