12 Highest-Paying Software Engineering Jobs and How to Get Them

Software engineers don’t often have “software engineer” as their title. So what are the top software engineering jobs and how much do they pay?

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If you’re thinking about a career in software engineering, you’re probably wondering — what are the top-paying jobs for software engineers and how do you get them? 

Almost every company around the nation needs some sort of Software Engineer. According to a report by Zippia, there are over 329,500** Software Engineers currently employed in the United States, and among the top 10% of highest-paid Software Engineers, they can earn as much as $113,000 or more.

Before we can talk about Software Engineer job salaries and how to get them, let’s talk about what they do. But before that, if you are interested in a career as a Software Engineer, check out the Software Engineering bootcamp at Flatiron School. You can finish the program in as little as 15 weeks and develop a job-ready portfolio so you can start your new career. Apply now or book a 10-minute chat with admissions to learn more about the program. 

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

A Software Engineer covers a wide variety of jobs, but most Software Engineers generally create and maintain computer software — websites, apps, software programs, for example — that are easy and enjoyable for people to use. The term Software Engineer can refer to a specialist in a computer area — a generalist who writes codes for many kinds of software. Their overall task is to keep their platform clean, simple, and easy to use for everyday users.

Software Engineers, often called computer programmers, are different from computer engineers. Computer engineers generally focus more on hardware, such as CPUs, processing power, and storage, whereas Software Engineers focus more on coding, programming, applications, and more.

Types of Software Engineering Jobs Out There

Software Engineers don’t often have “software engineer” as their title. Some companies may use that term in their role-searching, but it could mean more than the title suggests. For example, a software engineering role may also cover the front-end development of a website or server management and maintenance. While Software Engineers have different job titles, many job titles incorporate various aspects with their other responsibilities.

Software Engineers often have these job titles: 

  • Web Developer
  • Software Developer
  • Network Engineer
  • Java, SQL Developer
  • Data Programmer
  • AWS Solutions Architect

How Much Do Software Engineers Make?

Since software engineering involves a broad career field, the salary of a Software Engineer can vary depending on what position you have, what hiring platform you use, and what part of the nation you’re in.

According to Glassdoor, software engineering has been ranked as the second-highest paying entry-level position for freelancers with a median base salary of around $90,000 per year.

But since salary often varies by job title, we’ve listed average software engineering salaries from various job roles in the United States pulled from two different hiring platforms as of May 2022 (Indeed and ZipRecruiter).

So what are the highest-paying software engineering jobs, and how do you get them?

1. System Engineer

Responsibilities: A System Engineer works with IT firms and companies to install software programs to networks and databases. They also help maintain the system overall and make repairs to ensure security measures.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in informational technology, computer science, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $93,199 per year

ZipRecruiter: $95, 270 per year

2. Software Engineer

Responsibilities: Software Engineers are usually the jack-of-all-trades. They use their knowledge of coding and applications to create software, applications, websites, and communication platforms for companies. They may also run and maintain content management systems and back-end servers for consumers, companies, or individuals.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in software engineering, software development, information technology, computer programming, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $126,486 per year

ZipRecruiter: $99,729 per year

3. Full-Stack Developer

Responsibilities: Full-Stack Developers are responsible for both front-end and back-end development. Front-end development may involve creating visual designs for websites, mobile applications, and company platforms. Back-end development usually involves running and maintaining servers to communicate with companies, consumers, and departments within an organization.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science, software development, computer programming, coding languages, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $101,931 per year

ZipRecruiter: $102,744 per year

4. Cloud Engineer

Responsibilities: Cloud Engineers are responsible for aiding companies to move their information technology methods into a cloud format to ensure that they don’t lose important company information. They ensure that a company’s cloud management system stays safe, secure, and updated, so it consistently backs up information.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology, computer science, cybersecurity, or a related area, along with three to five years of work experience in IT.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $120,455 per year

ZipRecruiter: $128,837 per year

5. Mobile Developer

Responsibilities: Mobile Developers are responsible for the development and designing of mobile applications. They may also be required to restructure company websites to fit a mobile format or create an app for the company. They work with companies as either a team or as individuals.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology, computer programming, information systems management, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $123,853 per year

ZipRecruiter: $105,037 per year

6. Development Operations Engineer

Responsibilities: Development Operations Engineers, or DevOps, work with companies to compile code libraries or databases for the system or software program created. This would allow all employees to refer to a specific part of the library to identify what certain codes represent if they need to update the system.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in information systems management, computer programming, computer science, or a related field.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $118,216 per year

ZipRecruiter: $114,918 per year

7. Site Reliability Engineers

Responsibilities: Site Reliability Engineers communicate with DevOps Engineers and Software Engineers to address potential website errors or messages affecting the user or the consumer. They use coding libraries created by DevOps eEngineers and the designing capabilities from Software Engineers to make the changes needed to the website or the application.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in software development, information systems management, computer programming, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $133,364 per year

ZipRecruiter: $130,021 per year

8. Software Architect

Responsibilities: Software Architects are responsible for using their knowledge in software development to oversee a team of software developers and other IT professionals. They delegate tasks related to software program creation, maintenance, and updates so that the company they work for receives premium software.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in computer programming, software engineering, software development, information systems management, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $133,102 per year

ZipRecruiter: $132,506 per year

9. Enterprise Architect

Responsibilities: Enterprise Architects work with companies to make sure that their technological processes benefit their business goals. They set information technology standards, purchase software, and enlist the help of the IT department to create the software.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science, business administration, information technology—preferably a Master’s Degree in enterprise architecture.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $138,135 per year

ZipRecruiter: $151,639 per year

10. Software Engineering Manager

Responsibilities: Software Engineering Managers oversee and work with the IT departments of a company. They use their knowledge in software engineering to direct a team of Software Engineers to create and maintain software programs.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in software engineering, information technology, computer programming, or a related area — preferably a Master’s Degree in business administration of software engineering.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $133,431 per year

ZipRecruiter: $144,093 per year

11. Technical Program Managers

Responsibilities: Technical Program Managers are responsible for managing a team of software and hardware engineers. They also develop new software programs, updates, and maintenance issues to existing programs that teams need to complete within a given time frame.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree (preferably a Master’s Degree) in information systems management, business administration, information technology, or a related area.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $118,719 per year

ZipRecruiter: $128,330 per year

12. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Responsibilities: A Chief Technology Officer, or a CTO, is an executive position within a company. CTOs are in charge of overseeing a company’s entire resource center. Their primary job duties include researching new technologies, programs, and methods and identifying weaknesses that could benefit from the latest IT technology.

Skills/Qualifications: At least a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology, business management, information systems management, or a related area — heavily prefer a Master’s Degree in business administration or information technology.

National Average (May 2022)

Indeed: $154,029 per year

ZipRecruiter: $165,182 per year

Why are Software Engineers paid so well?

For many companies, Software Engineers and their teams create the entire interface and complete user experience for customers, third-party interference, and company members. Likewise, for many software companies or companies that require an application or a website to be used (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, etc.), almost all of the design, back-end development, and front-end development portion fall to Software Engineers.

Even for companies with other user touchpoints — where the entire product isn’t digital — visual design, interactions, modeling, and other methods are critical to making a good impression and helping customers achieve their goals. Whether that’s buying a product, finding information, logging in and out of an account, or connecting with a customer service agent, the design and development process is involved in all of it.

User research, designing, user testing, wireframes, server development and maintenance, customer insights, prototypes — everything a Software Engineer does — is behind how good a company is at helping its customers succeed.

**Information cited current as of June 2022

Posted by Flatiron School  /  June 9, 2022

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