Average Software Engineer Salary by Company Size: A Comprehensive 2024 Analysis

by | Published on Jan 21, 2024 | Compensation

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If you’re wondering ‘How does company size impact a software engineer’s salary?’ you’re in the right place. Discover comprehensive, current salary ranges for software engineers at different-sized companies, distilled to give you the clarity you need to navigate your career path. In this article, we will discuss the “average software engineer salary by company size” to help you make informed decisions.

Key Takeaways

  • Software engineer salaries significantly vary by company size, with larger companies offering higher average salaries, exemplified by well-known tech giants such as Netflix, Google, and Apple.
  • Company revenue correlates with the ability to offer competitive salaries, with software engineers often receiving higher pay at companies generating more profit, which also enables those companies to invest in retaining top talent.
  • As software engineers ascend from entry-level to senior positions, salaries increase substantially, with more specialized roles in larger companies commanding higher compensation, and total packages often include benefits beyond base salary.

Understanding Software Engineer Salaries: The Impact of Company Size

Software Engineer Salary

When it comes to software engineer salaries, the size of the company can significantly influence the paycheck that lands on your table. Various factors such as industry, organizational needs, and company size can all affect a software engineer’s salary. Here are some examples of software engineer salary ranges based on company size:

  • Small tech startups: salaries can range from $70,000 to $120,000 annually
  • Medium-sized companies: salaries can range from $90,000 to $150,000 annually
  • Large corporations: salaries can range from $120,000 to $200,000 annually

From small tech startups to large corporations like Netflix, where software engineers earn an average software engineer’s salary of $193,626 annually, the variation in software engineering salaries is evident.

The impact of company size on software engineer salaries is substantial and deserves a closer examination. We’ll break it down into three categories:

  1. Small tech startups with revenue under $10 million
  2. Mid-sized tech companies with revenue between $10 million and $100 million
  3. Large corporations with revenue over $100 million

Small Tech Startups (Revenue Under $10 Million)

At small tech startups, the average salary for a software engineer is $122,908. While this may seem lower compared to their larger counterparts, startups often include equity compensation in the total remuneration package. This form of compensation, which can include stocks, options, and other forms of shares, can be tied to the company’s success and potentially lucrative, adding a potential windfall to the overall compensation.

Nevertheless, equity stakes inclusion can cause a noticeable variation in startup compensation. This variability introduces an element of risk and reward, as the company’s success directly impacts the value of equity compensation. But it’s this blend of salary and equity that draws many software engineers to the unique allure of small tech startups.

Mid-sized Tech Companies (Revenue Between $10 Million and $100 Million)

Next, let’s consider mid-sized tech companies. According to SalaryCube data, the average software engineer salary at mid-sized tech companies is $131,511. While still lower than large corporations, mid-sized companies demonstrate competitiveness with smaller startups by offering similar salary ranges.

These companies serve as a middle ground, marrying the innovative spirit of startups with the stability and structure of large corporations. They provide software engineers and software developers with more precisely defined job responsibilities while still offering opportunities to work on a wide range of projects across different teams.

Large Corporations (Revenue Over $100 Million)

Large corporations, characterized by revenues over $100 million, are where recent software engineer salaries reach their peak. When comparing engineer salary by company, tech giants like:

  • Microsoft: $147,129
  • Apple: $145,739
  • Bloomberg: $153,608
  • Amazon: $183,000

These substantial figures are not surprising considering the significant influence large corporations have and the vast financial resources they can tap into. Senior software engineers at these corporations often enjoy a higher salary due to their significant influence on project direction and technology choices, enhancing their value to the company.

Nonetheless, large corporations pose their own set of challenges. The working environment is often characterized by more bureaucracy compared to smaller organizations, which might affect the job satisfaction and stress levels of software engineers.

The Correlation Between Revenue and Engineer Salary

Average Software Engineer Salary

Higher company revenue often equates to the capability of offering more competitive salaries. This principle holds true in the case of software engineer salaries, where higher company revenue often correlates with greater financial resources, enabling companies to offer more competitive salaries.

Take Google and Apple, for instance; these companies generate significant profits, which allows them to offer higher salaries compared to smaller companies with less revenue. Moreover, the profitability of a software engineer’s work can also impact their compensation, with more profitable engineers often commanding higher salaries. Thus, financial stability in a company can lead to more competitive software engineer salaries, as it enables the company to invest in retaining top talent.

Job Title Software Engineer: Variations Across Company Sizes

Average Salary

The term ‘software engineer’ covers a wide range of roles and responsibilities, which vary based on the company’s size. Here are some examples:

  • Full-stack development
  • DevOps
  • IT support in small companies
  • Specialized roles in large corporations

The job title ‘software engineer’ can vary based on the size and needs of the company, and this is often seen in the experiences of anonymous software engineer employees who share their stories online, particularly those with a background in computer science. As a result, searching for software engineer jobs can yield a wide range of opportunities and challenges, as software engineers work in diverse environments.

Entry-Level Positions

As an entry-level software engineer in the US, one can expect to earn between $85,000 to $200,000. However, specializing in areas such as cloud computing can lead to higher starting salaries, averaging around $109,500, compared to general software engineering positions which average around $91,966.

Top companies like Goldman Sachs, Google, and Cisco offer salaries in the range of $85,000 to $111,000 for entry-level positions, demonstrating the competitive nature of the industry. These salaries complement the broader national average of $109,283 annual salary, with estimated total pay reaching $127,158 per year for entry-level software engineers.

Senior Roles and Leadership

Climbing the career ladder to a senior software engineer position comes with a considerable increase in salary. The estimated total pay for a Senior Software Engineer in the United States is $194,284 per year, including an average base salary of $150,546.

Companies like Wish, Stripe, and Cruise offer attractive total pay for Senior Software Engineers, with Wish leading the pack with an average total pay of $380,066. Distinguished engineers at Cisco, for instance, report up to $708,000 in total compensation, which includes stock options and bonuses, highlighting the lucrative compensation available at highly specialized senior levels.

Specialized Engineering Positions

The world of software engineering is vast and varied, with specialized engineering positions commanding higher average salaries than generalist roles. Specialized engineers, such as DevOps engineers, machine learning engineers, and security engineers, are in high demand and are generously compensated for their unique skillset.

At smaller companies, these specialized engineers may engage in a broader scope of tasks, while larger companies allow them to concentrate more on their niche area, influencing their compensation. In leading tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, engineers who excel in specialized fields can earn salaries in the seven-figure range.

Benefits and Perks: More Than Just a Salary

average software engineer salaries

While assessing a job offer, it’s crucial not to overlook benefits beyond the base salary. Software engineers typically receive benefits such as health and life insurance, which can add an average of 37% to the cost of their total salary package.

Small tech startups might not top the salary charts, but they compensate with perks like:

  • Onsite childcare
  • Extended parental leave
  • Mental health support
  • Wellness programs
  • Unique offerings such as unlimited PTO and volunteer PTO

These perks, along with the rise of remote work opportunities, can add significant value to the total compensation package and should be considered when evaluating job offers.

Career Trajectory and Salary Growth

Software developers

Like many professions, software engineers usually experience a quick salary hike in their early careers, which stabilizes to a slower pace after nearly a decade. This trajectory is influenced by several factors, including the transition from junior to senior roles, which involves expanding responsibilities and usually requires five to eight years of experience.

In small companies, senior software engineers may assume leadership roles sooner, impacting salary growth. In contrast, at large tech companies, it takes approximately four years to reach a project management level. Understanding these dynamics can help software engineers plan and navigate their career trajectories effectively.

Regional Variations in Software Engineer Salaries

Earning potential is largely influenced by geographical location. The top 5 paying states for Software Engineers in the United States are:

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. Arizona
  5. Massachusetts

These regional variations can be attributed to factors such as the cost of living, the presence of tech hubs, and local market conditions.

In recent years, the rise of remote work has reshaped the landscape, with some companies offering US-market level compensation for global remote roles. This trend can significantly benefit those living in regions with lower living costs, further emphasizing the importance of considering geographical location when evaluating salary data.

How Do Industry Trends Affect Software Engineer Salaries?

Trends in the tech industry significantly influence software engineer salaries, as with any profession. With software engineering being the world’s most in-demand profession, industry trends like the growing demand for cloud engineers can directly impact salaries, with top tech companies offering lucrative compensation packages.

In addition, the increasing use of equity as part of total compensation packages in both public and private companies illustrates how industry trends can influence overall software engineer compensation.

Making Sense of Salary Data

Deciphering salary data can be challenging due to outliers, which can notably affect mean salaries. Understanding the difference between mean and median salaries is crucial when analyzing salary reports, as outliers can distort key statistical measures like mean and standard deviation, affecting the interpretation of typical salary levels.

Common techniques used to identify outliers in datasets, such as:

  • scatter plots
  • box plots
  • Z-scores
  • the interquartile range (IQR)

can be helpful in making sense of salary data. Understanding the impact of outliers is essential when making informed decisions about compensation.

Negotiating Your Worth as a Software Engineer

Being able to advocate for oneself during salary negotiations is a vital skill for software engineers. Companies typically do not offer the highest possible salary upfront without some form of negotiation. Being well-prepared and practicing negotiation points can increase both confidence and effectiveness during salary discussions.

When assessing a job offer, it’s important to consider the entire compensation package, which includes benefits, equity, and opportunities for career progression. Understanding individual market value and the company’s size influences the approach to salary negotiations.


As we’ve explored, the average software engineer salary is influenced by a multitude of factors ranging from company size to regional variations and industry trends. It’s clear that there’s more to a software engineer’s salary than just numbers on a paycheck. Equity compensation, benefits, career progression opportunities, and the ability to negotiate effectively all play crucial roles in shaping a software engineer’s total compensation package.

We hope this comprehensive analysis has shed some light on the complexities of software engineer salaries in 2024. With this knowledge in hand, we believe you are better equipped to make informed decisions about your career trajectory, understand your worth, and negotiate your compensation effectively and confidently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make $500,000 as a software engineer?

Yes, it is possible for a senior software engineer with a successful decade long career to earn $500,000 and upwards. This compensation is achievable in certain high-paying tech hubs.

What is the average CTC of a software engineer in the US?

The average total compensation for a software engineer in the US ranges from $122,549 to $172,000 per year, with experienced workers making up to $164,706 per year. San Francisco Bay Area offers the highest average total compensation of $254,000.

Do software engineers make 300K a year?

Software engineers can make up to $300K a year, but it typically requires reaching higher-level positions such as vice president or senior vice president within a company. The majority of software engineer salaries fall between $120,000 and $205,000 annually.

How does company size affect the average software engineer salary?

Company size can significantly impact a software engineer’s salary, with small startups typically offering lower salaries but potential compensation in equity shares. Consider this when evaluating job offers.

What factors influence a software engineer’s salary?

The size of the company, the engineer’s role, geographical location, and industry trends can all influence a software engineer’s salary. Keep these factors in mind when considering salary negotiations.