What Engineering Positions Really Pay


The term “engineer” encompasses multiple disciplines. It could refer to the mechanical and electrical engineers who put electronics together; or it could mean those tech pros who build, maintain, and protect corporate networks. Whatever their individual discipline, though, one thing is clear: engineers are valuable employees.

But how valuable? The following analysis of Dice data shows that experienced engineers, whatever their specialization, can earn sizable paychecks—in addition to any other equity and benefits they may receive. Below, we’ve posted the median, mean, and max salary for some top-earning positions, as based on our database.

Network Engineer

Median Salary: $80,000
Mean Salary: $81,954
Max Salary: $700,000

Network engineers are just one of the many types of tech pros who keep businesses running. On the most fundamental level, these engineers design, build, and maintain the networks that unify a company’s tech stack. Skilled workers in this category have in-depth knowledge of different systems and how they interact with one another, and can troubleshoot a variety of problems.

The term “network engineer” can also refer to those tech pros tasked with maintaining wireless and data networks, an equally vital job.

System Engineer

Median Salary: $90,603
Mean Salary: $94,675
Max Salary: 

System engineers must necessarily take a holistic view on how a business operates, and figure out how to design systems to best fit the needs of internal and external customers. In virtually any industry, this represents a complex task, and much of the job revolves around optimizing as many processes and feedback loops as possible.

Many system engineers have a “traditional” engineering degree (such as mechanical engineering) in addition to experience in management and interdisciplinary projects. There are also certifications that will formalize mastery.

QA Engineer

Median Salary: $80,000
Mean Salary:
Max Salary:

A QA engineer isn’t the same thing as a QA tester. Whereas the latter spends all day, every day testing software for bugs, the QA engineer oversees the minutiae of the quality-assurance process, making sure that the overall product is top quality. Depending on the company and industry, QA engineers may also decide which parts of the QA process to automate, develop unit-testing frameworks, and choose the appropriate bug-tracking system.

Effective QA engineers have a solid grasp of the software lifecycle and testing best practices; they should also have an in-depth knowledge of QA tools.

Next: Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers and more (click here or below)

33 Responses to “What Engineering Positions Really Pay”


    I have trying to get a job since 2010. I tried to launch my co after spending over $ 10000 of my own my Accountant told me to close my enterprise because the predators of the IRS are going to say I have hobby to squeeze more of my saving money.
    very few people have the knowledge I have on my profession. But is no good because of my age.Since the democrats went after NSPE we are not protected the republicans go along with AC of C and try make us work for lower wages. our president that live in lala land says unemployment is less than 4.5.% ..Today i am going again to GA labor Dpt to be told to go to AARP. really! thanks

  2. clowncar

    I’m not surprised you aren’t able to find work and that you biz is not making money. Maybe a revue of English grammar and use of spell check would help.

    • Billy Bob Norton

      My late husband made a buck fifty and hour and never got a raise. He had a middle school education and that was good enough to get him in the door. Then one day the door closed on his hand and mangled it. Never worked right again. Couldn’t wipe his hiney with it. Fingers were all messed up. Finger nails fell off at night. Anyway, where were we…?

  3. If you can’t find a job in 6 years, you definitely need to try a new approach. Assuming you have about 30 years experience, take 10 years off the resume. Next, dye any gray out your hair. Take a new pic and put it on your LinkedIn profile, The idea is to look as young as possible and to have a LinkedIn profile. Lastly, you must be doing some type of work for past 6 years. Lump it all together under “independent consulting”. That can include you business venture as well. Good luck!

  4. cmartinez

    I have a friend who worked for 4 years as a civil engineer. moved out of the country and now wants to go back to engineering after a 20 yr. absence in the field. What are the chances? What are they making now a days?

  5. I’ve managed MEs and EEs for decades. Most can’t spell or write very well but have great analytical skills and know how to design. Capability grows with experience so I would not be too quick to do the “Just for Men” routine but it wouldn’t hurt either. Unfortunately we live in a society that more willingly accepts younger and more attractive people than older and less attractive people. It isn’t fair, but just reality. So much for our diverse culture. It seems like the younger generation is less tolerant of the older generation. Maybe they should watch The Intern.

  6. Rick Nock

    During my youth and Navy career, I was a mechanic. I went to college after my Navy tour, I attended college. I earned an AS degree in mechanical engineering technology. Unable to procure a job in the local job market, I went to work and back to college and earned a degree in Adult Vocational Education and spent over 25 years teaching Auto Technology. After retirement, I was able to procure a job as Engineering Project Manager. The point is that I was able to pad my retirement and earn the median engineering salary after teaching. Networking is the tool I used to obtain a job in my chosen field, the same as when I got a job teaching. I built a reputation of excellent results and was sought to fill the teaching job. It was the same with the Project manager position. It was much easier to procure the engineering job because of the availability of internet resources, which were not available in the 70’s. My advice is to spend time building relationships and developing contacts within your field of interest. The modern term appears to be networking. Above all, be very careful of what you post on social media, you could easily submarine your own efforts.

  7. Charles

    A lot of engineers make more if they devolve into management. Still, a great field to be in. Wish this article could have shown other engineering fields ( chemical, aerospace, field engineering etc.) Also, it would have been nice to have shown experience vs salary.

    Overall, can’t think of too many job types that offer the diversity of work and chances for creative thinking that most engineering jobs offer.

  8. Yeah, but engineer jobs won’t last long. Usually, around the age of 40-50, you are done. The higher of your pay, the higher the risk.
    Also, engineer jobs can be easily replaced by foreign workers such as from India for a fraction of the salary posted.

  9. Rip Van Winkle

    This article is little more than click-bait. Engineering salaries are highly dependent on location and experience and the current economy. An experienced engineer can easily get a 6 figure income in silicon valley, but elsewhere he might be lucky to make $50k.

  10. Petrocelli

    I used to be a structural engineer before I got out of the racket. However, while practicing, I would hire engineers for my firm. I would not hire any prospects with spelling mistakes on their resumes. Reason being, Is because in structural engineering you have to be concise, accurate, and consistent, with an eye for detail. Any deviation from those standards could result in a catastrophic failure.
    Maybe you should focus on your spelling, and English first. Remember, the guy doing the hiring is probably from my “older” generation, with the same values as your parents. An eye for detail is very reflective of the quality of work you perform.

    Cheers and good luck.

  11. Engineers are notorious for bad spelling and making grammatical mistakes.
    My husband is a brilliant research engineer in Silicon Valley and one of those who makes well into the six figures mentioned in the article but he can’t spell to save his life. Does it leave him open to criticism? Obviously, by some people, judging from Clowncar’s comments. Does he care? Not one bit! That is what I love most about him. He has no time to even get upset at petty people. He would probably smile, ignore him and go on doing whatever he was doing before.

    I agree with Rip Van Winkle in regards to the importance of geography as far as salaries go. Places like Silicon Valley are rare but you must also take into account that a 2 bedroom old house here in a very so so neighborhood will cost you over 600K. and even that would be a find!

  12. Conrad Durrell

    I was shocked to read what engineers are being paid. Nineteen years ago Boeing was paying me a little over $93,000 a year as a “contract” engineer. That was a straight salary with no benefits. However, engineers hired by companies were making as much money as they are being payed nineteen years later.

  13. Anyone who works with engineers knows that their real goal is to make everything late, only find mistakes halfway through building something and then take no responsibility. Really should be the lowest paid professionals…and they are a dime a dozen.

  14. I would agree with Rip Van Winkle. Location is key although the cost of living in Silicon Valley is high. However, there are other locations such as San Diego, and Seattle, or states such as Texas or the DC area, where there is a dense technological population in terms of companies. You may have to consider re location. The other thing you might consider joining local technical groups such as IEEE where there might be monthly meetings so you can network. Do some research on companies who are engaged in engineering work. Pick ten and rank them in terms of desirability and then start setting up interviews with the bottom one. By the time you get to the top of the list you will be comfortable in the interview situation, you will know from your other interviews what is going on in the community, and you will be able to take charge of the interview. Also if the interview is going poorly do not be hesitant to ask two questions: 1. Is there anything about my qualifications for this position that would make you hesitant to hire me. This gives you an opportunity to address those issues on the spot and also gives you feedback on how to improve. 2. You are now familiar with my qualifications. Although I might not have a future here do you know of anyone else that I could contact that might be interested in someone with my qualifications? This enables to expand your network of contacts.. Good luck

  15. K. Bayquoi

    Learn to live full-time in an RV. Best way to find software engineering jobs, because now jobs around the entire country are open to you, for work. Not tied down to engineering jobs in one location only. Further, your skills will increase with every move, as you learn different ways things are done. Staying with one company for decades is the death knell, for motivation to learn new things..

  16. I retired 3 years ago from a nasty old oil company, actually one of the largest in the world. No degree but excellent in the qa game and made well into six figure range > 200 k. It’s all about what you bring to the table. Retired a millionaire.

  17. For Mr. BlaBla who classified engineers as always wanting to make everything late – you sound like the manager who doesn’t take their input when defining a schedule. Or, you could be the one who buries their head in the sand when they’ve been told it can’t be done in time. For years we’ve been told that we don’t deserve overtime because we make enough money, but then sacrifice our time with our families and not get paid for it. I’d like to see how their overtime compares to ours. I’ve been on both side – it’s the engineer that does the real work !

  18. Wolfy1

    The industries are begging for fiber optic engineers. I retired from the biggest FO provider after working for them for 35 years. It took me exactly 30 days to figure out I could only play so much golf and fish so much. I made up a resume and put it on Monster’s website. I started my own company. That was 8 years ago and I have NEVER looked for work. I still get 3-4 calls a week from someone wanting me to design a project for them. I thoroughly enjoy what I do, but I decided to cut back so now I only work from the first of April to the first of the year. In those 9 months I’ll make between 110K – 120K. My degree is a BS – E.E.T. (Electrical Engineering Technologies). My point is if you’re willing to take a small slice out of your life to get a degree and you’re willing to travel, trust me there’s way more work out here than there are engineers.

    Was working and getting a degree easy? No, while everybody else was out partying on the weekends, I was studying. If you want to improve your life, take the time to get your priorities straight and make good solid decisions as to where you ultimately want to wind up in your life. If you want something, earn it, don’t expect that someone will give it to you. If someone says they are going to give you something for nothing …. run, as hard as you can, because the only thing you’ll get for doing nothing … is heartache.

  19. Francis Miller

    Baron Rothschild said there are three ways to lose money: “wine, women, and engineers. Wine and women are more fun but engineers are more certain”

  20. Billy Bob Norton

    My late husband made a buck fifty and hour and never got a raise. He had a middle school education and that was good enough to get him in the door. Then one day the door closed on his hand and mangled it. Never worked right again. Couldn’t wipe his hiney with it. Fingers were all messed up. Finger nails fell off at night. Anyway, where were we…?

  21. After 8 years of military service in a technical environment, I attended college and earned a degree. After 14 years of working in engineering departments for other companies, I started my own business. I must say it has been a very fulfilling life and I am enjoying a great retirement. So, young people, get out there and plan your life with a degree that has purpose.

  22. Samuel Coleridge

    As my father told me and same what I told my children. Go to school major in engineering, but never be one after you graduate. With an engineering degree you can go to medical, MBA and law school or go to graduate school. With an engineering degree any subject you get into will be easy. You already have taken some of the hardest courses, e.g. calculus II and physics II.