It’s common knowledge that software engineers (developers) are in high demand and earn a lot. But what’s the average software developer salary at entry, intermediate or senior level? Let’s break it down.
Software Developer Salary Ranges by Years of Experience
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average software developer salary was $120,990 in 2021. This encompasses all levels of experience, from those who are just starting out to those with many years of experience.
The median was only a bit lower, at $120,730. This means that half of software engineers earn more than this amount and half earn less. The lowest-paid 10% made $64,470 in 2021, while the highest-paid 10% enjoyed a salary of $168,570.
From that, it’s easy to assume that junior software developers’ salaries fall closer to the lower end of this range, while seniors are way above the median pay. Let’s see if that’s really the case.
Entry-Level Software Developer Salary
At the entry level, software developer salaries can be quite a bit lower than average. Salary.com reports that the median is $72,590. However, this number varies depending on location. For example, if you’re based in Los Angeles, you can expect to make as much as $82,090 at the beginning of your career.
Intermediate Software Developer Salary
Once you’ve gained a few years of experience, your salary will increase. The average software developer salary for those with two to four years of experience is $92,990, according to the same source. Using the example of Los Angeles again, it could be as high as $105,190.
Senior Software Developer Salary
The most experienced professionals can expect to make even more. Salary.com reports that the median software developer salary for those with more than six years of experience is $115,590. And again, this varies depending on location. In Los Angeles, for example, it could be as high as $130,790.
Software Developer Salaries by State
Now that you know the average software developer salary for all levels, what about the differences between states? The BLS has compiled a list of the highest-paying states for software engineers. The top five are:
- California: $146,770;
- Washington: $145,150;
- Maryland: $131,240;
- New York: $129,950;
- Rhode Island: $128,790.
On the other hand, the lowest-paying states are West Virginia ($83,450), North Dakota ($83,460), Mississippi ($85,590), Wyoming ($85,730), and South Dakota ($85,910).
As you can see, the pay varies greatly depending on your location. So if you’re looking to make the most money in this career, it’s important to consider all your options.
How Has the Salary for a Software Developer Changed over Time?
The BLS stores their salary data for many years, and you can always access tables from the previous years to compare the numbers. Let’s see how the average software developer salary changed from 2010 to 2021. Up to 2018, the first number refers to application developers, and the second one is for systems software developers.
- 2010 – $90,410 to $97,960;
- 2012 – $93,280 to $102,550;
- 2014 – $99,530 to $106,050;
- 2016 – $104,300 to $110,590;
- 2018 – $108,080 to $114,000;
- 2020 – $114,270 (software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers);
- 2021 – $120,990 (just software developers).
If you only look at the application developer salaries, it turns out that they increased by 19.5% from 2010 to 2018. Systems software developer salaries, on the other hand, increased by 16% in the same time period.
What Does a Software Developer Do?
If you’re still not sure what a software engineer or developer does, this section is for you. A software developer is someone who creates and tests software. They may be involved in the initial design stages of a project, or they may come in later to add features or fix bugs. Some companies differentiate between them and software engineers, while others use the terms interchangeably.
They work with a variety of programming languages and software development frameworks, so it’s important to have a strong understanding of computers and software. In addition, they must be able to communicate effectively with other members of a team, as well as customers or clients who may not have a technical background.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Software Dev?
Most software engineer jobs require a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. However, there are some exceptions. Some companies will hire software engineers with an associate’s degree or even just a high school diploma.
If you’re interested in this career, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest software development trends and technologies. You can do this by taking classes, attending conferences, or reading industry publications.
You should also have strong problem-solving and analytical skills, as well as experience in software development methodologies. It’s also helpful to be familiar with multiple programming languages.
The Bottom Line: Software Engineer Salaries Are Increasing
As you can see, the software developer salary is quite lucrative. And it’s only going to continue to increase as this field grows more and more in demand. With this job title, you can expect a high base salary plus benefits. If you’re interested in becoming a software engineer, now is the time to do it!
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