Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) play a vital role at any tech company — after all, they’re responsible for making sure websites are running correctly 24/7. So it’s no surprise that a career as a Site Reliability Engineer can be a fairly lucrative path. Glassdoor estimates that the average salary for a Site Reliability Engineer in the U.S. is about $118,000.
But as with any other job, your salary will depend on factors like where you live and how much experience you have. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest factors determining your pay as a Site Reliability Engineer.
What determines your pay as a Site Reliability Engineer?
There are a few different factors that will determine your salary as an engineer. Below are the four main categories to consider:
According to Indeed, most potential employers prefer that a Site Reliability Engineer candidate holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. Some Site Reliability Engineers also earn software development certificates to appeal to employers. Others study and work as DevOps Engineers or Software Engineers to gain the education and work experience to move on to becoming an SRE.
Knowing certain programming languages can also affect the average Site Reliability Engineer’s salary, according to Payscale. Here are just a few examples:
Naturally, the more time you work in a career, the more skills you’ll acquire to move up the ladder. Years of experience in a relevant field before beginning a career in site reliability engineering will no doubt get you an interview. But the years of experience working specifically as an SRE is generally the key to a bigger paycheck.
There are five basic levels of experience and average salary expectations for a Site Reliability Engineer. Here’s a breakdown of those levels and the accompanying salary averages:
- Entry level (<1 year): Glassdoor estimates that an entry-level Site Reliability Engineer can make an average of $107,567 per year.
- Early career (1-3 years): At this phase, the average salary is roughly $116,049 a year.
- Mid career (4-6 years): Salary expectations usually increase to around $121,741 annually.
- Experienced (7-9 years): As you near a decade in the field, the current average is about $124,643 yearly.
- Late career (10+ years): Once you reach this phase, the average reaches around $137,638 per year.
As is the case with most jobs, your location can greatly affect your salary as a Site Reliability Engineer, according to Payscale. An employee in San Francisco makes an average of 18.3% over the national average, while someone working in Chicago may make significantly less. Balancing the cost of living with the average pay rate will help to evaluate the salary benefits where you live.
Areas that have a large number of tech-based companies typically offer a higher rate of pay. The bigger tech companies themselves can vary in pay rate, from Google and Apple, which pay an average salary of around $140,000, to Equifax at $93,000, and Microsoft with $114,000. But along with the higher salary may come a competitive job market, which can make a job search potentially more of a challenge.
Site Reliability Engineer is just one job title for someone working in this field of expertise. Different roles can be obtained through years of experience, further education, or in-house training by your employer. Each job title can provide you with a potentially different salary. For example, you may begin work as an entry-level or early-career SRE but can advance to one of the higher-paid positions over time. A few examples of these job titles and their average salaries are:
- Director of Site Reliability Engineering: $172,603
- Senior Site Reliability Engineer: $136,456
- Site Reliability Engineer: $118,439
- Software Reliability Engineer: $113,558
- Lead Site Reliability Engineer: $122,985
How to become a Site Reliability Engineer
Being a Site Reliability Engineer means having a strong set of technical skills (like a command of programming languages, comfort with solving problems using code, and knowledge of major cloud providers), as well as a troubleshooting mindset in order to be an effective problem-solver.
Employers often look for candidates that have a strong background as Web Developers, DevOps Engineers, Software Engineers, or System Administrators. If you’re looking to build your technical skills, take a look at our course catalog to brush up on courses like Java, Go, and Python 3.
Need help applying? Here’s some advice for how to get a job as a Site Reliability Engineer.