Software Engineer Salary

1. Overview

A concern for many – if not all – software engineers when considering employment is: what is a competitive software engineer salary? Whether you are an aspiring software engineer or a seasoned one, we will be reviewing various software engineer salaries including different locations. 

2. Google Software Engineer

This is really more or less the highest salary and likely total compensation as you will get, depending on your experience level.

Here we have a screenshot from Glassdoor showing the salary and total compensation for a Google software engineer in San Francisco, CA:

Average total pay 127K for google software engineer

 There are 314 salaries reported for a Google software engineer in San Francisco, so let’s assume this is the average, basically a mid-level compensation. Does $127,000 sound like a lot of money to you? With the median home price reported last year as $1.61 million, it won’t take you very far in terms of purchasing a home, even if your spouse makes the same amount as you.

If you are making $200,000 or more, as a single earner, you may be able to afford a $1 million home. If your spouse makes at least about $150,000, you can successfully purchase a home around the median house price of $1.61 million in San Francisco, according to RedFin:

If you work in New York City as a software engineer, your salary may be on average $1,000 lower than your colleagues in San Francisco:

But the compensation you’d receive in New York City may actually go further than it would in San Francisco. That’s because although the salary on average may be lower, the cost of living in NYC is lower too. It is reported that you need $40,000 more annually in San Francisco to live comfortably than in NYC. That’s a HUGE difference!

3. Morgan Stanley Software Engineer

If you end up working at a large financial company as a software engineer like Morgan Stanley, don’t worry, the compensation looks just fine. You’ll be making on average 96% of what a Google software engineer makes:

You may notice the Average Base Pay is noticeably lower than the one for a Google software engineer. This difference is made up through the bonuses the software engineers receive at Morgan Stanley. I’ve heard this is normal in various positions in the financial industry, but of course, I encourage you to do your due diligence if you considering employment with Morgan Stanley or another similar company. 

4. REI Systems Software Engineer

The Washington D.C. area is about 10% less expensive than New York City. With this in mind, the average salary by REI Systems for a software engineer in the Washington D.C. Metro Area is not impressive:

You cannot live comfortably inWashington D.C. on less than $90,000 according to the article I shared above and believe me this number is really only accurate for a single person with no responsibilities. They mention that people live in Maryland and Virginia to save on costs. 

Well, in order to get a reasonable single-family home in the same city as REI Systems’ headquarters, Sterling, you’ll need to have double the income. 

Likewise, you’ll need to nearly have double the income to be a middle class household in the county that REI Systems resides in.

5. Amazon Web Services Software Engineer

As we previously saw, a single person needs approximately $90,000 in the Washington D.C. area to live comfortably. It sounds more or less true to me as someone who lives in the area. Consider that as responsible individuals we need to max out our 401Ks and save other money as well.

Amazon pays their entry level Software Engineers on average nearly $30,000 more than REI Systems:

That’s a huge difference, particularly if you consider that money growing over time, if you invest it. 

6. Conclusion

Different employers pay different salaries to their software engineers. Your friend who lives in your same town may make $30,000 more than you for doing the exact same work.

So what’s the moral of the story? Be sure to investigate the compensation for your line of work when looking at employment opportunities. Also, if you are considering moving, evaluate the cost of living in each area versus the salary that is offered.

We didn’t cover this, but also be sure to look at benefits. 401K matching, health care, and other benefits are all part of your total compensation package that you need to closely evaluate. 

If you are looking at ways to improve your chances of getting hired, consider starting a blog to market yourself and taking courses on Udemy to keep your knowledge current.

Published by Michael

I started my website in 2017 to help people learn more about information technology in order to help them become more successful in their careers. I earned my bachelor's degree from New York University, have been working in cyber security since 2012, and live in the Washington D.C. Metro area. I have found running a blog to be one of the greatest assets in helping my career and have found it could even bring in a few extra bucks each month. Starting a blog is easy and rewarding. To keep my knowledge current, I take courses on Udemy and Treehouse. By using my links, you can get a discount on both.

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