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Entry-Level Software Engineer Salaries [Who Earns What]

9 minute read | October 5, 2023
Maria Muntean

Written by:
Maria Muntean & reviewed by Akita Emmanuel

Maria Muntean

Reviewed by:
Akita Emmanuel

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Over the past few decades, software engineering has solidified its position as one of the most in-demand professions globally. These talented individuals are doing everything from creating autonomous driving systems to using AI to predict diseases. The possibilities of software engineering are endless, and for aspiring engineers, the sky’s the limit in terms of your career.

If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of various factors on software engineers’ salaries. Things like where you work, the industry you choose, your specific role, your level of education, and your skills can all contribute to significant variations in your compensation.

In this article, we’ll explore how these various elements impact entry-level software engineering salaries. Then, we’ll shed light on how you can increase your earning potential, making sure you’re adequately compensated for your skills and contributions. Let’s dive in!

What Is the Average Salary for an Entry-Level Software Engineer?

entry-level software engineer salary, average salary

The average salary for an entry-level software engineer with less than three years of experience ranges between $73,000 and $117,000. This does not include additional compensation like bonuses, profit sharing, or stock options, which can significantly increase total earnings.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary — By Role

Different roles in software engineering come with unique responsibilities and skill requirements. Some roles require more specialized skills or deal with more complex aspects of software development, making them potentially more lucrative. 

Below, we examine the average salaries for several entry-level positions in the software engineering field.

Software Engineering Intern

Software engineering internships are the starting point for many aspiring software engineers. These positions offer hands-on experience, though the compensation is generally lower compared to full-time roles. 

The average pay for software engineering interns is between $30,000 and $73,000 yearly.

Junior Software Engineer

entry-level software engineer salary, by role, junior software engineer

A junior software engineer is a full-time role that usually follows an internship or completion of a degree program. The responsibilities include writing code, debugging, and testing under the supervision of senior engineers. 

The average salary for this role in the United States is approximately $92,624 annually.

Junior Front-End Engineer

entry-level software engineer salary, by role, Junior Back-End Engineer or Developer

Junior front-end engineers or software developers are responsible for developing and implementing the visual elements of a software application that users interact with. 

The average salary for this role hovers around $69,000.

Junior Back-End Engineer

entry-level software engineer salary, by role, Junior Back-End Engineer

Junior back-end engineers handle the server-side logic and work with databases. They often use languages like Python, Java, or Ruby.

A junior back-end engineer can expect to earn roughly $75,718 annually.

Junior Full-Stack Engineer

Junior Full-stack Engineers work on both the front-end and back-end aspects of applications. As they need a broad skillset, they often receive slightly higher salaries than engineers specializing in only front-end or back-end.

The average yearly income for a front-end engineer is about $112,560.

Junior Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

entry-level software engineer salary, by role, Junior Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

Junior QA engineers are responsible for testing and quality checks to prevent bugs. Their role is critical in software development, although their compensation is generally lower than for other roles.

On average, a junior QA engineer earns approximately $73,003 annually.

Junior Machine Learning Engineer

Junior machine learning engineers design and implement machine learning models. This role requires knowledge of statistics, data analysis, and programming. 

Given the specialized skillset, junior machine learning engineers often have higher salaries, averaging $130,788 per year.

Junior Security Engineer

entry-level software engineer salary, by role, Junior Security Engineer

Junior security engineers work on securing the design and protection of a company’s computer systems and networks. 

As cybersecurity becomes increasingly important, these roles are well-compensated, with an average annual salary of $93,597.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary — By Industry

Different industries have varying demands for software engineers, and this demand often influences the compensation offered. As such, each sector has unique challenges and skill requirements, leading to pay scale variations.

Here’s how entry-level software engineers’ salaries differ across several industries.

Tech 

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Tech

As expected, the tech industry often offers entry-level software engineers some of the most competitive salaries. This sector is driven by innovation and technology, creating a high demand for skilled software engineers. Entry-level software engineers can expect to earn wages at the higher end of the scale, reaching six figures.

Finance

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Finance

The finance industry, including banking and insurance, also offers competitive salaries for entry-level software engineers. As these industries continue to invest heavily in fintech and digital transformations, the demand for software engineering skills grows. 

The average salary for an entry-level software engineer in the finance sector is $101,604 per year.

Retail

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Retail

In the retail industry, software engineers often create and maintain e-commerce platforms, inventory management systems, and customer relationship management tools. While the salaries in this industry may not match those in the tech or finance sectors, they are still competitive. 

Entry-level software engineers can expect to earn around $92,470 per year.

Manufacturing

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Manufacturing

While this industry might not offer salaries as high as the tech or finance industries, there are still lucrative opportunities, especially in advanced manufacturing sectors that heavily rely on technology.

The average salary for entry-level software engineers in manufacturing is $90,971 per year.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry offers competitive salaries for software engineers, though they can vary depending on the complexity of the projects. 

Software engineers in this field often work on critical systems like electronic health records and patient data analysis tools and earn an average of $87,557 annually.

Transportation

entry-level software engineer salary, by industry, Transportation

The demand for skilled software engineers increases as the transportation industry leans toward digital transformation and intelligent solutions. 

While the salary may be lower than in the tech or finance sector, the opportunities for growth and the unique challenges this industry poses can make it an attractive option. Entry-level software engineers in transportation earn $92,470 per year.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary — By Location

Different countries have varying costs of living, levels of demand for software engineering skills, and salary standards. 

The following sections will show how entry-level software engineer salaries compare in various countries.

USA

The average salary for entry-level software engineers in the USA is roughly $108,038 annually. 

The salary can increase in high-tech areas like Silicon Valley, New York, or Seattle. That’s primarily because the USA is home to the most significant number of “unicorn” tech companies, driving high demand and competitive salaries for software engineers.

UK

The UK is renowned for its thriving tech scene, particularly in London, often called the “Silicon Roundabout” due to the significant concentration of tech companies.

The average software engineer’s salary in the UK is £35,955.

India

entry-level software engineer salary, by location, India

In India, entry-level software engineer salaries vary significantly, but they usually range from ₹2,76,433 to ₹4,79,760 per year. Bangalore, often dubbed India’s Silicon Valley, is the hub of the country’s IT industry and offers some of the highest salaries.

Australia

Sydney and Melbourne are becoming significant tech hubs within the Asia-Pacific region, driving demand and wages for software engineers.

In 2023, an entry-level software engineer earns about $81,869 per year.

Germany

entry-level software engineer salary, by location, Germany

Germany’s software engineering industry is experiencing an increased demand for software engineers, especially in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and cybersecurity.

As such, the average entry-level software engineer salary in Germany is €53,779 per year.

China

China is home to several world-renowned technology giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and Huawei. These companies demand many software engineers to continue their growth and innovation. 

The average salary for an entry-level software engineer in China is around CN¥143,513 monthly.

Brazil

Brazil is emerging as a significant tech hub in Latin America, with cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro leading the way. The software engineering field in Brazil has been snowballing, with the average salary being R$6,876 per year.

South Africa

entry-level software engineer salary, by location, South Africa

South Africa is considered one of the leading tech hubs in Africa, with Johannesburg and Cape Town being central to the country’s tech ecosystem. These cities are home to many tech startups and software engineering jobs, creating a vibrant atmosphere for technological innovation.

The average entry-level software engineer salary in South Africa is R 41 635 per month.

Canada

entry-level software engineer salary, by location, Canada

Canada has become a desirable destination for tech talent, partly due to its progressive immigration policies and thriving tech scene, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver. Thus, the average software engineering salary in Canada is $99,057 per year.

Switzerland

Switzerland offers some of the highest salaries for software engineers globally. In 2023, entry-level software engineers could expect to earn CHF 87,317 per year. 

Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary — By Education

A degree is crucial in determining salary levels for many job roles, and software engineering is no exception. Employers often use educational credentials as a baseline for judging applicants’ knowledge and skills. 

Here’s how the salaries for entry-level software engineers compare based on your education level.

No Degree

entry-level software engineer salary, by education, No Degree

While it is possible to secure an entry-level software engineering position without a formal degree, the average salary might be lower than those with one. Non-degree-holding entry-level software engineers could expect an average salary of $73,146 in the United States.

Bachelor’s Degree

entry-level software engineer salary, by education, Bachelor's Degree

The average salary for entry-level software engineers holding a Bachelor’s degree is $76,381 per year.

Master’s Degree

entry-level software engineer salary, by education, Master's Degree

In 2023, the average salary for entry-level software engineers is $77,278 annually.

How To Boost Your Entry-Level Software Engineering Salary

As an entry-level software engineer, you are at the beginning of a career full of opportunities for growth and advancement. 

Stagnation is not an option in this industry, and as your skills and experience grow, so should your compensation. Here are some strategies to boost your entry-level software engineering salary.

  1. Upskill Yourself

  2. Choose the Right Industry and Location

  3. Negotiate Your Job Offer or Request a Salary Review

  4. Gain More Experience

  5. Find Your Specialization

Upskill Yourself

To remain relevant, you need to continuously learn and upskill yourself. This might involve learning new programming languages, getting familiar with emerging technologies, or honing your understanding of algorithms and data structures. 

Taking part in online courses, attending a software engineering bootcamp, or acquiring relevant certifications can showcase your commitment to growth and make you a more valuable asset to your employer. 

Choose the Right Industry and Location

Industries like finance, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity often pay higher salaries, especially during the last few years. 

Similarly, regions with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco and New York City, offer higher compensation due to the competitive job market and higher living expenses. If circumstances permit, consider a move to these industries or locations.

Negotiate Your Job Offer or Request a Salary Review

Research typical salaries for your role and experience level, and be ready to advocate for yourself. Approach these discussions professionally and constructively, armed with your research and a clear rationale for your salary expectations.

Gain More Experience

Gaining more experience is a sure way to boost your earning potential. Try taking on more complex tasks at work, contributing to open-source projects, or working on personal programming projects. These experiences deepen your skillset and demonstrate your initiative and commitment to your professional growth, which can be reflected in your compensation.

Find Your Specialization

Whether it’s machine learning, cybersecurity, data science, or another area, becoming an expert in a specialized field makes you a more valuable asset to employers. Hone your expertise in a particular area, and position yourself as a specialist to leverage this when negotiating your salary.

Get To Know Other Software Engineering Students

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Entry-Level Software Engineer Salary FAQs

We’ve got the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

Is It Hard To Become an Entry-Level Software Engineer?

To become an entry-level software engineer, you need significant commitment and effort. You need a thorough understanding of computer programming languages and other concepts like data structures, algorithms, and architecture.

Beyond the technical aspects, you should be ready to invest time in problem-solving and analytical thinking. Becoming a software engineer is often challenging, but with dedication, you can successfully start a career in software engineering.

Do You Need a Degree To Land an Entry-Level Software Engineering Job?

While a degree in computer science or a related field can significantly enhance your chances of securing an entry-level software engineering job, it is not always necessary. Many companies are shifting their focus from academic qualifications to skills and relevant experience.

Self-taught programmers and those who have attended coding bootcamps or completed software engineering certifications can also land jobs in software engineering, provided they can demonstrate their proficiency in coding and have the necessary skills.

Can You Make Six Figures as an Entry-Level Software Engineer?

This generally depends on several factors, such as the industry, the size and geographical location of the company, and the specific skills you bring to the table.

The high-paying jobs are found in high-cost-of-living areas and large tech companies—Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. That said, even at these companies, a six-figure salary for an entry-level position is at the high end of the scale.

Who Are the Highest-Paid Software Engineers?

The highest-paid software engineers work in roles such as machine learning engineers, data scientists, and security engineers, and they often have specialized, in-demand skills. They are commonly employed in finance, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

Since you’re here…
Were you one of the tens of thousands of workers impacted by this year’s tech layoffs? Springboard wants to help. Our new Career Reboot Scholarship is intended to assist job seekers from tech looking to upskill, reskill and stand out in a competitive hiring environment. Get $1,000 off any Springboard bootcamp in software engineering, data analytics, UX design, cybersecurity, tech sales, and more. Visit this page for eligibility requirements and to apply.

About Maria Muntean

Maria-Cristina is a content marketer with 7 years of experience in SEO and content strategy for SaaS and technology brands. She holds an MA thesis on the effects of emotions in written and video content. She loves to spend time near the ocean and watch horror movies.