What Factors Affect a Computer Software Engineer's Salary?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
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A computer software engineer’s salary is determined by many factors, no one of which predominates. Education plays a major role in determining salary, as does certification with different software packages and systems. Sector of employment is important in determining compensation, as some pay noticeably more or less than the average. A software engineer’s salary is different in developed and developing countries, and in different regions within countries, so geographic location may also play a role in determining salary. Experience plays a role in determining salary as well.

Computer software engineers must typically have at least a BS. More advanced degrees will typically increase the pay scale for an engineer substantially, although it may take somewhat longer to initially find a position with a Ph.D. Firms that hire software engineers generally base salary offers on the prestige of the school from which a candidate graduated. A computer software engineer’s salary will be highest if they graduated with excellent grades from a leading university.

Certifications are important for computer software engineers. Many manufacturers of computer software and development utilities offer programs to certify engineers and programmers in the use of their products. Having a selection of desirable certifications such as the Microsoft-certified engineer certificate can substantially increase a computer software engineer’s salary.


Compensation for software engineers varies from sector to sector and between different types of employment. Salaries can vary by approximately 10% between different sectors of the economy. Engineers who work on a contract basis, rather than as permanent employees, tend to have the lowest salaries, although some consultants are very well-compensated.

Salaries for computer software engineers vary widely from nation to nation and region to region. In developing countries, salaries are notably lower than in developed nations. This trend has contributed to the growing prevalence of outsourcing in the field.

The pay scale for engineers also follows the local cost of living. Within the United States, for example, a computer software engineer’s salary will typically be highest on the east or west coasts, largely due to the higher cost of living in those areas. This trend is mirrored in most national labor markets.

Engineers with experience working in a particular firm or sector may be able to advance to oversight or management positions, which come with larger salaries. Experience in this industry degrades over time, however, as new languages and features are continually being released, and a computer software engineer should keep abreast of current trends to maximize his or her earning potential.


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Post 1

thank you! That was some very helpful information.

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