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25 Best Paying Cities for Software Engineers

Just because you take home a bigger paycheck doesn’t mean you ‘earn more.’ It’s all relative to where you live. With high demand for software engineers in cities across the country, where do software engineers really get paid the most?

Given cost of living factors – including housing costs, transportation, food, recreation and more – Glassdoor is revealing the 25 Best Paying Cities for Software Engineers, by identifying the ‘real adjusted salary’ for software engineers in each city. ‘Real adjusted salary’ is determined by looking at the ratio of each city’s local median software engineer base salary to its official cost of living figures from the federal government. (Note, government figures compare the average cost of living price level in each city to the national average, which is set at 100).

[Related: Employers, learn the best ways to recruit software engineers: what to do and what not to do.]

To help you understand more, for example, a software engineer in San Diego, CA earns $100,000 per year, while a software engineer in Portland, OR earns $90,000. But when cost of living is factored in, the software engineer in Portland earns a 5.1% higher real salary ($89,374; #9) than the engineer in San Diego ($85,034; #19).

Which cities really pay software engineers the best? Check out the full results. Plus, further below, see more on how to get hired and our full methodology:

 

  1. Seattle, WA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $105,735
  • +7.1% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $113,242
  • Job Openings: 4,205

 

  1. San Jose, CA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $100,989
  • +21.3% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $122,500
  • Job Openings: 2,017

 

  1. San Francisco, CA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $99,751
  • +20.3% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $120,000
  • Job Openings: 2,232

 

  1. Madison, WI – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $97,236
  • -2.3% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $95,000
  • Job Openings: 105

 

  1. Raleigh, NC – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $94,142
  • -4.4% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $90,000
  • Job Openings: 416

 

  1. Austin, TX – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $91,185
  • -1.3% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $90,000
  • Job Openings: 828

 

  1. Boston, MA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $90,171
  • +10.9% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $100,000
  • Job Openings: 1,965

 

  1. Sacramento, CA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $89,669
  • +2.6% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $92,000
  • Job Openings: 120

 

  1. Portland, OR – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $89,374
  • +0.7% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $90,000
  • Job Openings: 412

 

  1. Atlanta, GA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $89,286
  • -4.8% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $85,000
  • Job Openings: 1,326

 

  1. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $88,294
  • +0.8% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $89,000
  • Job Openings: 1,376

 

  1. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $88,143
  • -4.7% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $84,000
  • Job Openings: 123

 

  1. Omaha, NE – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $88,017
  • -5.7% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $83,000
  • Job Openings: 121

 

  1. Phoenix, AZ – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $87,997
  • -1.4% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $86,765
  • Job Openings: 595

 

  1. Salt Lake City, UT – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $87,262
  • -0.3% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $87,000
  • Job Openings: 248

 

  1. Denver, CO – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $85,878
  • +4.8% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $90,000
  • Job Openings: 898

 

  1. San Antonio, TX – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $85,696
  • -5.9% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $80,640
  • Job Openings: 151

 

  1. Charlotte, NC – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $85,653
  • -6.6% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $80,000
  • Job Openings: 314

 

  1. San Diego, CA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $85,034
  • +17.6% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $100,000
  • Job Openings: 675

 

  1. Pittsburgh, PA – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $84,926
  • -5.8% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $80,000
  • Job Openings: 473

 

  1. Houston, TX – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $84,493
  • +0.6% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $85,000
  • Job Openings: 380

 

  1. Boulder, CO – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $84,424
  • +9.4% above national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $92,360
  • Job Openings: 183

 

  1. Palm Bay-Melbourne, FL – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $84,122
  • -4.9% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $80,000
  • Job Openings: 110

 

  1. Tucson, AZ – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $83,248
  • -2.7% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $81,000
  • Job Openings: 60

 

  1. Huntsville, AL – See Open Jobs
  • Real Adjusted Salary: $83,242
  • -8.7% below national average cost of living
  • Median Base Salary: $76,000
  • Job Openings: 269

 

Now that you know the 25 Best Paying Cities for Software Engineers, see more to help you find a new job you’ll love as a software engineer:

9 Companies Hiring Software Engineers

10 Interview Questions For Software Engineers

How to Get a Job as a Software Engineer

EMPLOYERS: Are you hiring for software engineers? Post a job for free or learn more about how Glassdoor can help you recruit talent.

Methodology: Glassdoor’s 25 Best Paying Cities for Software Engineers identifies U.S. cities with the highest real adjusted salary for software engineers, indicating where a local software engineer’s base salary stretches furthest when compared to local cost of living. Real adjusted salary is determined by the ratio of median annual base salary to cost of living for each city. To be considered, a city must have received at least 100 salary reports shared by local software engineers over the past year (6/20/15 – 6/19/16). For simplicity of reporting, ‘cities’ refers to U.S. metros as defined by the U.S. Office of Management & Budget, and cost of living refers to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Regional Price Parities (RPP1) Index (RPP1 compares the average price level in each metro to the national average, which is set at 100). This report takes into account job title normalization that groups similar job titles. Job openings represent active job listings on Glassdoor as of 6/20/16.