Software engineers are in demand in Florida and across the country, providing many opportunities for different experience levels. Finding the right city to work and live in isn’t always easy with so many distinct factors to take into account. Salary, work culture, the potential for growth, and the local cost of living all play a role in choosing the right position.
This article will guide you through the nuances of evaluating a software engineering career in Florida. The state offers some of the best cities for software engineers in the US. However, each offers a unique combination of salary and other pros and cons to weigh while making your decision. This overview will help you better understand your options.
Software Engineer Salaries in Florida
Salary tends to be the most important factor for many job-seekers or at least a starting point in their search. The software engineer salaries in Florida cities vary depending on a variety of factors. While each city has its own range, experience and other job-specific factors are also important to consider.
Level.fyi provides up-to-date data on software engineer salaries in Florida. Across the entire state, entry-level software engineers have a median salary of $113,544, with 25th- and 75th-percentile positions at $96,780 and $131,880, respectively. Senior software engineers can expect a median salary of $198,360 and 25th- and 75th-percentile salaries at $168,260 and $259,920.
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale Area
The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area has higher median salaries than the state in general, with data showing:
- Entry level: $118,332 median, $105,340 25th percentile, $188,100 75th percentile
- Senior: $217,512 median, $136,800 25th percentile, $246,240, 75th-percentile
Tampa-St. Pete Area
The Tampa-St. Pete Area provides better or worse salaries depending on seniority and percentile, with data showing:
- Entry-level: $119,700 median, $102,720 25th percentile, $129,960 75th percentile
- Senior: $184,680 median, $157,320 25th percentile, $225,720 75th percentile
The Orlando area offers the lowest salaries for entry-level software engineers among Florida’s main metropolitan areas, with data showing:
- Entry-level: $105,610 median, $91,660 25th percentile, $116,280 75th percentile
- Senior: $197,676 median, $169,510 25th percentile, $240,770 75th percentile
Of course, these values are based on data collected from software engineers working in many specializations and with varying tenures at their respective companies. You can always take steps to negotiate a stronger salary and move up within your company.
Cost of Living in Florida Cities
The salary you can achieve in any given city also has to be weighed carefully against the cost of living. The money you spend on rent, utilities, food, and a wide range of optional expenses will vary from city to city, and that could mean your salary won’t go as far as you think.
In particular, the cost of living is one of the most important criteria to consider within the tech industry. Both established industry giants and ambitious startups tend to flock to trendy cities. This means the best positions are often found in the most expensive areas.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) score effectively compares the relative cost of food, rent, transportation, healthcare, and other essentials in various cities. A higher CPI value represents a higher cost of living, with the US city average sitting around 300. The latest numbers show CPI scores of:
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: 322
- Tampa-St. Pete: 285
- Orlando: 292
For reference, some other major tech hubs across the US have CPI values at:
- San Francisco: 337
- New York: 318
- Los Angeles: 318
- Houston-Austin: 264
These values can help when comparing the potential cost of living among various cities. While you might find a higher salary in one position, taking on the increased costs in that area might not be worth it.
Major Companies Hiring Software Engineers in Florida Cities
Florida is home to many companies in need of software engineers, both established juggernauts and innovative new startups. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to put your unique skills and experience to work throughout the state.
Cruise is an innovative self-driving car company with more than 1,800 employees across the country. It needs software engineers committed to achieving the performance and safety required to support the next generation of General Motors’ fully autonomous vehicles.
Capital One is among the largest US banks and is well known for its innovative products and systems. It's working on a variety of new online solutions, including efforts to improve digital identity, fraud protection, and online shopping, and it needs software engineers to make those solutions a reality.
The Hershey company produces a wide range of chocolate and other products with 19 plants around the world, supplying more than 90 countries. While you might not taste the difference that software engineers make at Hershey, they develop and implement the latest distribution and operations management systems.
Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US and employs software engineers across the country with its distributed company operations. It needs software engineers to continue to provide new solutions in the rapidly changing field of cryptocurrencies and other emerging fintech applications.
Quality of Life in Florida Cities
Choosing the right job isn’t just about the numbers. It also comes down to what each city has to offer. Taking the time to consider your lifestyle and hobbies can help you make a choice that keeps you both financially sound and happy.
Miami is among the most vibrant and temperate cities in the US. With gorgeous beaches and thriving nightlife, this could be just what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that there may be more hustle and bustle than you’re used to.
Tampa also offers access to some of the country’s finest beaches. You’ll also have the chance to take in a game at one of the area’s professional football, baseball, or hockey teams. Access to Tampa Bay provides many opportunities for boating, including tours to see dolphins and other marine wildlife.
Orlando is largely known for its proximity to Disney World, and with affordable resident passes, you could make a weekend trip out of what many consider a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Lower density and less sprawl provide a calmer and more relaxed lifestyle.
As a software engineer, you have plenty of options for meaningful employment across the country. One of these Florida cities could be just what you’re looking for. Take the time to consider the salaries and other criteria any position has to offer before you make your choice. And if you’d like to remember any important details you’ve just read, try Stashpad to take notes in a more intuitive way.