Software Engineer Salary In San Francisco

With its booming tech industry, San Francisco offers some of the highest salaries for software engineers nationwide. But how much can you really expect to make as an engineer in the Bay Area job market?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average software engineer salary in San Francisco is around $142,000 per year according to recent data.

This in-depth guide will break down software engineer salaries in San Francisco by experience level, specific roles, top companies and other key factors. We’ll help you understand the pay range potential as an engineer in this competitive job market.

Average Software Engineer Salary in San Francisco

San Francisco is known for its thriving tech industry, and software engineers play a crucial role in this ecosystem. With numerous tech companies and startups calling the city home, the demand for skilled software engineers is high.

As a result, salaries in this field are among the highest in the country.

By Years of Experience

The salary of a software engineer in San Francisco can vary depending on their years of experience. Generally, the more experience an engineer has, the higher their salary will be. According to recent data, entry-level software engineers in San Francisco can expect to earn an average salary of around $100,000 per year.

However, as they gain more experience and expertise, their earning potential increases significantly.

Software engineers with 5-10 years of experience can earn an average salary of $150,000 per year. Those with 10+ years of experience can earn even higher, with salaries ranging from $170,000 to $200,000 per year or more.

It’s important to note that these figures are just averages and can vary depending on factors such as the company, industry, and individual skills.

By Specific Roles

The software engineering field offers various roles and specializations, and each role comes with its own salary range. Here are a few examples of specific software engineering roles and their corresponding average salaries in San Francisco:

  • Front-end Developer: Front-end developers in San Francisco can earn an average salary of $130,000 per year.
  • Back-end Developer: Back-end developers, responsible for server-side development, can earn an average salary of $140,000 per year.
  • Data Scientist: Data scientists, who analyze and interpret complex data, can earn an average salary of $160,000 per year.
  • Machine Learning Engineer: Machine learning engineers, working on AI and advanced algorithms, can earn an average salary of $180,000 per year.

These figures are based on industry averages and can vary depending on factors such as the specific company, the engineer’s level of expertise, and the demand for specific skills in the market.

For more detailed and up-to-date salary information, you can visit reputable job platforms such as Glassdoor or PayScale. These websites provide insights into the salaries offered by various companies and industries in San Francisco, helping software engineers make informed career decisions.

Highest Paying Tech Companies

When it comes to salaries in the tech industry, San Francisco is known for having some of the highest paying companies in the world. In this article, we will explore the top tech companies in San Francisco that offer lucrative salaries for software engineers.


The term “FAANG” refers to the five major tech companies: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. These companies are renowned for their innovative products and services, as well as their high compensation packages for software engineers.

With their vast resources and global reach, FAANG companies are able to attract top talent and offer competitive salaries. According to recent data, the average salary for software engineers at these companies ranges from $150,000 to $200,000 per year.


Unicorn companies are privately held startups that have reached a valuation of $1 billion or more. San Francisco is home to many unicorn companies, and they are known for offering attractive compensation packages to software engineers.

These companies often provide stock options and other perks in addition to competitive base salaries. Some well-known unicorn companies in San Francisco include Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft. The average salary for software engineers at unicorn companies can range from $130,000 to $180,000 per year.

Enterprise Companies

San Francisco is also home to a number of enterprise companies that offer high-paying jobs to software engineers. Enterprise companies are large organizations that provide software and services to other businesses.

These companies often have complex systems and require skilled engineers to develop and maintain their software infrastructure. Some of the top enterprise companies in San Francisco include Salesforce, Oracle, and Cisco.

The average salary for software engineers at enterprise companies can range from $120,000 to $160,000 per year.

It’s important to note that salaries can vary based on factors such as experience, education, and job role. Additionally, the cost of living in San Francisco is relatively high, so it’s important to consider the overall compensation package when evaluating job opportunities in the city.

For more information on salaries and job opportunities in the tech industry, you can visit websites like Glassdoor or PayScale which provide insights into salary ranges and employee reviews for various companies.

Salaries by Programming Languages & Skills


Front-End development refers to the creation of user interfaces and the implementation of visual elements that users interact with on a website or application. Front-End engineers primarily work with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build responsive and user-friendly interfaces.

According to statistics from PayScale, the average salary for Front-End developers in San Francisco is around $110,000 per year. However, it’s important to note that salaries can vary based on factors such as experience, company size, and industry.


Back-End development focuses on the server-side functionality of a website or application. Back-End engineers are responsible for building and maintaining the infrastructure that supports the Front-End.

They work with languages such as Python, Ruby, or Java, and are skilled in database management and server optimization. In San Francisco, Back-End developers can earn an average salary of $120,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.

However, salaries can be higher for individuals with specialized skills and extensive experience.


Full-Stack development combines both Front-End and Back-End skills, allowing developers to work on all aspects of a website or application. Full-Stack engineers are proficient in multiple programming languages and have a solid understanding of both the user interface and the server-side functionality.

Due to their versatility, Full-Stack developers in San Francisco can earn an average salary of $130,000 per year, as reported by Indeed. This salary range reflects the high demand for developers with both Front-End and Back-End expertise.


Mobile development involves creating applications specifically designed for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile engineers typically work with programming languages like Swift for iOS or Java for Android.

The demand for mobile developers is constantly growing, and as a result, their salaries are also on the rise. In San Francisco, Mobile developers can earn an average salary of $125,000 per year, according to data from

However, it’s worth noting that salaries can vary based on the platform (iOS or Android) and the level of experience.

Impact of Education on Salary

When it comes to the software engineering field, education plays a crucial role in determining the salary of professionals. The more advanced the degree, the higher the salary potential. Here are some key educational factors that can have a significant impact on a software engineer’s salary in San Francisco.

Computer Science Degree

Obtaining a computer science degree is often the first step towards a successful career in software engineering. This degree provides a solid foundation in programming languages, algorithms, data structures, and software development principles.

Software engineers with a computer science degree can expect to earn a higher salary compared to those without a formal education in the field. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a software engineer in San Francisco with a computer science degree is around $120,000 per year.

Master’s Degree

Pursuing a master’s degree in computer science or a related field can further enhance a software engineer’s earning potential. This advanced degree provides in-depth knowledge and specialization in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and software architecture.

Software engineers with a master’s degree often qualify for higher-level positions and can command a higher salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers with a master’s degree earn a median annual wage of $112,620.


While an MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree may not be a traditional educational path for software engineers, it can still have a significant impact on their earning potential. An MBA equips professionals with business acumen, leadership skills, and a broader understanding of the industry.

Software engineers with an MBA often have the opportunity to move into management roles, where salaries can be substantially higher. Combining technical expertise with business knowledge can open doors to lucrative career opportunities.

According to Payscale, software engineers with an MBA earn an average salary of $130,000 per year in San Francisco.


In addition to formal degrees, certifications can also have a positive impact on a software engineer’s salary. Certifications validate a professional’s expertise in specific technologies or programming languages, making them more valuable to employers.

Some popular certifications in the software engineering field include AWS Certified Developer, Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate, and Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Developer.

Holding these certifications can demonstrate a software engineer’s commitment to staying current with industry trends and can lead to higher-paying job opportunities. According to Payscale, software engineers in San Francisco with certifications earn an average salary of $125,000 per year.

Negotiating Your Salary as a Software Engineer

When it comes to negotiating your salary as a software engineer in San Francisco, it’s important to approach the process strategically and confidently. By understanding your value, considering equity and bonuses, and leveraging competitive offers, you can increase your chances of securing a higher salary.

Know Your Value

Before entering salary negotiations, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your market value as a software engineer in San Francisco. Research industry standards and salary ranges for your level of experience and expertise.

Websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale can provide valuable insights into typical salary ranges for software engineers in the area. Use this information to determine a reasonable salary range that aligns with your skills and experience.

Consider Equity and Bonuses

When discussing your compensation package, don’t forget to consider equity and bonuses. Many tech companies in San Francisco offer stock options or equity grants as part of their compensation packages. These can be valuable assets that can significantly increase your overall earning potential.

Additionally, inquire about performance-based bonuses or profit-sharing programs that may be available. By taking these factors into account, you can negotiate a comprehensive compensation package that includes more than just your base salary.

Get Competitive Offers

One of the most effective ways to negotiate a higher salary is by obtaining competitive offers from other companies. By actively exploring job opportunities and going through the interview process with multiple companies, you can gather offers that you can then leverage during salary negotiations.

Having multiple offers demonstrates to your potential employer that you are a sought-after candidate and increases your bargaining power. It’s important to approach this process respectfully and genuinely consider the offers you receive.

Remember, the goal is to negotiate a fair and competitive salary that reflects your value in the market.


In summary, software engineers can command six-figure salaries in San Francisco, especially with in-demand skills and experience at top companies. Understanding average pay scales and negotiating tactics can help maximize your compensation.

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