What Pays More Software Engineering or Computer Engineering?

Denise Wilkinson

When it comes to choosing a career path in the technology industry, software engineering and computer engineering are two popular choices. Both professions have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but the question that often arises is which one pays more? In this article, we will explore the salary differences between software engineering and computer engineering.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering involves designing, developing, testing, and maintaining software applications. A software engineer typically works in a team environment to build complex software systems that meet specific requirements. They use programming languages such as Java, Python, or C++ to create applications for computers or mobile devices.

What is Computer Engineering?

Computer engineering is a field that combines electrical engineering and computer science. Computer engineers design hardware components such as microprocessors, circuit boards, and routers.

They also develop software programs that make these components function properly. Computer engineers work with both hardware and software to create technological solutions for businesses and consumers.

Salary Differences

According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $117,220 as of May 2020. This salary applies to those who focus on designing and developing computer hardware components.

On the other hand, the median annual salary for software developers was $107,510 as of May 2020. This salary applies to those who focus on designing and developing software applications.

It’s important to note that these figures are just median salaries. Actual salaries can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, industry sector, level of education or experience.

Factors That Affect Salaries

There are several factors that can affect salaries in both fields:

  • Location: Salaries can vary depending on where you live or work.
  • Industry Sector: Different industries pay different salaries. For example, software developers in the finance and insurance industry tend to earn more than those in the healthcare industry.
  • Level of Education: Those with higher levels of education, such as a master’s degree or PhD, may earn higher salaries.
  • Experience: Those with more experience may earn higher salaries.


In conclusion, computer engineering tends to pay slightly more than software engineering. However, both fields offer excellent career opportunities and have high earning potential. Ultimately, choosing between these two professions should be based on personal interests and aptitudes rather than just salary considerations.