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Test Engineer Salary for Different Levels and Roles

Over the years, test engineering has seen a lot of phenomenal growth. Testing is now more vital than ever as more and more technologies and products are developed. Along with an increase in demand for software test engineers, the test engineer salary has also seen a rise.

When it comes to testing software, the engineer is expected to have expertise in the right tools, be organized, detail-oriented, and patient. The test engineer salary is determined based on these skills, among others.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the average test engineer salary at various levels. We’ll also look at software test engineer salary, test automation engineer salary, senior test engineer salary, and system test engineer salary.

If you’re a software engineer, coding engineer, software developer, engineering manager, or tech lead preparing for tech interviews, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! 

Having trained over 10,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Our alums consistently land offers from FAANG+ companies. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $1.267 Million!

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A software test engineer’s salary can vary depending on several factors. To help you decode how much a software test engineer makes, in this article, we’ll be covering:

  • Average Test Engineer Salary
  • Senior Test Engineer Salary
  • Test Automation Engineer Salary 
  • System Test Engineer Salary
  • Factors Affecting a Test Engineer’s Salary
  • Test Engineer Salary Based on Location
  • FAQs on test engineer salary

Average Test Engineer Salary

The salary of a test engineer varies based on company, experience, and skillset. The average salary of a test engineer in the US is $98,153 a year. For freshers, the entry-level software test engineer salary is approximately $78,000, while an experienced test engineer can make up to $135,388.

As you gain experience over the years as a test engineer, your salary increases accordingly. To give you a clearer idea, we have put together the following data:


As shown in the above table, the range of a test engineer’s salary keeps increasing as you move up the ladder. Further, this is just the base salary. Bonus and stock bonuses will also be added to your total compensation but will vary depending on the company you’re working for.

Senior Test Engineer Salary

The average salary of a senior test engineer is $102,190 a year. The senior test engineer salary typically ranges between $95,090 and $110,490. It depends on a number of factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and active work experience.

Test Automation Engineer Salary

The average salary of a test automation engineer is $105,002 per year (or $53.85 an hour). The entry-level positions have salaries starting at $88,390 per year, and the most experienced test automation engineers can make up to $137,500. 

System Test Engineer salary

The system test engineer’s salary ranges from $65,402 to $78,507 a year. On average, they make around $71,869 per year. These software engineers carry out diagnostic tests on computer systems and applications and suggest technical solutions whenever required. 

Factors Affecting a Test Engineer’s Salary

Professionally trained software testers are highly in demand these days. As a software tester, you can either go one of two ways — join an independent software testing company or become a part of an internal software testing team in a leading firm.

This demand for niche skills such as SOA testers, security testers, etc., has increased because there is a major shortage of professionals with skills in test automation areas. But one thing you must remember when attempting to build a career in software testing is that you must specialize in order to advance in your career.

A test engineer's salary also depends on the specialization one has done. The key areas for specialization are:

  • Domain Knowledge
  • Automation Testing Tools Knowledge
  • Professional Certifications
  • Niche Areas In Testing

As is the case with any other profession, experience matters a lot. So essentially, the test engineer salary is based primarily on two factors — experience and specialization.

Take a look at What Does a Test Engineer Do? Learn about their Role, Skills, and Responsibilities.

In most companies out there, test engineers get paid as well as software developers. In fact, a test engineer’s salary is more than a software developer’s salary in certain smaller firms. The reason behind this is the scarcity of quality testers which makes the growth prospects pretty huge if you’re good at what you do.

So when you’re looking for test engineer jobs, look up which software you’ll need to test and which ones you will require for testing. The one thing you should know before you appear for an interview is the primary product that the company creates.

For instance, if you’re applying to work for SAS, you’ll need to be well-equipped with the SAS suite of software tools that they build, update and sell. 

Test Engineer Salary Based on Location

The highest paying states for a software test engineer are Hawaii ($105,294), California ($90,348), New Hampshire ($105,294), and Maryland ($105,294). And if you’re looking for a city-wise test engineer salary list, you can see the table given below.

Highest-Paying Cities for Test Engineer in the US:

As the test engineer salary depends on experience and specialization, the skills that are expected from a good test engineer are:

  • System Testing
  • LabView
  • Test Automation
  • Selenium
  • Visual Basic
  • Continuous Integration
  • C/C++
  • 4G/LTE

Also, to get a decent software test engineer salary, you need the required qualifications. Some common qualifications for a software test engineer:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • IAT
  • GSEC
  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA
  • SSCP
  • ISTQB Certification

Now that you know everything to get cracking and land a job with a good software test engineer salary, get started and start applying. Leave no stone unturned and ensure that you keep working on your skills and upleveling yourself whenever you get the chance.

FAQs on Test Engineer Salary

Q1. What is the average test engineer salary?
The average salary of a software testing engineer in the US is $99,656, and the average additional compensation is $8,299. The average total compensation for a software test engineer in the US is $107,955.

Q2. What is the salary of an experienced test engineer?
A senior-level software test engineer salary can be as high as $103,000 per annum in the US. 

Q3. How much does a test engineering fresher make?

Entry-level test engineers or fresh graduates can earn up to $56,000 annually, and with some years of experience, you can build on that. 

Q4. Is it possible to become a test engineer without a degree?

While most test engineers have a college degree, it is possible to become one without a degree. You can work as a test engineer if you have a high school degree or GED and the required experience. 

Q5. How to become a software testing engineer?
Start with the basics of testing and coding concepts, and build a good foundation. Get a bachelor’s degree, and depending upon the industry you wish to specialize in, niche down and get the necessary certifications. 

Nail Your Next Tech Interview 

If you need help with your prep, join Interview Kickstart’s Test Engineer Interview Course — the first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed and taught by FAANG+ instructors. Click here to learn more about the program. 

IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview. 

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Last updated on: 
August 10, 2021

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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