What does a Performance Engineer do?


Performance engineers design and develop computer software and applications using performance engineering strategies. They help improve system performance and reliability and also analyze performance issues and provide solutions for correction. What’s the role of a performance engineer?

What is Performance Engineering?

Performance engineering deals with the evaluation and optimization of IT systems to ensure that the requirements for performance and stability-related issues are met. This involves applying scientific, engineering, mathematical and measurement principles to devise a system that meets its nonfunctional performance-related requirements.

The associated measures are either constructive if they involve the planning and development of systems, or analytical, in that they diagnose the performance level of existing systems. In either case, the challenge is to define appropriate requirements, provide appropriate review procedures and to develop targeted optimization strategies and tweak potential solutions.

The performance of systems can have an impact on an organization’s bottom line and so more and more companies are recognizing the importance of performance engineering and how it can help ensure stability

The role of a Performance Engineer - Responsibilities, Skills, Background and Salary
Performance Engineer – Role Overview

Responsibilities of a Performance Engineer

From the beginning of the development cycle, a performance engineer is responsible for flagging down any potential performance issues. During the development cycle, they must provide technical assistance and advice to ensure smooth system performance.

 Responsibilities of a Performance Engineer
Responsibilities of a Performance Engineer

Performance engineers are also responsible for designing effective tests to check system performance and stability. They must identify goals and requirements and understand the roles of reliability and capacity while also knowing how to create test data and data management.

Performance engineers must then run those tests, analyze the results and provide appropriate solutions to help enhance system performance, reliability and scalability. They are also often required to work with engineers and developers to perform bug fixes. 

A performance engineer is also responsible for finding the root cause of performance issues and suggesting solutions while also overseeing the system performance lifecycle and identifying key metrics for improvement. They must also create regular performance reports for review.

Day to day tasks and responsibilities: 

  • Flag down potential performance issues at the start of the development stage
  • Provide technical assistance and advice to ensure smooth system performance in the development stage
  • Design effective tests to check system performance and stability
  • Ensure non-functional requirements for performance (CPU usage, latency)
  • Understand the roles of reliability and capacity 
  • Know how to create test data and data management
  • Choose testing tools based on the company’s needs
  • Run tests to validate Load, Scalability, Stability, and Reliability standards
  • Analyze test results and provide appropriate solutions
  • Work with engineers and developers to perform bug fixes
  • Find root cause of performance issues and suggest solutions
  • Oversee system performance lifecycle 
  • Create performance reports for review

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Skills & Knowledge Required

A performance engineer must have strong development skills and must be familiar with .NET, Ruby, Perl, Python, Java etc. Having hands-on experience with Java is important to help identify potential bottlenecks. Skills in web development technology are also important for database optimization. 

Having experience with testing tools and knowing how to script is crucial for a performance engineer. There are loads of testing tools out there and choosing a particular one depends on each company’s/client’s needs. 

It’s important to understand the business first and choose a testing tool based on a variety of factors such as goals, budget, and timelines. 

Being familiar with a few testing tools (such as the following) is important and can go a long way in the eyes of the employer.

Required testing tools:

  • Apache
  • JMeter
  • Microfocus LoadRunner
  • Microsoft VSTS
  • Pagespeed
Performance Engineer - Skills Required
Performance Engineer – Skills Required

Being an expert on apps for mobile devices is an important factor and knowledge of the performance constraints that come with it and how to solve them is what makes a good performance engineer. 

Broad knowledge on internal technologies such as load balancers, firewalls, database servers etc., as well as exterior components such as external ad networks and analytics is also an important skill for a performance engineer to have, especially when you’re trying to solve problems with a complex system.

You must also have strong project management and communication skills. A performance engineer has the responsibility to communicate with various stakeholders and ensure action is taken based on the results of their testing. To ensure optimization that lasts, a performance engineer must be able to communicate both technically and at a business level.

Skills required for a Performance Engineer:

  • Experience with software performance engineering and testing
  • Strong development skills – .NET, Ruby, Perl, Java etc.
  • Experience with databases – MySQL, SQL Server
  • Knowledge of scripting and automation – Python, Shell, Powershell, Jenkins
  • Familiar with testing tools – Apache, JMeter, Selenium, Microfocus, LoadRunner
  • Familiar with developer tools – Pagespeed
  • Broad general knowledge on internal technologies such as load balancers, firewalls and database servers
  • Knowledge on exterior components such as external ad networks and analytics
  • Passionate about performance, reliability and scalability
  • Project management
  • Communication – both technically and at a business level

Use this list of skills requirements and in your own job ad


A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, computer information or a degree in related fields is often required to work as a Performance engineer. They also come from fields such as electrical, electronics or communication engineering or information technology. Employers may prefer candidates with a Master’s degree for higher-level jobs.

Companies often value candidates with the academic equivalent gained through experience and other education

There are a few training and certification courses online that may help you go a long way in the eyes of your employer. Check out a few of them down below:

Performance Engineer Salary

The salary of a performance engineer depends on a number of factors, including the organization they work in and the position they have. 

For beginners and entry-level performance engineers, the annual salary can be up to $67,000. For performance engineers at mid-level and with a few years of experience behind them, the approximate annual salary is $86,000 whereas senior-level performance engineers can earn up to $124,000 annually. 

Performance engineers in Germany make between €41,000 to €69,000 annually, while in the UK, it ranges from £30,000 to £68,000.

How much does a Performance Engineer make?


What does a freelance Performance Engineer earn?

Performance Engineer - Average Freelance Rate
Performance Engineer Freelance Rate – freelancermap index as of December 2020

The average freelancer hourly rate of a Performance Engineer is $94. Considering an 8-hour working day, the daily rate would be around $754 (freelancermap price index – December 2020).

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Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

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By Natalia Campana

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