Software engineering is one of the most versatile fields in the tech industry. Some of the best jobs for software engineers are among the highest-paying jobs in the world. So, if you are thinking of learning software engineering and want a glimpse of the job opportunities available, this article is for you.
Before you read the list of the highest-paying software engineering jobs, we will explain what it means to be a software engineer and provide actionable tips to help you thrive in the role. You’ll also find the latest software engineering jobs salary information and outline some of the top companies hiring software engineers today.
What Jobs Are Available to Software Engineers?
Software engineers can work in a wide range of high-paying software jobs and development jobs. There are full-time, part-time, and freelance jobs available to software engineers within and outside the tech industry. In development, they can work as full stack developers, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence developers, backend developers, front end developers, mobile application developers, and game developers.
Software engineers are also employable in top software jobs such as cyber security specialists, software architects, system engineers, cloud engineers, and site reliability engineers. They can also work as data scientists, although there are some differences between software engineers vs data scientists. The profession you choose should be based on your short-term and long-term career goals.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Software Engineers
|Job Title||Average Salary||Top 10% Salary|
|Full Stack Machine Learning Engineer||$142,898||$195,500|
|Site Reliability Engineer||$129,919||$166,500|
|Senior Full Stack Developer||$104,319||$145,000|
|Mobile Application Developer||$102,406||$139,000|
|Front End Developer||$80,855||$120,000|
The best jobs for software engineers today are in-demand across many industries today and have high earning potential. In fact, many software engineering positions pay significantly more than the national average. However, specific jobs rank higher than others, and various factors determine a person’s average salary. Below is a list of the highest-paying software engineering and technology jobs in the industry.
Machine Learning Engineer
A machine learning engineer is an IT professional specializing in creating programs and algorithms for self-running artificial intelligence systems. Their primary duties include the design, development, and creation of automated predictive models.
Machine learning engineers create software for self-learning models, like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence assistants, chatbots, translation apps, and big data models. These experts typically need to be proficient in Python, R, Julia, LISP, and a host of libraries. A machine learning engineer’s salary is one of the top in software engineering today.
Like traditional building architects, a software architect draws the plans for software development. They are highly-ranked decision-makers who determine which technologies and strategies should be used by the development team during the entire process.
One of the top-paying software jobs, software architects usually work with technical teams to ensure smooth and successful project development. Apart from setting the pace for project management, software architects also need to learn how to document the entire development process and train other team members to follow through.
Site Reliability Engineer
A site reliability engineer (SRE) applies software engineering principles to system infrastructure and ranks among the highest-paying software engineering jobs today. They are problem solvers who make scalable and reliable software-based production systems.
SRE teams work with project managers to determine how codes are to be configured, deployed, and monitored. They also use software tools for the automation of operational tasks when necessary.
Professionals who work as cloud engineers are IT experts who specialize in applying engineering principles to cloud computing. It is a rapidly emerging field that will keep growing as long as cloud computing systems remain relevant.
A cloud engineer covers aspects like standardization and commercialization of cloud-based systems beyond software applications. Cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and other big tech companies invest in cloud engineers to manage their cloud services.
Backend software developers specialize in the figurative backend of development, popularly known as the server side. They write code and program parts of the software that play crucial roles in ensuring functionality even if users do not see these parts. As a backend developer, some features you will need to create will be APIs, servers, and databases.
To be a successful backend developer, you must master backend programming languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and .Net. These experts may have basic knowledge of the interactive parts of applications but typically work with front end developers to create full stack applications.
Full Stack Developer
Full stack software developers create applications from the ground up without assistance from any other developer. They work on all the stacks of software application development, such as front end and backend alike, making this role one of the best jobs for software engineers to pursue.
Mobile Application Developer
Mobile application developers’ primary duties include creating software for mobile devices like smartphones, iPads, and smart wearables. Within this best-paying software job, there are core mobile application developers who create the essential software for mobile devices for a company, and there are third-party mobile developers.
Game developers have several job duties such as designing, developing, and maintaining games. The specific role of game development jobs varies depending on certain variables. It could involve the entire process from idea conceptualization to final game launch.
Some game developers can just work on the software aspects involved in game development, while hardware developers and other team members working jobs in video game development are not required to do coding tasks like researchers and story writers.
System engineers are software development engineers with knowledge of business and engineering management. Their primary duties include monitoring the entire life cycle of the project. This life cycle includes system conception, design, development, production, construction, distribution, operation, maintenance and support, retirement, phase-out, and disposal.
One system engineer can manage the life cycle of multiple products simultaneously. They require strong design, decision-making, and analytical skills. If you do not have a software engineering degree, you can attend a coding bootcamp.
Front End Developer
Another one of the best jobs for software engineers is front end developer. While backend developers focus on the server side of application development, front end development jobs concentrate on the interactive part. That is the part of the application where users give instructions and get the results they want.
Companies That Hire Software Engineers
Finding software engineering jobs at top companies is easy if you know where to look. Not only do companies in the tech industry look for these professionals, but top companies for software engineers to find work with are spread across a range of industries. Below are some of the best companies for software engineers to work today.
- Google. Google is the most popular technology company in the world. It owns and controls some of the most useful tools for individual users and organizations. There are many opportunities for competent professionals and software engineering graduates at Google and Google-owned companies across the globe.
- Microsoft. Microsoft is another big software company. The multinational technology corporation produces software and hardware consumer products. It also offers business-to-business services. Depending on your specialization, there are several software engineer jobs available at Microsoft.
- Amazon. Amazon is more than an ecommerce site. This company is one of the big four global tech giants and one of the best companies for software engineers to work. The company has technology interests in digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
- Apple. Apple revolutionized the telecommunications industry with the iPhone, but that’s not the company’s only product. There are Apple laptops, iPads, watches, iPods, smart home assistants, and many other high-end devices and operating systems. To work as a software developer for Apple, you need to learn brand-specific programming languages.
- Cisco. Cisco is another popular name in the tech industry and you can find many career opportunities there as a software engineer. This networking and hardware-manufacturing company provides technology services and products on a global scale. According to Fortune, it currently holds the title of the best place to work in the world.
Can Software Engineers Work From Home?
Luckily, a career as a software engineer is perfect for working from home. Because the majority of remote software engineers’ work and responsibilities are completed on a computer or online, working from home is easy. The best work-from-home jobs for software engineers include front end developer, backend developer, and mobile app developer, because of their flexibility.
Tips for Finding Success as a Software Engineer
Learning software engineering is one thing, but finding a job in top companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Cisco can prove challenging. This applies mostly to entry-level experts. The tips below will help increase your chances of finding software engineer jobs, landing a high-paying one, and succeeding as a software engineer.
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- Specialize. Software engineering is a vast field, so it helps if you pick a technology job that interests you and specialize in it. Specialization allows you to harness your strengths and may help you enhance your career in software development faster.
- Build a professional brand. Build your professional brand on a platform like LinkedIn. This and many other industry-specific communities like Stack Overflow allow you to advertise your skills and build a brand for yourself in the industry. These platforms also come with lots of networking opportunities.
- Organize a project portfolio. A project portfolio is a collection of all your software engineering projects over time. Software engineers add portfolios to their resumes to show prospective employers and tech companies that they have the technical knowledge and experience in software engineering required to get the job done.
- Stay on the train of emerging trends. Technology is changing at an unbelievably rapid pace, and this change comes with lots of opportunities. So, you need to pay attention to emerging trends so that your skill set doesn’t become obsolete. You need to continuously learn new programming languages, frameworks, concepts, and best practices as they come.
- Take advantage of job resources. Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn are great places to find software engineering jobs and are frequently updated with new software engineering roles. On these sites, you can find both entry-level software engineering jobs and more senior roles. You can subscribe to daily alerts so that you never have to lose an opportunity to apply for a job.
Software Engineers Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the software engineer job outlook is expected to rise by 25 percent between 2021 and 2031. This job outlook for software engineers covers software testers, quality assurance officers, and software developers.
This job outlook for software engineers is very strong, which is optimistic for those considering entering the industry. High demand means many opportunities for entry-level positions, as well as more rapid career advancement within the industry as your career progresses.
Is a Software Engineering Career Right for You?
The software engineer career path has high earning potential and opportunities for job growth throughout all stages of your career. The best jobs for software engineers allow you to work in a range of disciplines and across a wide array of industries.
For someone interested in a career in tech, a career as a software engineer could provide a stable, sustainable professional future. For professionals already in tech and looking for a career change, software engineer careers could be an easy pivot.
Best Jobs for Software Engineers FAQ
A software engineer is an information technology expert who combines engineering and computer science principles to design, develop, and maintain software. There are multiple branches of software engineering you can specialize in, and each one comes with a unique set of responsibilities.
What degrees do software engineers need?
Software engineers typically need a software engineer degree such as a Bachelor of Computer Science or a Bachelor of Software Engineering. For some more senior roles, a master’s degree may be required. However, many companies will also hire software engineers without a degree who have completed a software engineering coding bootcamp, or who have demonstrable experience in programming.
Is software engineering stressful?
Software engineering is a highly sophisticated job with many demands, which can make it stressful. Often, the stress of being a software engineer comes from meeting deadlines for tasks assigned to them, or the completion of projects. Software engineer stress could also come from changing client needs or communication issues among their team.
Do software engineers use math?
Yes, most sub-disciplines of software engineering require excellent math skills. You need to be proficient in linear algebra, probability, calculus, statistics, and graph theory, among others. However, this isn’t always the case, and some software engineers do not require math. Being good at math is not a requirement to become a software engineer.
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