Site Reliability Engineer Salary Guide 2022

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn about the salary you can earn as a site reliability engineer, the skills needed, and the highest-paid locations to work.

[Featured Image]: A male, site reliability engineer, wearing a gray shirt, and glasses, sitting in front of his desktop, in his office.

Site reliability engineering (SRE) is an in-demand field that companies rely on to keep their infrastructure moving so their workflow can operate smoothly. SREs are in high demand because they remove bottlenecks, ensure software reliability, solve complex problems, and can bridge the gap between development and operations in a DevOps organization.   

In this guide, learn more about the SRE role, the education requirements, the potential salary, and more.

What is a site reliability engineer?

Site reliability engineers use software to address IT issues and keep systems running smoothly. 

SREs are valuable to businesses because they keep systems operational and updated. As an SRE, you’ll keep workflow moving by determining what new features can be launched by examining request latency, availability, error rates, system throughput, and reliability. Site reliability engineers work on project tasks and operations tasks. 

You'll work on automation as a site reliability engineer and minimize service interruptions.  You’ll oversee systems performance, incidents, and outages and be responsible for front-end and back-end systems.

Read more: What Does a Site Reliability Engineer Do? Your Guide

How much does the average site reliability engineer make?

According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for a site reliability engineer in the US is $102,254 [1]. SREs may also earn $16,446 in additional pay, such as bonuses or profit sharing, for a total of $118,700 annually. The average pay range for all levels of experience is $89,000 to $166,000. [1]

Factors that may affect your salary

An SRE’s salary can vary for many reasons, including experience, location, skills, and education.

Level of experience 

Your years of experience can greatly impact your earning potential. Glassdoor lists the following average annual base salaries for SREs in the US by years of experience [1]:

  • Up to one year of experience: $88,258

  • 1 to 3 years of experience: $96,767

  • 4 to 6 years of experience: $102,721

  • 7 to 9 years of experience: $106,414

  • 10 to 14 years of experience:$112,783

  • 15-plus years of experience: $121,189 

Location

An SRE’s salary can also vary by location because each city has a different cost of living. The areas that typically offer higher wages are major cities with more expensive living expenses. Large cities, such as San Francisco and New York, pay well above the average annual wage, while other cities’ salaries align with Glassdoor’s average. Here are some of the average base salary variations by city [1]:

  • Charlotte, NC: $101,261

  • Omaha, NE: $105,285

  • Atlanta, GA: $98,796

  • Boise, ID: $104,967

  • St. Louis, MO: $102,689

  • Boston, MA:$104,550

  • Austin, TX: $105,756

  • Seattle, WA: $116,800

  • New York City, NY:$108,851

  • San Francisco, CA: $112,995 

Skill set 

The skills you need for an SRE career include programming and computer languages, but you’ll also need communication and problem-solving skills. You may work as part of a team so you’ll need to work well with others.

Technical skills include using version control and monitoring tools, distributed computing, strong operating systems knowledge, and coding. 

Education 

Most employers seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. Knowledge of programming languages and operating systems are attractive skills to have on your resume.

While pursuing your bachelor’s degree, you may also earn an internship to help you gain experience for an entry-level position. You can enhance your education by attending boot camps and earning certificates related to SRE work. 

Where can a site reliability engineer work? 

SREs can work in-house or remotely, offering you the flexibility to earn more working for a large company in a busy city from a lower-cost city. 

You can typically find SRE positions nationwide, and many large corporations hire onsite and remote SREs. Some companies that hire site reliability engineers are:

  • Google

  • Target

  • Microsoft

  • Apple 

  • Adobe 

  • IBM

  • Twitter

  • Cisco Systems

  • Equifax

  • Wayfair

Career advancements

Pursuing a graduate degree or certification is a good start when seeking to advance your SRE career. You can also transition into closely related fields, including software engineering or DevOps engineering. 

Once you have at least two years of professional experience, you can advance to a senior site reliability engineer with an average annual income of $136,661 [2]. With five to seven years of experience, you can become a lead site reliability engineer. The average yearly salary is $123,078, according to Glassdoor.

When you’ve completed eight or more years as a site reliability engineering professional, you may qualify for a principal site reliability engineer position, with an average annual salary of $156,323 Advancement to a senior principal site reliability engineer is possible as well. The average annual salary is $161,765.  With eight or more years, it's possible to advance to a director position with an annual average wage of $172,584

*All salary data pertains to the United States and is sourced from Glassdoor as of August 2022

Career outlook 

The site reliability engineers field is expected to grow as digital businesses grow.  Although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide growth statistics for SREs, it projects the software developer, quality assurance analyst, and testing fields—all closely related to the SRE field—will grow 22 percent between 2020 and 2030 [3].

Tips for negotiating your salary as a site reliability engineer 

When a company offers you an SRE job, the next step is to negotiate your salary. Typically, the company will give you a contract listing your job responsibilities and salary. 

You’ll want your potential employer to make the first offer. You can negotiate based on what you feel you’re worth as an employee. There are also negotiation points beyond your salary. If you want employer-paid parking or other similar perks, you can negotiate these benefits into your compensation package.

When negotiating, point out your skills and experience and how you can help the company meet its goals. 

Next steps 

To becomes an SRE, your next step is to earn a bachelor’s degree, then you can expand your knowledge with certificate programs. Consider taking Google Cloud's Site Reliability Engineering: Measuring and Managing Reliability course on Coursera, which helps you explore more about the field or build upon your existing knowledge and skills. You might also explore Developing a Google SRE Culture offered by Google Cloud, which you can complete remotely in about eight hours.

Placeholder

course

Site Reliability Engineering: Measuring and Managing Reliability

Service level indicators (SLIs) and service level objectives (SLOs) are fundamental tools for measuring and managing reliability. In this course, students ...

4.5

(749 ratings)

40,776 already enrolled

INTERMEDIATE level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Placeholder

course

Developing a Google SRE Culture

In many IT organizations, incentives are not aligned between developers, who strive for agility, and operators, who focus on stability. Site reliability ...

4.7

(681 ratings)

17,015 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

SRE Culture, Business Value, Organizational Culture

Related articles

Article sources 

1. Glassdoor. “Site Reliability Engineer Salaries, www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/site-reliability-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed July 25, 2022.

2. Glassdoor. “Site Reliability Engineer Career Path, https://www.glassdoor.com/Career/how-to-become-site-reliability-engineer_KO14,39.htm.” Accessed July 25, 2022

3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6.” Accessed July 25, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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