6 answers

How much does a computer engineer earn?

Asked Chicago, Illinois

6 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


There is quite a range based on 1) The position / type of company you're working for, 2) Your experience. I've seen positions listed for as low as sixty thousand per year up to about 200 thousand a year for a senior engineer. Progressing into management roles can go higher. But I'm assuming you want a "ballpark" figure. A novice these days seems to command about seventy thousand and a senior, experienced engineer in a non-management role is around 120 thousand. These are based on what I've seen in ads. This also doesn't cover things like benefits, which have a significant monetary value, but assume health insurance, vacation time. Again, there is quite a range, but these are representative. In my own case, a long, long time ago, I started at 27 thousand when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Prior to leadership or management positions, engineers that worked for me were around 110 on average.

Tyler’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. Base pay. This is the paycheck that you'll take home every 2 weeks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Mike’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

The field of computer engineering is quite broad. The range of salaries across the field range quite broadly as well. A great resource for understanding salary ranges for your area of specific interest is glassdoor.com. They do regular polls of people across the industry and publish that data openly.

I would suggest researching the various disciplines in the computer science field first. Don't focus you search on the salary but rather an area of interested to you.

Follow your passion and the dollars will follow.

Mike recommends the following next steps:

  • Check out glassdoor.com salary data.

Adilson’s Answer

Updated Montreal, Quebec, Canada

It does depend heavily on the following factors:

  1. IT Role: Developers can make more money than Operation/Support folks
  2. Technology: Developers using some languages (like Node/Golang) can make more money than other languages (php, python)
  3. Location: Salaries vary a lot depending on where you live
  4. Experience: Newly grads obviously make a lot less money than seasoned folks...

Taking all of that into account, I think it is safe to expect a range of 50-60 in your first job and a lot of growth in your future.

Ranna’s Answer

Updated Campbell, California

I concur with G. Mark's answer - the range can be anywhere from $60K to $200+ It depends on your skills and level/years of experience. I started about 3 decades ago and started with $40K and have since moved to Technology Product Marketing role where I am earning six-figure salary.

Srini’s Answer

Updated Alpharetta, Georgia

Depends of experience and what kind of technology and job location. On an average computer engineer earns lot more ranging from 75K to 150K or more