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Working as a Staff Engineer

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 $43.4 an hour? That's $90,270 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.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a staff engineer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.1% of staff engineers included python, while 6.8% of resumes included architecture, and 6.3% of resumes included java. 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 staff engineer job title. But what industry to start with? Most staff engineers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

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 50.9% of staff engineers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 33.5% 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 doctoral degree degrees or associate 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 senior engineer. Meanwhile, many staff engineers also have previous career experience in roles such as engineer or project engineer.

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Average Salary$90,270
Job Growth Rate4%

Staff Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Staff Engineer

Engineer
10.2 %

Top Careers After Staff 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 Staff Engineer

Staff Engineers in America make an average salary of $90,270 per year or $43 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $121,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $66,000 per year.
Average Salary
$90,270

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range88k - 143k$113k$112,971
Nashua, NH
Salary Range73k - 113k$91k$91,119
Boston, MA
Salary Range69k - 107k$86k$86,186
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range67k - 109k$86k$86,140
Bloomington, MN
Salary Range63k - 95k$78k$77,816
Longmont, CO
Salary Range60k - 97k$77k$76,958
$46k
$143k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Staff Engineer
Staff Engineer
Newfields
Newfields
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$45,00001/29/2021
$45,000
Staff Engineer
Staff Engineer
Newfields
Newfields
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$45,00001/29/2021
$45,000
Engineer-Assoc-Staff
Engineer-Assoc-Staff
El Paso Electric Co
El Paso Electric Co
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$63,50001/28/2021
$63,500
Staff Engineer, Big Data
Staff Engineer, Big Data
Spotxchange
Spotxchange
01/27/2021
01/27/2021
$100,00001/27/2021
$100,000
Mdot Transportation Engineer 12-Staff Engineer (BAY City TSC)
Mdot Transportation Engineer 12-Staff Engineer (BAY City TSC)
State of Michigan
State of Michigan
01/26/2021
01/26/2021
$58,87401/26/2021
$58,874
See More Recent Salaries

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Staff 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 Staff 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 Staff Engineer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Staff 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

Staff Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

80.9 %

female

12.6 %

unknown

6.5 %

Ethnicity

White

72.5 %

Asian

15.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.9 %

French

9.6 %

Chinese

9.2 %
See More Demographics

Staff Engineer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

50.9 %

Masters

33.5 %

Doctorate

7.8 %

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 • Public

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 • Public

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 • Public

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

10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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.

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 Alaska, California, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. Staff engineers make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $114,090. Whereas in California and New Mexico, they would average $102,703 and $91,542, respectively. While staff engineers would only make an average of $91,341 in New Hampshire, 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:
11,393
Highest 10% Earn:
$162,000
Location Quotient:
1.64
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. New Hampshire

Total Staff Engineer Jobs:
516
Highest 10% Earn:
$136,000
Location Quotient:
1.55
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. New Mexico

Total Staff Engineer Jobs:
332
Highest 10% Earn:
$143,000
Location Quotient:
1.03
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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Top Staff Engineer Employers

1. VMware
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$171,007
Staff Engineers Hired: 
369+
2. Samsung
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$125,924
Staff Engineers Hired: 
320+
3. Qualcomm
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$106,532
Staff Engineers Hired: 
315+
4. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$109,906
Staff Engineers Hired: 
307+
5. Motorola Solutions
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$118,441
Staff Engineers Hired: 
222+
6. Western Digital
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$94,108
Staff Engineers Hired: 
208+

Staff Engineer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020