With its stunning landscapes, cultural diversity, and abundant career opportunities, living in the American Pacific Northwest is a dream for many around the world. The city of Seattle, in particular, is quickly gaining popularity as a hub for both arts and industry, with many top tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter choosing to make it one of their central locations.
In 2016, Seattle slid into the position of #3 best tech city in the United States, knocking New York out of its spot. It currently boasts a growing class of well-compensated tech professionals and an increasing roster of notable companies who are always seeking top talent to fill their most coveted roles. Considering that the number of tech professionals in Seattle has just about doubled since 2010, some may even say that the best is yet to come for this town.
Cost of Living
For talented individuals looking to make the leap into this promising tech market, remember that the cost of living in Seattle ain’t cheap. Renting a one bedroom apartment will most likely set you back anywhere between $1,883 to $2,445 USD a month, and a recent study by GoBankingRates estimates that an individual should earn at least $72,092 to live “comfortably.”
While Seattle’s COL may be high, it’s still a promising place for talented tech pros to find their professional stride and earn a high salary. We’ll take a look at some of the top highest paying tech jobs in Seattle, but first, let’s explore a bit of the city itself.
Per census official data collected in 2010, the population of Seattle was 608,660. However, as of 2015, the estimated population stood at 686,800, showing a definite upward trend as the years go on. 69.9% of Seattleites identify as white, and 33.7% identify as persons of color with 13.8% Asian and 7.9% black or African American, specifically.
As mentioned above, Seattle is an expensive city, and the median family income is $91,279 while the median household income is $67,100. (Keep in mind that this is $5,802 less than the aforementioned “comfortable” salary via GoBankingRates.) As a group, Seattle residents are very well-educated. In 2011, 56% of residents 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 23% had a graduate or professional degree.
Besides being one of the most educated and literate cities in America, Seattle is amongst the most culturally-rich. From music and art to history and food, this is a city that truly has it all. Despite its reputation for dreary weather, many Seattleites pride themselves on being active and outdoorsy. Generally speaking, Seattle is a health-conscious city, with many restaurants and cafes boasting the latest health cuisine (paleo avocado toast with a dairy-free matcha latte, anyone?) and a CrossFit or yoga studio on every corner. But beyond these superficialities, Seattle is a city rich in culture, cuisine, and even a little mystery.
While it may be famous for being the home of Starbucks Coffee, Seattleites don’t mess around when it comes to their authentic cafe culture. The city is thick with independently-owned coffee shops, many of which source and roast their own coffees — a huge perk if you’re part of the growing ranks of techies who work remotely and enjoy the creative community vibes of working from a local coffee shop. And if you’re a music lover, you’re in luck. Seattle has a thriving club and music scene to appeal to a range of tastes, and has been home to many famous musicians and bands including Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and even Macklemore and Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Move over, Portland. Foodies can also rejoice as Seattle is quickly rising up the ranks of great American culinary cities. With the establishment of Amazon’s HQ, Seattle has welcomed an influx of people with a demand for both classic and innovative American and global cuisine. Take a stroll down to Pike Place Market to take home the freshest catch of the day. Or check out the restaurants both visitors and residents rave about and decide for yourself which is your favorite dining out experience.
Tech Jobs in Seattle
The average market salary for highly skilled tech sector employees in Seattle is $224K with a mean base salary of $137K. The additional income comes from annual bonuses ($35K), annual equity ($55K), and an average one-time signing bonus of $20K. The low-end salary for a tech employee in Seattle is still a very liveable $88K, more than enough to “live well” in a city with much to offer, provided you are not deep in debt and able to live within your means. However, at the higher-end of the curve, it’s not uncommon for talent in senior positions at top companies to earn between $266K and $544K annually. Paysa has calculated this data based on 264K employee and company profiles in Seattle, Washington.
Senior Software Engineer
The average annual income for a senior software engineer in Seattle is between $115K and $285K per year, with a mean salary of $251K per year. This includes an average base salary of $158K, an average annual bonus of $34K, and annual equity earnings of $59K. Many receive a one-time signing bonus of $19K or more. This data is based on 7K Paysa profiles.
The average annual income for a systems engineer in Seattle is between $111K and $254K per year, with a mean salary of $203K per year. This includes an average base salary of $138K, an average annual bonus of $36K, and annual equity earnings of $29K. Many receive a one-time signing bonus of $19K or more. This data is based on 5K Paysa profiles.
Software Development Engineer
The average annual income for a software development engineer in Seattle is between $136K and $270K per year, with a mean salary of $220K per year. This includes an average base salary of $143K, an average annual bonus of $35K, and annual equity earnings of $42K. Many receive a one-time signing bonus of $33K or more. This data is based on 11K Paysa profiles.
Senior Data Scientist
The average annual income for a senior data scientist in Seattle is between $147K and $356K per year, with a mean salary of $283K per year. This includes an average base salary of $178K, an average annual bonus of $46K, and annual equity earnings of $59K. Many receive a one-time signing bonus of $24K or more. This data is based on 107 Paysa profiles.
The average annual income for an engineering manager in Seattle is between $121K and $317K per year, with a mean salary of $278K per year. This includes an average base salary of $167K, an average annual bonus of $35K, and annual equity earnings of $76K. Many receive a one-time signing bonus of $21K or more. This data is based on 752 Paysa profiles.
Is Seattle the Right Town for You?
If the thought of seeking career success in Seattle entices you, you’re not alone. According to experts, Seattle’s tech boom is just getting started and only time will tell us what excitement “The Emerald City” will have in store for the United States and global tech economy. Due to a clustering of top tech companies, Seattle’s employers have their pick when it comes to the most qualified talent for any position. If you’re looking to try your luck in this town, be sure you’re ready to compete with other rock stars. Brush up on your skills, work hard, and stay humble, and Seattle’s high salaries, promising economy, and great quality of life could be at your fingertips. For those with the talent, a move to Seattle could also mean a move into the career of your dreams.
As you can see from the data above, there’s no shortage of great-paying tech jobs in Seattle. Paysa is here to help guide you through any next steps you may want to take in your own career trajectory. We are the top resource for career and salary data for thousands of jobs in thousands of organizations across the country. Arm yourself with knowledge and earn the salary that you deserve. Sign up today at paysa.com and get started on your journey.