Software QA FYI - SQAFYI

Salaries for software testers

By: Pencom Systems Incorporated salary

The information contained herein will be updated in the fall of 2002, using information gathered in the 2002 Software Testing Institute Salary Survey. In the interim, here is a brief overview of the Quality Progress (Published by American Society for Quality, or ASQ) salary survey conducted in December, 2001:

Without ASQ
With ASQ
Reliability Engineer $68,684.00 $76,769.00
Software Quality Engineer $72,130.00 $74,297.00
Quality Manager $66,058.00 $71,163.00
Quality Engineer $56,180.00 $61,544.00
Quality Auditor $48,800.00 $53,830.00
Quality Technician $37,291.00 $38,400.00

Do you want to know how to fairly compensate a software tester? Perhaps you are more interested in learning how much you can reasonably expect to get paid for your own testing job, or for the one you have your sights on. Whatever your motivation, following is a summary of software tester salary information that will help you on your way.

The Big Picture

The average salary for a tester with 3-6 years of relevant experience is approximately $85,000 per year, with a median of approximately $70,000. A tester with 7+ years of experience, on the other hand, makes an average of $98,000 with a median of approximately $82,000 per year. The highest paid testers in the 7+ experience group are working in the New York computer software industry for an annual salary of $135,000. The lowest paid testers in this experience group are those in the Southeast academia industry who make around $63,000.

The table below shows representative salary ranges which were obtained from the online Pencom guide by selecting the Computer/Sofware Development industry with NT/95/Unix operating system skills, client/server knowledge and some test automation tool experience.

City/Area Years of Experience
Less than 1 1-2 3-6 7+
Midwest $44,000 $54,000 $64,000 $74,000
Texas $49,000 $59,000 $69,000 $79,000
Silicon Valley $52,000 $62,000 $94,000 $104,000
Greater NY Area $53,000 $63,000 $110,000 $135,000

Location, Location, Location

The greater New York metropolitan area reports the highest software tester salaries, with Silicon Valley close behind. Chicago testers make slightly less than those living in Texas, but the cost of living is so much lower in Texas that the difference in expendable income is much more for Texans than the salary comparisons can show. In fact, Texas' lower costs make it bottom-line competitive with New York and San Jose, in addition to Chicago. By comparing salaries using the Homefair Salary Calculator, a $135,000 position in New York, NY is equal to a $54,500 position in Dallas, Texas. In reality the similarly experienced Texan is making about $79,000, a gain of about $25,000. The same Texan tester would realize a gain of about $13,000 over a peer making $104,000 in San Jose, and a whopping $31,000 over his or her counterpart making $74,000 in Chicago.

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Salaries for software testers