Salary and Job Outlook for Security Software Developers


Published September 13, 2023

check mark Edited by
check mark Reviewed by

Our Integrity Network is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

Drawing on their firsthand industry expertise, our Integrity Network members serve as an additional step in our editing process, helping us confirm our content is accurate and up to date. These contributors:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Explore our full list of Integrity Network members.

Security software developers work in cybersecurity to protect data. Learn about security software developer salary averages, including which factors influence earning potential. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Concentrating, serious and night with woman and computer for software engineering, developer and designer. Cyber security, data science and code with employee in office for neon, website and html Credit: pixdeluxe / E+ / Getty Images

Security software developers prevent unwanted access of private data. This essential cybersecurity role usually requires a bachelor's degree in computer science and specialized security developer skills.

This page covers the duties and importance of security software developers and the impact that location, industry, and experience can have on salary.

What Does a Security Software Developer Do?

Security software developers create software and systems that protect organizations' data. These developers work with programming teams to create products or make security updates to existing applications. Professionals in this field know multiple programming languages, such as C++, Python, and Java.

Every industry needs workers with security software expertise: Companies, governments, and nonprofit entities all have data that require safeguarding, and malicious actors can use a variety of tools to gain access to that secure information. Security experts aim to prevent data theft, viruses, phishing attempts, and more.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Much Can You Earn as a Security Software Developer?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for security software developers was $132,930 in 2022. Experience, location, and employing industry can impact earning potential. For example, software developers working in the manufacturing industry earned a higher median salary than their counterparts in the computer systems design industry.

Below, we explore how various factors shift salary expectations for security software developers.


Average Annual Salary of Software Developers, 2022

Source: BLS

Security Software Developer Salary by Experience

An individual's experience often affects their salary. Because experienced professionals have acquired advanced skills and specialized their knowledge during their careers, they often earn higher wages than their coworkers with fewer years on the job.

The table below uses Payscale data to quantify average base salaries for software developers with varying levels of experience. The data reveals an upward trend for average wages that correlates with years on the job. We reference Payscale's broader software developer career category instead of security software developer due to data availability.

Security Software Developer Salary by Education

Prospective security software developers can pursue various degrees to qualify for work in this field. Computer science and related majors can help students learn the necessary skills to start working as a security software developer. Colleges and universities offer relevant educational credentials across degree levels, including associate, bachelor's, and master's programs.

The average salaries below represent data for all graduates with these degrees, not just security software developers.

Computer science specialists see an increase in average salary as education level advances. However, the difference between the average salary for a bachelor's of engineering in computer science degree-holder and master of computer science degree-holder is only a 3.7% increase.

Thus, though earning a master's degree can help graduates qualify for upper-level careers, the average salaries above indicate that these roles may not correlate with higher earning potential.

Discover Which Education Path Is Right for You

Security Software Developer Salary by Location

Security software developers salaries also vary by location. States and metropolitan areas have different costs of living, which can affect salaries, as more expensive regions tend to offer higher salaries. Other factors like population density and job demand can also impact income.

The tables below use data for the general software developer category.

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Software Developers, 2022
Metropolitan Area Average Annual Salary Percent Above the National Average
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $234,540 76.4%
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $181,620 36.6%
Boulder, CO $169,750 27.7%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $155,680 17.1%
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA $155,200 16.8%
Source: BLS

San Jose and San Francisco offer the highest average salaries for security developers, though California has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S., according to World Population Review. Though these salaries are higher than national averages — more than 75% higher in the case of San Jose — the increased expense of essentials like rent and groceries may mean lower purchasing power for these higher-than-average wages.

Top-Paying States for Software Developers, 2022
State Number of Security Software Developers Employed Average Annual Salary
California 258,170 $182,570
Washington 91,200 $152,010
Rhode Island N/A $147,030
New York 92,040 $141,130
Alaska 390 $137,940
Source: BLS

Washington, California, and New York — which are all among the highest-employing states for security developers — have some of the highest average salaries per state, wages that correlate to these jurisdictions' higher-than-average costs of living.

Security Software Developers' Job Outlook and Career Prospects

The BLS projects software developer jobs will grow 25% from 2021 to 2031, equating to 162,900 annual openings. Developments like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things will continue to increase demand for workers with cybersecurity expertise who can help prevent cyberattacks.

However, an individual's employability relies on more than career growth outlook. Professionals that specialize their skills to meet demand, choose popular industries, and relocate to high-employing regions can increase their marketability.

+25% from 2021 to 2031

Change in Projected Employment for Software Developers

Source: BLS

Best Locations for Security Software Developers

Software developers can work on site or remotely. Most in-person jobs are concentrated in urban areas with high populations, as many corporations who employ security software developers reside in big cities. California, Washington, and New York are home to large metro areas and major tech hubs. Consequently, they employ some of the largest numbers of security developers in the country.

Top States for Security Software Developers

California, Texas, New York, Washington, and Virginia are the five states that employ the highest numbers of software developers. These same jurisdictions are also projected to add the most software development jobs from 2020 to 2030.

California employs 258,170 software developers as of 2022 — the largest number of any state. California also offers the highest average salary for these workers. In contrast, Virginia and Texas also employ large numbers of software developers, but their salaries are lower than the national average, which may reflect lower costs of living for these states.

Top-Employing States for Software Developers, 2022
Top-Employing States Number of Software Developers Employed Average Annual Salary
California 258,170 $182,570
Texas 116,970 $117,440
New York 92,040 $141,130
Washington 91,200 $152,010
Virginia 84,220 $132,850
Source: BLS
States With Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers, 2020-30
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-2030 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 56.2% 3,470
Tennessee 52.8% 2,270
Nevada 39.6% 790
Massachusetts 38.9% 9,630
Arizona 37.9% 4,780
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 36.1% 39,040
Washington 36.7% 17,030
Texas 36.2% 15,320
New York 35.3% 11,050
Virginia 21.9% 9,790

Source: Projections Central

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Top Metropolitan Areas for Security Software Developers

Top-employing areas are often regions with more people, as higher population densities usually correlate with increased career opportunities. For example, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area — centered around the most populous city in the U.S. — employs the highest number of software developers in the country.

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Software Developers, 2022
Metropolitan Area Number of Software Developers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 108,650 $142,830
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 83,860 $234,540
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 80,770 $155,680
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA-MD-WV 69,360 $139,850
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 67,010 $181,620
Source: BLS

Best Industries for Security Software Developers

Cybersecurity professionals can work in a diverse array of industries like healthcare, retail, and technical design. However, earning potential varies across these sectors, as some industries require specialized skills or have higher demand, which can increase average wages. Some of the highest-employing and highest-paying industries include tech-related fields like computer systems design, social media and streaming, and software publishing.

Top-Paying Industries for Software Developers, 2022
Top-Paying Industries Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Media Streaming Distribution Services, Social Networks, and Other Media Networks and Content Providers 13,260 $168,330
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 320 $167,200
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 20,850 $161,730
Clothing and Clothing Accessories Retailers 1,380 $157,890
Other Support Activities for Transportation 140 $155,760
Source: BLS
Employment by Industry for Software Developers, 2022
Industries With Highest Employment Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 526,240 $121,270
Software Publishers 162,130 $141,440
Management of Companies and Enterprises 78,280 $125,720
Computing Infrastructure Providers, Data Processing, Web Hosting, and Related Services 67,690 $134,750
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 50,640 $134,250
Source: BLS

Upward Mobility for Security Software Developers

Security software developers can advance their careers by moving into managerial roles. Typically, duties for upper-level positions in this field include running a team of other security-focused software developers, taking the lead on projects, and liaising with executives.

These professionals can also use their expertise to transfer into related careers like penetration tester, vulnerability assessor, or security auditor. Because software security development professionals already have a thorough understanding of cybersecurity and programming languages, the transition to these other security-based tech careers can be easy.

Learn More About Security Software Developers

What Is a Security Software Developer?

What Is a Security Software Developer?

How to Become a Security Software Developer

How to Become a Security Software Developer

Day in the Life of a Security Software Developer

Day in the Life of a Security Software Developer

Certifications for Security Software Developers

Certifications for Security Software Developers

FAQ About Salaries for Security Software Developers

Do security software developers get paid well?

According to the BLS, the average wage for software developers nationwide is $132,930 as of 2022 — higher than the national average wage for all workers.

Where is the best state to work as a security software developer?

California, one of the best states for security software developers, offers the most employment opportunities and the highest average salary for these professionals. The average security software developer salary in California is $182,570 as of 2022.

What is the best industry to work in as a security software developer?

Tech-related industries like social media and streaming, computer systems design, and software publishing are among the highest-employing and highest-paying sectors for software developers. For example, social media and streaming companies paid these professionals an average wage of $168,330 in 2022 — more than $35,000 per year more than the average wage for all software developers.

What is the salary range for security software developers?

According to BLS data from 2022, the lowest 10% of earners for this career make $71,280 annually, while the top 10% of earners make $198,100.

Last reviewed June 14, 2023.

Recommended Reading

View hand-picked degree programs

Tell us what you’d like to specialize in, and discover which schools offer a degree program that can help you make an impact on the world.