Dell Software Engineer Pay: Stable After Big Company Shifts

Over the past decade, Dell has undergone a wild ride. Once a public (and very high-profile) company, it went private in 2013. After that, it swallowed up EMC in a $67 billion mega-deal, as part of pivoting its business toward cloud computing, scaled architecture, and storage. That’s in addition to continuing the hardware-manufacturing business that made the company a tech behemoth in the first place.

Other big tech companies have made similarly huge transitions over the past decade, but all remained public during that period. Sometimes that kind of instability causes software engineers to flee for the exits, desiring a workplace that’s a little calmer. In order to prevent a mass exodus, companies sometimes need to radically boost compensation for key players. Is that something that’s happened at Dell?

To give us some idea of an answer, we turned to levels.fyi, which anonymously crowdsources salary and compensation data. It’s not the most scientific way of surfacing salaries, but it does give us some general sense of trends. And what we can determine is that Dell isn’t paying more than other technology firms; maybe after all its twists and turns, it has achieved enough stability as a company to pay its engineers a “normal” salary without worrying about them fleeing. 

How accurate are these numbers? Based on its own crowdsourcing, Glassdoor estimates the average base pay for Dell software engineers at $90,599, with average additional pay of $5,110. Some 51 employees cited an average annual cash bonus of $5,180, and just two said they’d received stock bonuses (totaling $3,641). Five employees reported profit-sharing revenue averaging $5,023. (Granted, Glassdoor’s data isn’t broken out by job title like levels.fyi, but this still gives us an idea of the latter’s overall accuracy.)

Let’s compare this to software engineering salaries at other enterprise-software firms. The following data is also from levels.fyi:

What can we conclude here? Dell is roughly aligned with the rest of the tech industry when it comes to compensation, although it seems to be a bit paltry when it comes to stock payouts. That might be a side-effect of the company being private, versus public companies such as Salesforce and Oracle that make stock a huge part of their compensation packages. 

Of course, levels.fyi data doesn’t present the whole story. As with these other tech firms, Dell no doubt pays substantially more for highly specialized talent. As we head into 2020, remember that, if you want to pull down a huge salary (and equally substantial benefits), specializing in a “hot” category such as data science or machine learning is the best way forward.