Software design engineers are tasked with identifying software problems and designing programs to find solutions. They can either create a new product or iteration of existing software products to improve them. They gather data about the process and incorporate existing software solutions while making the end software's parameters and limits. Software design engineers earn a median sum of $89,000 annually or $42 per hour.

Software design engineers primarily find solutions to different software problems by designing, modifying, developing, and implementing software programming applications. They support and install operating systems and participate in the testing process through test review and analysis, test witnessing, and software certification. A sound software design engineer is highly creative and possesses excellent analytical and communication skills.

Software design engineers typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, tech engineering, or other related fields. However, some large corporations may decide to hire candidates with a higher academic degree. They are expected to have some practical experience in a design team or at lower development team levels.

What Does a Software Design Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many software design engineers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, communication skills and creativity.

Learn more about what a Software Design Engineer does

How To Become a Software Design Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a software design engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 71.8% of software design engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.0% of software design engineers have master's degrees. Even though most software design engineers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Software Design Engineer

Software Design Engineer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Software Design Engineer

Software Design Engineers in America make an average salary of $98,799 per year or $48 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $130,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $74,000 per year.
Average Software Design Engineer Salary
$98,799 Yearly
$47.50 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Software Design Engineer

The role of a software design engineer includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general software design engineer responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership in recommending and designing new products. Participation in preliminary discussions of proposed projects. Preparation of technical specifications, indicating objectives
  • General dynamics mission systems (gdms), a market leader
  • Participates in the gathering and analysis of software requirements contributes to the architectural design of new software designs simple software features

There are several types of software design engineer, including:

Software Engineer


Software Engineers get to apply lots of different areas of study into their everyday work. Whether it's science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, or even design, these engineers are able to use lots of different methods and techniques in their line of work.

Essentially, software engineers design, develop and test software applications for computers. They usually work in offices or labs during their average 40-hour workweek. Even though they use a wide range of study, typically software engineers only require a Bachelor's degree, although a Master's degree is appealing to most employers.

  • Average Salary: $100,260
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Software Developer


As a software developer, you'll spend a lot of time analyzing what exactly customers need. In fact, you might put those needs ahead of other aspects of your job. After all, a happy customer means a happy business.

On top of assessing needs, you'll be responsible for making sure those needs are met through developing special software. You might even recommend certain upgrades for customers, if you feel that will help them along the way.

Most employers will expect you to have a bachelor's degree. So it looks like you might need to put some time and resources into your education. Just to make sure potential employers are impressed. If nothing else, the extra education may put you ahead of your colleagues.

  • Average Salary: $87,521
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Design Engineer


Do you love technical work and want to pursue your creative side at the same time? Maybe now's the time to take your sketch pads out of your shoebox and see those designs come to life. If you feel excited, guess you're on track to being a design engineer in the future.

A design engineer sounds fun, if you love research and innovation. I mean, who wouldn't want to see their discoveries and projects come alive, right? Recognition is another thing, but self-accomplishment matters the most. Apart from that, design engineers build their careers around traveling (no, not a vacation, though), interacting with people, and more... more technical duties. They are computer-savvy humans who would throw a fit over a system crash and computer virus (Like, who doesn't?). Their schedules are, well, usually messed-up. They work like regular employees during weekdays but could go over weekends and holidays as their job requires. So if you're planning to have a coffee date with a design engineer, just don't expect too much as they may meet a client in that coffee shop, too.

Generally, this job sounds fun, regardless of the pile of work and deadlines that have to be done. If you're someone who's always up for new things and discoveries, this might be the sign you're waiting for.

  • Average Salary: $77,134
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Software Design Engineer Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active software design engineer jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where software design engineers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Software Design Engineer Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
5New York5,081$95,530
10North Carolina3,582$81,341
13New Jersey3,155$90,328
29South Carolina888$81,484
33Rhode Island715$93,763
34New Hampshire681$97,586
39New Mexico610$83,841
45West Virginia336$84,533
46South Dakota328$77,167
47North Dakota322$83,985

Software Design Engineer Education

Software Design Engineer Majors

Software Design Engineer Degrees


71.8 %


21.0 %


4.3 %

Top Colleges for Software Design Engineers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




3. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




9. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Software Design Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 7.3% of software design engineers listed software development on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Software Design Engineer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Software Design Engineer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Software Design Engineer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Software Design Engineer diversity

Software Design Engineer Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among software design engineers, 18.4% of them are women, while 81.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among software design engineers is White, which makes up 52.4% of all software design engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among software design engineers is Spanish at 22.9%.

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Best States For a Software Design Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a software design engineer. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. Software design engineers make the most in California with an average salary of $117,778. Whereas in Washington and Oregon, they would average $106,244 and $101,847, respectively. While software design engineers would only make an average of $100,433 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Software Design Engineer Jobs: 5,942
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. California

Total Software Design Engineer Jobs: 19,910
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Oregon

Total Software Design Engineer Jobs: 2,645
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Software Design Engineers

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Top Software Design Engineer Employers

Most Common Employers For Software Design Engineer

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Expedia Group$119,400$57.4082
4Texas Instruments$116,862$56.18199
9General Motors$105,555$50.7597
10Big Fish Games$104,945$50.4523

Software Design Engineer Videos