Release Train Engineer Salary


In the realm of Agile development, a Release Train Engineer (RTE) is a pivotal role. They are the servant leaders who guide the Agile Release Train (ART), a long-lived “team of Agile teams”, which incrementally develops, delivers, and where applicable operates, one or more solutions in a value stream. (Also known as “Agile Release Train” in SAFe). The RTE’s responsibilities include facilitating program-level processes and execution, escalating impediments, managing risk, and driving continual improvement.

The importance of a Release Train Engineer in Agile development is very high. They act as the central hub that connects all the different teams working on a project, ensuring that the entire process runs smoothly and efficiently. They are the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train, providing the guidance and leadership necessary to ensure the success of the project.

This article will look at the current Release Train Engineer salary situation, so you can make a more informed decision about whether a Release Train Engineer career is for you. I personally don’t have much direct experience working as an Release Train Engineer, though I have helped run some PI (Program Increment) Planning events, which involved working closely with RTEs. And it seemed like a good job for those in the “scaled agile” space.

Detailed Overview of Release Train Engineer Salary

Average Salary in the United States

The salary of a Release Train Engineer can vary significantly based on a bunch of factors. However, on average, the hourly rate for a Release Train Engineer in the United States is around $55.36. This translates to an annual salary of approximately $115,149, considering a full-time work schedule. This figure, however, is just an average, and the actual salary can be higher or lower depending on various factors.

Factors Influencing the Salary

There are loads of factors that can influence the salary of a Release Train Engineer. The main ones are probably however:

  • Experience: Like most professions, experience plays a big role in determining the salary. More experienced RTEs tend to command higher salaries due to their extensive knowledge and skills. They have a deep understanding of the Agile development framework and can effectively guide the Agile Release Train, making them invaluable to their organizations.
  • Location: The geographical location also impacts the salary. Certain areas, especially major tech hubs, often offer higher salaries to attract top talent. For instance, cities like San Francisco and New York, known for their thriving tech industries, generally offer higher salaries for RTEs.
  • Company Size: Larger companies with more resources often pay higher salaries compared to smaller companies or startups. This is because larger companies typically have larger budgets and can afford to pay higher salaries to attract and retain top talent. They also benefit from a “halo effect”, where having lots of top performers makes recruiting other top performers even easier, since they want to work where the money and quality people are.

Comparison of Salaries from Different Sources

Different sources provide varying estimates for the salary of a Release Train Engineer:

  • ZipRecruiter estimates the average salary to be around $137,129 per year. This figure is based on numerous salary data points that ZipRecruiter has collected from job advertisements and employee reports.
  • According to Glassdoor, the average salary is approximately $118,752 per year. Glassdoor’s estimate is based on salary reports provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methods.
  • suggests an average salary of $121,045 per year. This figure is based on the job postings on their platform.
  • Indeed reports a slightly lower average salary of $96,488 per year. Indeed’s estimate is based on the salary information provided by job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

Highest Paying Cities for Agile Release Train Engineer Jobs

Certain cities in the United States offer higher salaries for Release Train Engineers. Some of the top-paying cities include:

  • San Buenaventura, CA: Known for its thriving tech industry, San Buenaventura offers an average salary of $162,002 per year for RTEs.
  • Berry Creek, CA: In Berry Creek, RTEs can expect to earn an average salary of $157,583 per year.
  • Soda Bay, CA: Soda Bay offers an average salary of $153,616 per year for RTEs.
  • Coarsegold, CA: In Coarsegold, the average salary for RTEs is $152,874 per year.

These figures highlight the big impact of location on the salary of a Release Train Engineer. You might end up considering relocating to get a better position / better salary, depending on your current life situation, family commitments etc.

Comparisons with Other Roles

release train engineer scrum master
A Release Train Engineer facilitates events for the whole train, including multiple Scrum teams.

When compared to other roles in the Agile development framework, the Release Train Engineer’s salary is quite competitive. For instance, a Scrum Master, another critical role in Agile development, typically earns less than a Release Train Engineer.

This is because the RTE role is more complex and requires a broader skill set, including the ability to coordinate multiple teams and manage large-scale projects.

Moreover, the salary of a Release Train Engineer at FedEx is estimated to be around $147,486 per year, showcasing the high value and demand for this role in major companies. This figure underscores the fact that RTEs are highly valued in various industries, not just in tech companies.

Job Demand and Career Prospects

The demand for Release Train Engineers is currently high and expected to grow in the future. As more companies adopt the Agile development framework, the need for skilled and experienced RTEs will continue to rise. This high demand, coupled with the attractive salaries, makes the RTE role a lucrative career option.

The career prospects for Release Train Engineers are also promising. With experience, they can move into higher managerial roles or become consultants, providing their expertise to multiple organizations. They can also choose to specialize in certain areas, such as SAFe, which can further enhance their career prospects.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a release train engineer do? A Release Train Engineer facilitates the Agile Release Train processes and execution. They escalate impediments, manage risk, and help drive program-level continuous improvement. They are the glue that holds the Agile teams together, ensuring that they work in harmony towards the common goal.
  • How much does a release train engineer at FedEx make? The estimated total pay for a Release Train Engineer at FedEx is around $147,486 per year. This figure highlights the high demand for RTEs in various industries.
  • Do train engineers get paid well? Yes, Release Train Engineers are compensated well for their role, with salaries often exceeding six figures. The high salary is a reflection of the complexity and importance of the role. Just make sure not to confuse Release Train Engineers with actual Train Engineers (i.e. the transportation system). They are very different!
  • Are release train engineers in demand? Yes, with the increasing adoption of the Scaled Agile framework (also known as SAFe), the demand for Release Train Engineers is high and expected to grow. This high demand, coupled with the attractive salaries, makes the RTE role a lucrative and stable career option.


In summary, the role of a Release Train Engineer is both challenging and rewarding. The salary is competitive and varies based on factors such as experience, location, and company size. With the growing adoption of Agile methodologies, the demand for RTEs is high, making it a promising career choice.

The important thing to consider is whether or not you want to work in a Scaled Agile / SAFe environment.

If SAFe isn’t your thing (and trust me, it isn’t everyone’s thing), then you might want to consider other scaled agile / descaling frameworks, such as Scrum@Scale / SAS, Large Scale Scrum (LESS), or XSCALE.

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