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Average Software Engineer Starting Salary and Benefit Expectations

What is a good average software engineer starting salary? More importantly, what perks can software developers expect when landing a new developer role?


Entering the world of software development makes a lucrative career choice. However, the software engineer salary per month you can expect in an entry-level position can vary. Here, we look how much you should be earning, as well as what perks and bonuses developers can negotiate with employers.


What is a Basic Software Engineer Starting Salary?


According to Payscale, the average starting salary for a software developer in the U.S. is $61,000. This equates to an hourly rate of $15.23 to $27.87. However, is important to note that salary figures are usually inclusive of perks like bonuses and commissions. Without these, salaries can be 5% - 10% lower.


Software Engineer Starting Salary Perks and Variations


Before looking closely at perk expectations, it is important to understand that salary expectations vary by location.


An average software developer salary per month can see developers earn $70,515 to $95,000 in states like Georgia, Texas, and Illinois. However, in software development hubs like San Francisco, it is possible to negotiate salaries up to 44% higher.

- When negotiating salary expectations, always research median salaries in your area.

- Always negotiate a salary in-line with your level of experience. (Senior software engineers can expect to earn almost double what it is possible to earn as an entry-level developer.)

- Salaries and perks can vary from employer to employer. Some employers like General Motors, for example, are known to offer lower salaries than other major tech companies like Uber.


Flexibility, Creativity, and Medical Perks


Software development is just as much art as it is science. Many top companies, therefore offer perks designed to foster a strong level of creativity.

- The best software development companies always offer flexible working hours and access to state-of-the-art technology.

- Major tech brands typically offer developers profit sharing opportunities, comprehensive medical benefits, and more paid vacation time than other employees.

- Performance-based bonuses and opportunities to earn a commission from new software products are commonplace.


Software developer employers often offer bonuses and commissions because developers rarely claim intellectual ownership of code. A writer for a newspaper is always paid and credited as the author of an article. However, in the world of coding, this simply doesn’t happen.


When writing code, coders are rarely credited for their inventions. Smart developers can, therefore, use this as a bargaining chip in salary negotiations.


Other Benefit Expectations


As well as medical benefits and paid vacation time, tech businesses often try to retain talent by offering a myriad of other benefits.


- Many software development employers attract top talent with profit-sharing incentives.

- Free life insurance and financial coaching are increasingly common in the software development industry.

- Many employers will allow developers to work remotely.

- On-site employees often benefit from access to state-of-the-art technology and office facilities.


Major tech brands like Google, are also known to encourage developers to work on their own creative projects. One famous example of this is former Google developer Charlie Lee. In 2012 while working at Google, Lee developed and released the now leading cryptocurrency Litecoin.


Software Development is a Skill With Increasing Market Worth


One of the biggest benefits of learning to code rests, of course, with the fact that software developers are in high demand.


In 2019, the software development industry has grown by 12.2%. This mirrors a trend which has seen the industry grow by 10.7% year on year since 2013.


With developers in short supply, people who can code benefit from strong job security. Experienced developers also benefit from an ability to negotiate higher salaries and benefits more easily than in any other market sector.

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