Demand for software engineers keeps climbing -- and so do the salaries

A hot job market for software engineers is driving up salaries, with the biggest paychecks earned in California

These days, it's good to be a software engineer, as demand for quality coders is rising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 30 percent job growth in coming years. What's more, CareerCast recently deemed software engineer the all-around best job for 2012, beating out such positions as actuary, HR manager, and financial planner. Java, mobile, and .Net developer jobs are especially hot.

In line with Economics 101, that increased demand for software engineers means increasing salaries. The national average for a software engineer's base salary is currently $92,648, according to Glassdoor, marking an increase of 2.5 percent compared to 2011. But depending on where you work -- both in terms of your employer and your geographical location -- you could be take home more than $100,000 per year. Then again, even if you work for one of the major tech companies, your base salary may fall below the national average.

Where are the plum jobs these days for software engineers? According to recent data from Glassdoor, Google currently offers the highest average salary among 15 major tech companies at $128,336 per year. Ranked second is Facebook, which pays its software engineers an average of $123,626 per year. (Glassdoor came up with these figures based on at least 20 salary reports per company from October 2011 through October of this year.)

Notably, the salary gap between Facebook and Google is closing. In 2011, Google doled out an average salary of $114,595 to its developers, while Facebook offered $107,744.

Third on the list is Apple, which offers a base software-engineer salary of $114,413. In the fourth spot is eBay with $108,809, followed by Zynga at $105,568. Other companies offering more than $100,000 on average include Microsoft ($104,362), Intuit ($103,284), Amazon ($103,070), Oracle ($102,204), Cisco ($101,909), and Yahoo ($100,122).

On the other end of the spectrum, IBM reportedly offers the lower average salary to software engineers at $89,390 (below the national average of $92,648). Intel, too, comes up short at $92,194. HP, meanwhile, pays its engineers a bit more than the national average at $95,567. Qualcomm qualifies for the Under $100K Club at $98,964 as well.

By geographic location, companies in the San Francisco Bay Area continue to offer the highest average base salary for software engineers at $107,798. That's not entirely surprising; according to a report from CyberCoders earlier this year, San Jose and San Francisco rank first and second as the cities with the highest-paying IT jobs.

Seattle ranks second highest at $102,006. San Diego follows at $93,529, then Boston ($93,403) and New York ($92,701). Glassdoor calculated these salaries based on at 50 engineer-salary reports.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis-based companies offer the lowest average base salaries to software engineers at $75,032, considerably less than the national average of $92,648. Software engineers in Atlanta do slightly better at $76,821, whereas those working out of Chicago take home an average base of $78,587. Clustered in the $80,000 range are Philadelphia ($80,270), Dallas/Ft. Worth ($80,947), Phoenix ($80,975), Denver ($83,164), and Portland ($84,793).

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.