According to PayScale, the typical early career salary for someone with a software engineering bachelor’s degree, and between one and four years of experience in the field, is $73,469.
By the time they’ve been in the workforce for five to nine years, the average salary climbs to $78,000 per year.
To earn these salaries as a software engineer, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree. Our rankings for the Best Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Degrees and Best Online Master’s in Software Engineering Degrees can help you get started.
Of course, there are plenty of variables that affect how much money you’ll make with a software engineering degree. For example, if you continue your education past a bachelor’s degree, your earning potential grows significantly. PayScale data shows that earning a master’s degree in software engineering increases the average salary well beyond the figures for a bachelor’s degree.
At one to four years of experience, the average software engineer with a graduate degree earns $85,000. For employees with five to nine years of experience, typical salary increases to $92,000. And for software engineers who stick around in the industry for 10 or more years, the expected annual pay jumps up to $114,965.
Education level isn’t the only thing that will affect salary. Your employer, your job title, and your area of specialization all play a major role in how much you earn.
Getting a software engineering degree doesn’t necessarily mean that your job title will be Software Engineer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data on the average annual salaries for software engineers and a number of related occupations. The following breakdown should give you a more complete overview of all the job and salary possibilities in this field.
Job responsibilities: Design, test, and develop software according to users’ needs; perform maintenance and testing on existing applications and systems; work in a team with other computer specialists
Average salary: $102,280 per year
Expected job growth between 2016 and 2026: 24 percent
Computer and Information Systems Managers
Job responsibilities: Coordinate and manage the work of other IT and computer science personnel; oversee the installation and maintenance of hardware and software at the organization level
Average salary: $135,800 per year
Expected job growth between 2016 and 2026: 12 percent
Computer Network Architects
Job responsibilities: Upgrade and install routers, adaptors, and network drivers; design and implement data communication networks; implement information security measures
Average salary: $101,210 per year
Expected job growth between 2016 and 2026: 6 percent
Computer Systems Analysts
Job responsibilities: Analyze costs and benefits of IT systems and computing infrastructure upgrades; present recommendations to upper management; install and configure new systems; provide technical training to personnel and staff
Average salary: $87,220 per year
Expected job growth between 2016 and 2026: 9 percent
Job responsibilities: Back up and restore critical data; design, test, modify, and maintain database systems and structures; merge outdated databases into upgraded databases as needed
Average salary: $84,950 per year
Expected job growth between 2016 and 2026: 11 percent