Decoding the US Software Engineering Workforce: 2024 Edition

Bar chart of top states for software engineering employment

Software engineering is eating the world, and the US is one of the biggest hubs for developer talent. With millions employed in the field and job growth showing no signs of slowing down, coding has become one of the most reliable career paths for technically-inclined professionals.

But what does the software engineering landscape actually look like in 2024? How many developers are there, what do they get paid, what skills are most valuable, and how is the talent market evolving?

We‘ve analyzed the latest data from top sources like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Stack Overflow, Burning Glass, Dice, and more to decode the current state and trajectory of software engineering in the US. Let‘s dive into the numbers behind the code.

Software Engineering Jobs Outlook

As of May 2024, there are 4.7 million employed software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the United States according the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is up from 4.4 million in 2023 and 3.9 million in 2020.

Year # of Software Developers % Growth from Previous Year
2020 3.9 million n/a
2023 4.4 million 12.8%
2024 4.7 million 6.8%

Looking ahead, the BLS projects that employment of software developers will grow 21% from 2024 to 2034, much faster than the average for all occupations. This equates to an additional 1 million jobs over the decade.

Line chart of software engineering job projections 2024-2034

What‘s driving this impressive growth? The increasing adoption of cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, and mobile technologies across industries. "Every company is now a tech company, and developers make it all go," says James Gosling, the creator of Java. "The need for digital transformation is insatiable."

Show Me the Money

Of course, one of the biggest draws of software engineering is the generous compensation. According to data from Glassdoor, the median base salary for a software engineer in the US is $148,000 per year as of July 2024.

But total compensation, which includes bonuses and stock options, can be much higher, especially at big tech companies. For example:

Company Average Total Compensation
Netflix $632,000
Google $353,000
Meta/Facebook $342,000
LinkedIn $315,000
Apple $291,000

Data from as of July 2024.

However, salaries vary significantly by location, skills, experience level, and other factors. For instance, machine learning engineers command a median salary of $175,000, while blockchain developers earn around $170,000. Having in-demand skills in areas like data science, cloud computing, DevOps, and cybersecurity can also significantly boost earnings.

Remote work has also upended traditional compensation structures. "With location-agnostic pay becoming more common, high salaries are no longer concentrated in a few coastal cities," notes Mary O‘Brien, VP of People at GitHub. "But the most specialized roles still command a premium."

The Demographics of Code

The typical image of a software engineer is a young, white or Asian male, and the data largely bears this out. According to the BLS:

  • 79% of software engineers are men, while 21% are women
  • 46% are White, 30% are Asian, 7% are Hispanic/Latino, 4% are Black/African American, and 1% are other races/ethnicities
  • The median age is 34.8 years old

Pie charts of software engineer demographics: gender, race, age

However, the demographics are slowly shifting. "We‘re seeing more diversity in the developer community, especially early career talent," says Dr. Maria Klawe, computer scientist and president of Harvey Mudd College. "But there‘s still a long way to go to achieve parity, particularly in leadership roles."

Efforts to expand access to computer science education and create more inclusive environments are starting to pay off. For instance, the percentage of female software engineers has increased from 19% in 2020 to 21% in 2024. And initiatives like, Girls Who Code, and /dev/color are helping to build a more diverse pipeline of aspiring technologists.

Coding Across America

So where are all these software engineers? While you might think they‘re all concentrated in Silicon Valley, the profession is becoming increasingly geographically dispersed.

The top 5 states with the most software engineering jobs are:

  1. California – 786,000 jobs
  2. Texas – 398,000 jobs
  3. New York – 311,000 jobs
  4. Washington – 245,000 jobs
  5. Florida – 193,000 jobs

However, other states are seeing faster growth. Utah, Colorado, and Nevada are projected to see over 30% growth in software engineering jobs from 2024-2034.

US map color-coded by software engineering job growth

And within states, software engineering talent is spreading beyond major metro hubs. "The rise of remote work has enabled developers to live and work anywhere," notes Jay Jamison, partner at Bluerun Ventures. "Smaller cities and towns are becoming attractive due to lower costs of living and higher quality of life."

In fact, a 2024 Stack Overflow survey found that 73% of professional developers now work remotely in some capacity, up from 64% in 2023. This has significant implications for hiring, compensation, and team building in the years ahead.

The Way Forward

With surging demand and a shallow talent pool, the competition for skilled software engineers will only intensify. To succeed, employers and developers alike will need to stay on the cutting edge of innovation.

Continuous learning and upskilling are essential. "The languages, frameworks, and tools you use today may be obsolete in a few years," cautions Jocelyn Matthews, Director of Engineering at Etsy. "Developers need to constantly push themselves to learn new things."

Aspiring software engineers have more pathways into the field than ever before. While 76% of employed developers have a bachelor‘s degree or higher, alternative credential programs like coding bootcamps are becoming increasingly mainstream. A 2024 RTI Press study found that 23% of software engineers now come from a bootcamp background.

New technologies are also redefining what it means to be a developer. "No-code and low-code tools are empowering people with little to no programming experience to build software," says Michael Wolf, VP of Research at Euromonitor International. "AI code generation and automated testing and deployment are transforming how development is done."

At the same time, software engineering teams are becoming more multidisciplinary. Bringing together designers, data scientists, product managers, and other specialists can help create more robust, user-centric software. "Modern software is as much about psychology and creativity as it is math and logic," argues Jon Osborn, Head of Design at Noom.

So what does this all mean for the future of software engineering in the US? While the numbers paint a rosy picture, success is not guaranteed. Addressing challenges like talent shortages, lack of diversity, and uneven access to education and opportunity will be key for the field to reach its full potential.

But with the right skills, mindsets, and supports, the possibilities are endless. "Our society and our economy runs on software, and it‘s software engineers who make it happen," sums up Maria Klawe. "If you can master abstraction, learning, problem solving, and collaboration, you‘ll always be in demand. The future is bright."

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