Software Engineer Salary: Your 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

As a software engineer, you’ll design and oversee software systems to solve problems for clients. This article covers the average software engineer salary and how your pay may differ based on your qualifications.

[Featured image] A software engineer is sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of them.

Software engineers help plan, design, and manage software solutions on an enterprise scale. If you’re a problem-solver and enjoy creating blueprints, this role may be for you. In this article, learn how a variety of factors, like your education level, skills, and geographic location, can impact your salary as a software engineer.

What is a software engineer?

As a software engineer, you’ll work across different industries to plan, design, and oversee large-scale enterprise computer systems and software according to your company’s needs. Oftentimes, you’ll prototype products and analyze the feasibility of your proposed solutions. You will then oversee the implementation of the software systems and test for bugs and user experience. Some team members that you may work with include: 

Software engineer vs. software developer 

Software engineers and developers have many overlapping skills, yet the two roles differ primarily in the scale of work. Software developers plan, design, and create individual software projects. While a software engineer may have similar duties, but will also plan systems for large companies


Read more: What Does a Software Engineer Do?

How much does a software engineer make?

Many factors can affect individual earnings; however, software engineer salaries range from $92,565 to $147,524, according to five career and salary websites. Here is a breakdown of each base salary source [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:

*All salary data and information that follows is as of December 2023


Factors that impact software engineer salary

Depending on your education, experience, where you live, and industry, the salary you can expect to earn will vary. 

Education and certifications

Typically, employers will prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like computer science, electrical engineer, or computer engineering. According to Zippia, 73 percent of software engineers have a bachelor’s degree, 20 percent a master’s degree, and 4 percent an associate degree [6]. It is possible to learn appropriate software engineer qualifications without a formal degree, but that only represents 3 percent of software engineers . Here is a breakdown of the different majors that software engineers have studied:

Read more: What Is a STEM Degree? And What Can You Do With One?

Linked image with text "See how your Coursera Learning can turn into bachelor's degree credit at University of London"

Technical skills

Technical skills represent the technical aspect of your role and are essential to succeed as a software engineer. Developing these skills can help you find a higher-paying job and may increase your earning potential, according to Indeed. Here are some critical skills and how much your income could raise from the average base salary if you hold them [5]:

  • OS kernels (17.55 percent higher): A kernel is a critical part of an operating system (OS) that manages interfacing, scheduling, and memory operation, among other things. 

  • Big data (17.35 percent higher): Big data refers to complex data sets that are so large they require something more powerful than a traditional processor. 

  • Machine learning (11.71 percent higher): Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) focusing on using algorithms that allow machines to learn much like humans do.


According to Glassdoor and Payscale, the average entry-level software engineer salary ranges from $80,452 to $93,943, while software engineers with over 15 years of experience average $120,779 to $132,603 [1, 4]. The following includes the range of salaries based on experience level:  

Payscale 4Glassdoor 1
Entry level$80,452$93,943
Early career$89,905$98,970
Late career$114,986$125,124


Another important consideration for estimating your earning potential as a software engineer is where you live. The following is a list of the top 10 highest-paying states and districts for software engineers according to Zippia [2]:

  1. California: $115,477

  2. Washington: $112,080

  3. New York: $92,846

  4. Nevada: $92,651

  5. Oregon : $91,473

  6. District of Columbia: $84,121

  7. Arizona: $83,602

  8. Massachusetts: $83,582

  9. Maryland: $82,645

  10. Delaware: $82,336

Industries that employ software engineers

As technology becomes more present in our daily lives, software engineers can find work many industries. The following list indicates the average base pay for several industries, according to Glassdoor [1]. 

  • Financial services: $129,889

  • Real estate: $111,408

  • Information technology: $117,145

  • Health care: $112,690

  • Legal: $106,320

Read more: Top 5 Entry-Level Computer Science Jobs + How to Get One

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t have a separate category for software engineers, although the projected job growth for software developers is 25 percent from 2022 to 2032 [7]. This growth is substantially faster than the projected rate across all US jobs. 

Jobs related to software engineers, and their average base salaries as of December 2023 include the following: 

  • Software developer: $105,636 [8]

  • Software test engineer: $96,218 [9]

  • Software consultant: $135,245 [10]

  • Software engineer lead: $141,523 [11]

Read more: Software Engineer Career Path: Overview and Options

Next steps

If you’re ready to learn more about software engineering, consider taking a course on Coursera. The Introduction to Software Engineering offered by IBM is a beginner-level course that covers topics like programming, software architecture, and more. Upon completion, gain a shareable certificate to include in your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile. 

If you’re interested in an online bachelor’s degree consider the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of London. Earning your BSc virtually allows you to work at your own pace and earn career credentials for a fraction of the cost of in-person education. 

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Article sources


Glassdoor. “Salary: Software Engineer,,17.htm.” Accessed December 7, 2023. 

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