How many software engineers are in the US?

Software engineers are in the US?

The US has long held the record for hosting the highest number of working software developers globally.

However, in 2023, China and India surpassed the North American country by millions of professionals. Renowned tech hubs like San Francisco and New York are now behind cities like Shenzhen and Bangalore in top tech talent concentration.

Funny enough, Bangalore is known as the ‘Silicon Valley of Asia’ and is one of the best destinations for building a dedicated development team.

So, why has tech talent growth declined in the US compared to countries like India? Is it a matter of education or demand?

In this article, we’ll share exactly how many software engineers are in the US today and why tech talent has declined in the region.

If you’re a CTO or other tech leader in the US… take notes!

The number of available US software engineers

The US has around 4.4 million professionals working in the software engineering industry, the third-highest number worldwide.

Most workers are concentrated in Washington state (2.34%), followed by Virginia and California, which are closely behind, with 2% and 1.55%, respectively.

While high concentrations of engineers reside in specific states, some metropolises, like Seattle, WA, stand out as the best cities in the US to live and work as a software engineer. This is an effect of the massive concentration of big tech companies such as Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and DocuSign that drive the industry.

Within software engineering fields, we have seen jobs like computer programmers in the US decline by an astounding 60% between 2000 and today. Luckily for the programmers, despite this, wages have continued to increase by 47%.

Since a software engineer’s minimum salary in the US is now around $45,000, the average maximum wage can reach a whopping $248,000 per year. This is great for engineers but can be troubling for companies that want to keep pace with the competition in a fierce seller’s market for development talent.

The software engineering state in the US

What is causing the increase in demand for software engineers in the US?

The demand for software engineers in the US is rising due to rapid technological advancements and the need for timely updates and changes to code.

Recent crises like COVID-19 and economic downturns have pushed businesses to speed up their tech adoption. The impact of digital transformation in the healthcare industry and other sectors is good proof of it.

The pandemic also saw a sudden shift from offline to online work, resulting in the implementation of new tools. There is a demand for more creative software, amplified by development’s iterative nature, where projects often undergo multiple revisions.

A notable trend in this regard is the adoption of AI and deep learning algorithms, such as large language models (LLMs). Tech leaders are using them to enhance team productivity and simplify tedious tasks.

Other organisations are building dedicated AI engineering teams to train foundational AI models, extract valuable insights, and optimise their decision-making processes

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The question is: Can US engineers meet this challenge?

The engineering employment rate in the US

The employment rate among software engineers in the US is 87%. This means that there are approximately five jobs for every software engineer.

With more than 1.7 million job openings today, there is a massive supply and demand problem.

Over the next decade, approximately 21% of software developers are guaranteed employment. The problem is that the average time it takes to hire a software engineer is 35 days. Modern organisations have neither the time nor the budget for efficient and fast screening processes.

That’s why a growing number of businesses are partnering with offshore development companies. When done right, offshoring allows businesses to delegate functions like recruiting to find the talent they need.

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The demand for engineers with the right skills is expected to grow 22% by 2029
US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The lack of educated US software engineers

Education is another aspect to consider when discussing the demand for software engineers in the US.

The number of qualified engineers in the US is dropping, while more software engineers are emerging in other regions, such as Eastern Europe, LATAM, and Asia.

Several factors contribute to this trend. One is the growing emphasis on STEM education in countries like China and India, which produce large numbers of skilled engineers.

In the US, very few college students choose to study Computer Science, with less than 3% earning a degree and only 8% of STEM graduates choosing it as their major.

Software developers worldwide

Does this mean it’s impossible to find top talent in the US? Not exactly. The massive layoffs in the tech industry in the past years have resulted in a pool of available developers who previously worked at companies such as Google and Tesla.

But there might be other problems affecting the software development industry you might want to know before assembling your team…

Problems with software development in the US

Unfortunately, the field of software engineering is not diverse enough in the US or the West in general. For one, it’s not an industry that is inviting to Generation Z.

Software engineering in America is most attractive to those between 30 and 34, with the average age being 43.1. Moreover, 78% of software engineers are male, while women only comprise around 22%.

In 2022, women earned 93 cents for every dollar earned by men. While it reflects progress towards gender pay equality, it still highlights a persistent gender pay gap where women are earning less than men for similar work.

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Looking for an alternative to hiring US software engineers?

If you can’t find the right tech talent in the US, you may want to consider offshoring.

Offshore software development involves delegating processes or moving operations to another region with top talent. For example, building a dedicated engineering team in Bangalore, India.

The Asian country has the second-largest software development community in the world.

Number of software developers: US vs India

And it’s not just a matter of numbers but quality.

Offshoring to India allows you to access the best tech talent globally and gives a competitive advantage: global reach and round-the-clock operations.

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I did a lot of recruitment for our company in the US, and it wasn’t easy. But with The Scalers, recruitment was seamless and trouble-free — no faults at all. We really liked how the entire process went.
Sirisha Surisetty
VP of Engineering, Nextpoint

Plus, choosing the right offshore partner can give you unique advantages, like enjoying hands-off operations and experiencing the scalability and flexibility you need.

In summary

Although the US still has many highly talented engineers, the country is no longer the world leader in the number of software engineers. It has now been relegated to the third place in the ranking.

China and India have officially claimed the top spots!

The US is home to around 4.4 million software engineers, with high concentrations in cities like Washington, D.C., and Seattle.
Demand for software engineers in the US is increasing due to technological advancements and the need for rapid updates.
However, there’s a mismatch between job openings and available engineers, leading to a supply-and-demand problem.
Fewer US students pursue Computer Science studies than in other regions like China and India.
Offshore development, particularly in places like Bangalore, India, provides access to high-quality engineers.

We hope this article has given you a clear understanding of how many software engineers are in the US today and whether there’s enough local talent to meet your needs.
If not, we’re here to help. At The Scalers, we build dedicated engineering teams in Bangalore, India and have partnered with multiple US companies to hire, onboard, and engage world-class developers.

Want to know more? Fill out this contact form, and tell us your requirements. One of our senior executives will contact you shortly.