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Staff engineers come in all shapes and sizes and work in a variety of industries. They design and build things: systems, services, products, roads, machines, or equipment. They test and repair, according to their field: electrical equipment, heavy machinery, IT systems and devices, and so on.

They are senior members of an organization. Depending on the size and structure of the organization they work for, they might be in charge of their department or operations in their area of expertise. Alternatively, they might work just below the principal engineer.

Generally, you gain promotion into this role from a junior engineer or engineer position, so hang in there if this is your goal.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a staff engineer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $54.4 an hour? That's $113,160 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 12,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Staff Engineer Do

There are certain skills that many staff 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 creativity, listening skills and math skills.

Learn more about what a Staff Engineer does

How To Become a Staff Engineer

If you're interested in becoming a staff engineer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 74.1% of staff engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15.7% of staff engineers have master's degrees. Even though most staff 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 staff engineer. When we researched the most common majors for a staff engineer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on staff engineer resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

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

Staff Engineer Career Paths

Average Salary for a Staff Engineer

Staff Engineers in America make an average salary of $113,160 per year or $54 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $168,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $76,000 per year.
Average Staff Engineer Salary
$113,160 Yearly
$54.40 hourly
$76,000
10 %
$113,000
Median
$168,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Staff Engineer Education

Staff Engineer Majors

Staff Engineer Degrees

Bachelors

74.1 %

Masters

15.7 %

Associate

5.4 %

Top Colleges for Staff Engineers

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

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

3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

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

5. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

6. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

7. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

8. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

9. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

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

Top Skills For a Staff 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, 10.1% of staff engineers listed python on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and listening skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Staff Engineer Resume templates

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

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Staff Engineer Demographics

Staff Engineer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
88%
Female
Female
12%

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

  • Among staff engineers, 12.1% of them are women, while 87.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among staff engineers is White, which makes up 71.4% of all staff engineers.

  • The most common foreign language among staff engineers is Spanish at 33.9%.

Online Courses For Staff Engineer That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
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Best States For a Staff Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a staff engineer. The best states for people in this position are California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Massachusetts. Staff engineers make the most in California with an average salary of $134,034. Whereas in Arizona and New Mexico, they would average $109,365 and $107,690, respectively. While staff engineers would only make an average of $104,236 in Massachusetts, 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. California

Total Staff Engineer Jobs:
13,957
Highest 10% Earn:
$196,000
Location Quotient:
1.83 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. Arizona

Total Staff Engineer Jobs:
1,750
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
1.15 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. Massachusetts

Total Staff Engineer Jobs:
3,417
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
1.43 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
Full List Of Best States For Staff Engineers

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Top Staff 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 staff engineers and discovered their number of staff engineer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Qualcomm was the best, especially with an average salary of $125,393. VMware follows up with an average salary of $182,378, and then comes IBM with an average of $96,366. 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 staff engineer. The employers include VMware, The New York Times Company, and The Home Depot

Most Common Employers For Staff Engineer

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1LinkedIn$187,264$90.0376
2VMware$182,378$87.68651
3Nutanix$172,949$83.15101
4Juniper Networks$158,132$76.0367
5Tellabs$149,075$71.67134
6Palo Alto Networks$147,907$71.1174
7STMicroelectronics$143,330$68.9178
8QLogic$139,565$67.10102
9Western Digital$129,564$62.29204
10Seagate Technology$128,321$61.69290

Staff Engineer Videos

Becoming a Staff Engineer FAQs

Staff Engineer vs. Principal Engineer

A staff engineer is the lowest position of an engineer at a company, while a principal engineer is part of the engineering leadership at a company.

Staff engineers design, build, and test structures, products, systems, services, or equipment, depending on their area of specialty. They are employed in a variety of industries and mainly specialize in civil, mechanical, industrial, or electrical engineering.

Staff Engineer vs. Senior Engineer

A staff engineer reports directly to directors of engineering, while a senior engineer is below a staff engineer in the hierarchy of a company.

Staff engineers design, build, and test structures, products, systems, services, or equipment, depending on their area of specialty. They are employed in a variety of industries and mainly specialize in civil, mechanical, industrial, or electrical engineering. Staff engineers may also work in the technology space, such as a staff software engineer.

How do I become a Google staff engineer?

You become a Google staff engineer with a bachelor's degree in computer science or a similar degree and equivalent experience, plus eight years of work experience in software development. The engineering ladder at Google is climbed by leading significant and high-impact projects. Staff roles go beyond ownership and require leadership.

How much do staff engineers make?

Staff engineers's salary varies considerably based on industry. Staff engineer can refer to software engineering or industrial engineering with substantial pay and scope differences.

A staff-level software engineer earns $147,000 on average, or $75 an hour. In addition to base pay, bonuses and stock options are added. An industrial engineer, in contrast, is paid an average salary of $92,660, or $46 per hour.

Is staff engineer a good role?

Yes, staff engineer is a good role. It is a senior-level role that is highly compensated. A staff-level software engineer earns $147,000 on average, $75 per hour. Salaries at Google or other large tech companies pay above average, between $150,000 to $290,000.

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