Stack Overflow conducts one of the largest surveys of software engineers each year and ask a variety of questions about compensation.
If you look at the "Salary by Developer Type" chart, then you might see a few things.
- Salaries can vary greatly by the type of engineering work that you perform. Managers/Leadership tend to make the most money ($152k in the US) while Quality Assurance engineers tend to make less money ($99k in the US).
- Years of experience have a large impact on income in most fields and this is especially true for engineering. Skilled, senior engineers are hard to recruit and hard to retain and command a high salary.
- Location also has a huge impact on salary. Places like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City have many engineers, but are also very expensive places to live. Salaries in these cities are very high to help offset the high cost of living. Engineers in cheaper cities like Boise, ID will not make as much money in dollars as an engineer in San Francisco, but might enjoy a very similar quality of life.
You can also use sites like Glassdoor to help you look up salary estimates for job titles in specific cities and sometimes even at specific companies. Glassdoor is a popular website in software engineering so you'll find pretty good data about engineering salaries there.
One final note is that many software engineers have complex "total compensation" packages that involve more than just a base income or paycheck.
A typical compensation package for a software engineer might include the following:
- Base pay. This is the paycheck that you'll take home every 2 weeks.
- Profit sharing. This is money that the company pays as a "bonus" to employees based on company performance. If the company is doing well, then you might get a nice bonus.
- Equity awards. This is a complex topic, but the simplest version is when a company gives you stock or ownership in the company. You now own a very small percent of the company and can sell that part of the company to someone else. The value of equity awards is similar to profit sharing. If the company is doing well, then equity awards can be very valuable. But, if the company is not doing well, then the equity awards might not be worth anything.