Software engineering jobs are some of the most coveted and most skilled work available in our society. If you are reading this, you are likely a software engineer or know someone close to you who is. The odds are pretty good that you would like to know what you or someone you love might expect in terms of salary from various companies.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the so-called FAANG companies. FAANG originally stood for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google in its original form, but it has become more inclusive over the years as more and more companies rise through the ranks of the tech industry (and as Facebook changed its name to Meta).
These companies are known for their innovative products and cutting edge services, and as a result their compensation packages can tell us a lot about the upper limits of the field. So let's jump into it!
Facebook Software Engineering Salaries
At Facebook, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $161k-$202k
- 4-6 years: $210k-$300k
- 7-10 years: $299k-$446k
- 11-15 years: $474k-$725k
- 16+ years: $744k-$1m
Obviously, the highest-paid software engineers are those with the most experience. We’ll talk more about this a bit later. For now, just understand that engineers at Facebook and other FAANG companies typically receive extra compensation when they have a strong and lengthy work history.
Apple Software Engineering Salaries
At Apple, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $123k-$205k
- 4-6 years: $163k-$263k
- 7-10 years: $233k-$393k
- 11-15 years: $330k-$575k
- 16+ years: $671k-$776k
Amazon Software Engineering Salaries
At Amazon, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $104k-$192k
- 4-6 years: $148k-$273k
- 7-10 years: $233k-$400k
- 11-15 years: $441k-$720k
- 16+ years: $760k-$830k
Microsoft Software Engineering Salaries
At Microsoft, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $98k-$185k
- 4-6 years: $100k-$204k
- 7-10 years: $107k-$219k
- 11-15 years: $153k-$260k
- 16+ years: $242k-$338k
Google (Alphabet) Software Engineering Salaries
At Google (Alphabet), a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $124k-$223k
- 4-6 years: $185k-$315k
- 7-10 years: $260k-$435k
- 11-15 years: $403k-$565k
- 16+ years: $595k-$767k
Uber Software Engineering Salaries
At Uber, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $99k-$190k
- 4-6 years: $153k-$304k
- 7-10 years: $235k-$445k
- 11-15 years: $398k-$555k
- 16+ years: $500k-$830k
Twitter Software Engineering Salaries
At Twitter, a Software Engineer earns on average:
- 1-3 years: $168k-$210k
- 4-6 years: $184k-$282k
- 7-10 years: $304k-$405k
- 11-15 years: $460k-$620k
- 16+ years: $640k-$800k
What Does All This Mean?
Now that you have the data in front of us, we want to start to make sense of it.
For example, how can the same job title have a salary range of $98,000 to over $1 million dollars within the same group of companies? Obviously, the less experienced software engineers earn less money overall, but why do even entry level salaries vary so significantly?
The answers to these questions lie in a few factors at the heart of salary negotiations, and they constitute pretty valid reasons for the huge differences.
Now, let’s go over the main factors:
Location, Location, Location
Location, location, location is a long-standing truism that correlates the price of real estate with its physical location. The more expensive the area, the more expensive the house. At face value, the phrase doesn’t seem to be related to the topic at hand. However, we’d like to argue that it still applies. If we look at it from a country level, we can see that American software developers earn more than any other country in the world:
The people who manage the hiring process for FAANG companies know that the average software engineer is intelligent. That means they’ll be fully aware of whether the level of compensation they’re being offered for the talents is adequate given the living expenses the company imposes with its choice of physical location.
Those who live in an area with a lower cost of living on average should expect their pay to reflect their circumstances. They don’t do this to punish people for living in more affordable areas. Rather, they do this to make sure the playing field is even for all employees with similar roles and levels of experience. Not everyone requires as large of a paycheck just to get by where they live.
For example, you could look at the $105,000 annual salary for an entry level software engineer at Uber and be left with the impression that it’s not enough. Especially if you compare their situation with that of another entry level engineer Uber making $190,000 a year — around 85% more.
However, this isn’t taking location into account. Let’s say the first Uber employee might live in Houston, Texas, while the second lives in San Francisco, California. As it happens, living in San Francisco is almost exactly 85% more expensive than living in Houston.
The data clearly shows that the number of years of experience you have under your belt counts for a lot when it comes to compensation at FAANG companies. The higher salary is not merely a reward for having remained in the industry for a long period of time. Rather, it has to do with an understanding that people who have worked in software engineering for a significant period of time have often had to deal with nearly every kind of obstacle this job throws in their way.
For example, if we look at the salary for a Software Engineer at Google based on their level / experience, we can see how much salaries increase. It should be noted, however, that the biggest increase is not for base salary, but instead stock - a common trend for employees working at FAANG companies.
Thus, they truly have developed skills that the average dev person does not have. The higher pay for those who have put in their years of work is meant to attract the top talent with working knowledge of how to solve problems.
Value Of The Software Engineer In The Organization
The starting salary for a brand-new software engineer at either Twitter or Facebook is a lot higher than it is at Uber or Microsoft. All four of these companies use an army of software engineers to help them make their products, but social media websites like Twitter and Facebook simply rely more heavily on this skill set to keep their operations running smoothly.
At their core, Twitter and Facebook are Internet companies that require the assistance of people familiar with the workings of the Internet to help them stay online and solve any technical issues that may occur.
Software engineers at these companies also help them develop new features and push them out to the public. In short, software engineers are utilized more heavily at these companies, and that ups their value and compensation.
The Bottom Line
There are a myriad of considerations that any company makes before it pushes a contract paper across the table for a new hire to sign. Software engineers are highly prized in our society, but the job openings that are available at the FAANG companies are highly competitive as well.
You could look at Google vs Facebook salary and think that you should just go with the company that offers more money, but as we have discussed here, that is clearly not the only consideration worth making.
The word is out that these jobs pay well, and it seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie. The best thing for any software engineer looking to work for one of the FAANG companies to do is to weigh his or her options and to consider each factor that goes into their compensation.
The company with the largest dollar figure to offer may not be the one to go for. You should consider how competitive the opening is, where the location of the job is, and even the reputation of the company you are considering working for. Mull all of that over with the critical mind of a software engineer, and the answer as to where to work should present itself.