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Software Engineer Careers

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a software engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $41.42 an hour? That's $86,157 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 21% and produce 284,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Software Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many software 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 communication skills, creativity and problem-solving skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a software engineer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.4% of software engineers included python, while 8.9% of resumes included java, and 8.7% of resumes included software development. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the software engineer job title. But what industry to start with? Most software engineers actually find jobs in the technology and telecommunication industries.

How To Become a Software Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a software engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 47.8% of software engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 44.4% of software engineers have master's degrees. Even though most software engineers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a software engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a software engineer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on software engineer resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a software engineer. In fact, many software engineer jobs require experience in a role such as software developer. Meanwhile, many software engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as senior software engineer or programmer analyst.

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Average Salary
$86,157
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
21%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
115,778
Job Openings

Software Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Software Engineer

Top Careers After Software Engineer

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Software Engineer

Software Engineers in America make an average salary of $86,157 per year or $41 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $113,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $65,000 per year.
Average Salary
$86,157

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range94k - 133k$112k$112,152
Seattle, WA
Salary Range91k - 128k$108k$108,212
New York, NY
Salary Range73k - 103k$87k$86,927
Washington, DC
Salary Range72k - 102k$86k$86,390
Hillsboro, OR
Salary Range68k - 96k$82k$81,611
Boston, MA
Salary Range67k - 93k$79k$79,196
$51k
$133k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Software Engineer
Software Engineer
City of Meridian
City of Meridian
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$57,88801/31/2021
$57,888
Twilio
Software Engineer (L3)-Customer Lifecycle
Software Engineer (L3)-Customer Lifecycle
Twilio
Twilio
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$109,82401/31/2021
$109,824
Software Engineer
Software Engineer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$110,00001/30/2021
$110,000
Goodwin Recruiting
Software Engineer
Software Engineer
Goodwin Recruiting
Goodwin Recruiting
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$80,00001/30/2021
$80,000
Wells Fargo
Software Engineer
Software Engineer
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$84,00001/29/2021
$84,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Software Engineer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Software Engineer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Software Engineer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Software Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Software Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

67.0 %

female

25.1 %

unknown

7.9 %

Ethnicity

White

53.9 %

Asian

31.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

24.4 %

Chinese

11.4 %

French

10.2 %
See More Demographics

Software Engineer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

47.8 %

Masters

44.4 %

Doctorate

2.4 %

Top Colleges for Software Engineers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

3. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

6. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Enrollment
33,495

7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Pomona, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,353
Enrollment
24,841

10. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Software 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, 10.4% of software engineers listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and creativity are important as well.

Best States For a Software Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a software engineer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, New York, and Oregon. Software engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $107,479. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $105,321 and $86,586, respectively. While software engineers would only make an average of $81,684 in Oregon, 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 Engineer Jobs:
6,948
Highest 10% Earn:
$148,000
Location Quotient:
2.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Software Engineer Jobs:
19,681
Highest 10% Earn:
$146,000
Location Quotient:
1.71
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Software Engineer Jobs:
2,587
Highest 10% Earn:
$112,000
Location Quotient:
1.59
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Software Engineer Rate Their Jobs?

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1.0

SOFTWARE ENGINEERAugust 2019

1.0

Zippia Official LogoSOFTWARE ENGINEERAugust 2019

What do you like the most about working as Software Engineer?

Designing a new system or making changes to an old one. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Compensation. Pay and Benefits do not match the time spent on a project. Alabama is the Worst state to live in for SOFTWARE ENGINEER Salaries. 40 to 50 percent less than our peer States. Show More

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Top Software Engineer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ software engineers and discovered their number of software engineer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Google was the best, especially with an average salary of $122,193. Microsoft follows up with an average salary of $120,078, and then comes Facebook with an average of $110,027. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a software engineer. The employers include Microsoft, VMware, and IBM

1. Google
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$122,193
Software Engineers Hired: 
34,652+
2. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$120,078
Software Engineers Hired: 
14,672+
3. Facebook
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$110,027
Software Engineers Hired: 
7,709+
4. Intel
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$98,528
Software Engineers Hired: 
7,617+
5. Capgemini
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$80,819
Software Engineers Hired: 
4,961+
6. Cerner
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$72,982
Software Engineers Hired: 
4,926+

What are the best companies to work for?

Dr. Jonathan Geisler

Associate Professor, Taylor University

The best companies to work for are the ones that are responsive to both their customers' and employees' needs. They are the ones that have tried to be proactive during the pandemic and not just survive until everything got "back to normal." They know that a damaged workforce leads to a damaged company, and so they provide good management, encouraging everyone to be healthy mentally and physically.Show more

What are the best companies to work for?

James Vanderhyde

Associate Professor and Department Chair, Saint Xavier University

The best companies to work for are companies that respect you as a person and not just a cog in the machine. They are inclusive, and they recognize and appreciate diversity. They have a track record of handling sick leave and family leave as needed. They will not expect you to eat dinner in your office and then go back to work after an already long day. All software companies experience crunch times around release dates, but the best companies do not experience constant crunch. That is a sign of poor management. The best companies will give you challenging problems to work on and reward innovation.Show more

Software Engineer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020