Before software finds its way to your computer or another device, it needs to be tested. That’s where Software Testers come in — to ensure that the end-product works as it’s supposed to so that the team can move on to the next phase.
On average, a Software Tester receives an annual pay of $56,468, according to Payscale, but the pay can be significantly higher, particularly as you gain more experience. Of course, your individual salary can depend on a number of factors. Read on to learn the average pay for Software Testers and what determines your salary.
What determines your Software Tester salary?
As is the case with most jobs, multiple factors determine how much you make as a Software Tester, including education, experience, and location.
You’ll need some kind of educational background to get into software testing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get a specialized degree.
It’s far more important to understand the basic elements of software development, no matter how you go about doing so. You should be familiar with:
- How software is used to accomplish business objectives
- How testing plays an important role at different points in the development life cycle
- How testing data is used to improve the end-product
- The different kinds of software testing you may be required to perform
To really strengthen your job prospects and salary potential, you’ll also need to learn programming languages like Java, C#, Python, and Ruby.
According to PayScale, the average pay for Software Testers at different points in their careers can be broken down as follows:
- Entry level (less than a year of experience): $49,000
- Early career (1-4 years): $54,000
- Mid-career (5-9 years): $64,000
- Late career (10-19 years): $74,000
- Experienced (20+ years): $81,000
There are several ways you can gain more experience as a Software Tester, both as an in-house staffer at a company and as a freelancer. Of course, you can test software as a consumer and gain experience that way, but testing as a part of the development process will give you even more valuable experience and help you land a more lucrative position.
When you’re establishing yourself as a Software Tester, it’s helpful to work with as many different types of testing as possible. Some of the testing methodologies you should try to gain experience in include:
- Alpha and beta testing
- Regression testing
- Security testing
- Stress testing
- Vulnerability testing
- Black box testing
- White box testing
You can also gain experience testing before landing your first job by using one of our skill paths, career paths, or courses. For example, the Build Python Web Apps with Django skill path will give you multiple opportunities to engage in different kinds of testing as you develop applications in the path’s various courses.
The average salary can also vary according to where you live. That could be due to different costs of living, or even just because there’s a particularly successful company that’s headquartered in a specific location. According to Payscale, the top 10 highest-paying cities for Software Testers are:
- Cary, NC: $95,772
- Fairfax, VA: $89,826
- Chantilly, VA: $87,921
- San Francisco, CA: $87,429
- San Diego, CA: $79,996
- San Jose, CA: $76,000
- Miami, FL: $72,500
- Gaithersburg, MD: $72,000
- Philadelphia, PA: $71,668
- Phoenix, AZ: $70,442
While these are average numbers and not indicative of what your exact salary will be in any given city, they can give you a sense of what you might expect to make, and how salaries can differ across the country.
How to become a Software Tester
You can also enroll in any of the other courses in our catalog, particularly the ones that deal with web apps — like Build Web Apps with ASP.NET or Build Python Web Apps with Flask. Knowing popular programming languages, like Java, C#, Python, and Ruby can also give you an edge. The more you learn, the more you’ll understand the role software testing plays in how apps are developed.
In addition to courses and paths that teach technical skills, we also have free online resources that will help you negotiate a higher salary and ace your interviews so that you can get off to a great start as a Software Tester.