I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
7 Best Companies for Software Engineers
In a connected world dominated by the internet, software engineers are in high demand. A software engineer is a broad term; it can relate to the design, development, and maintenance of a computer’s software.
Software makes the world run in the 21st century. Word, Itunes, Spotify, and any app or program that adds value for people through the computer’s hardware is the property of a software engineer.
If you are a competent software engineer, you will have opportunities across the US, but certain regions and companies will compensate you better than others. Before you make any decisions, you should do some research and understand your worth.
Read on to learn more, or check out our video Top Salary for Software Engineers in the USA!
Average Software Engineer Salary
Software engineers make on average one hundred thousand dollars a year. Especially if you are a young grad out of school, the job’s versatile nature and the six-figure initial salary leave you in an excellent position to grow.
The highest ten percent of software engineers earn $157,590, and the lowest ten percent of software engineers $58,300.
While most grads tend to struggle to find work with a decent salary in their area, software engineers can be relatively certain that their skills will be needed and that their salary will allow them to set up a comfortable life.
Average Salary, by Location
Different regions of the United States are known for different industries. New York and Los Angeles are cultural hubs. Middle America is known for agriculture and manufacturing. Broader California, places like San Jose and San Francisco, are known for their tech sector.
Depending on how thriving the tech sector is in a particular place, there may be a surplus of booming companies competing for the best talent. If you end up in the right region, it is worth its weight in gold.
Different areas offer different values, here are some of the best:
1. Seattle, WA
On four different metrics, Seattle may be the best value for a software engineer. Software engineer’s working near the home of Microsoft can expect a real adjusted salary of $105,735, and a median base salary of $113,242. Both of these figures are relatively high.
Seattle also has a fair share of job openings, at 4,205. Compared to other regions, Seattle has double the amount of job openings. Comparatively speaking, with a cost of living of about seven times the average, Seattle is less expensive than other potential landing spots.
2. San Jose, CA
San Jose is at the heart of Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world. Silicon Valley is a high-risk, high-reward landing spot. Lots of competition and lots of opportunities. Software engineers in San Jose make a real adjusted salary of little over one hundred grand, but their median base salary is about $122,000.
Despite its boom potential, San Jose falls behind Seattle in other areas. Its cost of living is twenty percent above the national average, considerably higher than that of Seattle.
There are also fewer job opportunities, at 2,017, which is about half as many opportunities as in Seattle.
3. San Francisco, CA
Also in the vicinity of Silicon Valley is San Francisco, which also has a thriving tech sector. It has the same highly competitive, highly opportunistic atmosphere that San Jose does. Software engineers in San Francisco can expect a real adjusted salary of just under one hundred thousand dollars, but a median base salary of $120,000.
Being in approximately the same area, San Jose and San Francisco have a similar amount of job opportunities and cost of living, both considerably lower and higher than Seattle’s.
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Average Salary for Software Engineers by Company
There are many different companies that need software engineers, from big firms to small ones. Software exists that facilitates almost every human need by this point. Uber, Tinder, and any other app are examples of pieces of software that need fine-tuning and upgrading.
That example goes to show that there is a wide-open field of options for a software engineer. However, most recent grads want work experience, usually from the tech titans that pay the best. One such company is Google…
Google is the textbook landing spot for a young, talented software engineer. They are a massive institution in modern life, and the benefits of working there reflect that.
Google hires the best and brightest. Their starting salary for software engineers reflects that as well, at $180,000 annually. A new grad would be hard-pressed to find a better starting salary, regardless of the field they are in.
Google also provides stock options and a sizeable benefits package, which covers all one’s needs and more. Google offers other perquisites like rides to work and a lunch buffet.
Overall, Google is known for its employee-friendly culture and is a coveted landing spot for new grads.
Apple is another coveted spot for software engineering grads. At the vanguard of culture, Apple has defined the early twenty-first century.
The iPhone is the dominant mobile device, and most other Apple launches have been necessary for tech accessories. They are a tech juggernaut and landing a job at Apple can pave your future career path. Just imagine how it would look on your resume.
A software engineer at Apple can expect a six-figure salary early on, but they may begin with a base salary of 75, 000$.
This does not include benefits. Like Google, Apple treats its employees well. They have incentive-laden contracts and the chance at stock options.
Everyone’s addicted to Facebook. After Google, it may be the most influential name on the internet. It is THE social networking website, and it has grand future ambitions. A software engineer looking for name-brand prestige and exciting future opportunities may apply at Facebook.
Software engineers can expect to earn nearly six figures off the hop. However, former employees have more complaints lodged at the company than other big brands.
Former software engineers have complained there is a lack of bonuses given to engineers, and incentives seem to be lacking. Also, former employees complain about a lack of career advancement opportunities. It seems to be a general trend that it’s hard to move up the ladder at the company.
That said, Facebook is still one of the titans of the industry and a software engineering grad can expect a comfortable setup if they are employed by the company.
Amazon has a bit of a negative reputation for how it treats its employees. There is a general impression that Amazon’s factory workers are overworked and underserved. Although as a software engineer, you may be treated differently than that class of worker, it’s important to keep in mind that if they are willing to treat one class of employees poorly, it may be a red flag.
That said, Amazon is a whale of a landing spot. Amazon has its arms in all sorts of different pots, expanding its distribution network and diversifying its brand, and even moving into media ventures. Software engineers would be part of one of the fastest-growing brands in the world, headed by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos.
Software engineers at Amazon can expect to earn a little over one hundred thousand dollars, somewhere in the $110,000 dollar range. This is a substantial starting salary as compared to some of the other places. Amazon offers vacation time and decent benefits packages to workers as well.
Microsoft is now the oldest prestige company on this list, but they are still among the upper echelon of landing spots. Microsoft is among the titans of the tech industry and is also a prestige landing spot for fresh software engineering grads looking to make a name for themselves.
Software engineers at Microsoft tend to make roughly $90,000 a year, or just under six figures. Although benefits and incentives have been described as average, Microsoft is a stalwart choice with a rich history.
Nvidia is a slightly less recognizable company than the other names on this list, but it is among the leaders in the tech industry. Its products and functions are less easy to define to the general public than those of the others but no less important.
Nvidia offers its software engineers a starting salary that is higher than the rest on the list, at $115,000 annually.
The only knock on the company is that it has currently a low demand for software engineers, which means that it can afford to offer its employees less in the way of benefits and opportunities for career advancement.
Like Facebook, Netflix invented its own market segment, offering the world’s first name-brand streaming service and from that, they have grown and diversified. Netflix now produces a dizzying array of original content whose popularity only rivals HBO. Along with Amazon, Netflix’s future potential is vast.
Netflix also offers a significantly higher salary to software engineers, who can expect a starting salary of $150,000. This is quite a hike from the average salary.
Netflix may not be someone’s first thought as a potential destination, but its vast growth potential and generous starting salary make it one of the best sleeper options for software engineers beginning their careers.
Starting a New Job as a Software Engineer
After reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, and graduating from school as a software engineer, landing a job is an exciting and gratifying feeling. All your hard work has paid off and you will now embark on a new challenge, a challenge that will pay you a comfortable salary.
A new job comes with a fresh start, possibly in a new place altogether. For software engineers, the world is their oyster. However, as they settle into new jobs, they may need start-up credit during the transition.
You may need a new car, place, or other major appliances that help sustain you as you get on your feet. Before you start getting paid, a loan can help float you until the fruits of your labor begin to bloom.
Financing the Startup Costs
Depending on your credit history, you may seek out conventional lenders like banks, or other reputable sources for loans. With a good credit history and a six-figure job, banks will likely jump at the opportunity to help you.
However, as a student or immigrant, you may not have a credit history to convince lenders that you are good with loans. To banks, your credit score is your trustworthiness.
The fact that you have a good job as a software engineer may bode well in your favor, but banks may still shy away from you because of your lack of credit history. This is not something you should stress over.
If the bank turns you away because of a lack of credit experience, then you should go online. There are a number of online lenders and P2P platforms that will provide you with a loan with favorable interest rates.
One such online lender is Stilt.com, whose mission it is to help students and immigrants with a lack of credit experience. Being a software engineer with a six-figure income means you will likely get a loan with very favorable interest rates.
Stilt.com takes into account factors other than your credit score when considering your loan application.
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Becoming a software engineer is a smart career choice in the 21st century. The job can take almost any shape or form, and you can begin your career with a six-figure salary that is likely to increase.
There is a demand for software engineers everywhere. You can land a job in any of the fifty-two states, although you may be best situated in one of the tech hubs.
Starting this transition may require a loan for big expenses like a new place, a new car, and any other major needs. As a student, you may not have a credit history which may leave banks uneasy about providing a loan.
Don’t be stressed. There are other avenues. Go online and do some research. As a software engineer, you will be sure to find favorable interest rates despite your lack of credit experience.