Where Do Engineer Salaries Pay for Highest Standard of Living?

Where Do Engineer Salaries Pay for Highest Standard of Living?

We recently released an updated list of the average software engineer salary offers doled out in each city. Unsurprisingly, the Bay Area unsurprisingly lead the pack, with the average software engineer salary offer clocking in at $131,266 (up 3% in Q3 compared to Q2).

Average software engineer salary offers

software engineer salaries by cityHere’s the full list of average salary offers made to software engineers on the Hired platform in Q3 of this year (compared to Q2):

  1. SF Bay Area: $139,036 (up 2%)
  2. Seattle: $132,670 (up 9%)
  3. New York: $124,691 (up 2%)
  4. Boston: $119,613 (up 2%)
  5. San Diego: $117,928 (up 3%)
  6. Los Angeles: $115,433 (stable)
  7. Denver: $113,842 (up 1%)
  8. Chicago: $113,280 (up 7%)
  9. Austin: $112,618 (up 4%)
  10. Washington, DC: $111,620 (stable)

While it’s useful to compare top offers in top cities, these average offer numbers are most compelling in the context of actual living expenses. For instance, what does a salary of $115,035 actually get you in Denver? And what would you need to earn in San Francisco dollars to maintain the same standard of living? This is where it gets really interesting.

When you compare city-specific salary offer data with the actual cost of living in that city, surprising winners and losers emerge. Namely: Austin, Texas, where software engineers are offered, on average, $115,035. But if you were to attempt to relocate your Austin life to San Francisco — and wanted to maintain the same standard of living you got for $115,035 in Austin — you’d need to earn a whopping $198,353 yearly (per C2ER data provided by PayScale). That’s the highest adjusted salary comparison of any city.

Average software engineer salary offers — in SF dollars

According to PayScale, here’s what you would have to earn in San Francisco dollars to maintain the same standard of living as the average software engineer salary would afford you:

  1. Austin: $198,353
  2. Denver: $182,011
  3. Seattle: $168,197
  4. Chicago: $153,968
  5. Los Angeles: $145,774
  6. Boston: $140,986
  7. San Francisco: $135,853 (baseline)
  8. San Diego: $133,201
  9. Washington, DC: $128,853
  10. New York: $91,967

In all seriousness, these adjusted salaries tell us a few things about the cost of living in each city, and where salaries might help you afford more in one city than other cities. (Read how C2ER’s Cost of Living Index is calculated here). Austin salaries far and away eclipse standard living expenses, but Austin engineers aren’t the only winners; Denver engineers are making out like bandits, too (and BOTH geos have bright futures; projected 7% and 6% job growth in the next 5 years, respectively).

Here’s a breakdown of average salary offers, average/median living expenses, and other metrics that might affect your quality of life, by city:

AUSTIN
Average software engineer salary offer: $115,035
Average commute time: 22
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,180
Median home price: $328,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 7%

BOSTON
Average software engineer salary offer: $118,789
Average commute time: 28
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $2,800
Median home price: $545,000
Projected 5-year job growth: n/a

CHICAGO
Average software engineer salary offer: $110,410
Average commute time: 34
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,400
Median home price: $248,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 2%

DENVER
Average software engineer salary offer: $119,214
Average commute time: 24
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,180
Median home price: $350,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 2%

LOS ANGELES
Average software engineer salary offer: $124,200
Average commute time: 28
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,950
Median home price: $587,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 2%

NEW YORK
Average software engineer salary offer: $123,415
Average commute time: 39
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $3,550
Median home price: $545,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 2%

SAN DIEGO
Average software engineer salary offer: $108,625
Average commute time: 22
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,500
Median home price: $495,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 3%

SAN FRANCISCO
Average software engineer salary offer: $135,853
Average commute time: 29
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $3,420
Median home price: $1,150,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 1%

SEATTLE
Average software engineer salary offer: $128,268
Average commute time: 24
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $1,750
Median home price: $537,000
Projected 5-year job growth: 3%

WASHINGTON, DC
Average software engineer salary offer: $110,389
Average commute time: 29
Average monthly rent for a 1 bedroom apartment: $2,210
Median home price: $526,100
Projected 5-year job growth: 6%

Sources: Apartment List, Global Property Guide, PayScale, CNN Money

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