Everything you need to know about senior software engineer salaries

Senior software engineers are IT experts, proficient with programming languages and operating systems. These professionals are highly skilled and sought-after, playing an instrumental role in the modern business world.

Billions of devices are connected to the internet globally. With this comes an increased risk of attacks from cyber criminals attempting to access otherwise confidential data and information.

The senior software engineer is a pivotal aspect of an organisation’s defence strategy, as these experts are responsible for owning the development and design of software to increase efficiency. They are well-versed in programming languages and operating systems, and monitor current software to identify areas of vulnerability.

For security cleared professionals, opportunities to work as a senior software engineer are even more vast. This is due to the fact that many businesses store highly confidential data, or work on secret projects. As such, employees need to be vetted and deemed trustworthy.

Due to the nature of this role, senior software engineers benefit from higher-than-average salaries. Here is everything you need to know about what these experts are paid and how you can increase your compensation as a security cleared senior software engineer.


Do senior software engineers earn a lot?

The amount a senior software engineer takes home depends on a variety of factors, including the organisation they work for, their location and their experience. 

However, it’s safe to say that on average, a senior software engineer will earn significantly more than the median salary in the UK.

There are several reasons for this inflated wage, but it can largely be attributed to the fact that the cyber security industry is suffering from a huge skills gap, with companies competing to fill important roles with talented professionals. On top of that, the role of a senior software engineer is extremely technical and requires significant, sector-specific skills and experience.


What is the average salary for a senior software engineer?

According to data from Glassdoor, a typical senior software engineer salary in the UK sits between £54,000 and £82,000 per year, with the average coming in at £74,000. This doesn’t include additional compensation, such as bonus payments, which sits at £7,299 on average.


What is the highest pay for senior software engineers?

Software engineering is a field that boasts a lot of career progression opportunities. This means that professionals can receive significant pay rises simply through experience in the role.

Beyond the position of senior software engineer, in which employees typically earn from £54,000 to £82,000, there is ‘Software Engineer IV’, which boasts a salary band in the region of £61,000 to £87,000 and ‘Principal Software Engineer”, commanding wages from £62,000 to £92,000.

One of the most lucrative positions in the software engineering career path is the title of ‘Senior Principal Software Engineer’. In this role, experts can earn six figures. In fact, Glassdoor data highlights the average salary for this job to be £110,000 per year.


How much do senior software engineer jobs pay in different locations?

Like many professions, the salary you can expect to earn as a senior software engineer is directly impacted by the geographic location of the job. Data from Indeed highlights the regions where experts earn the most on average:

  • London - £80,913
  • Cambridge - £66,346
  • Birmingham - £63,478
  • Edinburgh - £61,618
  • Manchester - £61,482

How to increase your salary as a senior software engineer

For individuals with the right skills and experience, the role of a senior software engineer is highly lucrative compared with many other careers. 

Professionals with the ability to hold certain security clearances already benefit from a preference by recruiters and organisations, as many businesses deal with sensitive and confidential data that cyber criminals may attempt to access.

Generally, the best way to increase your salary as a software engineer is to have a comprehensive understanding of the technical skills that underpin the position. As a senior professional, you may have a solid grasp of most capabilities, but take the time to get to grips with all of the following.

  • Operating systems
  • Programming languages - especially the most commonly used, such as Python, Java and C++
  • Networking
  • Software development life cycle
  • Cross-platform software
  • Database
  • Testing
  • Data structure and algorithms

If this list feels elementary to you, perhaps it’s time to focus on soft skills. As a senior software engineer, you’ll need to be proficient in several areas outside of your technical remit, including:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving

The fastest way to achieve a salary increase is by ensuring that you are constantly learning and developing your hard and soft skills. You should demonstrate a willingness to improve and achieve business objectives, while also having a firm grasp of emerging technologies or software tools used in your role.

Browse our latest senior software engineer vacancies to find your perfect next job.