What Salary Can You Expect As An Entry Level Software Developer?

If you’ve considered becoming a software developer, you’ve most likely wondered about what you can expect in terms of starting salary for a software developer. Will you be able to make ends meet as a software engineer in your first years of employment? Will your salary increase significantly over time? Are there certain industries in which you might be paid more than in others? This blog post aims to help you navigate the salary side of software development and develop reasonable expectations in terms of compensation and benefits.


Employment Status

Most organizations pay software developers an annual salary rather than an hourly rate. Whether you are considered exempt or non-exempt (which primarily affects how you are paid for overtime but also affects other areas of employment), however, will depend on your roles and responsibilities within the organization and may vary from one position to the next.

You can determine an approximate hourly rate of pay by taking the annual salary offered divided by 2,080 for a full time position. Likewise, you can multiply an hourly rate by 2,080 to determine your annual salary.

Industry Averages

According to GlassDoor.com, which gathered information from over 15,000 software developers, the national average entry level software developer salary is $55,000. That comes to approximately $26.44 per hour if you work forty hours a week. Some companies start software developers out below that number – as low as $50,000 – and some start software developers out significantly higher than that, even as high as $91,000 annually.

You can expect your salary to increase as you gain experience and longevity with an organization. On average, software developers max out on average at $124,000 nationwide, but many companies pay experience software developers much more than that. An annual salary of $124,000 breaks down to approximately $59.62 hourly if you average forty hours a week.

High Paying Industries

Regardless of your field, you may not have a plethora of options to choose from when you first kick-off your job search. However, if you do have options, knowing which industries pay employers higher salaries will be beneficial in your search for employment.

Non-profit organizations, companies in early start-up phases or “new players,” and very small companies tend to offer less in terms of compensation and benefits, while companies like Microsoft, LinkedIn, Amazon in growing tech hubs such as Seattle, San Francisco and LA tend to offer the full gamut of benefits along with beyond competitive salaries.

Software Developer Salary

Top 25 companies with the highest base salaries for software engineers (source: GlassDoor.com)

Keep in mind that the level of professionalism required and the roles, responsibilities, and expectations the organization has for you typically matches the compensation. This means that a higher paying job most often demands more of your time and resources and requires a higher level of professionalism. Some people choose lower paying jobs in order to avoid excessive responsibility while others strive for leadership positions as soon as their feet hit the floor. Only you can determine whether a position is within your comfort zone or not.

TIP: A common mistake made by new graduates is dismissing or overlooking benefits and simply choosing the highest salary offered. A difference of just 1% in retirement match or 10% in health insurance premium paid by the employer can quickly eat up the additional salary offered. Take into consideration salary and benefits when accepting, declining, or negotiating an offer.

Opportunity for Advancement

Opportunity for advancement may make or break an offer depending on your personal and professional goals. Many organizations have a lead software developer, director of software development, software development project coordinator, or some combination or variation of the three. Opportunity for increase in responsibility equals opportunity for professional development and increased compensation and benefits. Be sure to ask prospective employers to describe the chain of command or structure of the IT/software development department or division.

A career software development can easily provide a comfortable or even luxurious lifestyle. Asking the right questions, considering the right factors, and choosing your employer carefully can ensure a successful and fruitful career in software development!

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15 thoughts on “What Salary Can You Expect As An Entry Level Software Developer?

  1. This site has a lot of benefits information and attractive, it is a marvelous site to keep it up

  2. Super late to this party. But @tindo. Of course if you are fluent in python you understand programming and i think thats important. But when starting out I would highly suggest c/c++. I went this route and these languages may not be used as much, but they are very strict. Moving to other languages such as python will feel much more natural after learning c++. For example, at a basic level, python does not require you to declare a type and that can get you into trouble with other languages.

  3. I have completed c language class . What may ne a best option for me please guide me i am studying in ty in computer science

  4. Hey Kary Miller, I will help you build it if it is that important for everyone. Maybe we can get more people to form a team of developers who will make the programs that are needed.

  5. Hey am a software engineer but wanted to ascertain unto which field pays more between system programming and application programming,?

  6. Hi
    Thanks for all the value you put out in your site. I am looking forward to enroll in an online course to become a Web Developer. If any followers of this site can advice of a well known course, I will appreciate your help regarding that info.

  7. I have an App I have invented that is important to every person in the world and needs to be created. The sooner the better for us all. I didn’t really want to be the one that had to learn it all beings and I am the one that invented it in my head that will work for the good of all but if I have to do it myself I will have to do it myself I just wish somebody else would create it for me. It’s very important.

  8. Hi, I will like to study IT Java script programming, but haven’t found a boot camp near me yet. I will appreciate your help about boot camp suggestions either in MD or DC, thanks.

  9. So I am learning coding on my own. Will that make it harder for me to get a job? I already have a BS but it is in a different field and I cannot afford to go back to school.

  10. i will like to know about the term of payment for the student and how lenient you can be to the poor that cant afford the school fee….to the barest minimum

  11. I would like to know how hard someone has to hustle to get a job in the field who has never worked as a developer before

  12. I’m a development student, and am still learning so please forgive my ignorance. When you said, “knowing which industries pay employers higher salaries”, did you mean employees or employers?

  13. Hi
    Thanks for your website.
    I have a question regarding to my field of study. I am currently doing my bachelor in IT/ multi platform software development and I don’t know about it for examples job opportunities ..?

  14. hai.i’m anbu.completed b.tech(it) 2014 batch….i would like to become software develpoer………..

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