Breaking Down The Numbers: Software Tester Salary Secrets

Being a tester myself, I am sure you have wondered how much money a software tester makes. The truth is it isn’t set in stone and the wage can vary depending on your role, experience, company, and even the city you work in. I decided to do some research on software tester salaries.

In this blog post, I’ll share the average salary for a software tester in the US, the top-paying cities, and the average salaries for typical software testing roles. Let’s start with the short answer, then dig into the details.

How much can you make as a software tester?

According to Payscale, the salary for a Software Tester in the US ranges between $39,000 and $88,000, with an average of $56,600.

The average salary for software testers based on experience is:

Experience LevelSalary RangeAverage Salary
Entry level$34k – $67k$47,476.00
Early Career$39k – $80k$52,789.00
Mid Career$49k – $93k$68,533.00
Experienced$51k – $104k$73,659.00
Late Career$51k – $109k$80,924.00

The table above gives us a broad idea of a software testers’ salary, but getting into more detail the salary ranges can actually vary quite a bit.

Top Software Tester Salaries by City

OK, so I went through all the US Cities listed on Payscale that had data for average software tester salary.

According to Payscale, the top-paying city for software testing is Cary, North Carolina, topping the list of average salaries with a $95,772.00 average income.

According to Payscale, the worst-paying city for software testing is Irving, Texas, last on the list of average salaries with a $35,000.00 average income.

According to Payscale, the top-paying cities for software testers in the US are:

CitySalary RangeAverage Salary
Cary, North Carolina$84k – $100k$95,772.00
Fairfax, VirginiaNot Available$89,826.00
Chantilly, VirginiaNot Available$87,921.00
San Francisco, California$37k – $119k$87,429.00
San Diego, California$62k – $92k$79,996.00
San Jose, CaliforniaNot Available$76,000.00
Miami, FloridaNot Available$72,500.00
Gaithersburg, MarylandNot Available$72,000.00
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$60k – $83k$71,668.00
Phoenix, ArizonaNot Available$70,442.00
Washington, District of Columbia$39k – $103k$70,228.00
California City, CaliforniaNot Available$70,000.00
Salt Lake City, Utah$51k – $82k$70,000.00
Newark, New Jersey$53k – $75k$68,784.00
Vienna, VirginiaNot Available$68,000.00
Arlington, VirginiaNot Available$65,000.00
Dallas, Texas$51k – $70k$65,000.00
Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaNot Available$65,000.00
Hartford, ConnecticutNot Available$62,500.00
Logan, UtahNot Available$62,500.00
Houston, Texas$37k – $74k$62,403.00
Reston, VirginiaNot Available$61,042.00
Lehi, UtahNot Available$61,000.00
Austin, Texas$26k – $78k$60,678.00
Milwaukee, Wisconsin$57k – $68k$60,565.00
Richmond, VirginiaNot Available$60,565.00
New York, New York$42k – $102k$60,402.00
Jacksonville, FloridaNot Available$60,396.00
Albuquerque, New Mexico$45k – $77k$60,000.00
Detroit, Michigan$43k – $82k$60,000.00
Raleigh, North Carolina$44k – $78k$60,000.00
St. Louis, MissouriNot Available$60,000.00
Seattle, Washington$36k – $107k$59,778.00
Alpharetta, Georgia$45k – $72k$57,938.00
Los Angeles, California$45k – $99k$56,500.00
Charlotte, North Carolina$43k – $72k$56,000.00
Lansing, MichiganNot Available$55,955.00
Nashville, TennesseeNot Available$55,750.00
Bellevue, WashingtonNot Available$55,740.00
Okemos, Michigan$20k – $58k$55,627.00
Herndon, VirginiaNot Available$55,000.00
Baltimore, MarylandNot Available$54,795.00
Atlanta, Georgia$44k – $83k$53,863.00
Huntsville, Alabama$46k – $64k$53,846.00
Denver, Colorado$39k – $91k$51,776.00
Boston, Massachusetts$50k – $69k$51,349.00
Minneapolis, Minnesota$41k – $67k$51,000.00
Chicago, Illinois$38k – $83k$50,952.00
Lexington Park, MarylandNot Available$50,398.00
Columbus, Ohio$42k – $64k$50,356.00
Colorado Springs, ColoradoNot Available$50,250.00
Madison, Wisconsin$40k – $88k$50,146.00
Plano, TexasNot Available$50,000.00
Lexington, KentuckyNot Available$48,980.00
Portland, Oregon$46k – $55k$48,623.00
Cincinnati, Ohio$34k – $71k$47,500.00
San Antonio, TexasNot Available$47,500.00
Tampa, FloridaNot Available$47,500.00
Columbia, South CarolinaNot Available$47,166.00
Indianapolis, Indiana$32k – $84k$45,818.00
Irvine, CaliforniaNot Available$45,683.00
Boise, IdahoNot Available$45,500.00
Manhasset, New YorkNot Available$44,660.00
McLean, VirginiaNot Available$44,000.00
Framingham, MassachusettsNot Available$43,450.00
Redmond, Washington$38k – $51k$42,500.00
Oklahoma City, OklahomaNot Available$41,995.00
Orlando, Florida$32k – $50k$40,000.00
Cleveland, Ohio$34k – $60k$39,221.00
Irving, TexasNot Available$35,000.00

Top Tester Salary by Role

Now, how about other roles in the software testing world? Searching once more through Payscale, we see that a Software tester is actually at the bottom of the payroll. Management and engineering or technical roles in software testing get better pay.

According to Payscale, the top tester salary by roles are:

RoleSalary RangeAverage Salary
Test Manager$62k – $135k$98,926.00
Test Automation Engineer$69k – $127k$93,735.00
Senior Performance Test Engineer$83k – $98k$90,964.00
Test Engineer$56k – $102k$72,490.00
Automation Tester$45k – $111k$69,906.00
Performance Tester$55k – $97k$67,244.00
Software Tester$39k – $88k$56,600.00


My name is John Antunes and I am passionate about helping others succeed in the field of software testing. With over a decade of experience testing a wide variety of software applications and managing QA teams, I have gained valuable insights and expertise that I am excited to share with you. That's why I created - to inspire and empower testers to take their careers to the next level. Whether you're just starting out in the industry or looking to enhance your skills, I am here to guide you every step of the way. Let's work together to achieve your goals and make your dreams a reality.

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