Computer Software Engineer Salary

Computer Software Engineers are an major part of the computer world. Computer Software engineers typically fall into two groups, Computer Systems Software Engineers and Application Computer Software Engineers. The main component of any Software Engineer is to design, develop and test software, whether for applications projects or complete computer systems. Taking on the role of a Computer Software Engineer means listening to what clients want, programming to specifications, and changing code at the last-minute. This fast-paced career has the demand needed for the worker to continue on the road to success in the fast-paced world of technology, which is what make it so attractive to all involved.

Salary Overview

The Computer Software Engineer of both the Applications and Systems level of employment considers various factors when making salary determinations. When determining salary requirements for prospective employees the place of employment on a regional scale or geographical location and size of that company are included factors. Some other various factors include length of time employed in the occupation applied for, what degrees the applicant holds in the field for which he is applying and what certificates the applicant holds, if any.

According to a report dated June of 2009 by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 495,500 people worked as a Computer Applications Software Engineer in all industries. The mean hourly salary commanded is $43.35 on average with a yearly salary of $90,170 on average. This number includes a margin of error of 1.1 percent. According to a report dated May of 2009 filed by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 385,200 people worked in the field of Computer Software Systems Engineer in all industries combined. Of these people, the mean hourly wage is $46.45 and the annual salary $96,620, with a margin of error of 0.6 percent.*

*According to the BLS,

However, these numbers do not include the self-employed or Independent Contractors who filed 1099 tax forms. Upon hiring an employee in the field of Computer Software Engineer of either trade, the hiring organization will also provide a benefits package including vacation time, personal and sick time, health benefits, and bonuses. Some organizations also provide reimbursement for any certificate training programs and other educational grants and bonuses.

Training and Education Requirements

Most people who chose to become a Software Engineer of either type will require at least a two-year Associate’s degree in the field of Information Technology. Some higher level Software Engineer jobs require higher education including a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Information Technology or a Bachelor’s Degree of Applied Science in Computer Science with specializations in computer programming languages such as Java, C++, C, Visual Basic, .NET and others.

Specific degrees typically required for a Computer Software Applications Engineer include specialized degrees in applications development, systems and networking administration and design and sometimes, even business management, depending on the industry. Specific degrees typically required for the Computer Software Systems Engineer include many of the same for a Software Applications Engineer as well as an Associate’s Degree in Information Systems management and, depending on the industry, a Masters in Business Administration as well.

Job Description & Outlook

Computer Software Engineers work in a variety of industries and specialized fields. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics states the outlook for Computer Software Engineer careers is overwhelmingly good. Over the next 10 years, this field will continue to expand as the nature of technology and the need for more and better software applications and systems expands. This will leave the industry hungry for better-trained Software Engineers in the field of Applications and Systems as well.*

*According to the BLS,

Computer Application Software Engineers create, develop, test, and deploy applications for use on a computer. Any program or application used, such as a word processing, spreadsheet or anti-virus program, consists of programming code of which must first be developed or engineered to specifications of each client’s computer operating system and other specifications as needed.

A Computer System Software Engineer works with the software needed for a computer to run. For example, a System Software Engineer will design and develop operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems as well as develop and test the compilers and networking software necessary for high-level operations such as those of the military, governmental, health care and other such industries.


Although only some companies will require certifications to obtain a job or advance a career in Software Engineering, specialized certifications are oftentimes obtained to advance one’s career and knowledge in the field in which they work whether they are needed or not. Certifications vary widely and are offered by many companies such as Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, and others in addition to certifications given by the professional associations for Software Engineering.

Professional Associations

Some of the main professional associations that exist for Software engineers include:

  • IEEE Computer Association offers the Computer Software Developer Associate and Computer Software Developer Professional certificates in addition to regulating the Computer and technology Code of Ethics. Professional Software Engineers and Student Engineers can find qualifications for membership and join the IEEE, the Computer Association or the IEEE Computer Association for a half or full year by downloading an application on their website.
  • The Association for Computing Machinery offers various Special Internet groups for Software Engineers including the SIGAda for the Ada Programming Language, SIGCHI for Computer-Human Interaction, SIGDOC for the Design of Communication, SIGMM for Multimedia, and of course, the SIGSoft specifically for Software Engineering. Joining SIG groups requires an account of which are free for professionals and students.

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