Main image of article Top 7 Companies for Entry-Level Software Engineer Salaries

Let’s say you’re training to become a software engineer. You’ve learned the necessary skills to break into the industry, and you have a rough idea of the kind of software you want to build. How much can you potentially earn as you embark on your career?

According to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the median salary for a software engineer is $98,783 per year. That’s pretty good, especially compared to the average technology professional salary, which according to the latest Dice Tech Salary Report stands at $104,566.

Where can entry-level software engineers earn the highest compensation?, which crowdsources compensation data from a number of sources, has some insight: estimates the overall median compensation for a software engineer at $174,000 (which incorporates all companies and experience levels). At big tech companies such as Google, compensation can climb much higher, thanks in large part to bonuses and stock options.

For entry-level software engineers, unlocking a massive salary at a company like Two Sigma or Stripe can hinge on specialization; mastering an arcane art like machine learning will only boost your value. During the job interview process, you’ll need to show the hiring manager and recruiter that you can use those specialized skills to help the company meet its highest strategic priorities. Mastering a full tech stack can also make you an attractive job candidate.

According to Lightcast, the software engineering skills that pop up most often in job postings include Java, SQL, Python, and JavaScript; knowing the principles of software engineering and development is also a must. Depending on your area of interest, you’ll also want to master cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure, which power many organizations’ respective software stacks. Whatever your path, knowing the right skills can result in superior compensation.