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A software engineer earns a different salary depending on where they work and how senior they are. A "software designer" would usually mean somebody who writes software for a living -- in the USA, the usual job title is "software engineer". A beginning software engineer could earn as little as $25,000-$30,000 annually, or as much as $60,000-$70,000 in expensive areas of California -- or potentially more for a very good graduate, or a well-paying job. A software engineer with 5-10 years of experience will make more, often $90,000-$100,000 or more in California, up to occasionally $200,000 or more per year. In less expensive areas it's often less. In Pittsburgh, PA, for instance, assume a software engineer will make $30,000 to $35,000 less per year at a similar job. There are also significant differences depending on the kind of company the engineer works for, and the type of job. The job title also usually changes to something like "senior software engineer".

In general, less stable companies will need to pay a bit more for engineers, while large stable companies will pay less. Startups may pay more or less, and generally vary widely depending on who is starting them, how much stock is offered, and how well capitalized they are. They can pay more than a very risky company, or less than a very stable one, depending. It's very common to offer stock options, bonuses, or both. The numbers above assume that stock options are being offered, or small bonuses that may be unreliable. Usually more options or bigger bonuses will reduce salary commensurately. Remember that bonuses won't pay out in bad years and may be taxed at a higher rate, and stock options are only worth money when the market is rising.

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Q: How much money does a senior software enginer earn?
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