Who Earns More Computer Engineer or Software Engineer?

Irene Olsen

When it comes to careers in the tech industry, computer engineering and software engineering are two of the most popular choices. Both fields offer lucrative salaries and exciting opportunities, but many people wonder which career path is more financially rewarding. In this article, we will explore the question of who earns more: computer engineers or software engineers?

What is Computer Engineering?

Computer engineering is a branch of electrical engineering that focuses on designing and developing computer systems and their components. Computer engineers work on a wide range of projects, from designing microprocessors to developing software applications.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering, on the other hand, focuses specifically on designing and developing software applications. Software engineers work with programming languages and frameworks to create programs that meet specific requirements.

Salary Comparison

When it comes to salary, both computer engineers and software engineers earn impressive incomes. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers was $117,220 as of May 2020. Meanwhile, the median annual salary for software developers was $107,510.

However, it’s important to note that these figures are just averages – actual salaries can vary significantly depending on factors like location, experience level, and industry.

Factors Affecting Salaries

One factor that can affect salaries in both fields is location. For example, computer hardware engineers working in tech hubs like San Francisco or New York City may earn higher salaries than those working in smaller cities or rural areas.

Experience level is another important factor – entry-level positions in both fields typically pay less than more senior roles. Additionally, certain industries may offer higher salaries than others – for example, computer hardware engineers working in aerospace or defense may earn more than those working in consumer electronics.

Career Growth Opportunities

While both computer engineering and software engineering offer promising career paths, they also have different growth opportunities. Computer engineers may have opportunities for advancement into management or executive roles, while software engineers may have more opportunities for specialization in areas like artificial intelligence or cybersecurity.


So, who earns more – computer engineers or software engineers? Ultimately, the answer depends on a variety of factors.

Both fields offer high salaries and exciting career paths, so the choice between them comes down to individual preferences and skillsets. Whether you choose to pursue computer engineering or software engineering, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed in the tech industry.