Microsoft Software Engineers Reveal Their Salaries

Hundreds of Microsoft employees are using a private Facebook group and Google spreadsheet to display their salaries to their colleagues, according to a new Medium OneZero posting. This offers yet another crowdsourced look into how much Microsoft, one of the biggest technology companies in the world, pays its staffers.

All salaries vary depending on experience, skills, and other factors. In addition, many employees have unique signing bonuses and stock-option milestones, which can radically boost annual take-home pay. According to Medium, the “typical employee” submitting their salary info was a Level 62 software engineer with an average Microsoft tenure of three years; their base annual salary is $150,000, along with a $20,000 bonus and $15,000 in stock. 

According to levels.fyi, which anonymously crowdsources salary data from various tech companies, the average Microsoft software engineer at level 62 earns a total of $182,158 per year: $137,737 in salary, $26,158 in stock, and a bonus of $18,263. That’s somewhat off from what the employees’ Google spreadsheet reported, but not wildly so. It’s worth noting that the spreadsheet contained 400 names (Microsoft employs nearly 150,000 people) while levels.fyi featured 147 people self-reporting level 62 compensation data; sample sizes that relatively small can sometimes skew calculations.  

If you consider level 62 more of a “mid-level” position, then that levels.fyi salary for the role is a slight bump up from entry-level Microsoft engineers; according to levels.fyi, those at SDE II (basically, those with some years of experience under their belts and/or some graduate-school experience) earn $130,287 as a base salary, supplemented with a $16,824 average signing bonus and stock totaling $25,902.

As engineers climb through Microsoft’s ranks, Medium found, the proportion of stock-based compensation increases significantly, even as cash bonuses stay relatively level. “Employees have also told OneZero that a fairly common tactic is to leave Microsoft to work at another Seattle company like Amazon, or even a startup, to then jump to a higher level when returning to Microsoft,” Medium reported. “While the data does not track Microsoft recidivism, there is a trend of people with lower Microsoft experience having skipped into higher-level roles.”

Microsoft’s salaries, stock, and bonuses are often more generous than what you find at other stalwarts of tech such as IBM and Oracle (although, yet again, that also hinges on seniority and specialization). We used levels.fyi data to assemble the following chart, which breaks down compensation for mid-level enterprise software engineers. Take a look: 

Every company is radically different (firms such as Salesforce tend to provide generous bonuses and stock options in addition to base salary, while others, notably Oracle and Workday, are paltrier when it comes to bonuses); when confronted with multiple job offers, it’s always up to software engineers to evaluate which kinds of compensation packages work best for them. Don’t forget that many companies are also amenable to giving non-monetary perks and benefits (such as boosted vacation time or flexible hours) if they’re not willing to provide a salary or stock boost. With tech-industry unemployment at record lows, the best talent now has some leverage for negotiation. 

17 Responses to “Microsoft Software Engineers Reveal Their Salaries”

      • I suppose they think deserving a job is somehow dependent on karma? Lol no damn clue. Probably someone that still hasn’t figured out that we all have problems in life… therefore just know your shit and do your job. No one deserves anything. Being entitled is the last thing you want.

        • Nihilist thinking. Mean-spirited. How does that comment she posted warrant that response? You are in no position to make a judgement as to what she deserves or doesn’t deserve. And entitlement has nothing to do with it. She wishes to leave coastal Mississippi after learning what others make in other parts of the country. What’s the problem with that point of view? No damn clue? That would describe your position perfectly. Why? Because you really have no clue as to her circumstances. You cannot draw any logical conclusion whatsoever from what she posted, and yet you attempt to – and then bring up “karma.” No clue, indeed.

        • It helps tremendously.

          Kirsten only has claim to jobs she has applied to AND is qualified for AND of which qualifications she has made an adequate demonstration. Just because she’s currently a software engineer and happens to live in a dump does not, by itself, demonstrate she’s deserving of anything (anything ELSE but what she has, except perhaps a pity-party hosted by someone like you, for instance.)

          I get the points made by the “idiots” completely, Owen. Rule number one in getting a job is to present reasons why the job needs you, not why you need the job. All Kirsten has done is whine and express need, and assert that she’s a software engineer (and not even said whether she’s a GOOD sw engineer, which is certainly relevant.) Just like probability does not guarantee that a coin toss will come up heads just because it’s “due” (previous 14 flips were tails, for instance), Kirsten’s “due-ness” (she’s had it tough perhaps, and I feel for her to some extent) doesn’t buy her diddly – except your sympathy, apparently.

  1. Ignore these idiots, Kirsten. You definitely deserve to leave coastal Mississippi and if you are a software engineer, you most likely deserve to make more money than you do now. And finally, if you are Mom, you deserve kudos for raising kids while you toil away as a software engineer. Looking at these comments I’m amazed at how people act online. One can only hope they are bots written by some soulless lonely individual.

  2. What’s so bad about MS? Maybe lower pay, but also lower cost of living. You probably could live the same on $70k as those MS engineers live on $130K. You also get a heck of a lot more sunny days than Redmond and a lot less traffic. The biggest plus is you don’t have to put up with too many liberals.

    • This is a very good comment. I have worked in IT 25+ years. And if you want a job you have to go get it, it doesn’t come to you. Generally speaking, with higher salary comes higher demands. Higher paying jobs aren’t always the better job, that is only one criteria you should consider. I’ve seen many people become overwhelmed by job expectations after changing companies.

    • there’s a reason mississippi consistently ranks at the bottom when it comes to health, education, quality of life and infrastructure, while washington ranks at the top. fred, you nailed it – “liberals”! enjoy your mess.

    • Scoober McKennsey

      But what year were you 62? I’m a 62 right now and I’m a bit lower than listed, but still above $155k. I know my entry level counterpart got hired (8 years after me) at a 35% higher base pay. I don’t mind. I’m glad they are increasing salaries each year for all levels.

  3. Perhaps Kirsten is tired of hurricanes, and it would seem that the majority of the posted responses are from men. (possibly) If you are skilled, and know your stuff, you can easily go ANYWHERE….not just Microsoft. How about starting your own company? That way, YOU control the dialogue, the people that surround you, and the TALENT. As a woman developer, and a GOOD one, I can tell you that Microsoft is NOT the end all be all. Make your OWN way….and piss on all these men that say, “Don’t worry honey”. You can easily make that kind of money in Orlando…and don’t let ’em tell you you can’t!