Software engineers are about average in terms of happiness.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, software engineers rate their career happiness 3.2 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 46% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy software engineers are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Front-End developer
3.3
$51k
Computer programmer
3.2
$85k
Network administrator
3.2
$47k
IT security consultant
3.2
$60k
Security engineer
3.2
$74k
Software engineer
3.2
$93k
Audio visual technician
3.2
$49k
Statistician
3.2
$96k
IT manager
3.1
$79k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are software engineers happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do software engineers find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as software engineers?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are software engineer’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are software engineers making the best use of their abilities?

Are software engineers happy with their salary?

Software engineers rated their satisfaction with their salaries 3.6/5. The majority of software engineers are quite happy with their salaries, with very few having complaints about their income level.

We asked software engineers how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

3.6 out of 5 stars

3704 software engineers

5 Star
27%

27% of software engineers rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
32%

32% of software engineers rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
23%

23% of software engineers rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of software engineers rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
7%

7% of software engineers rated their compensation 1 stars

Do software engineers find their jobs meaningful?

On average, software engineers rate the meaningfulness of their work a 2.7/5. While most software engineers aren’t very fulfilled by their work, some people may still manage to find meaning in it.

We asked software engineers how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

2.7 out of 5 stars

3748 software engineers

5 Star
12%

12% of software engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
18%

18% of software engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
24%

24% of software engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
24%

24% of software engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
22%

22% of software engineers rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as software engineers?

Software engineers rated their personality fit with their work an average of 3.7/5. The majority of software engineers find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked software engineers how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

4096 software engineers

5 Star
26%

26% of software engineers rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
37%

37% of software engineers rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
23%

23% of software engineers rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of software engineers rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
5%

5% of software engineers rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a software engineer’s work environment?

As a whole, software engineers rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.6/5. A solid majority of software engineers enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a software engineer.

We asked software engineers how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.6 out of 5 stars

4072 software engineers

5 Star
23%

23% of software engineers rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
35%

35% of software engineers rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
23%

23% of software engineers rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
12%

12% of software engineers rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
6%

6% of software engineers rated their work environment 1 stars

Are software engineers making the best use of their abilities?

Former software engineers on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.2/5. Most software engineers are satisfied with how well their abilities are skills are made of use.

We asked software engineers how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.2 out of 5 stars

4076 software engineers

5 Star
18%

18% of software engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
26%

26% of software engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
25%

25% of software engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
20%

20% of software engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
11%

11% of software engineers rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars