How to Get a Great Software Engineer Salary in New York

Headshot of CareerFoundry contributor Eric Thompson.

New York, a city that demands a strong salary to get by in, may be a haven for software engineers. The city that never sleeps, boasting a population of over 8 million people, is a great melting pot and hub of culture that draws in many from around the world. 

NYC’s cost of living is a huge barrier for most that want to move to the city, but the salary of a software engineering job can make it a bit more accessible.

Software engineer salaries in New York vary depending on a city’s cost of living, specific industry, and a worker’s experience.

Want to fulfill your dream of ditching your car to live in a walkable community and take in the oranges and reds of Fall in Central Park? We’ll help you get an idea of where to get started.

  1. What’s the average software engineer salary in New York?
  2. What’s it like being a software engineer in New York?
  3. How to become a software engineer in New York
  4. How to get a software engineer job in New York
  5. Final thoughts

1. What’s the average software engineer salary in New York?

Salaries vary widely for a software engineer, with New York being one of the highest-paid cities both in the U.S. and internationally. We’ll be turning to Glassdoor to find salary information based on various experience levels.

An average software engineer, who is between a junior and senior role, has been in the field for over 3 years. Their median salary is $118,322 per year and can range between $94,000 – $148,000

Average entry-level software engineer salary in New York

You can find an entry-level job as a junior software engineer or junior web developer, a starting position, at a company and can move up after 3 years of experience. Their median salary is $110,588 per year and can range between $89,000 – $139,000.

Average senior software engineer salary in New York

A senior software engineer is someone who has typically been in the industry for 5 or 6 years.

They often have leading roles, mentoring junior software engineers that are freshly navigating the field. With the added responsibility, though, comes additional pay.

Their median salary is $166,079 per year and can range between $133,000 – $207,000. The estimated additional pay is $32,417 per year, with a possible range that goes up to $253,000.

How to get a good software engineer salary in New York

Be sure to connect with people that have been in the field for a long time.

Oftentimes, jobs may not be posted on LinkedIn or other job boards, but will be shared word of mouth. People will often seek recommendations from others that they already know and trust.

Time in your niche’s industry is a huge factor in getting noticed and hired somewhere. If you already have tangible experience at a corporation, you’ll find it much easier to get an opening for a position.

Once you have a way in, you’ll want to negotiate pay with recruiters by leveraging your software engineering portfolio to display your expertise.

2. What’s it like being a software engineer in New York?

Almost all sectors need a software engineer in some form or fashion in New York City. Any industry that has a website or an app needs a software engineer on hand to develop or troubleshoot as the need arises.

These jobs can include that’s included in the scope of work of what a software engineer does. To get some specifics on how certain industries differ, we’ll include a few job postings from LinkedIn that you might see around the city, with an emphasis on requirements and responsibilities.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, a few popular sectors that we’ll include are government, tech, startups, and entertainment. Because the industries vary so too will the pay, but remember that at the end of the day the companies will have to pay a software engineer salary in New York to be attractive to candidates.

These specific jobs are in-person, but you can also work fully remote while still living in or near the city. Remember, you don’t have to fill all of the requirements in a posting to apply and get hired.

Tech and startups

When people hear about software engineers, they usually think of working in tech and startups, so it makes sense to start here. Here’s a post from a SaaS (Software as a Service) company called Notion:

Screenshot of a job post for a software engineer job in New York.
Source: LinkedIn


The public sector has a huge need for software engineers. You may see an example of that need when logging onto a government website. You can work for the city of New York in the public sector with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA):

Screenshot of a job post for a software engineer job in New York for the MTA.
Source: LinkedIn


Some may not consider the entertainment industry’s need for software engineers.

Companies centered on gaming or cinema, like Rockstar and Marvel Entertainment, all use software engineers to build their worlds. Luckily, such a large city has endless opportunities in this niche.

Rockstar Games

Screenshot of a job post for a software engineer job in New York for Rockstar Games.
Source: LinkedIn

Marvel Entertainment

Screenshot of a job post for a software engineer job in New York for Marvel.
Source: LinkedIn

3. How to become a software engineer in New York

Becoming a software engineer in New York can be unique in how tricky yet accessible it is. Here’s some general advice to make you as competitive (and the process as smooth) as possible.

Tailor your application packet

Keep the job you’re applying to in mind when making your application packet. If there’s something important to a company, be sure it stands out in the work that you’re sharing.

Assess your skills

Take an honest assessment of your current skills. If you feel a bit shaky, it may be wise to touch up or learn something new through a training or one of New York’s many coding bootcamps.

Start networking and practicing

Consider an NYC coder meetup or hackathon to learn new skills and network. While new skills are important, sometimes it isn’t about how well you program, but who you know that can get you in the door. Even if you have all of the skills, just knowing someone can give you a leg up when packets hit a recruiter’s desk.

While hard skills are important, who you know is oftentimes what will get you an interview. Attend a career day at a company to shake some hands, ask questions, and make yourself seen. Approaching potential employers can get your name in their sphere.

4. How to get a software engineer job in New York

You’ll find getting a software engineering job in New York is similar to any other part of the world.

What makes the city unique is the number of opportunities that exist due to its density. There are plenty of offices, which makes space for tons of companies that might be hiring. Despite the vast opportunities, it’s helpful to keep in mind that you aren’t tied to working in the city while you live there; you can also become a remote web developer.

When you start applying to jobs, be sure to do in-depth research into that company. Tailor your entire application packet to them. Be sure that your software engineer resume, portfolio, and cover letter are all buttoned-up and competitive.

Final thoughts

Now that you’ve got a grasp on what becoming a software engineer in New York City might look like and how to negotiate your salary, you can look at a visit or move to the city with confidence. New York has a lot of charm, but it can be scary if you’re considering a move and don’t know what the job market looks like.

Remember the cost of living!

Despite how competitive the job market can be, it’s helpful to remember that both job density is proportional to city density while salary is proportional to the cost of living. When looking for jobs, you don’t need to meet all of the requirements before applying.

Just be sure to do your research into the company and tailor your application packet to fit what they’re looking for. If you’re still uneasy, consider picking up a new skill that you think would benefit your portfolio. 

Get networking

Get connected by putting yourself out there, because networking is the bread and butter of landing any job. Now with this knowledge in hand, you can come to the table and negotiate with an employer for fair compensation. It’s now time to shape up your portfolio and make a move.

A great way to get into it is with the CareerFoundry Full-Stack Development Program. Not only will you be able to study remotely, but on top of your tutor and mentor, you’ll also be paired with a career specialist. If earning a software engineer salary in New York is your goal, they can give you the low-down on the job scene in the Big Apple, and what you’ll need to start working there.

If you’d like to learn more about the world of development and software engineer, check out these articles:

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