June 13, 2023

Understanding Software Engineer Salaries in Boston

Learn about software engineering work in Boston based on salary expectations, cost of living, dominant companies, and quality of life.

Understanding Software Engineer Salaries in Boston

If you are considering moving to Boston (or any other city), you want to be sure you'll get a decent salary that matches your education level and expertise. You also want to know whether the city offers a good balance between the cost of living and quality of life.

This article discusses software engineer salaries in Boston and other critical elements, like the cost of living and quality of life, to help you determine if it’s the best city for you.

Salaries in Boston

The median salary for a senior software engineer in the greater Boston area is $186,000. The first quartile salary is $153,000 per year, while the third quartile salary is $245,000 per year. For entry-level software engineers, the median salary is $119,500. The first quartile salary is $94,000, while the third quartile salary is $150,000 per year.

Of course, salaries can vary by the company and the industry. For example, you are likely to earn more while working for a larger tech company than a smaller startup.

Also, there are several things you can do to earn a better salary in Boston. These include:

  • Negotiate. Before starting a new job in Boston, research and understand your market value based on your education level, accomplishments, skills, and experience. You can use this information to demonstrate to your employer why you deserve a bigger paycheck.
  • Keep learning. You need to continually update your skills and learn the latest trends and technologies in your field. This can involve taking courses, attending conferences, and joining the local tech communities to learn from other professionals in the industry. As your skills improve, you can take on more advanced roles and earn a higher salary.
  • Consider moving companies. Switching companies can be another way to increase your pay if you are already employed. You could research the companies offering better compensation and inquire if there is an opening for your role. In a competitive market like Boston, many employers are willing to pay higher salaries to attract and retain top talent. However, switching companies should be done with careful consideration. Confirm that the company you are moving to has a culture and values that align with your career goals.

Cost of Living

When evaluating the cost of living in Boston, we can consult the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which reflects the changes in prices of goods and services over time. These include changes in the costs of food products, housing, clothing, gasoline, medical care, transportation, and more.

As of March 2023, the CPI for Boston was 325 compared to the national average of 302. This means that the average cost of living in Boston is higher than the national average.

However, when evaluating the cost of living, you also need to consider the quality of life. Boston offers a higher quality of life than most other parts of the country, which could explain the higher CPI. In addition, salaries in Boston are generally higher than in most cities, which can help you withstand the higher cost of living.

Companies That Hire in Boston

Boston offers software engineers and other tech professionals numerous opportunities to start and advance their careers. Below are some top companies that hire software engineers:

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS provides cloud computing services to individuals, businesses, and governments worldwide. In Boston, AWS has offices at 27 Melcher St. As a software engineer; you can join this company to lead, design, and develop their software applications and systems.


MathWorks, which has headquarters in Natick, Mass., is a software company that develops mathematical computing software for scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and researchers. Their two major products are Simulink and MATLAB, which support simulation and data analysis. The company hires software engineers to develop and improve these and their other software products.


ServiceNow is another software company with offices in Boston. It offers a cutting-edge cloud-based platform that helps businesses to streamline and automate digital workflows and enhance productivity and collaboration across departments. The company can hire you to design, develop, and implement technical solutions based on ServiceNow technologies.

Akamai Technologies

Akamai offers cybersecurity services, cloud services, and a content delivery network (CDN) for online content providers. The company has headquarters in Cambridge., Mass., and hires software engineers to work on their CDN technologies and cybersecurity projects.

Quality of Life

Boston is the state capital with the highest quality of life in the US, according to 2023’s Best State Capitals for Safety & More report by WalletHub.

The city is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. If you're into history or art, there are plenty of sites you can visit, including the Old State House, the Freedom Trail, and the Museum of Fine Arts. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you can spend a day in the Boston Public Garden, Rose Kennedy Greenway, or Arnold Arboretum or go boating on the Charles River. And if you enjoy sports, Boston is home to two of the most popular sports teams in the country – the Celtics and the Red Sox – among other teams.

In addition, Boston has reputable schools and universities, including Boston University, MIT, Harvard University, and the Boston Latin School. Thanks to the many innovative medical programs in the city, Boston residents have access to top-quality medical care. In 2022, Massachusetts General Hospital was ranked the third-best hospital in America.

Boston is poised for more growth, as many companies are moving to the city to utilize the top talent coming from its universities.


Boston is an attractive place to live and work as a software engineer when you consider its high salaries, strong tech community, and high quality of life. However, before moving into the city, you need to carefully evaluate the cost of living and quality of life to determine if the area offers what you are looking for.

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