My Salary Progression in Tech(georgestocker.com)
> It's always been my intention to retire early, > I'm interested in making huge money and retiring early, > I don't begrudge people with their crazy salaries but I do get frustrated that I can't find success myself.
I am shocked and surprised at the same time (knowing that I only selected quotes of a few commentators).
Shocked to see the same mindset as many managing consultants and investment bankers I have met and worked with. They work a lot with the idea to stop working eventually. Not a single one of them has retired early. Not a single one of them I would call happy or satisfied (again: my bubble).
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama
Surprised maybe because I hoped here on HN people might have a different mindset towards money and success. Or: know that there is not a strict connection between the two. To read all this "Keeping up with the Joneses" makes me sad...
Choose life, not career. Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself, not for some postponed happiness.
> Choose life, not career. Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself, not for some postponed happiness.
Insightful story about the investment banker. Your policy about choosing life feels like good advice in light of that story. The implementation details, that’s where it always gets difficult.
I want to make music. I think of music all the time. Whenever I made music I was passionate about it.
- my music training is limited
- people that I know who are amazing alternate from being homeless to renting out a place. They are poor.
Do I have that much passion that I want to risk 10 to 20 years of my life in poor wealth and perhaps poor family life?
No. I want to live a middle class life while making music.
Just follow your passion people, the invisible hand will help you.
Obviously I am cynical about this, I sincerely hope you can prove me wrong, for I would love to make music.
To build on what you said: in my twenties I fell in briefly with a group of pretty elite level, classically trained, working musicians. Though I am not a music person at all myself. I would go to their (very fun) parties and just got to know them and their scene a bit. Do you know what they talked about more than anything else? More than theory or favorite artists or their instruments?
They had to be obsessed with it, about where to get it, what gigs were paying how much, about when to sell out for it. Because none of them had any, but they all still needed to pay the rent.
Amazing people, astonishing talent, wild life. Constant worry.
Yep, that's the whole problem with this "follow your passion" BS. I'm the opposite: I work in a tech job on something I really don't care much about, but the pay is excellent, and the stability is actually pretty good too. I work 8h a day, I have an easy commute, I don't stress about money. I have a pretty easy life that way. But it also feels pretty empty in some ways, but the way I see it I've removed what for me was a big stressor in my earlier life. Maybe later, after I've saved up a lot, I can think about doing something that brings me more fulfillment, but for now I just concentrate on enjoying my free time, and look at work as just that: work.
I also look at the janitors in my building when I leave work in the evening, and remind myself that they're not following their passion either. Most workers do not get to do anything that really excites them. So I count myself lucky that I can do something that doesn't ruin my health or make me hate life, and I can get paid well for it, so instead of worrying how to pay rent, I can worry about less urgent things like what to spend my weekend doing. Plus, with my free time (since I don't have a job that's overworking me, like some people), I'm free to pursue my other passions there.
You have a great outlook on things in my opinion. Cheers!
>I want to live a middle class life while making music. Sounds realistic?
Not even remotely. These days the arts are for trust fund kids or risk-takers, not those aspiring to be middle class.
Following your dreams is a multi-generational undertaking.
Only rich kids get to follow any dream they want.
If you're not rich already your job is to get rich so your kids can follow their dreams.
Look for the middle ground. I realized that I want to work on things I like, but I still need to eat, so I've decided to split my time. I want to work at least an hour to something I'm passionate about. That way, even if I spend more of my time working for someone else, I know I still spend some of my time doing something I love.
So follow your passion, but also your survival instinct.
> So follow your passion, but also your survival instinct.
As far as simple quotes go. This sounds optimistic, yet reasonable.
Based on your advice, maybe I should just go to Thailand and freelance as an app/web dev for 3 days per week and play guitar / make electronic music for the rest. I'd wonder how I'd prepare for economic down turns though.
I'd make about: 5000 euro's per month (@ 50 euro's per hour as a freelancer). Living on about 10000 euro's per year, I'd save 20000 euro's after taxes (Dutch, high taxes, yay!). Regardless of that, I guess I wouldn't need to worry about recessions after 2 years of part-time remote freelance work, not in South East Asia anyway.
Sounds doable, at first glance. I need more glances. Especially the, "what about my girlfriend, friends and family?" glance.
Worry about a wife and kids when you WANT to worry about it. Living the life you want is the best way to meet a partner who supports that lifestyle.
Maybe one day you’ll decide it’s time for kids, and both you and your partner decide to head back to the EU for that. Or maybe you’ll raise kids in Thailand. Or maybe your partner will get an amazing opportunity somewhere else entirely and you can be a stay at home parent, making beats while the kids are at school.
It’s your life. Live it the way you want. Don’t worry too much.
If you're making 50 euros per hour, couldn't stay in the Netherlands, so that you get to be with your girlfriend, friends and family and still work 3 days per week? I think 5000 euros per month should be enough even for the Netherlands. It's true that you would save less, but you would get to be with your friends and family.
Or you could just go to Thailand for a few months, so you also scratch the traveling bug. There's nothing stopping you from coming back when you start missing the people close to you. You have options.
Then get cancer and die young.
Hey Retra, I looked at your comment history, to see why you'd possibly be saying this.
I've noticed two type of comments that you made:
1. Comments that have substantial reasoning, mostly technical but not always. These seemed to be appreciated.
2. Short comments that seemed to attack the person or a particular concept. These short comments did not have any reasoning from your side. Also, most of these comments are non-technical.
My first thought was: it seems that you have a lot of technical knowledge, and people appreciate this. I know I do.
Two observations on the category 2 comments you make:
1. In the comments that I skimmed, no one seemed to tell you to read the guidelines. I'll post the link . Saying "then get cancer and die young" is an offensive thing to say because you're attacking the person. For some people this is obvious, but based on your comment history, I doubt whether this is obvious to you. Attacking a person is not a civil thing to do, not a nice thing to do (unless it's meant in a constructive fashion, even then it'd be debatably constructive). Regardless of that, it is in violation of the guidelines. As a technical person, I hope you'd appreciate that I'm pointing to a source appointed by Y Combinator. They make the rules on how to behave here, so then behave like that, the guidelines are reasonable. You seem to do so in most of your comments.
2. In most cases, short comments don't work quite well on Hacker News (many counter examples exist, I'm describing a trend which I observe). This is not because HN'ers dislike discussion, they dislike a discussion that does not have scientific evidence (again, a trend), most already have a problem when someone says "based on my experience". Do with this observation what you will, it's just my observation which is biased as well.
I hope these two points will help you to improve your comments like these ones, because it is obvious that you have a lot of insightful things to offer. And HN would be a more fun place if we'd see more of that and less of "then get cancer and die young" type of comments.
If you want a private conversation about this, you can always email me (check my profile).
 https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html -- read the section "In Comments"
I understand that what I said was possibly ambiguous, but I was not actually suggesting to someone that they should get cancer. I was 'bookending' a story that they were implicitly telling, in an attempt to point out that "going for your dreams" can easily run off the rails due to circumstances out of your control, and that a reasonable person might rather spend their efforts building a safety net for themselves, so that they will be able to go after there dreams without worrying so much about such matters.
Unfortunately, the more effort I seem to put into a post, the less effort others tend to put into reading it, so we all walk a fine line between precision and conciseness, and sometimes we end up on the wrong side. I don't take it personally.
Haha, that isn’t how I saw it.
That’s a sad bookending :(
There's always a possibility of that happening, but you shouldn't let it at the forefront of your mind. Unless if it makes you appreciate every day more.
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
I've heard this story before and I love it, but there is an important point missing. The fisherman may one day find that he can no longer catch enough tuna in just a little while to support his family. At that point he may find himself in much worse shape; maybe he has to work a lot more, or commute into town to work at the factory, or even move someplace with more opportunity. The post-retirement banker does not have that problem. I think the banker would say that his over-work earlier in life has bought him optionality that the fisherman doesn't have.
I think about this in my own life. I don't want to be like the banker, deferring my real life into the future while focusing on work. But I also don't want to be like the fisherman. I want to strike a balance that allows me to live a fulfilling life while also using the fact that my skills are currently in high demand to but myself some optionality for a future in which they may not be.
I can't say that I agree completely with the message from this story, but I do think the point would be stronger if the last bit was changed to:
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to an exclusive coastal tourist village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandkids, take strolls with your third wife, go to an expensive place in the evenings where you could sip fancy wine and watch people who remind you of your old amigos play the guitar.”
> Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself
People keep repeating that advice, but finding something you love doing just for the work might be an endless chase, not unlike the chase after success and money.
Some of us actually feel that it is easier to chase money than it is to find work you really love.
I am so tired of people parroting "Do what you love."
Real life isn't a Disney movie. Doing what I love, I would be lucky to make $10k a year.
You know what else I love beside that? Making enough money to eat.
You know what I REALLY like, knowing that I'm making enough money now to GUARANTEE my dreams will come true.
Not scaping pennies together as a starting artist, crossing my fingers, and hoping that one day I get my break. No, I did that for 10 years. You know what I noticed? No one ever gets a break.
> Real life isn't a Disney movie. Doing what I love, I would be lucky to make $10k a year.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of people don't feel this way. Their solution is to increase their salary (and benefits) at the ballot box.
Or fortunately, depending on your sociopolitical views, assuming you're talking about universal basic income?
I think he meant more like minimum wage increases and health insurance mandates.
I'm talking about anything and everything that the many choose to take from the few.
Dollars are a social construction of disassociated trust of value, wherein your ability to establish rent grants you power over rentees. Votes are another way of expressing power, wherein your ability to establish a majority opinion grants you power over the minority. Seems like the equilibrium would be at the point where power expressed by the renting class is only just not quite able to override the power expressed by the majority opinion.
Where do I put my cross to make more money as a tea farmer?
Even worse. Doing something you love for work means you end up hating it for a lot of people. Then you spend your entire life drifting and finding nothing else you love.
I do something I hate enough to walk in with a sword and fight it every day.
I'm a bit mixed in this. I've actually had both experiences. I've turned two hobbies I loved intoy full time job.
The first one (magician) went as you stated, I ended up hating it, or atleast hating it as a job. It paid pretty well, but performing because I had to instead of wanted to made a big difference.
On the other hand though, I also took my hobby of hacking stuff into the my current career doing application security consulting and vuln research. Also pays quite well and I enjoy my job quite a bit, possibly even more than doing it as a hobby.
So with a sample size of me, that's 50/50 odds on finding something you love working out as a job you love. Not great, but imo not reason to atleast take a shot if your passion also happens to pay well, and is feasible.
For me it's about security and freedom, not "keeping up with the Joneses". I earn a good salary for the UK, even if it might look small compared to the US salaries. But I've been very careful not to inflate my lifestyle too much. I don't have an expensive car. I don't go on expensive holidays. I save approximately 40% of my take home pay. I feel I need to do this because I won't necessarily be employable long past 50 and I don't feel like I can buy a house or cohabitate with a spouse.
> But I've been very careful not to inflate my lifestyle too much. I don't have an expensive car. I don't go on expensive holidays.
That's what I noticed during my undergraduate years in the UK after growing up in continental Europe: "lifestyle" for most people in the UK from the young age is associated with spending money on material things and holidays, not pursuing life-long hobbies and interests.
In much of continental Europe people seem to be enjoying their lives a way more, despite often earning 2-3x lower salaries while doing similar jobs.
In my own country, even a person making 15k / year might have a second home in the countryside, where he spends every summer weekend with his friends and family.
The UK is very similar to the US, the culture is quite individualistic which leads to a consumerist outlook. You can opt out of that but you won't get much support, indeed people will mostly push you towards it. The rot set in with Thatcher and it's got steadily worse since then.
> a second home in the countryside, where he spends every summer weekend
So, material things and holidays? All that says is that those things are cheaper for people outside of the UK.
The second home is usually a hobby by itself that includes building, woodworking, gardening, some light plumbing and electrical stuff etc. It's very different than a hotel or Airbnb.
People without big salaries often have second homes because they built them themselves as a hobby over a long period of time on a plot of land they could afford.
> “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama
I like the quote but sorry the Dalai Lama never said it: http://thedamienzone.com/2011/10/12/dalai-lama-quote-on-face...
That's one way to look at it. Another is that one uses the early retirement as a driving goal that ultimately helps one grow. Yes, you may afford to retire and live mediocre if you want, but would you now, with your newly realized potential that the journey towards your previous goals helped you discover? For many that choose to continue, I guess it's that old saying "it is better to wear out than to rust out", the difference between those who work affording to retire comfortably in any moment and those who don't is the kind of work they do. That is the real prize worth pursuing. As regarding to publicly declared goal, it's just a good enough explanation to feed the inquisitive spirits. And it's more comfortable for them hearing that you have to work in order to make it (towards a different level than they do, but still, a shared experience there) instead of bragging that you don't have to crawl any more.
You can grow, but you'll experience growing pains your whole life. Maybe that is a fair tradeoff.
This. I left my job last month while making $500K/year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19135399. I realized that after I attained a basic level of financial security (bills on autopay & some savings), addition income stopped mattering for my satisfaction. I don’t intend to retire. Work gives me satisfaction, but I want to work on my terms and doing things that intrinsically motivate me. Trying to find satisfaction in earning as much as possible is an unachievable thing.
I like to start doing things, just because I want to, and do not have to stress about it being "likable" by others, and thus generating money.
I make some woodworking? No thinking about starting an instagram account, gathering audience, trying to sell, making a newsletter..
I travel? No need for me to publish travel hacks stuff just to fund my travelling.
We work in IT, we are very fortunate to make $$$. Let's work part time, and have more time for us, really for us.
Agreed. I'm at a stage in my life where my median friend probably is between 'just entering the workforce' and maybe 2 years of experience (from uni). One reoccurring idea in my mind right now is the notion of 'selling out'--what does the transition look like from "I'm happy living frugally like a college student" to prioritizing your career in your waking hours of your life? What does it look like to slowly convince yourself that just getting that next raise will finally make me happy (even though I have to sacrifice other things to do so)?
In my experience, even if you stay frugal, and I did, the main change comes from the job requiring full-time hours (and some weird culture stuff). I worked part-time in college and programming hasn't changed, but then I had daylight hours to walk outside, the freedom to stay home if I felt sick, etc. I started working F/T and almost immediately, the hour+ commute and not seeing daylight in winter rewired my brain. Suddenly, my mornings were spent preparing my lunch so I could go to work, my evenings cooking dinner and recovering from work, and on the weekends, I did everything except talk about work. (In those days my partner was still a student, and it made the contrast greater).
After the first year, my work had become my only source of pride; after the second, I was constantly wondering how to be better at work; three years after that, I engaged in a hobby for the first time in my adult life. It snuck up. I don't like money that much and I never made the conscious decision to prioritize my career; but it ate my life and I doubled down because it was all I had left.
The fact is, for most young adults, jobs pop into their life right on cue to replace the family they're no longer seeing and the dreams that have disappointed them (around 25 where that first crisis hits). If you're 25 and lonely do not go to work happy hours. If you're bored don't take work home. When your boss tells you you're very promising and he can see you grow in this company, tell yourself you're an interesting person who's had a life full of stories that people would love to get to know. The best promises are the ones you make yourself.
Well that one is easy: Get a girlfriend, like each other enough that you move in together, have a child. Boom, your most attractive option is now a decent, steady and slowly increasing pay check every month.
I found that fortunately right out of school I was very content- I had roommates, but I enjoyed that lifestyle. I had enough to put away each month into retirement and outside savings accounts and life was good.
Then I got a serious girlfriend. We moved in together. We were getting a bit older and eating dinner on the couch because our tiny apartment couldn't fit a table grew old. We got a bigger/nicer place. This was ok, I was making about 2x what I was when I first got out of school. Life was good.
We got married, we hit 30. We were tired of being at the whims of landlords and ever steeply increasing rents in our area. We bought a condo, with the intent on staying put more than 3 years (as opposed to moving every 1-2 like we had previously. It was a big scary commitment to take on, and it was right in the middle of the financial crisis. My comp stagnated for 3 years as I was at a company that at the end of each year said "well you know, money is tight..." Overall though, we could afford our place, our savings was growing, and as we started leaving the crisis, my retirement and brokerage accounts started to bloom. I eventually ditched the shitty company and joined a legit tech company for a 50% total comp increase. At one point, all my other savings exceeded what I owed on my mortgage, which was a big relief. I life was good.
We have been married about 5 years, our condo is great, but not big enough for a family. Our neighborhood, which we love, and while was one considered "bad" is now quite desirable as people realized the commute into the core of the city was quite easy. Property values are through the roof. I DREAD the notion of going back to living in a check to check fashion. An upgrade to a forever home in our area is going to cost us 2-3M. My wife and I both work relatively long hours. We either face moving out of the city and into the burbs, but trading that for a long commute, or having a mortgage that could potentially ruin us and cause great stress. I like my job, but I did get a call from a competing company, where I could potentially 1.5x my comp again... life is good?
I hope this gives some perspective on how the salary treadmill happens. We are in a very high cost of living area/tech hub, this would look a lot different if I was in the midwest, but I think this path is pretty typical for those living on the coasts these days.
I'm in kinda that position (keeping the condo not having more than 1 kid, though). And honestly the sad thing is the kids don't care. Growing up my parents did the whole, salary treadmill, long hours, 30% travel, Saturday conference call business. The money's gone. The vacations forgotten. It kind of sucks nobody cooked in my home and I had to learn how to boil pasta at 17. I don't have college debt, but it's not like I use my degree anyway. I'm not sure all the stuff my parents doubtless told themselves they were doing for me was worth it.
You’re alive, it sounds like your life is pretty stable, and you obviously understand the value of providing for your own kid(s). I’d say your parents spent their time well, even if they (like all of us) made some mistakes along the way.
One of my favorite sayings is that every single new parent, upon arriving home with their first child, immediately realizes that they have no clue what they’re supposed to do now. We’ve all been there, and so were our parents.
Those who choose to try and give their kids a good life at their own expense are always doing something right.
It just becomes the new norm because of the people who surround you, there's no need to convince yourself. Your current norm as a student living relatively frugally is also shaped according to your context. There's a point where you realize: "My norm has changed." You might not find yourself believing the next raise will make you happy. But it might help with the feeling that you're treated unfairly.
Just for the sake of variety, I started off as a promising young software developer but let idealism and thirst for adventure get in the way :) Besides loving to code, having skills in high demand has allowed me to travel and explore the world for the past 20 years.
1997-1998 - $32k - Programmer for State government
1998-1999 - $86k - Consultant, Phoenix & NYC
2000-2004 - $32k - Software developer for NGO, Amsterdam
2004-2006 - $28k - Developer & Network Admin throughout Asia for NGO
2006-2007 - $14k - Independent remote software consultant while studying Mandarin full-time in Beijing
2007-2008 - $10k - Manager of ceramics studio in Jingdezhen, China
2008-2017 - $14k - Studio Ceramicist in Jingdezhen, part-time remote developer
2018 - $38k - Part-time remote software consulting while pursuing an MFA, Alfred, NY
As someone who cares more about adventure than $$$ and just founded my own NGO, mad respect.
2014: -$10k - Founded a startup.
2015: $35k - Moved to SV, raised a small seed.
2016: $54k - Running my startup in SV.
2017: $60k - Remote contracting from Scotland.
2018: $25k - Remote contracting. Founded an NGO in Europe, almost all of my contracting money goes to supporting my work with that.
2019: $20k - Remote contracting + full time on my NGO. Living in Serbia to stay close to the action.
Any good link on how NGOs work/how to start on in Europe?
Are there unified E.U. rules about it or does it change from country to country ?
Don't have links on hand, but it changes from country to country. We started ours in Sweden, where my cofounder is from. It was pretty easy compared to the 503(C) process in the US: create a governing document, put together a board, hold your first meeting, apply for organization status, apply for charity status.
Happy to talk more if you want- my email is in my profile.
While I haven't lived in China and Amsterdam, I haven't exactly deprived myself of experiences, and I'll make your 20 years worth of income this year, and last, and next.
Good for you, but I can't imagine risking my options for the later portion of my life like that.
this is the life I want. do you have a more detailed write-up on your life anywhere?
if u want to try it out, there are lots of opportunities in the non-profit sector for IT people: https://www.idealist.org/en/?functions=TECHNOLOGY_IT&type=JO... you can also check the websites of organizations you are interested in working with, for example amnesty has a "technology and human rights team": https://careers.amnesty.org/vacancy/technologist-technology-...
Sounds like a lot of fun stories. Do you have any regrets?
definitely not! but the trade-off, of course, is that you'll most likely always be poor, never own a house, and never retire (not that i'd want to)
theres a cost for everything we do in life. we all have same rate of passing us by time just the choice how to spend energy in that time.
You are living my dream my man
23 - 45K (University sysadmin, east coast) 26 - 60k (University research systems programmer, east coast) 31 - 65k (SWE, small IHV, remote) 32-42 -- incremental raises up to $145K (senior SWE, same company) 43 - 425k (Senior SWE, Google, Mountain View CA) 44 - 390k (Senior SWE, Google, Mountain View CA) 45 - 350k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote) 46 - 400k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote) 47 - 525k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote) 48 - 600k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote) 49 - 800k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)
What kind of genius does one have to be to earn $800k? Or do you possess rare knowledge and connections in your industry?
probably TC, including stocks accumulated that got more value over time.
AFAIK Netflix doesn't give stocks.
According to their website :
And what's really freaking cool:
Each employee chooses each year how much of their compensation they want in salary versus stock options. You can choose all cash, all options, or whatever combination suits you
There are no compensation handcuffs (vesting) requiring you to stay in order to get your money. People are free to leave at any time, without loss of money, and yet they overwhelmingly choose to stay. We want managers to create conditions where people love being here, for the great work and great pay.
What do they give then? They must have some other sort of compensation other than the base salary...
Total Compensation (stocks, bonuses, etc.)
What does TC mean?
Total Compensation: salary + shares + other perks
Damn dude, what type of learning did you do from 32-42.
Yeah, also what company gives that many raises!?
Normally it seems it's 2-3% and if you want more you jump ship...
Having been to 3 corporations, all of them offer a raise of 7% - 10% every year. I'm not sure if I'm lucky but I thought this is a norm.
Yeah, you might be in the rare - and lucky! - case...I've worked for numerous large enterprises in northeast U.S. (in different industries), and all of them were 2~3% increases per year max.; and in some years such as during recession, they were 0~1%. Kudos to you good sir!
I'm in Europe and inflation is like 1% here so maybe that is why it's always been really low?
But a 10% raise is def. not a norm here - I've only gotten that when I was promoted and when I had a market correction raise (i.e. not the usual annual raise).
I've taken > 10% y/y for the past 4 years. I had one year in there where I was being jerked around as a sort of Mr. Fix-It between multiple teams and doing much more than just proving my worth. That year I took about 25% in pay raises _and_ negotiated cash bonuses for myself and two other team members who were carrying that product. I've nearly doubled my salary with my current employer over the past 4 years.
How did you get a remote job at Netflix? Were you hired as remote or did you get an offer and then negotiate remote? I will eventually need to move away from the Bay Area to take care of family but the company I work for (FB) has almost no remote options and no offices near my family.
800k remote at Netflix?! Wow. Respect.
Edit. Saw you are remote for netflix. Can you expound which location you work out of? And where the team is located? Am amazed by 800k.
I assume the 800k is because of vested stock with strong share growth.
An actual Netflixer can chime in, but as far as I know from friends who work there, Netflix is almost all base, no stock and no large bonus. My friends are data engineers with 3-5 YOE making about 400k base upon their hire, so I believe it. They thought folks in the ML group were in the 700-800k range. All hearsay though, so please take with grain of salt.
Ex-Netflix here. I left at the tail end of 2016 & was making 320k then. No bonuses, but they did give you [an additional] 5% of your salary in options at I think 40% of the strike price. I assume it is still that policy.
Can you share your friends backgrounds that go to data engineers?
wow, you really want to find out who these people are.
I mean I'm interested too, I thought my 150k was good but holy fucking god...
Maybe he just wants to find out if MSc in Data Science is worth it.
interested as well lol
At 800K, I am extremely curious how your work-life balance is? I am assuming after an age and salary number, a lot of your time goes into managerial tasks and at the rate you are compounding on salaries, I would bet it will be a hectic WLB. Further out of curiosity, at what age do you plan to retire?
how typical is that to be making 800k as an swe? Or even 425k - 800k? And what can one do to reach that point faster?
According to the itnernet if you aren't making that by 35, you're a failure.
800k is no easy feat, at Google OP would have to have been Senior Staff or Principal, and there aren't many of those. Unless OP joined early and is including stock appreciation, then that would be more reasonable.
Wow! Curious what kind of hours you've had to work for that sort of increase.
Do these amounts included RSU, bonus, etc? I'm curious what the base salary would be.
Netflix's salary philosophy is "top of personal market" and they are almost all base. If they want you, they aim not to lose you because you got a higher offer.
These are unbelievably high salaries. In Germany such salaries are possible only at management positions (not talking about IB) of large companies only. I visited US 3 years back and I found everything better - clothing cheaper, food more delicious, people friendlier and houses bigger. Yes you don't have social security and have poverty issues but I would still be in US than in Europe considering the amount of money you guys make. Comparing all this, it seems like we're are being exploited here.
I work in a management consulting firm (not in top3). Salary progression is as follows (all in euros before taxes): 2010-2012- Ausbildung + odd jobs - 30k 2012- 55k - full time job 2015-65k- full time job 2017-75k- full time job 2019-85k- full time job
I'm interested in making huge money and retiring early, but seems less certain to do that at the moment. Compared to you and many others here, I feel like I should act soon now, to reach such levels. But actually I don't know what I should do. Any suggestions?
Europe is all about quality of life raises rather than cash raises. My passion is acrobatics and I negotiated less working hours rather than a big pay raise. This year I'll do partner acrobatics teacher training for a month in spain and still extra time left over for staffing a meditation retreat over christmas. I'm in Austria and my progression is as follows. (All of below hours are flex time, all overtime can be redeemed as time off at a later date) (* is negotiated raise)
2011 - Moved from Canada to Austria fresh out of college
2011 - 26k€ 38.5H/W Company 1
2012 - 31k€* 38.5H/W Company 1
2013 - 35k€* 38.5H/W Company 1
2014 - 37k€* 38.5H/W Company 1
2015 - 46k€* 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month
2016 - 49k€* 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month
2017 - 50k€ 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month
2018 - 35k€* 30H/W Company 2
2019 - 42k€ 30H/W Company 3
A few notes -> Taxes are very high, but so is support. I have no worries health care, dental, etc everything is covered. 5 weeks paid vacation a year, unlimited sick days. I end up with about 1000€/month after rent/food/entertainment and I live very comfortably. I'm not rich but it works well for me.
I also moved to Graz, Austria 5 years ago for FW development. What brought you here all the way from Canada and what's your field of activity if I may ask? You aren't also in Graz aren't you? :)
I've also noticed this BS in some contracts of Austrian companies that include mandatory overtime or worse, all-in contracts. I tried to negotiate my way out of that but got funny looks and some said that'll hinder any career progression in that company as that's seen as not being a team player.
I moved here originally for love, then stayed because it feels like home now. I'm in Linz, I started in Testing, moved to back end in Java and am now full stack + devops. Still spend most of my time hacking away at Java on the back end though. ^^ I pass through Graz every now and then, I have friends there and there's an amazing acrobatics community there.
That's a cool story. Don't know if you'll read this but hit me up, it's cool to meet new expat techies in Austria. My e-mail is in my profile. If you're ever around Graz you're invited to a coffee.
The mandatory overtime is a thing in Japan, too, though it's more like 30-40 hours built into the salary, not 10. You start getting paid 1.25x with your 41st hour of OT in a month.
Salaries are Europe-like, too. Having experienced all three, I'd move from Japan to Europe for the QOL increase before moving to the US to get more money, I think.
Don‘t focus on the huge money aspect. There is a lot of selection bias here, only few people make this much outside of some very particular areas/companies.
Comparing Germany (where I’m also from) and the US, I’d say that Germany still gives much higher standard of living at the same salary, especially due to lower rents in the big cities.
FYI my progression
120k joining top3 mgmt consulting after PhD, stayed for 4yrs, left when being promoted to project leader (200-250k)
200k in mgmt position at e-commerce company in Berlin
Anyway, I think money matters way less than happiness in the job and a good work-life-balance, at least when you have no debt and aren’t struggling financially (=there is enough money left for vacations and some savings)
> 200k in mgmt position at e-commerce company in Berlin
For the context: this is an insane amount of money in Berlin, which used to be one of the poorest capitals in Western Europe. Most software engineers make 60-70k.
> after PhD,
A quick question: does it matter from which university one received his PhD in Germany?
I read multiple comments, that unlike in the US and in the UK, most universities in Germany are considered more or less equal.
But wouldn't a MSc / PhD from Humboldt University of Berlin be considered above a MSc / PhD from University of Potsdam when applying for jobs and negotiating the compensation?
In Germany the university playing field is much more level than elsewhere. While certain universities stand out in certain areas, it’s not a deciding factor in most cases. Many of the small town universities are actually quite renowned.
The big divide is Universität vs Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences), which are in many fields considered inferior unless they have special profile (eg highly international).
Look, you're right about happiness, but let me make 200k/year for about 5 years and then I'll publicly share your view. Also, that's Berlin; the situation in NRW (excluding D & K) is a bit different. Currently earning 1/4 from what you earn, with 6 years experience in the same company.
Did you take a pay cut moving from consulting to e- commerce company? Did it make your work life balance better?
Yes I agree that wanting more money can result in frustration as in Germany such salaries are not that common outside of management positions or specific companies, but I have some plans to fulfill - buying a Porsche; travelling the world; opening an NPO in a developing country, employing literate and teaching underprivileged, etc..
With the pennies that I'm earning, I wont be able to save as much, wont be able to retire as early as I would like to and, most importantly, the impact of final initiative won't be that high. So for me it is important that I earn huge..anyway, it's a choice of thinking, I'm happy with my life even now, just not quenched with the money I have..
Yes and yes. The work life balance was one primary motivation among other things.
I don’t have aspirations to buy a Porsche and I would have taken the job for much less. I was genuinely surprised when I got the offer.
This is a lot of money and some massive savings you're talking about. How many hours are you working per week ? (I'm asking this from the other side of the Rhine where such wages are phenomenal).
About 50. Some colleagues on the same level work more but I’m just too tired after that.
Out of curiosity, what did you study since I've never heard anyone in Germany earning so much out of university?
Thanks for this very informative post! Here in Japan, salaries are much more Europe-like, whereas hours are (I suspect) US-like -- the worst of both worlds!
My pay as a non-software-engineer doing a lot of Excel monkey work in the back office of a fintech company. I'll use yen for consistency; today the exchange rate is about 110 yen per US dollar.
1999-2001 3.6M base
2002-2006 3.6M base + 1.0M (night shift bonus)
2007-2008 4.2M base + 1.0M (night shift bonus continues)
2009-2015 4.5M base + 700k bonus + 1.0M night bonus
2016 4.5M base + 300k bonus + 500k night bonus (rotating shifts; fewer nights) + 200k vested stock options (issued 2012, vested after 4 years)
2017 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 500k night + 200k stock
2018 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 1.0M night (worked nights all the time again) + 80k stock (stock value plummeted)
2019 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 90k stock (no night shifts anymore)
I'm not a native speaker of Japanese, and have no desire to go into middle management, so I suspect things will continue as they are now indefinitely. There's a lot of pressure to reduce salaries and we have onerous KPI demands: five to seven every half year, all of which must be met to maintain salary. It gets harder and harder to keep coming up with ideas for them as the years pass, and I'm thinking of giving up my full-time hard-to-fire status and becoming a contract worker. Bonuses and stock options would disappear but stock options earned in past years would continue to vest. And my stress level would drop by quite a bit!
I'd say tech salaries highly depend on your company and even the type of position you're in.
At foreign FAANG (which means Google and Amazon here) and investment banks traditionally you can expect upwards of 10M JPY/y (total compensation) for moderately senior engineering positions and even over 15M for more senior positions. But it's not just foreign companies. Some Japanese companies like Mercari and Fast Retailing are now in an engineer hiring craze and they're offering highly competitive salaries.
My personal history in Japan: 2015-2016 8M JPY 2017 12M JPY (renegotiated my salary) 2018 13M JPY 2019 14M JPY
That's a pretty impressive bump you negotiated! Same company, or a different one?
I'm in fintech too, but I'm not an engineer; more like a dime-a-dozen Excel monkey. Most people I know doing programming are terribly paid (<250k per month); they make even less than generic office workers, who make over 1600 yen per hour.
Having entered my 40s and not being in management, I suspect that my chances for a pay increase have long passed. I went to graduate school in my spare time (when I was working nights) and might try going into academics if I can't take company life any more.
Do you expect to see increases beyond that 14M or do you think that's the cap?
You know, that the salary m America is partly so high, because a lot of it goes to retirement, paying back your university etc.
Best plan for sure is :study in germany for almost free, live in US and enjoy a lot of money.
Sure, it is kinda abusive toward the system. But as long it is possible...
In Austria, the upper end for senior developers seems to be 70k. Architect roles seem to range from 70k to somewhere below 100k...
Even big companies often have a fixed upper limit, like "we can't give him more than 65k" and they rather wait many months until they find a good one who will work for that money or rather hire "IT consultants" from Accenture/CapGemini etc. that cost more than twice as much. It's kind of sad.
I've noticed the salary cap is quite popular in Austria as a wage suppression technique to keep salaries low acroos the board and not generate competition among companies for employees. Are your numbers valid for Vienna or Graz?
I only know about Vienna.
It's improving a lot in Austria right now I feel like, there's huge demand. I have friends that thanks to big bonuses are taking home ~100k€ for developer positions. (They are very good at what they do)
Out of curiosity, what field/jobs are those 100k/year people doing, if I may ask?
Mostly Java Backend or full stack, they have a niche in a smaller company and get noticed for delivering great results.
100k for an employed developer position is very, very far away from the median.
How much is 70k after taxes in Austria?
43.500 a year, that's 12x3626. Keep in mind we do have "free" health care/insurance included. This is a great income and will allow you a comfortable life including vacations.
Salary growth rate hasn’t been that high in Germany for the last 10 years. Also, 85k€ is pretty decent. Way more than the average salary: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/75731/umfrage...
Although compared to tech jobs in the US, it seems pretty low (but the numbers here are also biased).
In Germany, your best bet apparently is a management position or having your own business. This, of course, takes time. But it’s also very rewarding.
There is very little concept of thrift left in the United States, so if you make a huge salary the entire economy is designed for you to spend it all and more.
What do I mean by that? The more you make, the more banks aggressively offer you credit. You have no idea how many people I know that make several hundred thousand a year, but are crippled by debt.
Not just mortgages on big houses, if you make a lot of money banks literally mail you forms saying "Sign this and mail it back and we will deposit $100,000 into your bank account, Pre-Approved."
I agree with the other person who commented and said it would be better to live in the US for 10 or 20 years and then return to Germany to retire.
It’s a matter of personal discipline. There is an enormous variety and quantity of inexpensive calories available as well. Some people take excessive advantage of that and others don’t.
I get those same credit line offers and just don’t respond. We live in the same house we bought 12 years ago when I was making around half of what I make now. We drive our cars for 8-15 years and usually buy them used (my cheap electric LEAF was bought new only because of the $10K in government incentives made buying used make no sense, all others were used).
Frugality can easily be done; it does take some discipline. I see colleagues with $100K kitchen renovations and two leased luxury automobiles. I am quite sure we’re headed to a happier and more secure retirement, early if we like, but more likely simply flush and setting our kids up for a good financial grounding and head-start.
> I found everything better
That is because everyone in the US lives above their means. I am astounded at how frivolously my acquaintances live, despite having huge student and car loan payments. Home ownership is also worryingly low among urban youth.
The trend towards buying SUVs is IMO another sign of this. The coupe / hatch is way cheaper, but they must have the SUV despite not needing it as much.
HN is the exception, with a lot more people being fans of a minimalistic and careful approach to spending.
Just curious, why don't you move ?
Well moving, as much as i would like to do, is not that easy..I live with my wife who is also working. She is not comfortable in working in English. We have bought a house in south of Germany which has to be paid off..uncertainty in jobs and hire & fire culture is pretty scary..also, we live close to our parents and extended family, where we have lots of fun over the weekends..
I am Asian but was born and raised in Australia. I have a Bachelor of Science and I work as a web developer, e.g. Spring, ASP.NET, React, WordPress, Drupal, etc.
2013 - 23yo - $45K - First job - Magento developer building eCommerce websites for clients.
2014 - 24yo - $54K
2015 - 25yo - $70K - Second job - Magento / Shopify / WordPress developer, building eCommerce websites for clients.
2016 - 26yo - $75K
2017 - 27yo - $80K - Third job - Full stack web developer - Predominantly using Spring and React to build bespoke solutions for clients.
2018 - 28yo - $85K
I don't begrudge people with their crazy salaries but I do get frustrated that I can't find success myself. I'm really struggling with savings and building up a nest egg for retirement.
Just my 2 cents...If you want to make significantly more, focus on the business problems you can solve, not the technology you know/use. I’m not an “X” developer. I’m a business person that happens to use code to add value.
If this is outside your comfort zone, look for some basic books on business and internalize the fact that until you can tie your knowledge to dollars coming through the door, you likely won’t make significant jumps in pay.
There are numerous posts that have been shared on HN on how to make more money as a consultant/contractor/freelance developer. They are almost 100% relevant to company employees.
Could you elaborate a bit more?
It's hard to realize what problems a business faces without being involved intimately in the industry.
How can one seek out these problems and begin to work on solutions?
Would you mind sharing those posts?
I’m not saying this is something you can change tomorrow. It could be months, could be years. Really depends on how quickly you can learn the business you are involved in and where you are starting from. I don’t know you or your situation so this advice is extremely general. Focus on what the problems are your business/clients have which cost them money or find a way to answer a question like “if we do this it costs X and we make Y.” Make sure you drive those types of initiatives and get your name attached to them but that doesn’t always mean doing it alone.
The posts are pretty easily searchable and even if you don’t find the ones I’m thinking of, the process of searching and filtering on its own is important. One thing I had to learn the hard way is that, with a few rare exceptions, no one is going to be your teacher/mentor. Everyone is too busy with their own shit.
Ultimately, if you want to know more or make more, it comes down to finding ways to justify that to the people that can make that decision. Given you make around $85k/year you need to look at the people several years ahead of you in the career track, if one exists, at your company.
If your goal is to make more, you need to be aggressive. Invest in yourself in as many ways as you can. Learn more about software. Start by expanding beyond “web developer”. learn back-end programming, databases, etc. Talk to the people in your company that do sales, marketing, operations, HR. Learn as much as you can about your business or one you want to move into. Experience trumps everything. If you aren’t getting experience that makes you more valuable, you need to move on.
My last piece of advice is more of a warning. A lot of how much you make comes down to luck. Did the interviewer like you for the highly paid job? Did the team you are a part of get the credit for a major win for the company? Or other things that aren’t always within your control. The important thing is that you keep moving forward. Looking for opportunities and driving things to completion. Hard for me to not phrase this in terms of finance...you want to constantly be buying call options on yourself. So that new thing you learn/project you complete that gets your name out there? It is a call option on yourself. Most of those options expire worthless, but hopefully a few pay off big time.
Wow this is great advice, thank you I appreciate the time and effort you took in writing that.
I have a few follow up questions if you dont mind.
>If your goal is to make more, you need to be aggressive. Invest in yourself in as many ways as you can. Learn more about software. Start by expanding beyond “web developer”. learn back-end programming, databases, etc. Talk to the people in your company that do sales, marketing, operations, HR. Learn as much as you can about your business or one you want to move into. Experience trumps everything. If you aren’t getting experience that makes you more valuable, you need to move on.
Its so easy to learn in isolation, but how can you actually turn it into profit? How can you quantify your skills? How does one get good at tha?
Also, why the call option analogy, do you work in finance (just curious)?
In case you happen to see this: The commenter replying to you here is right, but that approach also seems really overwhelming. Something actionable but I think a bit easier along the same lines: take projects or seek opportunities to work closely with your product managers, or whatever your company calls the people whose job is to figure out what the customer / market wants from your product. Basically the people they make the most fun of in Office Space - "I talk to the customer so the developers don't have to" - are really important and great people to learn from.
Web development and other easy domains like iOS / Android are quickly going the way of other craft jobs of the past: Blue collar.
If you want to make above average salaries you're going to have to specialize. Find something that is both challenging (to reduce barrier to entry) and niche (to demand a higher salary). In other words - specialize. Staying as a generic web/ios/android dev is only going to guarantee that your salary becomes more and more diluted by the avalanche of developers entering the field. The barrier to entry is just too low.
>other easy domains like iOS / Android
In my department, mobile is the bottleneck for every PM's ambitions and the only speciality where recruiting never even approaches headcount/budget. It's possible that the low end contract labor market is flooded or something, but iOS and Android devs who can pass a whiteboard are worth their weight in gold.
I really don't agree with this. I'm a 27 year old JS-focused web dev @150k base.
I understand that the bootcamps and proliferation of web-teaching schools have made web dev seem like the easy thing, and I agree that what I do is less complex than these $800k-earning data engineers, but web development in 2019 is no joke. The same goes for iOS/Android.
The types of things these companies are trying to build are not just "slap it together in a week and done" type projects and it takes experience to architect and engineer them effectively. Your average bootcamp grad is not able to do it yet.
iOS/Android/Web development forms the 3 primary portals to a company's clients, and as long as that's true, the value of such skillsets will remain high.
Who is a data engineer here making $800k?
I'm sorry, but anyone who says any domain is easy either hasn't written real code in it, or is making gross generalizations about entry level code monkey positions that doesn't reflect the entirety of the space.
I don't care if it's games, web front end, back end, databases, machine learning, mobile, embedded literally doesn't matter, if you think you can brush off any of them like that, you haven't built something substantial with them.
Are there varying levels of difficulty across niches? Sure, but one person can slap a few python libraries together in an afternoon and call it AI/machine learning, and a 3-5 person team can also spend 6 months building a monster, fined tuned native iOS application.
There's challenges everywhere, it's a matter of finding them.
I get your point, but it's objectively false. If your same argument cannot be made for any domain, than you can't simply make it for domains of your choosing.
Certain careers DO have levels of challenge, as well as other barriers to entry, that increase the value of workers. You could not argue to me that flipping burgers at McDonalds is hard. Within the domain of computer science, you simply cannot argue to me that generic CRUD web/ios/android is hard.
And you can't argue that the extent of web/ios/android development is generic CRUD. I'm not attempting to make it for domains of my choosing, I'm making it for the entirety of computer science related domains.
Of course not. I think it goes without saying that within any technical domain is the capacity for a top ~5% performer, who understand such a depth of that domain that it becomes a specialization in itself.
I'm merely stating that the domain itself, is not by default, a high enough barrier to entry to merit any kind of above average salary. Of course if you're a much higher performer, with a much deeper knowledge base within that domain, then your pay will likely reflect that.
I have never encountered this. Good mobile developers are in extremely high demand.
What are some examples of challenging and niche fields? How can one do research to find fields like this that they also enjoy? As well as realize whether they have any marketable potential?
I just walked away from an offer at a React shop in Manhattan for 200K TC. There's plenty of specialization available still.
The only thing this means is that development quality goes down as salaries get lower though.
this is simply wrong, don't listen to this.
I am in Australia as well, I started on a similar base as you. I told employers that I was willing to learn and do anything. Most the stuff I have worked on is back-end services.
2010 - 25yo - 41k - First job - .net dev (internal services / sql).
2011 - 26yo - 41.1k
2012 - 27yo - 65k - Second job - job advertised as .net became pseudo COBOL dev.
2013 - 28yo - 80k - moved more in to tech lead / manager role.
2014 - 29yo - 86k - Third job - .net web dev (webforms / mvc).
2015 - 30yo - 86k
2016 - 31yo - 163k - COBOL / .net + odds and ends
2017 - 32yo - 163k
2018 - 33yo - 170k
As others have said, technology really isn't the thing that will drive your increase in remuneration. It is understanding client requirements, creating business solutions, being able to communicate said solutions.
Was it hard to get into a COBOL role? I am interested in moving that way, was driven to Coldfusion under the excitement of working on challenging code. Naturally the next progression is COBOL.
Oh man you hear some silly numbers being thrown around when it comes to COBOL...
Are these US or Australian dollars?
Look into the E-3 visa if you want to earn an SF/NYC salary. It's only available to Australians and we never use the entire quota.
Just chiming in to second all of this. Best combination of comp, culture & growth opportunities in my career.
Disclaimer: am a hiring manager at Atlassian, so obviously I am biased (though currently hiring in the US market).
Sounds sort of inline with me (Melbourne):
2014/2015 - 23 - $50K - $70K | Fraud Analyst using C#/Python/SQL
2016/2017 - 25 - $90K | Teradata/SQL Developer
2018 - 26 - $70K | SQL Developer and Coldfusion/Java
I switched companies in 2018 to be a little closer to home which resulted in a substantial paycut.
I feel your struggle with savings, buying a house in Melbourne is definitely not easy.
I couldn't care less about salary if I could work remote.
> 2018 - 28yo - $85K
I assume these are AUD. You don't say where in Aus you're based, but it's not terrible at that age, you're still some way off peak, it's slightly above average.
Average Full Time Ordinary Time Earnings Q2 2018 State Average Annual Wage Tasmania $71,718 South Australia $75,369 Queensland $80,304 Victoria $80,610 New South Wales $83,517 Northern Territory $86,762 Western Australia $90,496 Capital Territory $94,224
Do you work in Australia as well? If so, Ignoring US even, you've got 5 years exp and you're making $85k AUD. That's not high for Australia. Is that including Super?
The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads.
> The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads
Which larger tech companies?
I'm self employed and have worked 100% remote for around 5 years, so am a bit out of touch. However, I have close friends in senior positions at major tech companies in Melbourne (REA, Xero etc.) and $120k for grads sadly does not align with what I've heard from them, closer to $70k (AUD) for a grad seems to be the norm.
> closer to $70k (AUD) for a grad seems to be the norm
Which by all accounts is a fantastic wage for someone fresh out of Uni -- nothing to sneeze at. Don't get discouraged keep at it, you'll get there.
It's absolutely nothing to sneeze at when comparing yourself to the rest of Australian society. Certainly got to be thankful to be in the industry.
However, it's a surprisingly weak effort by Australian tech companies to attract high quality talent. My first full-time software development job, almost 10 years ago and without a degree, was $70k. That was at your run-of-the-mill medium sized enterprise consulting firm.
Not REA, they offer really low.
I'm talking about Atlassian, Canva, Google, AWS, IMC, Optiver.
> The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads.
That's some nonsense. Could you drop some names for 'Graduate X' which has that kind of pay scale?
With that being said, it's quite possible to earn 150k+ within 4-5 years in Melbourne. Just be smart about it, listen out for what technologies are trending because inevitably they will be the most numerous and with the highest chance to score a well paying role -- especially if you have your ahead of the influx of developers in X language.
By all accounts I'm not especially talented and I have done so.
PS. If you want $$ learn Salesforce, the money which comes along with knowing that system is freakin craziness.
Not nonsense at all. I answered with a list of companies.
I got offered $150k+ at Zendesk Melbourne out of uni, but that was a special situation. But also I literally did get that offer so no, 120k is not "nonsense".
You just stated that it was an exceptional circumstance and now we're saying that it's normal. You played your cards right and got out on top, that's great - congrats.
I can tell you however, that is not a normal run-of-the-mill pay-scale for a Uni graduate.
Yeah it's not run of the mill, but great graduate candidates can absolutely get $120K+, so it puts into perspective the salary of the thread's OP, who had like 5 years experience.
You get paid 3 times as much working in the US. You also get treated well rather than as a cost centre which was my experience back in Aus.
I'm an Australian developer earning triple that+stocks on top at one of the FAANG. Trump, guns and shitty healthcare don't affect you day to day in the states. The E3 visa for Australians to work in the US is trivial.
The funny thing is that Sydney real estate is comparable to silicon valley despite no one earning anynear as much.
+1 I'm not doing much more different than I was when I left Australia, but went from 130K-ish AUD (inc super+bonus) to 260K-ish USD (inc bonus+stocks) = 370AUD in the last few years. The taxes are significantly lower on these amounts in the US as well (at least in Seattle where there's no income tax).
Not that funny for those of us in Sydney haha.
Where do you live?
Perth, very similar to your stats.
2016 60k First Job
2017 70k Second Job
Some context: PhD in EE, but spend most of my time coding.
Since 2016, I’ve been working in SV for a company that pays engineers all cash, a modest bonus, and no stock. I like the work and people, but I feel like I’m leaving a lot of money on the table.
2011: $100k, industry R&D lab, VA 2012: $150k, “”, “” 2013: $150k, “”, “” 2014: $0, self-employed and didn’t turn a profit 2015: $100k, academic researcher, Midwest 2016: $160k, industry R&D, SV 2017: $165k, “”, “” 2018: $170k, “”, “”
Almost anywhere else in the country, I’d be making a considerable amount of money. In SV, it doesn’t feel that way. Myself and most of my (unmarried) coworkers are in our 30s-40s and living in studio apartments. I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me), and they managed without college educations.
I’ve recently tried making the jump into a FAANG company or unicorn, but so far no luck. One company was willing to give feedback: I don’t have enough experience with large scale systems. It’s tough, because I’ve aged out of junior positions, but I guess I lack the right experience for experienced positions. Still have a couple irons in the fire though.
Honestly, time to leave SV if you want to provide for a family. I'm in Atlanta. 10 years experience, 135k base, 150k total comp (401k and bonus). You can easily provide what you parents provides you here for 100k salary, which can be easily had. No one will judge you if you don't have large scale systems experience.
As a potentially helpful data point, I've occasionally been approached for senior technical roles in Atlanta, at large non-tech companies, where they've opened with $600-700k total comp. While I've never seriously pursued a job in Atlanta, that market apparently has at least some willingness to pay well for high-end technical talent that I would not have expected.
Are you open to sharing which companies? I've looked extensively in Atlanta and haven't found anything near SV comp. Square was the highest that I found.
Are those CTO/VP Eng level roles?
Ignoring the actual numbers because of cost of living, an EE with coding experience would be doing far better here on Florida's eastern coast. That "studio apartments" bit is horrifying.
My coworkers and I seem to do lots better. I've seen my coworkers use a single income to buy: a condo on the beach, a new McMansion, 11 acres with farm animals and shooting, waterfront property with access to the ocean, waterfront property for an airboat into marshlands, and lots of toys. I went for a simple house, 3500 square feet on 0.38 acres and now fully paid off, within walking distance of work. I also had 11 children and bought 3 cars.
I'll take a hopeful guess that an EE with coding experience might enjoy assembly language. If so, maybe I can help get you into a more family-friendly situation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19284153
> I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me), and they managed without college educations.
It depends where you live. That's probably possible on £30k in the UK including various benefits, certainly on £50k, as long as you live somewhere sensible.
What are the non-housing costs you need?
In 2008 a couple with 2 kids spent, per week:
£320 a week, or £1400 a month. That's £1800 a month after inflation 
Food and drink £103.53 Clothing and footwear £29.26 Household goods and services £27.11 Personal goods and services (inc health) £27.39 Transport £35.02 Social and cultural activities £90.08
Housing costs say £650 a month for a mortgage 
£2.5k a month, or a net of £30k, that's a single income of £42k a year 
You'll also get £1800 in child benfit.
If you have larger outgoings, say 30% more to £2400 a month plus housing, you're looking at a net of £36k, or gross of £52k 
(Marginal tax £50k-£60k is 69% though so there's not much point earning more than that, until you're past 60k and it drops back to 51%)
 https://www.in2013dollars.com/uk/inflation/2008?amount=1400  https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-70111...  https://listentotaxman.com/42000?plan=2  https://listentotaxman.com/52000?plan=2
> I don’t have enough experience with large scale systems.
I'm frustrated for you. This is a dumb reason to say no to someone. "Large systems" are a solved problem and i dont think anyone is working on some system that cant be handled. I work at one of this scale companies, there's nothing special about, people jerking them selves off.
> 2015: $100k, academic researcher, Midwest
This is more than some tenured research faculty. How the heck did you make so much in academia?
I was hired by a professor who I’d worked with before. He’d just landed a very large grant, so he had some flexibility with the funding.
> I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me)
That's true, probably. But you don't need 2 cars and a house for your family to have the same quality of life.
If you live in the right neighborhood 1 or zero cars is fine. And a family of 4 can live just as happily and comfortably in a 2 bedroom apartment.
Salary progression, no college degree. Cash only comp, no RSUs or anything like that.
20 - $65k (Office Rural NY, SE) 21 - $65k (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE) 22 - $75k (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE) 23 - $85k (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE) 24 - $85k (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE) 25 - $225k (Remote, SF Series B Startup, Lead SE) 26 - $225k (Remote, SF Series B Startup, Lead SE) 27 - $393k (Office, SF Series C/D Startup, Principal SE) 28 - $393k (Office, SF Series C/D Startup, Principal SE) 29 - $0 (Took a year off) 30 - $0 (Took a year off) 31 - $150k (Founded a startup)
You paid yourself $150k in your first year as startup founder? Huh.
Yeah, weird situation, good business opportunity + good funding. The barnacles that come with a high income means that it's hard to cut back. I would have trouble living on less than this.
That’s a really great company to pay SF rates while working remotely. Wish I could find one like that.
What how did your salary jump so much between 24/25? Bonuses? Or base?
New job, good negotiation skills. $225K was base. IIRC, I negotiated a bonus (not included in the 225) that was like ~30K when then next funding round closed.
What industry were you working in when at the Series B and Series C/D companies? Do you feel like your salaries at those companies represent the going-rate your colleagues also received?
Series B company was a B2C mobile app. Series C/D company was B2B startup.
What did your day to day look like?
I did something like this once, but from a different angle. Since salaries usually trend up, it's interesting to look at each salary bump in terms of how much money it makes for you over your entire working lifetime.
For example, if your first job pays $60k, and your working years are say 52 years total, the payout from sustained employment is $3.12 million dollars (52 years * $65k).
If you then move onto another job 2 years later, and make $70k. The payout for that jump is $500k ($10k * 50 years).
Or another way is to look at how much each pay bump has made for you till now (instead of over your entire potential working lifetime).
This helped put into perspective for me how important certain pay increases were for me and how unimportant others were. For example, big pay increases that occurred recently haven't yet had time to really make me any significant money, but even modest ones from 20 years ago have.
It also really puts into perspective how bad bonuses are vs wage increases. Even a large bonus pales in comparison to decades of small increases.
It also gave me better information when I chose to take a job at lower pay, in terms of how much I was sacrificing, and when I eventually ended back up where I was, how much that choice was actually costing me over my lifetime.
Throwaway account; I am currently in my late 30s.
Graduated from Kansas University in 2008.
2008 to 2010 - $50K CTO/co-founder of a small company
2011 - $125K SDE II @ Amazon
2012 - $125K SDE II @ Amazon
2013 - $175K SDE III @ Amazon
2014 - $217K SDE III @ Amazon
2015 - $200K E5 @ Facebook
2016 - $500K E6 @ Facebook
2017 - $800K E7 @ Facebook
2018 - $1M E7 @ Facebook
2019 ~ $1.25M E7 @ Facebook
I really need to get these skills up to snuff and get my butt back to the US. These salaries are ridiculous.
Not salary. It's total comp. Most of it is stock growth.
Makes sense actually. Still the tax paid on the sale of stock (held for a year or more I think) is taxed under the Bush era cap gains values of only 15% IIRC so that's pretty good.
When your stock gets awarded, the full amount is taxed as income. If you don't sell that stock for a year and then sell it, any gains from the price at the award date and the sell date are taxed as cap gains so not really.
Ugh that complicated things for sure.
> is taxed under the Bush era cap gains values of only 15%
Not really. A lot of it is taxed as income when vested, as mrep mentioned. And if you do keep them long term, at that level of income the long-term cap gains tax is 20%. And there is also the Net Investment Income Tax of 3.8%.
What technologies you work in ?
Jesus, that's a quick career progression at Facebook...
Damn! I graduated MSEE from KU in ‘96 and make 1/8 that. Don’t go into hardware, kids.
Do you mean the University of Kansas?
I have worked in Spain and Sweden. My salary as developer has been in the range of €32K-€45K in the past 15 years in Spain. It has been around €65K in Sweden (similar to what now friends make in Spain). And it is below €100K as an architect.
The cost of living in Sweden is higher than in Spain. And Spanish salaries in IT has soared. So, economically, it was not worth moving. But, the experience of living abroad is worth the money.
It is difficult to compare with USA salaries as here there is more taxes but you get better services. For me the deal breaker is the equality. I know that people around me makes a living wage. But, I will not discard to move to any other country in the future for the experience as every country has its own charm.
It seems absolutely insane to me that salaries can be so different across countries even though people themselves can acquire visas or contract across borders.
It is difficult to compare, but the reality is that especially at FAANG companies the company has good services. They provide transport to/from the office, healthcare, retirement stuff, etc. However, the taxes in Europe are higher.
There are some benefits in knowing that the people that make your food, drive you, clean your streets, etc. don't live out of their car.
I've been pretty fortunate. Hard to believe that in 2004, my little family survived on only $16k. That was a tough year. I was really grateful for government assistance, as we were below the poverty line.
And last year I made more than $2M. I paid more than $1M in income taxes. I hope some of that money is going to help little families like mine in 2004.
Wow! What did you do that led to such a dramatic growth starting in 2013?
I don't want to be too specific, as I'd rather keep this anonymous. But I happened to find myself with some rare and highly valuable skills, and I took on a lot of new responsibilities. I'm now in technical management.
I don't think my success is necessarily repeatable, I just happened to see some opportunities and seize them. I've been fortunate.
Guessing he got to senior manager or higher at Amazon and lucked out since most higher ups pay is in stock and Amazons exploded by a factor of 6 in the past 5 years.
Suspicious amounts of Throwaways in here that all happen to earn over a million $ a year...
I have no qualms letting people know my comp so they know that is possible, and helped many developers in my short 6 year career get better jobs/get life changing comp.
Caveat to my numbers - I am an asian male math PhD dropout from a top 15 graduate program who had hardly coded prior to his first developer job. I also have substantial open source contributions to major libraries, starting from my first developer job.
Nov. 2012 - $51k (in DC)
Sept. 2013 - $75k (new job)
May 2014 - $105k + paid relocation (in Silicon Valley)
August 2014 - $140k (laid off from last job, changed to new one in 2 hours)
Jan. 2015 - $145k (raise at same job)
July 2015 - $160k (laid off from prior job in June)
July 2017 - $280k = $160k base, $15k signing bonus, $105k RSUs in FAANG (laid off from prior job in May)
Sept. 2018 - $303k = $164k base, $14k performance/annual bonuses, $125k refresh RSUs (annual raise from performance reviews at same job - was band limited on the base salary)
How are you managing to get laid off so much and so often :)
Are you counting vested RSU? A 400k 4-year vesting RSU should only be counted 100k/year. Also, why do you keep getting fired? And do you tell your employers that you got laid off?
Fired =/= Laid-off
Whats your position/title?
Is the amount of money typical for developers?
Any advice? Like how others can reach that point, faster?
What would you have done differently to reach that point quicker/
Do you think being a phd student helped? Contributing to libraries?
As a developer based in Europe looking at these numbers is quite depressing.
Can we really compare them, though? I live in France, where €90k/y puts you in the top 1% salaries. In the US, you’d need to earn $400k/y to be in the same position. Standard of living and other social benefits come to mind.
I don't get this thinking. I think everyone is making the comparison to Silicon Valley, which is ridiculously expensive because their are too many people making too much money that all want to be in the same place.
In most of the USA, not only do you make more than you would in France, but things are actually cheaper, not more expensive. Imagine you make $150,000/year, a really nice house cost $300,000 (think $2,000 monthly mortgage/taxes/insurance payment), groceries, electricity, internet, car for a small family is $2,000 month. And that is with a very high quality of life. If you want to live frugally cut all the expenses in half. The company provides health insurance.
I think the biggest difference might be that Americans report their salary before taxes, and I think Europeans tend to do it after taxes. $150,000/year with a small family is probably $110,000-$120,000 after taxes in most states. €90k after taxes is comparable. Just need to consider quality of life differences.
European salaries are in my experience usually reported pre-tax, which makes the situation even worse :P Half the pay of our American counterparts, double the taxes and most non-real-estate goods are more expensive.
Hello from Japan as well. And we have American-style vacation allotments!
> I think the biggest difference might be that Americans report their salary before taxes, and I think Europeans tend to do it after taxes. $150,000/year with a small family is probably $110,000-$120,000 after taxes in most states. €90k after taxes is comparable.
Europeans also report before taxes, and that 90k€ is definitely before taxes. I don't know about this person's taxation, but it's probably around 50k€ after taxes. That's still a very good salary in Europe though.
I took the 90k figure from . I don’t know about the average european country, but in France annual salaries are reported before taxes. You can remove ~25% off that to get the after-taxes amount.
I haven't heard of anyone in Europe reporting their salary after-tax.
Monthly salary is usually discussed after-tax (since you usually compare it with monthly expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, etc), annual before.
> too many people making too much money
The people making "too much money" are doing the indispensable work that generates the profit (or chance-at-profit) for their employers, and the employers are by definition OK with paying them that share, which even in very profitable industries is highly unlikely to be as big a share as "management" gets.
If people in France get a much smaller cut (I assume they do, people in Germany certainly do) then wouldn't that mean they're getting too little?
(I think this was close to the other half of your point actually.)
I should clarify, I don't think there is anything wrong with being paid a lot to do valuable work. I didn't mean it that way when I wrote it, I'm not used to this concept that people that make a lot of money are doing something wrong. Seems like they are doing something that people value a lot.
I hardly ever comment on HN (I usually lurk) but I felt compelled to due to the sheer amount of false claims in this comment.
First off, can we define "things" in your sentence "things are actually cheaper, not more expensive"? What are the "things" you're talking about?
Education? Eh... not really expensive in the US, is it? the US student loan debt is swelling at about $1.5 trillion... and counting. It speaks volume as to how costly education is in the US. 
Healthcare? Hugely expensive for a country as "rich" as the US. Unless, of course, you work for a generous employer and in that case, everything is paid for. Wait a second, I'm told not all employers provide a healthcare plan along with a 401k plan? That's unfortunate. Let's also remind ourselves that the US doesn't provide universal healthcare for all its citizens unlike other advanced industrialized countries. So if you happen to be jobless? You're SOL. Awe-effing-some. Let's move on... 
Housing? In SF/SV/NYC/Seattle/Washington/any major US city, housing is extremely expensive as is housing in any major European metropolis such as London/Paris/Munich/Zurich. I bet the $300,000 nice house you mention in your comment must be somewhere in the countryside where nobody lives, right? Let's make this clear: houses located in the middle of nowhere in any European country also cost zilch. Let's take France for instance: 30K euros gets you a 100 sqm house (even bigger sometimes) in the Creuse region. Yeah nobody wants to live there but hey at least I can own a large house for the price of a car. 
I could go on and on. I haven't even touched on other topics such as Internet, groceries, rent or insurance. Your comment comes across as plain ignorant and downward complacent. I don't get this tendency of always sugarcoating the US, as though it would make it magically more appealing to the average Joe to move there.
Please back up your claims next time with articles or sources. Just use your favourite search engine.
I just live and work in the USA my whole life, if anything I'm wrong about France. I'm not going to bother to refute most of your claims, as the premise is what are the salaries of tech people, not what are the standards of living of jobless people in San Francisco. Most of the US population, including myself and most of my acquaintances, live outside of those major cities, and that was the point I was making. You listed off literally the most expensive places to live in the USA, where the majority of people do not live. Education expenses are whatever you want to pay, we have plenty of choices including cheap choices, and generous scholarships for those that can't afford it but are smart.
I just caught you out making stuff up and now you resort to making yet again even more stuff up: "Education expenses are whatever you want to pay" (yeah, let's just buy 1/10th of a Bachelor degree, sounds like a plan to cut the costs), "you listed off literally the most expensive places to live in the USA, where the majority of people do not live" (sure, nobody lives in major cities) (why the hell are they called major cities then? God knows).
This conversation is leading nowhere so I'm just gonna stop responding.
We've banned this account for breaking the site guidelines. Your points appear reasonable, but the personal attacks and nastiness with which you've made them are unacceptable here.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
> Education? Eh... not really expensive in the US, is it? the US student loan debt is swelling at about $1.5 trillion... and counting. It speaks volume as to how costly education is in the US. 
Education in the US is not unavoidably expensive. Quoting student loan aggregates does nothing to account for the number of students who took tens or hundreds of thousands worth of loans they didn't really need because they rejected an affordable alternative in order to go to their target school.
In 1998 I rejected my target school because attending would have cost me a minimum of $12,000/year out of pocket. I stayed local and graduated with no loans. 21 years later, if I started in 2019, I would still graduate without loans from that same school.
> Healthcare? Hugely expensive for a country as "rich" as the US. Unless, of course, you work for a generous employer and in that case, everything is paid for. Wait a second, I'm told not all employers provide a healthcare plan along with a 401k plan? That's unfortunate. Let's also remind ourselves that the US doesn't provide universal healthcare for all its citizens unlike other advanced industrialized countries. So if you happen to be jobless? You're SOL. Awe-effing-some. Let's move on... 
I don't have rebuttal to this point, but based on your tone I don't think you have any interest in discussing it in good faith anyway.
> Housing? In SF/SV/NYC/Seattle/Washington/any major US city, housing is extremely expensive as is housing in any major European metropolis such as London/Paris/Munich/Zurich. I bet the $300,000 nice house you mention in your comment must be somewhere in the countryside where nobody lives, right? Let's make this clear: houses located in the middle of nowhere in any European country also cost zilch. Let's take France for instance: 30K euros gets you a 100 sqm house (even bigger sometimes) in the Creuse region. Yeah nobody wants to live there but hey at least I can own a large house for the price of a car. 
"You bet" very wrong. The house I used to have in Dallas is worth $275,000 at the moment. Many of the houses in suburban New Jersey are less than $400,000, and some are even less than $300,000. . Less stock in Maryland, but there are still many options.
> I could go on and on. I haven't even touched on other topics such as Internet, groceries, rent or insurance. Your comment comes across as plain ignorant and downward complacent. I don't get this tendency of always sugarcoating the US, as though it would make it magically more appealing to the average Joe to move there.
I'm sure you could, but it would just serve to further demonstrate your bias, condescension, and ignorance.
> Please back up your claims next time with articles or sources. Just use your favourite search engine.
The irony of this snark is that you have done a rather poor job of this yourself.
> In 1998 I rejected my target school because attending would have cost me a minimum of $12,000/year out of pocket. I stayed local and graduated with no loans. 21 years later, if I started in 2019, I would still graduate without loans from that same school.
In 1998. That's really the crux of your comment. As to the costs of your school in 2019, since you haven't provided a link to back it up, I cannot check your claim.
> I don't have rebuttal to this point, but based on your tone I don't think you have any interest in discussing it in good faith anyway.
I have read countless studies online (studies, not just newspaper articles) and have friends who've moved to and/or lived briefly in the US that have experienced it first hand. Sorry for not showing empathy but when one of the richest country in the world isn't able to provide healthcare for all its citizens, I think something is slightly wrong. Worst yet, the babysteps that have been made during the Obama era are now being rolled back by the Repuplican party. And yet, you're pointing fingers at me like I'm the problem. How about a nice warm cup of reality to start the day?
> "You bet" very wrong. The house I used to have in Dallas is worth $275,000 at the moment. Many of the houses in suburban New Jersey are less than $400,000, and some are even less than $300,000. . Less stock in Maryland, but there are still many options.
Fair enough. In that case, I think it's expensive. The same price range gets you a very comfortable flat in Berlin, Germany's capital. 
> I'm sure you could, but it would just serve to further demonstrate your bias, condescension, and ignorance.
Still not OK with reality. That's fine, you'll get used to it. We all do after a while. :-)
> In 1998. That's really the crux of your comment. As to the costs of your school in 2019, since you haven't provided a link to back it up, I cannot check your claim.
> Fair enough. In that case, I think it's expensive. The same price range gets you a very comfortable flat in Berlin, Germany's capital. 
I was filtering apartments out, but there are quite a few in Brooklyn and Queens as well.
> And yet, you're pointing fingers at me like I'm the problem. How about a nice warm cup of reality to start the day?
> Still not OK with reality. That's fine, you'll get used to it. We all do after a while. :-)
I'm complaining about your tone and general attitude, which have apparently not improved. Being a condescending jerk has nothing to do with reality.
lol I'm sorry but no. 400k a year in US puts you in "I am a millionaire" status after like 5 years. 90k euros and big city purchasing power in France is most likely comparable to 180k in US. Remember, all these jobs we are talking about come with full benefits -- 401k with between 5-8% matching, stock options, healthcare, vision, dental, etc.
And I am assuming you are talking about 90k euro after taxes not before because the French have one of the highest tax burdens in the world.
This was discussed in the sibling thread, but that 90k€ is definitely before taxes. It's exceedingly rare to make that much after taxes, perhaps unless in senior management.
Wow, well then 90k Euro in France is no where close to 400k, much less 180k US.
It's worth noting though that it's the US (and Canada to a degree) that is the exception here. It's great that software engineering can be such a boon for talented folks, but everywhere else even the highest SW salaries place people squarely in middle class, alongside teachers and doctors.
It's still a nice life, just not one of abundant riches. Over 4k€ monthly after taxes goes quite far in Europe as you don't need to worry that much about saving for healthcare, pension, and your children's education later in life.
> And I am assuming you are talking about 90k euro after taxes not before because the French have one of the highest tax burdens in the world.
90k euros is where, not Paris right? $120k feels very different in San Francisco vs Boise Idaho.
France in general. I took this number from here: https://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/1698781/ce-qu-il-faut-ga... (in French)
Not at all. After health insurance every cost is more or less a one-to-one Match. Being a developer in the US has and does pay better than EU, hands down.
One trip home from the ER and you'll be the one laughing.
Look, I agree the US system is inefficient, immoral in the aggregate, and generally a bit of a pain to interact with.
But this idea that highly paid professionals in the US have crappy healthcare experiences is just silly. Anyone earning $100k as an employee in the US will have a good health plan that will provide excellent quality of care for a reasonable out of pocket cost.
In fact, this is kind of the problem with the US system! Rich people have a healthcare system that works well for them, they get lots of choice, very fast access to specialists if they want them, and generally rich people are happy with their health care.
This means there's no electoral coalition strong enough to pursue more egalitarian or more efficient systems, they'd all run the risk of appearing worse to the rich people.
I'll concede that one trip to the ER was a bit hyperbole. That fact is though, that medical emergencies have a way to royally screw you over in a way that is unheard of in most European countries.
Personally, with a background in a European country, a personal bankruptcy is something that only happens to the most financially careless/gambling addicted of people. In the US it seems to have become a sad part of a lot of peoples' coping strategy if a medical emergency arises.
Got cancer? No retirement for you I guess.
TLDR: these kind of salaries also come with really good health insurance that your company pays for.
A trip to the ER might cost your health insurer $50,000, it costs you a $1,000 deductible, and almost nothing for any follow up visits.
You are paying for a huge welfare system that minimally benefits you. Without taxes, particularly payroll taxes, salaries would be similar in Western Europe to the US.
* 2018 $1,155,000
* 2017 $1,259,000 Senior Staff Software Engineer
* 2016 $661,000 time off
* 2014 $1,465,000
* 2013 $1,241,000
* 2012 $876,000 Threatened to quit, got a bunch of stock
* 2011 $368,000
* 2010 $318,000
* 2009 $244,000
* 2008 $192,000 Staff Software Engineer
* 2007 $167,000
* 2006 $165,000
* 2005 $157,000 Senior Softare Engineer, Norcal
* 2004 $246,000 stock sale
* 2002 $76,000 Software Engineer II
* 2001 $102,000
* 2000 $59,000
* 1999 $55,000 Software Engineer, Northern VA
Here's mine. Bay Area the entire time, and similar promotion history. Based on pretax W2 (hence, including all cash bonuses and stocks/options):
I think your retention stock made the biggest difference compared to mine. Maybe it's time for me to try threatening to quit :D
Woah. I’m assuming this comp is mostly stock but wow this still seems insanely high. I suppose “threatened to quit” is the key here?
Still in VA?
Is it typical for senior SWE to make 1.2 million?
How can one reach that point faster?
Staff Engineers at FAANG typically make 400-500k/pa. What made the difference was a retention grant. I got a competing offer and they gave me millions in stock, which I accepted and stayed. After I was fully vested, I basically got lucky and found another big company that had a department that was doing some pretty undisciplined hiring and brought me in at Senior Staff. I'm not really doing the job at that level, but they don't want me to leave, so we're in stasis. After the initial grant runs out this will stabilize at ~700k.
I don't know how to repeat what I did. I think retention grants are rarer than they used to be. However, once you get to Staff, you have a lot of negotiating leverage. I received multiple offers with initial grants over 2 million.
Build relationships, progress your career, get good at whiteboard interviews, and change jobs more often to make progress.
Do you think it's possible and that your advice is still applicable if one doesn't have a degree?
Is there a glass ceiling?
Any advice on changing jobs faster in Cal but not bay area? For example, remote positions?
How often you changed jobs? And what kind of work do you do?
I've only changed jobs three times. I should have changed a lot more. I do iOS dev these days.
Says he moved to NorCal in 2005. I’d wager this is not typical, even for the Bay Area.
About three years after graduating I stumbled into some extra freelance work a school friend passed on to me. Then got lucky again by finding myself in a well-paid (for UK) devops niche.
- 2009: £1,000/yr Mostly depressed, unemployed and unmotivated. Some income from teaching English and arbitraging signup bonuses on gambling websites. Lived close to rent-free by subletting rooms in the apartment I was living in. (Spain)
- 2010-12: £8,000/yr English Teacher (China, full-time)
- 2012: £20/hour PHP dev (China, freelance)
- 2012-13: £16,000/yr Rails dev (China, full-time)
- 2014: £72,000/yr Rails dev (London, contracting)
- 2014: £102,000/yr Devops (London, contracting)
- 2015-16: £60/hr Rails+Go dev (SE Asia, some remote freelancing but mostly not working)
- 2017: £120,000/yr Devops (London, contracting)
- 2018: £158,400/yr Devops (London, contracting)
- 2019: £192,000/yr Devops (London, remote contracting)
Any tips for pushing up contracting rates? I've been on pretty much the same since I started 4 years ago, which isn't a bad rate, but from these numbers it seems like I should be asking for more.
Most of the work I've found had been from recruiters on LinkedIn. Do you just say "I want £800/day, what do you have?".
* I work with pretty niche enterprise devops software. My Linkedin profile is 100% oriented to selling my skills with that software (Note that there is a real risk that this software will be out-of-fashion in five years)
* I give a proper reply to everyone who contacts me on LinkedIn, even if the work they are offering is totally unrelated to what I can/want to do. The frequent spam is a small price to pay in return for being in everyone's database.
* I'm very upfront with my day-rate and get rejected by most of the recruiters/companies that get in touch with me because it's too high. This is fine and intentional because there is enough demand to get that rate anyway (so far).
I've never heard of those 18-19 London salaries. Woah! Finance though surely?
I have a few friends in London, contracting whilst working a Single Person Business (lacking the proper terminology). Super high wages £500 - £700 per day, whilst having an effective tax rate or 13%. Boom.
Where are you getting 13% from?
If you pay yourself a salary from a ltd company there's ~14% Employers NI, 12%-2% Employee NI Depending on tax band, 20-40% Income tax depending on tax band. If you pay a dividend there's 19% Corporation tax plus 7.5%-32.5% Dividend tax.
So 46%-56% tax on salary and 26.5%-51.5% tax on dividends. Nowhere near 13%, unless you're talking about 'creative accounting' by running non-business expenses through the company to effectively get them tax free.
- create a company in the Man Island - You pay yourself the minimum to have ok life style (dividend allowance + progressive tax could make it somewhere around 15% + NI). You move for a year to Singapore, so you are no longer UK tax resident. You close the company.
I don't live in UK anymore and I could do something similar in my location, but I want to pay taxes and my effective rate is good.
Yeah, by all accounts reading online indicates a 45% tax rate for a sole-trader.
I'll have to enquire with the few mates there -- don't see a reason as to why they'd bullshit me. Frankly I have nfi however, apologies for the cop-out of an answer.
> I'll have to enquire with the few mates there
Sole traders are different to one-person Ltd companies. As a one-person Ltd, you used to get a lot of tax breaks, but over the last 5-6 years they seem to have been steadily eroded.
Anyone paying a rate as low as 13% now is probably using a borderline-legal grey-area scheme, which is dangerous because HMRC not only hit those folks up for back taxes when they find them, but put fines on top too.
The effective tax rate is closer to 30%+ once you factor in corporation tax but the rest is correct. You incorporate a limited company and take a low salary and rest in dividends.
Though you'll get to higher tax brackets with that pretty quickly too, so will likely want to leave a fair share of revenue in the company (you still need to pay 20% corp tax on profit), or put it into your pension (tax relief on up to £40k/y).
Good to know, thanks on the correction. Didn't get the whole spiel from my mate but that makes sense.
I presume it's because they're contracting? It's the way to cash out in software in the UK, I believe in most companies, contractors get to sidestep the HR/salary budget hierarchy, usually because the company is really desperate, and they tell themselves "they're only temporary, so won't apply salary banding on them"
Some random points of advice after 30 years in tech...
First, decide whether you are more interested in pushing forward on technology or on earning more. Yes, you probably want both, but you should decide which matters more. Also, note that the answer will likely change if your personal situation changes, in particular, if you start a family.
These points are primarily for those who put earning more above pushing technology. I was married early on and that became the priority for me.
- Always work to make your boss successful. There are a variety of advantages to this. First, if you make them successful and they rise in the company, they are more likely to give you a promotion and raise as well. Second, if they change jobs and go to a place you'd like to work, whether it's in one, five, ten years or more, you'll be someone they call when they need to hire. Third, it makes it much easier for them to go to bat for you when you ask for a raise.
Given all of that, it's also important to work for bosses that you want to see succeed. If you really don't like your boss, and you find it distasteful to help them be successful, work towards their success while you look for another boss.
- If you want to earn more, ask for more responsibility. I was married when I was an engineer of 3 years. To earn more, I asked to be made a project lead. I delivered several projects, then asked to be made a manager. I managed several people, then asked for a transfer to start and manage a remote sales and service office. In each case, I was given 30%+ raises.
The point here is that you need to ask. Let your boss and HR know that you want to be considered for promotion. Once you've asked, remind them at more or less regular intervals, perhaps 6 months. You want it to stick in their minds that you are looking to move up and at some point, an opportunity may come up that you'd be on the short list for.
- Change jobs or companies. This is typically the most effective way to get a raise. The key is to look while you're still working. Many people in tech keep their heads down until the company goes through a rough patch and lays off or shuts down. Then, if they don't have runway, they have to take the first position that comes along. If you think you need to move, keep your job and do your search so you can evaluate each opportunity without being under pressure.
- Treat options or other equity as the icing, not the cake. You can be deliberate about accumulating wealth without windfalls by consistently earning more than you spend and conscientiously investing your savings. If you're able to cash in on options, that is great, invest it, buy a home or whatever. But earn what you're worth in cash.
The only thing I've ever seen work to get significantly more money is changing companies. Companies used to give somewhat decent raises 3-8% but outside of that, it doesn't seem to matter what one does. I have a great boss and have been promised raises multiple times. Instead, our CEO cut our vacation in half. The only reason I haven't gone somewhere else is because I work remotely and can put in the most minimal effort. I regret the first few years putting in a lot of effort, getting RSI, solving many problems ... but for what? For nothing. Actually, less than nothing. Due to inflation and vacation taken away, I make less. So I work less. Then people wonder why something like over 80% of workers in the US are disengaged. This is why. Most companies are too cheap to provide proper compensation, vacation, and benefits. Serves them right.
I think you have to get really lucky, or really go above and beyond.
I've been at my company for almost two years and I've gotten a net 70% raise across this time frame. Although it's only from 60k to 100k CAD so, YMMV especially in more senior roles.
Oh trust me, I went above and beyond. Migrating a live app from mysql to pgsql. ALL the devops work for the entire company, then moving all that infrastructure to Docker and reducing costs so that all our apps run on one cluster of servers. Migrating multiple live apps from one provider to another without downtime. Working late and even weekends. Rewriting a server completely to make it much more robust and less buggy. Rewriting the database and serializer parts of our API because the original coders used super slow implementations. Implementing multiple experiments using various databases to deal with another slow codebase. Dealing with teams of contractors that wrote code so shitty, it would make one cry, it was so horrible. Then having to take charge of their shitty mess because they sure as fuck won't. Saving the company over $100k a year by not using ridiculously priced API gateway services. Bringing in another dev to help out when our other main developer left.
I could go on and on. Any one of those things was above and beyond on its own and I never once got a performance based bonus, let alone a raise. Then we got new management and they rewarded us by cutting our vacation. I am completely unappreciated, or at the very least, that appreciation is not shown in any way that matters. I am, however, no longer at a spot in my life, thankfully, that work defines my life. I still make good money and I focus on other things in my life. I let the execs worry about deadlines and bullshit like that. They can panic and get anxiety all they want, it won't magically get the work done or get it done quicker. As I said, my bosses are decent in all other ways other than appreciating their employees with appropriate compensation / vacation. Who knows, that might change. I'm not holding my breath though.
I did the "go above and beyond" at my last employer, to the point where I was doing the job of two people (because they were too cheap to hire a more junior engineer to take some of the load off).
Bonus scheme axed, pay cuts across the board, and constant whining about how we "took longer and did a worse job".
The only thing I regret is that I hung on for three years hoping things would get better (they never did).
I think the 60k-->100k is the normal dev --> senior dev jump. I know a lot of people it happened to. Not sure if that's sustainable.
I've found that when a (good) boss realises that you're solving organisational (boss-relevant) problems and getting things done, they start pushing harder problems your way.
When done in a supportive way, this helps propel you up a level of competency; then the raise/promotion is effortless and obvious to everyone involved.
Conversely, in my experience I've never been giving the money / title before I had performed the role.
Totally agree. To add to the point about the boss you do not like. Identify that early and take positive steps to get out of there. One danger in this situation is that this is an incompetent boss (reason you don't like) and you need to get out of the blast radius.
I would like to add a point of caution to this advice, with regards to making your boss succeed, the OP mentioned it already but make sure you WANT your boss to succeed.
In my experience, the harder you work for your boss , the more they will extract out of you. E.g you suddenly have 10x tasks assigned to you.
So make sure you don't get burned by doing this and NOT getting a raise after. Most bosses will simply take more and not give much back.
I guess the essence of it is that you should work smart, figure out what are the most important tasks that your boss needs and complete them really well, but don't naively burn yourself
Fantastic advice! I especially concur with your first bullet point - working to make my boss successful has _always_ paid dividends in the ways you describe.
I graduated with a Bachelors in Computer Science in July 2017 in India. All amounts below are the fixed salary without any stock options or bonuses.
2017-2018 - $8k - Backend Dev for major eCommerce 2018-2019 - $10k - same role
Laid off due to downsizing in Nov 2018 with a healthy severance.
Dec 2018-2019 - $17k - Backend Dev for a logistics company
Nice to see a non-US/EU contribution. What is the middle class cost of living in your area?
I live in a slightly upper class area in Gurgaon since it's walking distance to my workplace and hence save on commute.
Rent and expenses is almost 30k INR (roundabout $450) a month. Apart from that it's all takeout food money and any movies or shopping you might do.
My initial pay was a little too low to afford the place I am living at since I'd almost always run out of money by the end of the month and was living paycheck to paycheck. The first raise did improve situations a bit and I could easily save around 10k INR per month.
My current salary affords me very comfortable living with enough to invest for the future and still have around 30k INR per month in savings.
So I had posted this earlier but I'll post again with another update. I'm based out of Toronto.
I was in the process of getting promoted and getting a higher raise, but stuff (some in my control and some out of) didn't work out. I've been focusing on my life for a bit.
2012 - small business owner - 60k AED / yr (no taxes) - built Wordpress websites in my spare time 2013 - technical cloud marketing intern - 60k / yr CAD - FAANGish company 2013 - contractor - 30k / yr CAD - Engineering consultancy 2014 - Software Dev Fullstack - 22k / yr CAD - early stage startup 2015 - Lead Software Dev Fullstack / Architect + DevOps - 55k / yr CAD - very early stage startup 2015 - Lead Software Dev Fullstack / Architect + DevOps - 60k / yr CAD - very early stage startup 2016 - Software Dev - 60k / yr CAD - medium stage startup 2016 - Techincal Consultant - 90k / yr CAD - small public company 2017 - Software Engineer + DevOps - 99k / yr CAD - medium public company 2018 - Senior Software Engineer + DevOps + SRE - 120k / yr CAD - medium public company 2019 - Senior Software Engineer + DevOps + SRE - 135k / yr CAD - medium public company
Thanks for sharing your salary history. I am also located in Toronto and this is my salary history (all CAD):
2014 - Junior System Administrator $42k - fresh graduate, large company 2015 - System Administrator $55k - large company 2016 - DevOps Engineer $80k - startup 2018 - Senior DevOps Engineer $95k - large company 2019 - Site Reliability Engineer $125k - medium-size company
Southern New England, not in a metro area. White male, stubbornly refusing to leave his hometown area for his career.
2009: $25 per hour, contractor, on site at giant pharmaceutical company. Built a web app using jsp and tomcat
2010: $55k per year, University IT department. Building web apps in python for university staff. Crazy union contract- 35hr work week and 5 weeks PTO
2012: same job, same benefits, applied for a "reclassification" in the union levels. $75k per year.
2015: $85k per year. Onsite, big media and entertainment company. Cut my teeth building highly available distributed systems.
2017: $135k per year. Remote. Jumped ship to do similar kinds of work at a remote-first startup that could pay more.
2018: same company offered me a raise (without my asking!) $150k per year.
I've never worked more than 40 hours on a regular basis, but production issues occasionally produce a 60 hour week, maybe twice a year or so.
What stack / tech did you use for "highly available distributed systems" and do you feel like it helped differentiate your skill set in terms of hireability?
Sorry if this is too much text, but I feel like I have a decent sense about this, since I've been interviewing recently. Of course, we all live in bubbles, and there may be some tech bubbles extremely different from mine.
Your tech stack in a distributed system will often be diverse and wide-ranging. In my opinion, no specific combination of tools is very important for hireability, though commonly recurring characters will certainly help your resume.
I write or work on lots of small services, mostly in Java, some Scala, occasionally Go or Python. The JVM is probably the most popular programming platform for this domain but some companies do without it entirely (Go, Python, Node.js are all somewhat popular).
Most services run in Docker containers on AWS. I feel like almost everyone is in the cloud these days.
There are lots of REST APIs, so you'll want a good handle on HTTP. In my work, even more than HTTP, I've dealt with streaming/realtime data coming over Apache Kafka or AWS Kinesis or AWS SQS. Lots of people use RabbitMQ, but I never have.
And I interface with lots of different data stores - Postgres, S3, Dynamodb, Elasticsearch, Cassandra, Redis. And Zookeeper, more for coordination than storage. Zookeeper is fun, but very niche.
In terms of building a resume to get hired in this domain, these are some things you want:
- Be able to work in a few languages and with several data stores. Be able to talk about which kind of DB is appropriate for what use.
- Demonstrate proficiency in concurrent programming and asynchrony via multithreading/futures/promises/channels or whatever the relevant constructs on your platform of choice are.
- Have used some kind of streaming solution or message queue (kafka is neat and widely used, if don't already have one in mind)
- Have experience with provisioning and orchestration on a cloud platform (AWS, GCP, Azure,...)
- Be able to talk about tools and techniques for monitoring, alerting, and tracing in systems where a request or a stream element must traverse many services.
- Be able to talk about typical distributed-systems challenges at a conceptual level:
As a side note, I feel like, once you've built a decent distributed system or application, it's easy to make it look good on a resume. Either it's a high-throughput system and you can say you processed X thousands of requests per second with no downtime for a year, or else it's low throughput and you can double down on the fault-tolerance bit "even when we deliberately crashed half of the servers, the service remained available and end-to-end latency was only reduced by X amount". Of course, you need measure some stuff in order to have numbers to brag about. But hopefully you're collecting those metrics anyway.
* Why and how to partition your data, both in a stream and at rest * How to avoid or resolve consistency issues, when and how to trade consistency for availability, coordinations strategies, CRDTs * At-least-once processing, at-most-once, exactly-once, idempotency, why you would want each - how and when you can achieve each.
I appreciate the increasing trend toward openness. I think it benefits everyone to see what's out there.
My journey All USD $ are gross annualized and approximate. No bonuses/stock. Doesn't include employer-paid health or retirement.
2006, Tenured professor at a community college, $43K to $65K
2011, Developer at a state agency, $84K
2013, Development Team Lead, $90K
2017, IT Manager, $100K
For folks in the United States, if you want to help, your earnings history is available via the Social Security website.
I feel slightly motivated, but mostly crushed by these crazy TC levels.
Although I know I'm doing fairly decent for myself, as someone who is very critical of my own progress or lack of, it feels very disheartening to see people my age making 10x what I am, simply because they are located in SV, doing the same work.
In my area, short of being extremely fortunate to land some amazing fully-remote job, there is not one tech company that pays out anywhere close to 300k+ TC, unless you are in senior leadership or just consulting/doing work on the side.
I understand the reasons for the big disparity, but still... feels bad man.
Right there with you. I’m doing pretty decent, making 85k but straight out of college. At a nice start up in a big city. But 800k at Netflix? Good god.. I should mention I’m ‘straight out of college’ at 27, so that’s contributing, too.
I would not get depressed, you're talking about an extremely small audience of developers in the field. If anything I'd look at it with aspiration, you're reading up on hackernews and you're straight out of college at a startup. Keep hustling no idea where you'll end up, I assume netflix is not paying kids out of college 800K :D
As someone who is not making 800k at Netflix, I want to say you are definitely doing pretty well in my opinion. Congrats!
I graduated college a year early (21 years old), but it took me almost 4 years in the industry before my compensation even got close to 70k.
I'll throw my experience in government in here because I don't see a lot of that here, I am a government lead now with a ERP team.
USD, Before Taxes, DC area
2010 - 24k - First 'jobs' working Geek Squad and Helpdesk at a Healthcare Firm
2011 - 40k - Quit second job, started grad school, started working for the Feds as an intern in the Digital Forensics space
2012 - 45k - "
2013 - 45k - "
2014 - 50k - Graduated Grad school, promoted to a GS-9 started working in the ERP space
2015 - 56k - Promoted to GS-11
2016 - 68k - Promoted to GS-12, got my CISSP for the hell of it
2017 - 80k - Debated quitting because of lack of opportunity
2018 - 89k - Promoted, given a lot of responsibility and a great opportunity to learn
Honest question has anyone else seen salary decreases. I peaked at ~190k w2 contractor so no benefits. But after death march after death march and canceled projects. I got down to ~105. One of my biggest stress right now is due to money. Contributed to by a foreclosure that has a monthly payment. I've been east and west coast and tried FAANG, but unless I waited the vesting it was a drastic pay cut, and the midst of the foreclosure I needed hard cash. I keep on looking at my career and wondering what I did wrong.
I have. My gross is now about one-third of what it was a few years ago. Briefly, a really ugly divorce that I didn't see coming pretty much sucked the life out of me.
I'm inferring that you have a family to support. (If it's just you, I'd seriously consider declaring bankruptcy.) I can relate. For what it's worth, this can be the lot of men in our society. I don't think it's an indication that you did anything wrong. Good luck.
It is just me and bankruptcy was the way forward. Im amazed at how much harder it is to climb out after.
My condolences on the divorce. I wasn't married but went through something similar. And know that suck the life feeling.
I agree with your last sentiment. Alot of the career seems to be luck or right time right place. I know a number of phenomenal engineers in similar positions.
Most FAANGs pay well even without vested stock, Amazon in particular relies heavily on stock for compensation but provides bonuses the first couple of years to compensate.
I had made a comment in another thread, where I think my education hurt me, associates. I took about a 50K pay cut up front to go a FAANG. That came with a demotion as well. So I can see the pay cut not equaling responsibility. But I was in a immediate position and didn't have a choice to say no.
Given the numbers you mentioned (190k peak) this doesn't sound right at all. Was that software engineering in the Bay Area?
Philadelphia to Seattle.
Philly Team Lead Architect @ 185k w2 contract with health insurance and a week of PTO
Seattle System Admin -> 115K (There was an intent to promote, but we didn't agree on my career path).
It's not so much compensate as much as it is structuring their comp so that they can get away with never actually giving you a raise.
What does vested stock mean exactly? You can't sell until after a certain period? If so, how long is that period?
A certain number of shares of stock are set aside for you. When they "vest", that means you get them.
The vesting schedule varies, but probably the most common arrangement is that you get 1/4 of the shares per year for the next 4 years. Often you get nothing until you've been there for a year, then get a whole year's worth of stock in one big lump sum, and then get smaller amounts more frequently thereafter.
In the US, the stock is taxed as ordinary income on the day you get it. If its price goes up before you sell it, you also pay capital gains tax on the change in price that happened while you were holding it. (I sell all my stock immediately on general principle, so my capital gains taxes are tiny.)
Vest means you sign on you get 40 shares, but they become available over a delayed period. 5 vest in the first year 5 in the second 10 in the third 10 in the fourth
Vest means become available to sell or trade. You are also given stocks at bonus time. Encouraging you to stay around.
Adding mine, all at Google:
(edited for formatting)
2008: Base $90K, Total $110K 2009: Base $110K, Total $170K 2010: Base $130K, Total $330K 2011: Base $200K, Total $590K 2012: Base $220K, Total $680K 2013: Base $220K, Total $830K 2014: Base $230K, Total $980K 2015: Base $240K, Total $990K 2016: Base $250K, Total $1.2M 2017: Base $250K, Total $1.4M 2018: Base $265K, Total $1.5M 2019: Base $280K
The total is after bonus only? Or..?
Any advice for others? Isn't it notoriously difficult getting hired at Google?
Do other non tech positions at Google pay as much?
What about positions like QA?
Total includes bonus and equity (which makes up the bulk of it, especially in later years). So some of the increases are also just reflecting increases in GOOG from grant to vesting.
I'm a software engineer. My impression is that pay for PMs (product managers) is very similar, although I couldn't say for sure. Not sure about other positions. And for QA specifically, I believe a lot are hired through a vendor so I imagine it would be very different.
I don't know if I have particularly useful advice. I think honestly it's a mix of happening to be good at what I do, working hard, and being in the right place at the right time (both in terms of ending up Google and being on the teams/projects that I did which helped me rise quickly).
The only thing I would say is that I very much did not go in expecting this or with the idea of optimizing for it. When I joined at the end of 2007, Google was already post-IPO and it wasn't clear (to me at least) that there was "big bucks" to be made there. At that time, it seemed like going into finance or to a startup was the way to go to optimize for that, and I thought I was leaving a bunch on the table picking Google over those. I do think it helped working with the mindset of doing what I truly enjoyed instead of "doing it for the money".
What is the nature of your work within SWE?
Just curious, which level? L8?
Hired at L3
2008 - L4 2009 - L5 2010 - L6 2014 - L7
How much more work do you do at every level? Do you feel like there's an optimal level to reach for your time investment / pay ratio?
For me at least, there was little correlation between level and pure number of hours worked. In general, I probably worked the most hours in the first year, mostly because I was just out of college and didn't know any better. These days, I would say I probably average around ~50 hours a week.
But there is definitely more "stress" as you go up levels. You have more responsibility, the problems get harder and more ambiguous, more people issues to deal with, etc. Part of me misses the "L3/L4 me", when all I really had to do was come in, work on relatively scoped technical problems, and not worry about a lot else. But I think I'd also probably feel bored after a while if I somehow managed to went back to that.
In the spirit of this discussion, I’ll share my journey. In 2015, my base was $95k. Today, it is $150k. Including stocks and bonuses, my total compensation went from ~$140k to $220k. In California, but not the Bay Area. I hold a Bachelor’s from a pretty good university, but by no means an elite institution.
White guy from a modest background: grew up lower middle class, single mother who worked in retail, got free lunch, etc.
It feels odd to have moved and basically move up the economic totem poll to what I guess I’d call upper middle class. Life for people who stayed where I grew up is quite different than my life now.
An income over 220k is easily > 90% percentile. I do not know what upper middle class is supposed to mean. Does it mean 90-95 percentile?
> An income over 220k is easily > 90% percentile.
Every source I can find (2014-2018 data from a variety of places) puts it between 97th and just over 98th; probably hasn't changed more than a couple of points since.
> I do not know what upper middle class is supposed to mean. Does it mean 90-95 percentile?
If by “middle class” one means petit bourgeoisie, then 95th to 99.something percentile for the upper range of that class is fairly reasonable; the haut bourgeoisie are a very narrow slice, and economic classes in that classic sense have overlapping income ranges, because they are more about how one relates to the economy than income level, though the two are correlated.
OTOH, the language of economic class these days is used in many murky and inconsistent ways.
EDIT: Just to be clear, the classic idea of the petit bourgeoisie as the middle economic class of capitalist societies does not mean that they represent the average or some range around the average; the working class makes up the vast majority, the haut bourgeoisie (the class of major capitalists) is a tiny slice that controls most of the wealth, and the petit bourgeoisie are a fairly thin (though much broader than the haut bourgeoisie), largely relatively rich class that is “middle” in the sense of deriving income from a mix including both a substantial contribution from personal labor (the predominant support for the working class) and a substantial contribution from personal capital (the predominant support for the haut bourgeoisie)—the classic example of that mix being the independent small business owner whose labor is applied to their own capital rather than either being rented out to some capitalist, or gaining returns on capital by renting others labor to apply to it.
You could probably draw a quantitative line according to fraction of income paid as tax, since capital gains follow, ahem, different rules. It's good to be king!
It has to be adjusted for the metro area. An income of 250k puts one in the top 1% nation wide but maybe top 6-3% in San Francisco. Just like how a $1M home is expensive in most of the rest of the country but a bargain in SF, NYC, etc.
I don't have an answer for the question but I remember watching a series of recorded interviews with Americans from all walks of life and all described themselves as middle class, from the poorest to the wealthiest.
I have ~50k/year of passive income. I'm definitely not in the same class as people with ~50mil/year passive income.
50mil/year passive income puts u at the billionaire level. Obviously they are not going to describe themselves middle class. I do believe the commenter is referring to people making 200-1000k+ and still calling themselves middle class.
My point is that people making 200k-1000k are closer to middle class than billionaires. So it makes sense to me why they don't group themselves with the billionaires.
Anyways, I think the answer is just based on how you want to define middle and upper class.
I didn’t totally flush this out, but I don’t feel upper middle class in the conventional sense since I’m used to simple living. The two cars, white picket fence lifestyle isn’t me. But by raw income numbers, it certainly places me there.
It all sort of feels relative. If a “beginner” single family bungalow costs 850k+ in my neighborhood, home ownership still feels like a gamble (well, the accompanying debt burden would make me uncomfortable). A $4k mortgage payment does not sound fun if I were to lose my job, for example.
I’d say you’re upper class if you have enough accumulated wealth that your kids will never have to work.
Even if you’re making 500k a year, depending on the part of the country, it may take a fair few years before you make that jump.
I think it’s the difference between having _wealth_ and having a lot of disposable income. There’s a fairly big difference. You can convert the latter to the former but not everyone does.
Really depends on your definitionof social stratification. Traditional class values is correlated to wealth, but you could be not wealthy and still be considered upper class. e.g a Duke or Lord.
The economic definition of middle class is very different from how people identify themselves. In the US, unless you have enough wealth to live like a celebrity most high earners identify themselves as Upper Middle Class.
The cost of maintaining your Upper Middle Class status is very high: tuition for elite, private schools, mortgages on giant homes and vacation homes, leases on luxury cars to keep up with the neighbors, and the desire to live in high-cost exclusive communities, etc.
Because of all of the above, people that should be "rich" if you look at where they are on an income distribution graph, actually do not feel "rich." So they identify as Upper Middle Class.
I'd guess his idea of upper class is people with mansions and yachts. 220K isn't enough for that in California (but it is in other places in the US). I think in California that gets you a nice house outside of the most expensive areas and whatever kind of car you want to drive, and maybe private schools for your kids if you want that.
Didn't feel comfortable sharing on my real account, but thought some might find this interesting.
Gender: male Location: east coast * 2013 - Graduated without a degree in CS. Worked at small start-up for 55k, no equity.
* 2014 - Raise to 75k, 0.5%
* 2015 - Raise to 85k, 1%
* 2016 - Quit for a FAANG. 220k total comp.
* 2017 - After 2 promos at the FAANG, ~330k.
* 2018 - After good previous year, received a special stock grant and made 475k. Same eng level.
Holy shit you went from $55k to $475k in 5 years with no college degree.
This is a big reason I'm in tech. What a rocketing salary progression.
I feel very, very lucky. I did graduate from college, just not with a degree that I currently use.
I stumbled upon programming as a senior and loved it. While at the start up, it was easy for me to spend hours a day outside of work learning because I loved every minute of of it. But it came at the cost of hobbies and a friendship. I wouldn't describe myself as motivated by money and don't tell my family and close friends how much I make.
Any advice for others?
How did you display coding knowledge without a degree in it?
How did you get hired at a FAANG what did they like about you?
Would this kind of progression not be possible in finance?
That kind of progression is probably very possible in finance, but not without a relevant degree.
So it's possible in tech, without a degree at all(OP says he has an unrelated degree)? I keep reading horror stories online of people with degrees, internships/experience, hackathons, projects, all that under their belt having a hard time in their careers. And also a lot of naysayers saying you can't make it far without a degree.
As other poster said, not without a relevant degree, and likely that the degree needs to be from a prestigious college.
So it's possible in tech, without a degree at all(OP says he has an unrelated degree)? I keep reading horror stories online of people with degrees, internships/experience, hackathons, projects, all that under their belt having a hard time in their careers. And also a lot of naysayers saying you can't make it far without a degree.
You got two promos in two years? Geez
Didn’t read the article, I did read the thread.
How do I get into the USA?
The difference is too big, even when I give 20% to charity.
Or any ideas how to become well off in Europe?
Tech feels so much more difficult than manager or other business roles (cognitively). I feel like I should switch if I can’t get into the USA.
I grew up in Europe (Malta), now in Seattle. I think Dublin is the place to be for tech opportunities and competitive compensation. If you work for a US company you can transfer from the EU to the US with an L1B visa quite easily (it’s what I did) as long as the company you work for is okay with the transfer. The L1B expires after 5 years, but you can apply for permanent resident while on it.
Thanks for the strategy. I really appreciate it.
I grew up in Europe and now live in Seattle. I'd agree with @DVassallo about Dublin being a good jumping off point.
Moving over to the US typically requires a corporate sponsor for L-1, and you must work 12+ months for them overseas before they can petition to transfer you to the US, or winning the H-1B lottery.
I think the cost to relocate someone to the US is between $50-100k depending on what benefits they offer employees. Therefore you need to consider the companies motivation - why would they spend that money, and increase their payroll cost by having you in a more expensive market?
You need to be a good investment for them.
Additionally, I think it's _also_ worth noting that FB E7+ and the equivalent roles at AMZN and GOOG which pay $1MM+ are typically 1-3% of engineers in the company, and for every person making $1MM+ there are many making much less.
Finally when you're a 'visa slave' (here on a corporate-sponsored visa which doesn't give you an option to quit and find another employer, the L-1 is an example of this) there's less motivation for the US entity to pay you extraordinary amounts of money.
I don't mean to discourage you. I do think it's worth noting this is a hard road to travel. Some luck is involved too.
> Or any ideas how to become well off in Europe?
Start your own company. Work remotely for a US company. Or do both - the company doesn't have to be a startup.
Created new account to share since my other could easily trace back to me...
Maybe this isn’t super relevant since this is mostly about tech but I’ve found my technology skills are what contribute to give me a huge advantage, even in finance. All figures in USD. All finance jobs are in research.
23: 50k - tech consulting business
23: 90k - same. Relocate to NYC
24: 110k - negotiated at consulting company
24: 160k = 110k + 50k bonus - move to financial company
25: 200k = 110k + 90k bonus
26: 210k = 120k + 90k bonus
27: 150k - joined small team starting new business in finance
30: 500k - business is making money
Could you elaborate or expand on the business?
This is your business or you're just someone that got in at the beginning? Like a startup or a division of the company, you were originally at?
I can’t answer your question without giving away more information than I’m comfortable with.
Wowza, hard not to look at these things and feel twinges of jealousy. It's hard to stay grounded in what the important things in life are....
United States - have perfect SAT and ACT scores, went through university for free
Age 21-28 - Work in NGOs, non-profits - $25k Age 28 Finish Masters degree Age 29-32 - Work in NGOs and non-profits and policy analysis - $32k Age 32-34 - Suicide Counselor - $35k Age 35 - Bootcamp - become Rails developer -$60k Age 36 - $65k Age 37 - ask for raise $80k Age 38 - $85k Age 39 - Senior developer/manage projects/do mentoring/keep coding - $90k Age 40 - $92k
Based on these it seems like 5+ years of experience on the backend and frontend with multiple stacks and the ability to manage 4+ engineers, keep backlogs groomed, talk to clients to manage expectations and translate requirements into usr stories and acceptance crtieria, etc should be more than $95k - and yet $95k still seems high for a developer anywhere outside of the US
"Privilege is a large part of the equation; the privilege to not care; the privilege to be a white dude in an industry that (either intentionally or unintentionally) caters to white dudes. Yes, this reflects playing the game on easy mode. I have no doubts there. I’m writing that it’s not enough because I am too privileged to be able to see what non-white dudes should do. So if you’re a white dude reading this, make it better for everyone by not being cheap on compensation (and recognize any potential bias or privilege you may have)."
- what a cringy statement. an industry that caters to white dudes. literaly the CEO of the biggest software company name on earth is an indian. the CEO of one of the top chipmakers on earth is an asian woman and a big chunk of engineers are from china and india but ok whatever. what does the end of the statement means? if you are not white you can be cheap on compensation?
I see a lot of these crazy high salaries (there's nothing much higher than $150 for a sr dev around here on the east) are in SF area.
Are these the exception FAANG salaries or are most companies paying such high salaries out there? It just blows my mind I can't imagine making such money as a dev and I've been doing this for a lot of years.
Median total compensation at FB is $240K and at Google $197K as per SEC filings. Folks with $1M figures are probably in top 3-5% in these companies. I would also add that if you are in bay area with $240K total comp and have family, your standard of living is probably not all that enviable.
This is misleading because it's reporting median compensation of all employees in the company.
Median compensation for software engineers at the HQ is higher.
How can one see these compensation data's in the SEC filings themselves? Where do I look?
Are you saying some of the people here with 400-800k salaries are top 5% at a FAANG?
Managers will usually pull 400k+, I wouldn't say that's a top 5% salary. Above 300k isn't unusual at all. Check out levels.fyi for some examples of top-of-band salaries in each level.
Are there any non tech management level positions at FAANG that net these types of salaries as well?
Yea EMs. I don't know about non-tech.
No Big Co Job I've ever worked at had many people who visited HN. I suspect only passionate engineers visit this site, so that skews salaries. Most non big city salaries are like 70-110k
I suspect they're the exception, although they may be including stock options or could even be nonsense, this being the internet and all.
I agree that we need to abolish the taboo of not talking about salaries. It creates an information asymmetry that primarily benefits employers.
Currently taking a break from my PhD, although I plan to finish it one day. Here's my salary progression as a CS researcher in Silicon Valley:
2015: $104k (worked in an R&D lab for an enterprise company)
2016: $106k (laid off at the end of the year as part of reorg)
2017: $115k + $10k bonus (short stint as a SRE at a famous company that unfortunately didn't go very well....)
2018: Consultant at a startup for $120/hr. Unfortunately this opportunity didn't last. Ended up taking a research internship.
2019: $95k (promoted to full-time researcher)
I love my current job; in fact, it's one of the best I've had. But Silicon Valley is a very expensive place, and I'm wondering if there are opportunities to do CS research in industry outside of Silicon Valley.
2005 - $15k consulting and college
2006 - $16k consulting and college
2007 - $20k Company 1
2008 - $26k Company 1
2009 - $40k Company 2
2010 - $52k Company 3
2011 - $104k Company 3
2012 - $170k Company 4
2013 - $180k Company 5
2013 - $215k Company 6
2015 - $250k Company 7
2016 - $350k Company 7
2017 - $450k Company 7
2018 - $700k Company 7
2019 - $1.6M Company 7 *
* Based on stock remaining at today’s share price.
Only the company >=6 had significant portions of compensation contribution through equity.
I recently interviewed and secured two offers for around $1.5M but ended up staying. Offered role were Distinguished Engineer / VP Engineering.
Is company 7 Amazon ?
Canadian Software developer
Salaries in USD, before taxes, including lack of bonus.
- 2010: Dropout
- 2011: $0
- 2012: $33,000
- 2013: $36,000
- 2014: $39,000
- 2015: $42,000
- 2016: $45,000
- 2017: $55,000
- 2018: $0 (startup)
- 2019: $0 (startup)
What the hell am I doing with my life? I consider myself pretty damn good too. The "startup" isn't going anywhere.
I think I'll go to university. Maybe in 4 years I'll be able to earn $150,000...
Without knowing your skills, there's a good chance you've just been working for the wrong companies. There are lots of companies in Canada that pay absolute garbage to software engineers. And if you don't have the skills that higher-paying companies look for (mainly coding+algorithms+data structures in interviews), you can get that without going to college. Also look into working remotely for US companies.
The company I worked for was a software shop. Most people there were developers.
I don't really have algorithms and data structure skills. I almost never have to do these things in real life. I have done mostly front-end stuff (web and mobile). Should I go all-in on LeetCode? Will that guarantee a good paying job?
It seems like 4 more years without income to get a bachelor's degree would be worth it considering the crazy compensations people are sharing here. I would earn more in 2 years there than I did in my entire career here.
If you can solve a leetcode medium in an hour _and_ get a work visa in the US, then you can easily double or triple that salary. Just throwing this out there: grinding interview problems sucks but it's the best thing you can do for your income in industry these days.
I can't get a US work visa. I need a bachelor's degree.
There are some US companies that will let you work remotely.
You have enough work experience to be admitted into the Oxford M.Sc. in Software Engineering. If you want to get a degree consider doing that instead of spending four years getting a Bachelor’s.
That starts at $60,000 (CAD) and it's not clear what kind of experience is necessary to waive the requirements for an undergraduate degree. They say that experience + unrelated undergraduate degree (with excellent grades) can be sufficient. I'm not sure that 6 years as a front-end developer will cut it.
I'm still not sure whether that degree alone (without a bachelor's degree) is sufficient to get a work visa in the US (they generally ask for a 4-year degree).
The HN user peteretep got onto the M.Sc. without an undergraduate degree which is how I first heard of it. There’s no reason to believe you can’t get in. His email is in his profile.
> However, more extensive experience may compensate for a lack of formal qualifications, and a strong, immediately-relevant qualification may compensate for a lack of professional experience.
You have the “more extensive experience”.
I would be surprised if a Master’s degree did not suffice in place of a Bschelor’s. I doubt you would be asked to submit the latter if you submitted the former. To be certain you could spend one or two hundred dollars on a consultation with an immigration lawyer.
If you really want a US Bachelor’s degree go to
They will be more than happy to tell you how you can get a legitimate, regionally accredited US Bachelor’s degree in under one year. It involves doing many, many tests like CLEP, AP, DSST etc. and using job experience to get proof of prior learning before eventually matriculating at a university willing to accept a great deal of transfer credit.
Grinding leetcode or similar things would probably work if you have the right work ethic. You could also consider a coding bootcamp like Lambda School. Way cheaper/less time than a 4-year degree, and they have much better job placement programs. (And will probably teach you the skills needed to pass an interview better than most 4-year undergrad programs would.)
If you can code you really don’t need to go to college. It sounds to me like you need to go on a serious job hunt. You can probably find a better match for you that would be fun to work at, especially if you’re willing to relocate.
2008: Graduated with a BS in CS from University of London. I grew up in Europe.
2008: €30K - Joined a small company in Europe as their only programmer doing vehicle GPS tracking.
2009: €30K - Still there.
2010: €50K - Joined Amazon in Dublin, Ireland as an SDE-1 (entry level) in the AWS CloudWatch team.
2011: €75K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2012: $120K - Moved to Seattle with the same team. Promoted to SDE-2.
2013: $150K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2014: $185K - Promoted to SDE-3 (senior level), same team.
2015: $230K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2016: $390K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2017: $470K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2018: $511K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2019: Left Amazon last month. You can read more about why here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19135399
All figures are gross income as shown in my W2. My last 3 year-end (Dec) paystubs: http://imgur.com/a/EgIVQln
Ask me anything.
Graduated in the late 90s with a degree in CS. I read this and I wonder, where the hell did I go wrong? If this is commonplace, then how did I fail so spectacularly?
A significant portion of his compensation was via recurring Amazon.com stock grants (RSUs). By year 4+ most employees are looking at least 3 separate stock grants vesting every single year.
Had you bought $100,000 of $AMZN in 2010, it'd be worth $1.35M today (and $1.6M in September) which would go a long way toward evening things out in a similar manner.
It’s true that a big part of my comp was in stock, but I only meaningfully gained from stock appreciation in 2017 and 2018. In the other years stock appreciation accounted for only $5-$15K. I sold all my stock as soon as it vested, so I sold a lot at $200, $300, $400... etc. Even in 2017, I got it at all under $1000. Now it’s $1700.
I was just in the right place, right time. Ten years ago my target was to make $100K/year by 2020. Never would have I imagined these amounts were even possible. But once I attained a basic level of financial security, additional income stopped mattering for my satisfaction. It’s one of the reasons I left, despite everything was going well by every traditional measure.
It’s not commonplace.
the relevant discussion:
I work in Canada government on Java ee for 3 years, worked on other legacy application on cobol etc earlier for 10 years. I have undergrad in CS. What technology can I learn to level up my salary with current market standards? I will appreciate any other advice to get up to those level.
I look at numbers like this and think... where did I go wrong?
I must have gone seriously, seriously wrong...
How common are these huge annual salary bumps at Amazon?
I got a big bump in 2016 because I got a competing offer from Oracle, and Amazon matched it. 2017 and 2018 growth was from stock appreciation. If the stock hadn’t increased so much, the last 2 years would have been at around the 2016 level. AFAIK, people with ~10 years experience commonly get offers at around my 2016 level.
I was wondering about that. I mean when I was at Sun they paid a market wage and had an employee stock purchase plan. When I left Sun in '95 the stock I had left was worth about $1.2M, it had gone from the $20's to over a $100 and split twice (if you do the math that was $60,000 worth of stock to begin with, which had accumulated over about 6 years).
I don't think of my wages being $1.2M so much as I happened to get lucky with that equity. (I have also experienced the reverse where > $1M worth (on paper) of stock was worth less than $10K when I could sell it, it isn't all roses.)
But ~$500K is the market rate right now. Several people I know got that amount at Google, Facebook, and Oracle here in Seattle with ~10 years experience in cloud or AI/ML. Amazon’s stock increase has inflated the market rates because other companies had to pay so much in the last 3 years for people to leave Amazon. Obviously there’s no guarantee that this will last forever, but I was pretty confident I would have continued to make $500K/year as long as the market conditions remained the same. I also had enough unvested RSUs until end of 2020 to make that much.
I understand what you are saying, and when you sell stock that vests it is completely reasonable to count it as income as it shows up on your W2.
My point was that just prior to the dot com crash I had over $6M in "RSUs" (well restricted stock which was a better deal since the number can't be fudged but what ever) and when it "vested" it was worth less than $12K. It showed up on my W2 because I used an 83b election to vest it all up front (and get in on a lower tax rate when it unlocked) only to have it generate losses when it unlocked.
Where I was going was that there is 'base pay' which you are going to get if you show up every day and don't get fired, and there is 'variable pay' which can come in the format of annual bonuses and or vesting equity. The annual bonuses tend to be something of a beauty contest and so can be hard to predict, and the market can swing wildly (hopefully nobody with RSUs today has to experience a 99.9% drop in value that I did during the dot com crash but it can happen, you could have had Theranos RSUs for example).
The original author went out of their way to stick with just base pay and I understood their reasons for doing so as I largely agree with them on the lack of predictability of other remuneration options.
At these levels it's all variable since practically all compensation is in stock. If you're not good enough to be given stock, you'll likely get fired. Everyone's base at Amazon is capped at $160K, including the CEO and the execs making $20M/year. When the stock dipped from $400 to $290 in 2014, Amazon topped us up mid-year to make up for the shortfall. Otherwise people would have left. Obviously if another bubble/recession like 2001 or 2008 happened again, the whole market would likely shrink and people would get less RSUs and they would be worth less. But they'd have to settle for that since the opportunities elsewhere would also presumably go away.
This is less a direct question and more of a discussion: I always thought it was considered a bad move to stick with your old company after receiving a competing offer and negotiating a higher wage at your old company. Conventional wisdom I've read is that your old company will slowly phase you out (thus missing out on promotions/raises).
Have other people been so successful using an offer for a raise at your original employer and staying?
I have never retaliated against employees who gave me competing offers; some times I haven't been able to meet them and they left, but every time I did meet them, people stayed.
The people who stayed basically pulled forward a stock grant that was coming anyway, and increased this year's raise while decreasing it a fair bit for the next two years.
I've always been explicit that this is what's happening; the area under the income curve does end up larger, but not by a large amount. Of course the option value of having a grant vs. hoping for a grant is worth something, too.
DVassallo's $160k bump across one year's W2 is much larger than I've ever seen granted.
At big companies I don't think that happens. Everyone understands that everybody is there for a temporary period. In my case, I think only about 3 people knew about this, and I believe they genuinely wanted me to stay.
This is really good information to know, thanks.
Those total comp bumps from 2015-2019 were probably due to massive stock appreciation more than salary increase.
Only 2016 and 2017. The other years had minor impact from stock appreciation (~$5-15K). In 2016 I got a big bump because I got a competing offer from Oracle at $380K, and Amazon matched it.
Can you share what sort of skills related to cloud would net me 380k/year? Got a phd ee doing C++ mostly.
5 years experience at one of the leading cloud companies (AWS, Azure, Google) will very likely put you right in that market. Nothing special to join. It’s very hard to enter directly as an SDE-3 (or equivalent) without having experience at one of the big companies. I think in 8 years at Amazon I’ve only seen 1 person doing that. With a phd and some work experience you can likely join as an SDE-2 and get to an SDE-3 level in about 5 years. The exact timing depends a bit on the opportunities you’d find, but I’d say that’s definitely very realistic. I can put you in touch with a recruiter from Amazon if you’re interested. My email is in my profile.
"Cloud" can mean a lot of things, so what does it mean to you in this context?
Edit: Put another way - day to day, what are people in such roles working on exactly?
Deep knowledge of how services like those offered by AWS, Azure, and Google are built, operated, and designed to scale.
Do SDE3 interviews still do it leetcode style?
No, they shouldn't. But it depends on the interviewer. SDE-3 interviews will be more behavioral than technical.
Also, what language were you using?
Java mostly. But I didn't write a line of code in the last 2 years.
It's stock increases.
Only 2016 and 2017. Those 2 years would have been at 2016 level if stock didn't increase. The other years had negligible impact from stock increases.
Can you do the same but only include base salary?
Base salary was $160K since 2014. But why? The stock part ended up as money in my bank. These aren’t stock options like startups give. Public companies like to pay with stock because it didn’t impact their cash flow. The shareholders pay for it via dilution.
Did you sell stock as soon as it vests? Why?
If you don’t, you need to ask the question: if I had a pile of cash to invest, would I use it to purchase my company’s stock given that the stock price snd my employment opportunities there are at least loosely correlated?
Yes I did. I was always very exposed on the Amazon stock since I always had 2-3 years worth of granted RSUs that hadn’t vested yet. I didn’t want that much exposure.
Diversification. Even if you want stocks, you don't want them all from the same company. It would be better to just stick that money into some S&P500 index fund.
Whatcha doing now that you're a millionaire?
I’m working for myself. I’m exploring some ideas right now. My target is to have something on the market by around May, and then keep iterating/changing based on market feedback. Going to live off my savings until my work can cover my family’s expenses. I’m hoping that happens before I run out of savings.
How could you possibly run out of savings when you had that kind of income? Were you spending most of it? What is your monthly expense rate now? Perhaps you bought a multimillion dollar house?
I live in Seattle (high cost of living area) and have 2 small kids (2 & 4). Just housing and insurance (health, life, disability, etc) are $84K/year. That’s before food and utilities. My total expenses are about $150K. I start with a round $1M in liquid savings, so it’s about 5.5 years of runway. There’s more detail about my finances in this post for those curious: https://danielvassallo.com/from-employee-to-bootstrapper/
Very interesting blog post, to me at least.
I live in Seattle too, and this is the first year I made more than $85k. But I don't have kids.
Yes, it’s more expensive with a family. The cheapest health insurance from Obamacare was $15K/year, with a $14K decidable. I live in a 2,500 sqft 3-bed townhouse and all housing costs are $64K/year (mortgage, HOA, and insurance). Then I have another $5K for life, disability, umbrella, and auto insurance.
Care to share more about that retention bonus? Are those regularly used? Did they have a sense you’d be leaving?
No. I got that in 2016 because I had an offer from Oracle that included a $25K cash signup bonus and Amazon countered with an exact match.
You must be missed at Amazon and were a good employee. Congrats!
How many RSUs did you walk away from?
About $650K that were going to vest in 2019 and 2020.
That’s insane. Do you seriously expect in five years to be in better financial shape then you would have been had you stuck it out?
No. But I'm not optimizing my life to make as much money as possible. I'd like to work on my own terms, doing things that intrinsically motivate me. If I can do that while covering my family expenses, I think I would have improved my life.
Any advice for someone like me who IS trying to optimize for as much money as possible?
Being self taught, will I ever get to be as fortunate as you working at FAANG and seeing salaries and stocks like that?
Yes. I'm self taught. Plenty of self taught people at Amazon, with non-CS degrees, or no degrees at all. That definitely won't be a blocker.
My advice would be to not try to seek satisfaction from "earning as much as possible"... because "as much as possible" is an unreachable destination. I worked with lots of unhappy people earning $350K/year because they felt they should be doing $500K. How do you think they'll feel once they're making $500K? I bet they'll still be miserable because one person they know is their age and making $600K. And so on. Same with promotions and job titles. Once you clear a certain level of financial security (bills on autopay, some savings), more income stops mattering for satisfaction.
So, no degree at all for you?
I have this mental hurdle I cant seem to get over, I keep reading about how there are engineers at FAANGs purely self taught but then im also reading about people with degrees, bootcamps, internships under their belts having a hard time getting hired.
What advice do you have for me? If im self taught how do i even get my foot in the door with amazon? How do I have them even consider me for an interview? Anecdotally speaking how did you and your self taught peers do it? Was it projects? Or work experience at less exclusive companies?
To get in all you need is to clear the technical and behavioral interview. I participated in over 300 interviews, and not once was education ever brought up as a factor. Amazon in Seattle hires hundreds of people a week, and there's plenty of openings in other places. Just find a position you think is a good fit and apply. If you know someone working there it'd be good to get a referral, but it's not required. I just applied from their website in 2010, and I started 3 weeks later.
How do you get past the resume screeners?
I do have a degree, but I participated in plenty of resume screening and education was never a filter for programming jobs.
What do they filter for? How do they keep just anyone from applying and keep it to qualified people?
How much is required on a resume to get past a screener and land an interview?
I can’t speculate on mindset or motivation, but based on purely financials I’d have suggested sticking it out for a few more years to build up a larger nest egg. It’s not just the risk of not succeeding at your next venture; there’s the follow up risk that after failure you can’t get back in the game where you left off.
That said, best of luck to you. Fortune favors the brave!
Assuming DV was able to save a good% of their money and get a reasonable return on it, their nest egg could easily be a couple million today. After taxes etc another 3 years might only grow that 10-15%.
Yes, staying another year wouldn’t have made a big difference. My net worth is around $1.4M with $1M in liquid savings. In the last 2 years I added ~$200K per year in savings. I just didn’t want to keep postponing. Otherwise there’s always a reason to wait another year or two.
How did you make SDE-3?
I had the opportunity to lead the development of CloudWatch Logs in 2013-2014.
what do L5s and L6s SDEs earn in London - do you have any insight into location based differences?
I don’t know unfortunately. But if I were to guess, I think in the same ballpark as Seattle, maybe a bit lower.
These salaries sound astronomical compared to earning potential in UK companies. As an Architect, average salaries are around £64,000. Does anyone know how like for like roles pay in the UK for US companies? I can't see Amazon paying £200k for a software developer?
That figure must be for outside London, no? Since there aren't too many UK salaries here I'll add mine for London, all in GBP:
- 2006-2009 45-60k Employee, US investment bank, Analyst
- 2010-2012 300/day Freelance, full stack web dev
- 2013-2017 105k Employee, tech lead at a startup
- 2018-2019 700/day Contractor, Senior Python Developer
It's a UK wide average. Specific industries like banking will pay a markup. Also expect a 15-20% higher pay in London due to increased living costs.
Banking pays poorly compared to tech roles at private equity and hedge funds. Even losing out to Silicon Roundabout and even sleepy Whitehall at the moment, though it is all fairly volatile.
I suppose trying to work at any of the smaller FAANG offices in London might be the best you can do in the UK?
Not in salary, no, but total comp would be in that ballpark
1998 - 2006 Uni CSO work AUD$20k - $50k
2007 - 2009 £24k in London
2010 - 2014 £20 - £30k not in London
2014 - 2016 USD$135k + $30k stock (averaged)
2017 - 2018 £65k + $50k stock
I have colleagues that work in the UK office of my US headquartered employer that are making £200k+ having worked there for ~10 years.
Well, yall can have mine.
2005: Graduated with a BA in Political Science and a fairly strong background in SQL. I've stayed in Texas my whole career.
2005: first job, web dev, $34k, govt pension
2006: salary bump to $40k
2007: new role as data analyst, $55k
2008: cola bump, $58k
2009: data warehouse lead at school district, $72k
2010: cola bump plus a raise, $78k
2011: first contracting role, equivalent of $100k
2012: lead BI architect, $125k, company pension
2013: same role, bonus, $130k
2014: same role, bonus, $130k
2015: consultant with a firm, $135k
2016 and 2017: cola bumps to $140k
2018: promotion, $152k
And I've turned down offers of $180k because I like my work life balance.
What's a promotion after BI architect? Manager?
Well I switched to consulting in 2015, but I'm now a pre sales analytics architect serving the Southwest.
So my promotion is more technical scope (BI/DW, ML/AI, IoT, Big Data, "DataOps"), more customers, more leadership, and more commercial responsibility (i.e. I have a quota.)
How can one get into this field?
I guess my pithy answer is I've never got tired of learning. Four straightforward steps that you've no doubt heard before, but I can confirm they do the trick:
Establish internal credibility. That is, the confidence to speak credibly on a given subject, be it a platform or tool, a technique, a concept, a prediction. Roll your sleeves up and get dirty coding. Even on-rails tutorials force your brain to make the connection between the concepts and the technical reality. Especially for Big Data and ML/DL workloads. Put this all on a public repo. Search GH for relevant repos, fork them, and code walk them - especially Python/R/Scala scripts. Compete on Kaggle, that's obvious. Answer questions on SO, and attempt to replicate problems you find on SO yourself - this yields a lot of benefits, as most SO questions are edge cases. Join the user communities and help forums for popular platforms and read the newest entries - again, you learn the most from others actually practicing in the space. And still an extremely effective technique is to just directly search for e.g. "Spark shuffle joins" on Google and look for real people with real opinions - that you can then test yourself in an environment. When you've already read the blog post or watched the YouTube video or taken the Udacity course the guy across the table is talking about - you really establish credibility.
Teach others what you know. True trial by fire; share what you've learned. You'll learn how to overprepare, communicate and speak plainly, connect with those different than you in personality, behavior and skill, read rooms, provide feedback, take criticism, and most importantly - you'll really, really learn the ins and outs of the material.
Read voraciously. I skim-consume about 25 books a month using my company's Safari subscription; have built up a pretty good "reading recommender" system of Twitter users, subreddits, aggregators, blogs, etc; And not just technical books - books on business strategy, behavioral economics and psych, industry-specific blogs and journals - if you can't explain what you're doing in terms of risk, dollars, or time, you're doing it wrong. (Also a good life pro tip: download every interesting thing you read into a single repo and put a crawler on top of them. Even if you don't know the answer, you know you've read it somewhere and can retrieve it.)
Learn from others. Reading is great, in-person is better, mentoring is the best. Reach out to everyone in the field. Ask them (like you just did to me) what they're reading, what they did, ask follow up questions, share what you're doing with them. I find keeping a list of "questions you'd like to ask" while you're working through material (especially on industry/business) to be invaluable when you meet someone who can potentially answer them.
These days I spent probably 15-20 hours a week just reading, learning, doing, in prep for the 20-30 hours a week I spend educating, communicating, and (hopefully) selling.
One thing to add: I usually am focusing on 2 things at a time, no more, no less. If you can combine them, even better - learn Kafka for streaming and Grafana to visualize it; learn Azure SQL DW or Redshift for distributed DW and Spark for processing; etc.
My real evolution came when I realized I was happy being the dumbest person in the room, and that curiosity is a superpower.
Wow, thank you for all that. I really appreciate the advice. I appreciate the time you took into typing all that out.
I have some follow up questions if you don't mind:
>have built up a pretty good "reading recommender" system of Twitter users, subreddits, aggregators, blogs, etc;
How can I do this? I follow a bunch of influential people in tech and VC last I logged into Twitter, is this what you're talking about? One of my favorite Twitter users is @patrickc, he always has book recommendations.
Any other tips or advice to better optimize my twitter feed?
>And not just technical books - books on business strategy, behavioral economics and psych, industry-specific blogs and journals - if you can't explain what you're doing in terms of risk, dollars, or time, you're doing it wrong.
Any suggestions? Book suggestions for business strategy, behavioral economics, and psych? I'm into these books too but sometimes it's hard to see the concrete connection it might have to my day to day dealings.
>(Also a good life pro tip: download every interesting thing you read into a single repo and put a crawler on top of them. Even if you don't know the answer, you know you've read it somewhere and can retrieve it.)
Sorry, I'm not THAT technically savvy, is there a tutorial or video i can gleam to learn this? It sounds super helpful because I do have a habit of referring back to something I learned online because its in one of many bookmark folders in my browser.
>These days I spent probably 15-20 hours a week just reading, learning, doing, in prep for the 20-30 hours a week I spend educating, communicating, and (hopefully) selling.
What are you selling exactly?
>One thing to add: I usually am focusing on 2 things at a time, no more, no less. If you can combine them, even better - learn Kafka for streaming and Grafana to visualize it; learn Azure SQL DW or Redshift for distributed DW and Spark for processing; etc.
This is good advice, I think. I'm attempting it right now. By focusing on learning java and selenium. Do you ever feel FOMO about what you're not learning or reading though? Any way to combat that?
hey @kthejoker2 just pinging you again for a reply
Graduated UC Santa Cruz in 2007, did odd-jobs until 2012. All of the following jobs are in San Diego, CA, USA.
2008-late 2014- Odd jobs and data entry as a temp: ~$28k
Oct 2014- 1st developer job, Touch This Media: $50k, no benefits
Jan 2016- company was in trouble, $35k
July 2016- took 3 months off for a programming bootcamp, took two months after to find a job
Jan 2017- The Control Group, $75k plus benefits, 401k, paid time off. Worked as a full stack dev
Late 2017- DiegoDev $91k, remote, front end engineer
Early 2018- raise to $96k
With a degree, and dev experience, why did you decide to attend a bootcamp?
My degree was in literature, and my dev experience was very basic. The company I was at before the bootcamp used git, but did not use classes, SOLID, unit tests, some sort of CI/CD pipeline or build tools. My resume was only getting very basic experience, so I decided to speed it up a little, especially since I was starting my dev career at 28 or 29.
I have a bachelors degree in Math & CS from a mid tier state university.
What i found in my experience:
2012 - 85k Big Co in NJ 2013 - 90k Big Co in NJ 2014 - 95k Big Co in NJ 2015 - 65k Startuo in NJ 2016 - 75k Startup in NJ 2017 - 100k Big Co in NJ 2018 - 100k Big Co in NJ 2019 - 130k Big Co in Dallas
1)Interviewing is a skill in itself, do it regularly 2)When interviewing, interview for multiple jobs so you can negotiate better 3)There a max and a min that the company has in mind for a particular position, if they like you enough to offer you a job they will be willing to negotiate. To find out max and min, see roughly what those type of jobs offer in your area. I've found that if you are NOT working in cities in NYC, SF, Boston, then for an senior engineer (i.e 7+ years experience), the range is around 110-140. There is almost a hard cap for IC engineers in non major cities to around 150-160k.
I am a little hazy of the old figures, but they are roughly correct:
1997 £12,500 - Visual Basic Developer - Small B2B company in South West England 1998 £14,000 - as above 1999 £15,000 - as above 1999 £17,000 - as above 2001 £14,000 (6 month contract) Visual Basic - Advertising Agency in London late 2001 unemployed for 6 months - dot com crash! 2002 £21,000 Visual Basic/PHP - South England | 2013 £32,000 same company, just steady salary progression During that period I also did some freelance Rails development. Maybe earning extra £3,000 to £8,000 each year. 2014 £20,000 Quit full time work. Part-time Rails developer 2015 £20,000 Part-time Rails developer 2016 ¥6,500,000 Rails Developer - Japan 2017 ¥6,565,000 Rails Developer - Japan 2018 ¥6,565,000 Rails Developer - Japan
I have an associates degree in an unrelated field.
For work, I implemented and maintain part of the CI/CD pipeline (AWS Code Pipeline configuration, pretty simple), spin up and maintain AWS infrastructure, hack on the cloud formation templates and our internal build scripts, and do a portion of the helpdesk admin work for some of our large clients. Troubleshoot individual nodes. I work remotely in a small town in the US with a relatively mid-low cost of living.
I make 67k/year. I feel like my needs are met. My work/life balance is great as no one gives me any crap for sticking to a regular work day. I'm not supporting a family or anything. I'm able to contribute 15% to 401k. Otherwise, I'm not quite paycheck to paycheck, but close.
Looking at some of your salaries, I feel envious. I'm not sure my skill set demands more but maybe it does? I don't know if I should feel underpaid. I also don't want big heavy golden handcuffs.
Talk to other companies about openings and see what they offer. You don't have to take their offers, and you can have some good conversations.
keep your resume up-to-date every month (seriously, was great advice I got early on, even though I sometimes lapse myself).
and I know most people advising on salary negotiations say never give your number first... but if you are happy where you are, then it's going to take 30-50% over what you're making to make you move. So give that number. It weeds most recruiters out.
The ones that bite, you know they're serious. Then it's up to the role, company, commute, etc, the things that make a difference for you.
Golden handcuffs are a good problem to have. Wherever you go, just make sure you can make a difference and have some autonomy to make the work interesting.
From these data points/my experience, the only semi-repeatable way you'll make $350k+ money as salary is senior FAANG employee based in the US (comp outside the US for the same FAANG positions is usually way less), senior position in finance in a good bonus year, or contracting working your butt off for multiple clients
My progression (pre-tax):
2000 - £8/h (Summer job coding)
2001 - £15/h (Summer job coding)
2002-3 - (Other job)
2004 - £160/day (Freelance)
2005-6 - £200/day (Freelance)
2007 - £275/day (Contracting, London)
2008 - £450/day (Contracting, London)
2009 - €65K (Employed, Europe)
2010-12 - £500-600/day (Freelance)
2013-14 - $100K (University, Bay Area)
2015 - $120K (University, Bay Area)
2016 - $360K (FAANG, Bay Area)
2017 - $425K (FAANG, Bay Area)
2018 - $500K (FAANG, Bay Area)
2019 - $660K (Different FAANG, Bay Area, estimated)
Thanks for sharing. My takeaway is that I'm happy to know that east coast co's are willing to go to that $180K+ level. Would be much more interested at that level on the east coast (e.g., VA) as opposed to an AirBnB level ($250K+) in SV.
Companies in NYC and Boston will go well above $200k for senior people. I'd estimate salaries in each of those markets is only ~10-15% below SVBA. Obviously they have much higher cost of living than VA or most other places. Having Google, Facebook, etc. open large offices has brought up salaries a lot.
How long to get to senior level?
it depends on what kind of growth you want and what terminal level you are able to sit at. If you want to be an IC (individual contributor), then it many positions in FAANG cap out around $300K unless you do crazy shit. Moving into technical leadership (either manager or principal) is the key to the next level.
What does it mean to be an IC?
How does one move into technical leadership?
In SF Bay Area:
1999-2006 - $55k (starting) to $70kish various jobs at a startup. Began in an implementation role, moved to software engineer
2006-2008 - $80k-$95k as a QA engineer at NetSuite
2009-20012 - $95k-$105k as a SWE at NetSuite
2012 - $110k as a SWE at an early-stage startup
2013-2014 - $120k-$140k as a SWE at a different startup
2014 - $150k as a Sr SWE at a different C-stage startup
2015 - $158k as a line manager at same startup
2016 - $170k (?) as a line manager at same startup
2017 - $190k as a manager-of-managers at same startup
2018 - $205k as department head at same startup
2019 - $220k as director of engineering at different late-stage startup
All this is base salary, excluding equity and so forth. Very recently, bonuses have started to be a thing, so base salary is a little less relevant than it was.
2008-2010: Waiter: 6£/h
2010: Intern 4$/h
2011: Intern about 6400£ after taxes for 2 months
2015: 55k/year (£)
2016: Contractor with full employee benefits, remote, python, startup - $75k/year. Small bonus after the startup was bought.
2018: two remote contracts. Working 6 days a week for 12h. After taxes and all my expenses - I live very comfortable lifestyle - I was saving for retirement 10k USD a month.
Now: 81k$/year. 9-to-5, remote, python. I live in central Europe, so I save up about 40% for my retirement. Not sure how to invest money, most likely I'll start my own start up and copy something from US.
My life is really great. I wouldn't trade it for 250k+ Silicon Valley job.
> Not sure how to invest money
Low fee index funds
My friends were recommending Vanguard. Sadly, it's not available at my location.
This. virtually all "fancy" funds do worse than the Dow jones index.
You probably mean S&P index, which is what most index funds index against.
Dave Ramsey recommends mutual funds with higher fees but that consistently beat the S&P 500. I have some money in some that I found like that, but still probably half in index funds.
18 years old: 4k$ / year (after the first year in the university, Russia)
19 years old: 7k$ / year (promotion)
20 years old: 42k€ (moved to the Netherlands, switched job)
21 years old: 50k€ (promotion)
22 years old: 70k€ (switched job, still in the Netherlands)
23 years old: 81k€ (promotion, this year)
Here's my fairly unusual salary progression, since we're all sharing:
• 2011 — $80k at a startup in CA, a year out of college
• 2012 — $90k, and we got acquired by an industry big fish
• 2013 — $90k, but got laid off in the middle of the year
• 2013 through 2018 — making random software, traveling, and using up my savings; made some money, but not enough to count as "salary" in any real sense
• 2018 — $240k ($180k base) as a senior SWE at a FAANG
Given my long stretch of being a software ronin, I didn't expect to get what I got in 2018, but I did my research (mostly on Blind), asked for what I wanted, and then asked for a little more on top when I realized that I was selling myself short.
What is Blind?
Do you think your degree helped?
Is $240k a lot or a little as a senior SWE at a FAANG? Don't freshers hired out of school get offered tht much?
Any advice for others?
My degree surely helped, but what got my foot in the door was a particularly interesting project I worked on the year before.
As for salary, it depends on the company. In many places, this number would indeed be low. (See Netflix with its $300-$400k starting salaries.) At my company, it's maybe on the low-mid of the scale for employees who've had my position for a few years. (Last I checked, the range is approx. $200-$300k TC.) However, I considered it a very high offer indeed, given the large "gap" and general lack of corporate experience on my resume. I actually got in one level higher than I thought I would. (Though I've since come to realize that it was definitely the right slot for me.)
Blind is an anonymous messaging app where people talk about their salaries, employers, and other topics. It’s somewhat toxic.
$240k seems in the range of normal for most of the FAANGs. Of course it can go much higher.
It doesn’t seem like the typical new hire just out of undergrad gets that much to start.
Agreed that Blind is a crap community, but their numbers are more accurate than I've seen anywhere else (including levels.fyi).
this is it? any reason for the toxicity? poor moderation?
Yep. Anonymity is the focus, so people are more than happy to air their racist and sexist laundry. Lots of 4chan-style garbage. In terms of career advice, it's also very mercenary and salary-driven.
Every post on there ends up looking like this HN thread. Some would say it is highly toxic, so make sure to set an aggressive screen-time limit. It is not healthy to read so much depressing content.
This is great. It would be beneficial to also see other forms of compensation including bonus at a minimum, RSUs, etc. Sometimes a dip in salary might be explained by these other factors, so it might tell a more complete story.
Here's mine. I graduated school in 2013 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but at the time of graduation I already knew I wanted to actually work in software.
Year - Age - Total Income - Role
2014 - 23 - 36k - Test Technician in Santa Barbara, CA
2015 - 24 - 40k - Test Technician in Santa Barbara, CA
2016 - 25 - 46k - Finally made the switch to software, worked for a couple different startups in Portland, OR.
2017 - 26 - 38k - Full-stack Developer for couple more startups while I honed my skills
2018 - 27 - 87k - Landed a contract with a large apparel company
2019 - 28 - 111k - Converted to full-time with large apparel company. Senior Software Engineer.
2004, 23: $150 NZD/day (level designer, NZ)
2007, 25: $45k (web developer, SD)
2011, 29: $62k (web developer, MN)
2013, 31: $82k (software engineer, MN)
2014, 32: $92k (s. software engineer, MN)
2015, 33: $98k (s. software engineer, MN)
2016, 34: $107k (operations manager, MN)
2017, 35: $130k (devops engineer, MN)
2018, 36: $125k (devops consultant, MN)
19 - co-op while in well known lower end of 1st tier (not top 5) engr school - 16k/yr
20 - internship at big 5 consulting firm in NYC - 45k/yr (summer only)
21 - full time at same firm - 61k-ish
22-5 some small raises
26 - move to mid size well known federal gov consulting firm in DC - 76k/yr
27-28 - some raises to 86-90k
28 - smaller/mid consulting firm - 125k
28-33 - raises through to 175k
change to independent, and hourly rates, but will list the following as yearly; however from this point, I have to pay my own taxes, insurance, retirement, etc. still better off however, as taxes are lower compared to salary/employee, and rates are higher.
34 - 200k
35 - 260k
36 - 265k
37 - 280k
38 - 300k
39 - 285k
40 - 280k
Last couple years are the same rate, but working fewer hours to enjoy work-life balance.
How do you make the leap to consulting? Any special skills allowing that rate?
How did I? or how does one? ;-)
I feel I got lucky in a way. Along the way I met one small company owner that I worked with on project to bring in some of their developers onto my team. A few years later they were looking for a contractor. Right at that time another coworker bluntly told me that I was way undervalued and literally gave me an hourly rate that they felt I could easily ask for. I asked for even a little more ;-) And got it!
The work is _exactly_ the same. Again, lucky. The logistics of starting the company can be facilitated with a good tax professional/accountant. The majority of that is paperwork.
The technical skills are a combination of deep expertise in both front end and back end, which is kind of rare in government contracting, plus the big 5 consulting background, which gives you credibility, plus being honest about what you know and dont know. Believe it or not, honesty goes a long way. It's your personal brand, after all.
Entry ones are harder to remember, but here goes. Leaving company names out since they're mostly small and it would be obvious who I am. Numbers are mostly approximate.
Seeing some of these salaries for remote developers for SV companies makes me wonder if maybe that's the ticket. Do they really just not adjust based on location? My mid term goal is to be able to save up enough to give a few years runway to do whatever. It's tough to fathom moving on though because I really do like the area my current company is in.
19 - ~$20/hr Doing remote web dev for my college in WV. 21 - $60k Doing GTK/C for avionics place in Milwaukee 22 - ~$25k Went back to school, MS in Computer Vision, worked as TA/RA 24 - $68k C++, small science software company near Boston 25 - $78k same company 26 - $92k Jumped to mid stage startup (still Boston doing integration of machine learning algorithms (Python/Matlab) 27 - $100k 28 - $115k (promoted to Data Scientist) 29 - $125k 30 - $136k started leading small team of analytics developers 31 - $145k started leading both teams of analytics developers and data scientists, also started working remotely from a midwest state. 32 - $155k
My numbers: I have a BSc and MSc in mechanical engineering but never found a job in that field where I want/need to live, so fell back to software dev. Amounts in Canadian rupees before tax (I pay an average ~25% of my gross income as income tax)
2011 - $21k/yr grad student scholarship
2015 - $55k/yr startup that died in ~6mo
2016 - $60k/yr contract at a university
2017 - $72k/yr + pension as manager + developer at said university
2018 - $90k/yr startup, software dev morphing into architect / product lead
My progression (total comp):
India: 2010 - $7k 2011 - $8k 2012 - $10k 2013 - degree 2014 - degree US SF Bay Area: 2015 - $110k - Sales engg 2016 - $125k - SWE / Devops 2017 - $150k - Senior SWE / Devops Changed companies 2017 - $200k - Senior SWE / Devops Changed companies 2018 - $240k - Devops / SWE (FAANG-like)
Crazy saleries in the bay area compared to EU. How many hours do you guys work?
- 2012: $60k and a Big 4 consultancy
- 2013: $65k, first employee at a startup
- 2014: $70k
- 2015: $130k, SWE1 at Twitter
- 2016: $155k, SWE2 at Twitter
- 2017: $180k
- 2018: $222k, Senior SWE
- 2019: $280k
BS from a relatively unknown college. Working out of the Colorado office.
My abbreviated progression (by company):
2002 - 2012: $55,770 + ~3% => $85,000 + ~3% (EE to SysE, Dallas)
2012 - 2016: $78,000 => $95,000 (Senior SWE, Dallas)
2016 - 2018: $160,000 + $20,000 => $166,000 + $26,000 (Senior SWE, NYC)
2018: $180,000 + 20% + $15,000 (Team lead, aborted after five months, NYC)
2019: $180,000 + 20% + $112,500 (Senior SWE, working towards Staff soon, NYC)
I used to have a more detailed history, but I seem to have lost it.
A spreadsheet was created last year with french salaries of startups, it's pretty informative.
Here's another take. CS degree from a top university, spent my entire childhood doing Linux and Windows stuff. I only started taking my career seriously over the past 7 years or so. I'm in the Bay Area.
2012-2015: $100k, sysadmin 2015-2017: $100-150k, random projects 2017-2019: $150k, devops 2019: $200k, devops manager
I've only started to develop some level of self discipline in the past few years. Before then, I wasn't even working 40 hours a week. I'd have some brief bursts of productivity where I'd automate something or crank out a project really quickly, but most of the time I was messing around with new technologies.
Given what I'm seeing here, I think I'm going to start looking at working for a FAANG. It's always been my intention to retire early, and I could probably operate at burnout levels of productivity for a few years in exchange for being able to finish funding that plan.
2014: $0 - Dropped out of school
2015: $45k - Freelance
2016: $75k - First big boy job
2017: $90k - Second job
2018: $135k - Third job
2019: $155k - Fourth job
2017 was a trainwreck. All positions are generalist (mobile, full stack, devops, design, etc.) because company sizes have been tiny. Figures do not include stock or bonuses because that number is pretty much zero.
I live in a major metro area and feel massively undervalued but I don't want to sell out to BigCo
This is such an odd survey, especially when framed as "White people especially need to talk about their salaries because marginalized folks in the same fields often have no idea they're being swindled by employers."
How knowledge of me making $X helps anyone? If you think that you're underpaid, the only thing that will make difference is a competing offer. Reducing experience, amount of work, kind of work and value to the organization, to just 2 variables - race and number - won't make any difference.
1. Know your local job market. 2. Make sure you're working on right things. 3. Be a team player. 4. Make your bosses happy (usually that goes hand-in-hand with working on right things and being a team player).
I made good last year, but it's because I happened to be at the right time in the right place, and put a lot of hours of work. Would putting a number and my race on that give you any insight into that?
> Would putting a number and my race on that give you any insight into that?
I believe your analysis is unfairly reductionist and doesn't really capture the spirit of the tweet. If I was asking you for advice about salary, I'd definitely be interested in everything you mentioned, what your skills are, how you got to your current position etc. The issue is that marginalized groups often find it hard to advocate for themselves because of issues of perception and also they lack the knowledge required to properly negotiate. It's hard to know what numbers to throw out when you don't even have a range or you don't know what the social protocols / customs are regarding negotiation.
The point of sharing isn't to trivialize your hard work but it's to help people who are just as qualified and talented as you not fall through the cracks.
Software development is a huge professional field, with people doing all sorts of things, in all kinds of companies. A bunch of numbers pulled off of the international forum (HN) with such variability in job descriptions and levels, is just that - a bunch of numbers.
I want to be helpful, but simply throwing the number around is not it.
FWIW, the most useful link from the original discussion on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeirstenBrager/status/109436626260242022...
> Know your local job market.
Knowing the international job market is very helpful. I would not know it without a post like this (or HN in general). I could 5x my salary by moving to the US and stay in a tech role. To do a 5x here i'd need to become a board member of a large company.
I'm a bit late to the party but I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the huge salaries everyone is making. Congrats to everyone!
2006 - 2014: €16k
2014 - 2017: €21k
2017 - now : €40k
These are gross salaries. I work in Portugal (36yo). I did web development up until 2016 in agencies/consultancies. Now I'm working for a startup.
2004-2008 > 45k - Tech consulting fixing spyware etc
2008-2010 > 80k - SEO / Bartending weekends 50/50 split
2010-2012 > 55k - Building servers for DC's
2012-2013 > 60k - Helpdesk Support - Law firm
2013-2015 > 65k - Cisco VoIP tech - TekSystems
2015-2018 > 70k - Electronic Trading Support - Bank
2018-Now > 110k - Same as above - Different country same company
Total income. Never received stock/RSUs/etc. All positions were more-or-less individual contributor. Never worked in a large city.
2000 $ 37,663 First real job (software developer) 2001 $ 42,164 2002 $ 42,561 2003 $ 50,567 2004 $ 50,001 2005 $ 89,541 2006 $100,541 2007 $108,299 2008 $114,333 2009 $122,458 Team lead 2010 $133,764 2011 $135,101 Went 100% remote 2012 $145,651 2013 $151,963 2014 $152,985 2015 $156,734 2016 $172,678 ~$50k bonus pre-tax 2017 $176,794 ~$60k bonus pre-tax 2018 $225,846 ~$80k bonus pre-tax
*Actual bonus payout was about a quarter of it
Year) Salary - Bonus - Company 1) 50k - 10% - Company 1 - small private tech consulting firm (NYC) 2) 60k - 10% - Company 1 (NoVa) 3) 70k - 15% - Company 1 4) 80k - 15% - Company 1 5) 90k - 15% - Company 1 6) 100k - 15% - Company 1 7) 105k - 15% - Company 1 8) 135k - 15% - Company 2 - series C startup, sales software (SF) 9) 25k - 0% - Company 3 - seed round, business tools, co-founder (SF) 10) 60k - 0% - Company 3 11) 160k - 10%* - Company 4 - series A startup, transportation, acquired a year before (peninsula) 12) 180k - 15%* - Company 4 13) 220k - 25% - Company 5 - series D startup, fintech, acquired a year before (peninsula)
After reading all of the other posts here I'm shocked you're not making 2M at line 13. I don't know if there's a bias for the ultra-high earners to post their income here, albeit anonymously, skewing the perception of what's normal.
I made a decision somewhere in my career after working at some big and small companies is that I really like the small company vibe, you get involved with many aspects of the business and have a lot more freedom to set technical direction. I also noticed a weird effect in a number of bigger businesses where money wasn't as much as a problem and as a result people tended to innovate less.
But I always feel, given my broad old school / new school skillset built up over decades, I could do better elsewhere moneywise.
Theoretically it would be better for me to start my own business, but where I am I get to concentrate on product creation and solving a broad range of technical problems which is super fun!
Here's my antidote to the astronomical salaries posted here:
2012-2014: 25k USD graduated, teach English in Japan
2014: 30k Join startup. Fails.
2015-2017: 25k Back to teaching
2018: 40k try my hand at IT again. Fail.
2019: 30k teaching once again.
If you're worried about your 70k tech salary realise things could be a helluvalot worse.
It would be interesting to see something similar from someone that worked in SV for 10+ years.
Grew up in Silicon Valley:
1998-2002 High school, Barista, Subways, $7/hr 2003-2007 USMC, $25k/yr 2007-2008 Apple, knowledge manager, $50k/yr 2008-2009 Gawker, BusinessInsider, writer, $30k/yr 2010-2011 SF startup, marketer, $55k/yr 2012-2013 Google, HR admin, $60k/yr 2013-2015 Berkeley startup, tech lead, $80k/yr 2015-2017 Started own consultanty agency, $50k/yr 2018-2019 Digital agency, PM, $100k/yr
you've had a wide variety of positions. how did you manage all that? did you educate yourself before interviewing at companies or was the purpose to have a wide breadth of knowledge so you purposefully sought out a variety of positions?
I've traded $ for time twice so far, and overall I'm okay with that.
1999 23k first full-time job, hourly, Maryland 2000 25k 2001 28k 2002 30k 2003 34k 2004 36k 2005 39k promoted to salaried position 2006 76k moved to Silicon Valley as SWE, Mountain View 2007 88k 2008 106k company bought 2009 158k residual stock 2010 153k new gig in RWC 2011 133k 2012 149k new gig in Mountain View 2013 146k 2014 137k 2015 168k company bought, new gig in SF 2016 181k 2017 165k new gig in Santa Clara 2018 161k
The ones beginning with "~" were part time jobs that paid hourly. None of the jobs offered bonuses or stock.
Age Salary Job Title --- ------ --- ----- 16 ~$10k 1 Software Developer (MI) 17 ~$10k 18 ~$10k 19 ~$10k 2 Research Assistant (MI) 20 ~$15k 3 Software Engineer Intern (MI) 21 $35k Software Engineer 22 $35k 23 $45k 24 $70k 4 Software Engineer (MI) 25 $130k 5 Senior Software Engineer (Seattle, WA) 26 $160k Principal Software Engineer 27 $165k
I appreciate you took the time to right-align the salary numbers!
Point of contrast:
I'm Chris from Airwindows. I develop audio software and in recent years, give all of it away for free and as MIT-licensed open source. I've recently been cited by name in the New York Times in an op-ed about a subject I pioneered. I've recently worked out a method for dithering to floating point mantissas and released the code under Unlicense (public domain) after refining and improving the code in public discussion with Alexey Lukin of iZotope. This is the (very much a game of diminishing returns, mind you) cutting edge of digital audio R&D and I got the last word: mind you, I had to, because I release open source and Lukin's suggestions though brief were not being accompanied by licensing, making verbatim use of his code legally problematic. Because of what I do for a living and the knock-on effect of people reusing my code in the expectation that they can do that safely, I'm compelled to take that very seriously.
I make $15,204 a year.
I think there is no correlation between capital and any kind of merit, value, or even basic function. At this point, nothing you do no matter how useful or significant will change your financial position so it becomes an entirely separate issue from 'what work can you do' or 'what do you love'. I expect to die, not soon thank goodness, from issues related to poverty.
Until that time, I get to be Chris from Airwindows, and I'll be able to continue to do these things I care about. On the other hand, if I hadn't scratched my way up to $15,204 by now I never would, and I'd be trying to do the same work (as I'd have many of the same thoughts and ideas) out of a shopping cart and dying much sooner still.
The really interesting thing is how most of my Patreon (that's the mechanism, while it lasts: then I die) is composed of people in roughly my wealth position. It appears there is a class interest: if you as a very wealthy open source advocate can use my code (as the 'idea making' class) you'll do so happily, but as soon as you learn I make $15,204 a year, this becomes a compelling argument for not sending any of your wealth out of your class into a lower, less worthy class that should not have wealth. That's how it works out in practice. I think the mental model there is, if my financial position had merit, it would have far more money, therefore giving it more money would only lead to things like me making physical stuff and giving it away (or distributing it at cost to other poor people) thus wasting it or actively sabotaging the wealthier class by giving resources to a poor class.
And this would indeed be what I would do :D
And so these discussions must be viewed in terms of class interests, sometimes quite consciously expressed.
(note: Vermont resident, not a metro area)
It's interesting that in U.S and probably in other countries people talk about their annual salaries. Where I live we talk about our monthly salaries after all taxes have been deducted. So when I look at his last number $189,000, how can I convert it to actual monthly income(or are Americans payed/paid two times a month?). Probably I have to deduct income tax and health insurance, right? And there is also this 401k. Or are there any other hidden taxes that workers in U.S. have to take into consideration?
In Orlando, Florida except for my first job. All values are essentially total compensation since any stock I have gotten from any of these companies has had zero value.
2007 - $42k Junior Game Designer in Australia
2008-2012 - $45k-$55k (QA Programming Lead)
2012 - $70k Software Engineer at a new company
2013 - $80k Software Engineer raise at same company
2014 - $90k Promoted to Software Development Manager at same company
2015 - $95k Software Engineer at a new company
2015 part 2 - $140k via freelancing
2016 - $70k First employee at startup I helped start
2017-2018 - $80k Raise at startup
2019 - $155k Remote for engineering team that used to be based in Boston.
I'll post mine because I know there are other juniours reading this who feel like shit when they read how much other people are making. All cash denominated in CAD. I have no degree for what it is worth.
- 2017: Internship, $3k /month
- 2018: Sysadmin, 70k/year
- 2019: Raise, but no promotion, 82.5k/year
I tried to interview in January for some software dev positions, but failed on the coding portion of the interviews. I'm studying hard to learn to program and hopefully by the end of the year I'll be able to interview for some $100k jobs.
Wow y'all have some crazy high numbers.
Memphis TN (on the low end of the US cost-of-living scale), all at the same place.
Early 2007 (right out of college): ~$48k (hourly equiv., contractor)
Late 2007: $51k (salary, "real colleague")
...(no notes... IIRC there were like 2 promotions in there, a couple percent standard raise the other years)...
2017: $96k (promotion / transfer)
I also started with 4 weeks PTO (up to a hair over 6 now), which I hear is a fair bit higher than usual. OTOH it's a privately held company, which means there's no such thing as stock options.
East coast but not big city:
2018: $49k (first SE job) 2019: $52k (first raise!)
Aside from the year, that is so similar to my first SE job:
East coast but not big city: 1999 $48k, 2000 $52k
I suppose inflation has been mild. Showing up in the height of the Y2K/web frenzy sure helped. I got myself a nice embedded RTOS kernel developer job before even finishing my degree. Meanwhile, everybody else was running off to invent web development or repair COBOL.
People graduating just a couple years later slammed into a dead market.
> I suppose inflation has been mild.
True, but 20 years is 20 years. 50k in 1999 corresponds to 75k in 2019.
I thought I knew that some people make up to 250k, but some posts here are jaw-dropping.
Just to share my part, all in (South)West Germany and in EUR as software dev:
2017: 33k (raise)
2017: 40k (new job)
2018: 46k (raise)
IT Security, Established company, East Coast, remote 80%, $ in USD.
2011 - Graduated B.S. Info Assurance, 55k, Security engineer
2012 - New company, 65K + 5k bonus, SOC analyst
2013 - Same company, 75k +10k bonus, SOC lead
2014 - Same company, 100k + 10k bonus, same position (sabbatical for 1 yr)
2015 - Same company, 125k + 12k bonus, SOC manager
2016 - Same company, 135k +12k bonus, same position
2017 - Same company, 145k +15k bonus, same position
2018 - Same company, 172k +20k bonus, promoted
2011-2012 Epic in Madison, WI 60k
2013-15 grad school position ~1200/mo 20hr a week python developer
2016-2018 29k GBP in London, python dev
First half of 2018 65k usd in DC
Second half unemployed
2019 50k IT staff
I’M SUCH A FUCKUP
You've managed to live in different cities for work, e.g. Madison, London, DC! That means you've gained invaluable life experience. I'm pretty jealous of that TBH.
Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area
2012 - $55k software engineer out of college at a Series B startup
San Francisco Bay Area
2013 - $95k software engineer at same Series B startup
2014 - $120k software software engineer at new Series C startup
2015 - $130k full stack engineer at new Series B startup
2016 - Minor CoLA increase
2017 - Minor CoLA increase
2018 - $140k lead frontend engineer at angel, friends and family round startup
2019 - $150k pay increase at same startup after raising seed round
Edit for formatting.
"The winner is the one who gives the most away." -- Larry Wall
Perl bookends the career of the author of this article, so respect pls
South Florida (Fort Lauderdale)
2013 - $45k - test engineer
2014 - $50k - raise
2014 - $82k - new company, switched to software engineering
2015 - $89k - raise + adjustment for finishing masters degree
2016 - $94k - raise + promotion
2017 - $98k - raise
2018 - $105k + $15k RSU - raise + company wide adjustment, also first time given RSU bonus
I'm fairly happy with my progression, plan to stay at the current company for the forseeable future.
I never understand why we look at salary only.
My experience in tech companies in Bay Area. The stock is a huge part of the income, and, as we move up the ladder, the income is skewed toward stock heavily.
Then, we misleadingly report only salary like this director of Facebook makes $300K a year. No, they probably make like 10 millions a year with stock.
At least in the non SV tech companies, stock and bonuses don’t matter as much. In large companies that is different, of course; but most developers don’t work for large tech companies.
To the author: were any of these cleared positions? Typically those command a premium and require some sacrifice as it applies to personal lifestyle choices. CACI often requires clearances for government clients, for example which is why you might see a drop when moving to Motley Fool (a commercial customer)
It's only a sacrifice if you'd actually want to do things that would raise concern.
On the other hand, it is a huge benefit if you'd rather not be surrounded by people with those kinds of concerns. It's nice to know that none of your coworkers are likely to steal your stuff, commit acts of violence upon you, spill fentanyl on your desk, embezzle the company's assets, offer you food items with unmentioned unconventional ingredients, or do anything other than be calm and level-headed.
Those are pretty extreme. For me and probably 90% of other devs who don't want to get a security clearance, it's because of prior drug use. I don't even do anything like that other than smoke weed these days (which I would easily quit if I needed to for a job, though I still think that's very outdated BS) but the government seems really scared about people who've even previously used drugs.
No, I'm not going to spill fentanyl, weed, or any other drug on your desk and I'm also not going to lie during the clearance process to say that I've smoked weed less than 50 times in my life - but apparently that means I can't get a clearance.
it's not the drug use that is the problem. a lot of the time it is about honesty. If you try to hide anything on clearance paperwork, and they find it (they always find stuff), that's immediate disqualification.
there are people with all kinds of backgrounds, and some with drug use in their background, with active clearances. it's not automatic any more. just be 100% honest.
the adjudicator needs to make a determination of whether they think you could be compromised in some way. just because someone smoked weed in college or got a DUI once doesn't mean they can be compromised.
Meta, but I wanted to say congrats on your throwaway name. Nicely chosen.
A different version of this argument looks like: "I'm not worried about surveillance because I never do anything wrong." but that's a philosophical argument.
Just from a straight "annoying" / pragmatic perspective I can think of the following issues:
Marijuana is legal in a lot of states including DC but not if you hold a clearance, if you're into that kind of thing.
Anything international makes for a paperwork drill, not to mention possible approvals required.
Any normal domestic interaction with the law (law suits, getting pulled over, arrested and not charged, etc) all become a potential job-destroyer.
Not to mention you're reporting all of this stuff to the government 100% of the time.
It may not be a hassle if you live a pretty conventional lifestyle, don't travel much, etc, but it definitely adds a layer of annoyance at a minimum.
Maybe I'm just not level-headed enough to have noticed, and/or unusually lucky, but I have to say that none of this resembles any of my experiences of ordinary employment.
CACI required a secret for my job; but those salaries were in line with non cleared positions, at least for that company.
In Poland, we have a great online forum with a dedicated topic for salaries.
Do you know similar places for the global market?
SWE, based out of Southern Ontario, postgraduate degree, Asian male immigrant, all in CAD
2014 $72K junior, a startup in Kitchener
2016 $75K mid-level, same startup
2017 $100K mid to senior level, a startup in Toronto
2018 $108K senior, same startup
2019 $145K senior, another startup in Toronto
My progression is probably more on the unusual side. Not amazing compared to folks with 1m+, but I feel I did the best so far with the cards given to me.
2006 - $6k - system administrator
2008 - $14k - webdev
2009 - $18k - webdev
2010 - $32k - swe1, enterprise
2012 - $48k - swe2, same place
2015 - $135k - swe2, relocation
2017 - $150k - swe2
2018 - $200k - swe4 (bigger enterprise)
Sharing my numbers (all numbers include bonus and liquid stock). I graduated with a degree in computer science. All are in the bay area, all are Android development.
2016 - $110k + $10k sign on = $120k @ BigCo
2017 - $125k @ Startup
2018 - $155k @ Same Startup
2019 - $225k + $50k sign on = $275k @ BigCo
As someone working in Japan paid around or below most of your junior salaries.. oof.
Same goes for the UK if you're not in London.
I'm not in London. :/
Full disclosure: Im in college right now.
2015: $1.43 per hour (camp counselor) 2016: $12 per hour (Data strategy Intern, NY) 2017: $23.25 per hour (SWE Intern, OR) 2018: $48.75 per hour (SWE Intern, SF) 2019: ~$160K per year (SWE NY)
congrats! you are on a great track. after doing this so many years, the higher you start out, the higher it goes later
2016 - Graduated college with CS degree, startup job @ 75k, 1%
2017 - startup shit out, went to 1 company, 85k a year, left that company (really bad situation), second company 100k a year
2018, 115k (same company promoted me)
2019, 150k switched to a FAANG
Year 1: 230(130+ 40 signing + 40 stock + 20 annual bonus)
Year 2: 265(135 + 50 signing + 50 stock + 30 annual bonus)
switched companies between year 1 and 2. expect total comp to go down next year but do expect refreshers
Throwaway but thought I wanted to share:
BS in UX-related & MBA
2007 65k* (UX @ public)
2008 80k* (UX @ public)
2012 110k* (Product @ seed startup)
2012 80k* (Product in competitive industry @ funded startup)
2013 0* (Startup @ self)
2015 105k* (Product @ funded startup)
2016 115k (Promotion @ funded startup)
2017 135k* (Solution Architect/remote @ public)
Europe edition here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19398192
Damn! Right now, I'm making $24k as a Full Stack Developer (remote) for a US company with 10yrs. of experience. Now I believe that I'm way underpaid.
2016 3000 usd per annum as an it dude. 2017 3500 usd per annum as an it dude. 2018 3500 usd per annum as an it dude. 2019 4000 usd per annum as an it dude.
Throwing myself in the pool here.
My salary progression in SF while working at small/medium-sized startups.
No college degree.
In my early 20s, 2014 - 105k, SWE
2015 - 110k, SWE
2016 - 115k, SWE
Now my mid 20s, 2017 - 130k, Senior SWE
2018 - 135k, Senior SWE
2019 - 145k, Senior SWE
Late 2017 - $120k - Amazon Canada 2019 - $200k - Google Canada
If I decided to go to US, I'd make a lot more money in both cases.
24 years as a dev (estimated - can’t remember all these ...)
1995 - 30k (startup)
1996 - 40k
1997 - 60k
1998 - 100k (consulting)
1999 - 120k
2000 - 150k
2001 - 80k (dotcom crash)
2002 - 80k
2003 - 120k (bank)
2004 - 125k
2005 - 90k (startup)
2006 - 125k
2007 - 140k
2008 - 125k
2009 - 140k
2010 - 150k
2011 - 165k
2012 - 150k (contracting)
2013 - 125k
2014 - 1M (startup sold)
2015 - 60k (startup)
2016 - 100k
2017 - 150k
2018 - 500k Eng mgr
2019 - 600k expected
Working as an eng manager where?
pre grad here: 2015:13/hr general purpose it intern (wpf & sql dev, help desk) 2016:15/hr sysadmin intern (wrote bash scripts all day) 2017:15/hr college help desk 2018:25/hr intern (Python, Angular)
My salary progression in Paris:
- 2009: 35K - software engineer
- 2010: 37K - software engineer
- 2011: 39K - software engineer
- 2012: 41K - software engineer
- 2013: 47K - software engineer
- 2014: 50K - software engineer
- 2015: 55K - software engineer
- 2016/2017: 35K - unemployment system salary, while I was an entrepreneur
- 2018: 65K - senior software engineer
- 2019: ? (I'm now a manager)
- my salary is very low compared to some mentioned in this thread, and yet I don't have the impression to be underpaid, in comparison to other engineers in Paris, and of course, in comparison to other French people. I'm the best paid among my Parisian friends (and probably among all those who where within my school class in high school, when I lived in a small French city, where 2000€/month is already great) Of course, I could do a lot more but before this year I wasn't a manager. To earn more as a software engineer without leadership responsibilities, you have to be part of the bests. Not my case I think.
- I feel it's very hard to exceed 90/100K. I know a few VP at 120K/130K but it's an elite. It's even hard for them to find a job position.
- retrospectively, the tech job market in Paris was very depressing before 2011. No start-ups (so no equity), very few tech companies, low salaries. I've been hired at a low 35K, as almost all the fellows from my engineering school. Today, an engineer in Paris started at 40 and is at 50 in two years.
- sometimes, I regret that all my "VIE" contracts (a program that allows french people to go work in French companies abroad) collapsed in the month of January 2009, just after the beginning of the financial crisis... But it would have been to work for the Societe Generale in New-York or for Safran in Houston, not for Google or Facebook. And I wouldn't have met my wife, so really no regrets.
- I also admit that in my first years in Paris, I was almost more in bars and movie theaters than in an office. Maybe it'd have been different if there was already a startup scene at this time.
- the start-up when I worked today tried often to hire foreign engineers. Everyone is generally very excited to come work in Paris, but has difficulties to get past the salary barrier. In these moments, I have to be the best advocate for the French health and unemployment system, which is great but, let's be honest, doesn't replace the crazy salaries I see on this thread. I like our system mostly because it helps my grand-mothers to live in a decent way, but if I was alone here, without a sense of solidarity, and without the desire to make my life here, I'd think it's a waste.
- in 2016-2017, I was an entrepreneur. It's been tough and it's been a failure (not a big failure, but still a failure). But thanks to the unemployment system, I was paid around 35K/year.
Wow, from IT Admin to VP of Software in 8 years is very impressive.
It was a startup; so being VP of Software didn't feel that impressive, but thank you. I built the mobile app, firmware, the deployment pipeline for the site, etc. Since [Jewelbots was open source](https://github.com/jewelbots), everything we did was on Github. Although if you want to see the firmware, you have to dive in deeper on the Arduino side to see it (Jewelbots firmware repo itself is not in the open; though I have no special insight as to why that is).
Senior Engineer (EE) in SV: 130,000 base, 25K RSU
I'd have liked to read this but the giant popup ad literally covered the entire screen of my phone. Guess you still get my click for monetization...
Worked for 5 years at big tech.
Never made it above 180.
2017: 0$ 2018: 0$
total comp, C++, white, male:
2018 $197,000 boston
2017 $155,000 boston
2016 $140,000 boston
2015 $64,000 my startup
2014 $137,000 nyc
2013 $117,000 nyc
2012 $99,000 nyc
This is very American centric. Whites in Europe are lucky to earn half that on architect positions (please don’t come up with „standard of living” and „social services and benefits”).
Don't forget that this is before taxes, retirement savings, healthcare and other deductions.
You can't just hand-wave away "standard of living" and "social services and benefits".
These may be things you take for granted but a large majority of the population has to have a large emergency refund in case they get severed from their company without any notice for any reason (Compare that with job security in France or Germany).
Consider you need to save a ton of money yourself in government sponsored accounts such as HSA or FSAs for future healthcare expenses that you can't possibly estimate when you're 20 years old. (Compare that with the NHS in England).
Consider you need to sock away a ton of money in 401ks and IRAs so that when you're 50 with no job prospects, you don't end up on the street and can actually have a decent retirement. Nobody is paying serious pensions and hardly anyone can survive on social security. (Compare that with the savings pillars in Switzerland).
Now considering all this, you still think his salary is HUGE compared to a Western European one? I highly doubt it, I have already run the numbers myself.
The NHS will probably keep you alive if this is considered to be a cost-effective use of funds that are shared by the entire population. The older you get, the lower your priority. You might spend a long time on a waiting list, then get assigned a low-quality treatment that is cheap.
If you want better, you'll have to pay out of pocket, possibly including travel to some other country.
The problem with universal healthcare is that your case is rarely a priority. Young - what kind of problems you might have? Male - oh stop moaning and complaining already! Foreigner - locals have higher priority. Old - you don't contribute to the society anymore, etc. Unless one is specialist in the healthcare system with lots of spare time, sending appeals and warnings right and left - one falls back into expensive private healthcare services.
> Consider you need to save a ton of money yourself in government sponsored accounts such as HSA or FSAs for future healthcare expenses that you can't possibly estimate when you're 20 years old.
HSA’s are good investments, but FSAs don’t roll over I believe, so they’re actually quite terrible for 20 year olds
Your analysis is a little idealistic though. I wouldn’t feel certain about social security nets 50 years out. I would take the cash any day.
European salaries are also before taxes (which are higher), retirement saving, healthcare, and other deductions. In Germany, e.g., you have to deduct from 60k EUR salary roughly the following: 13k taxes, 4k healthcare (your employer has to pay another 4k), 5.5k retirement, 1.7k social security. And you certainly want to save something extra for your retirement as well.
The biggest thing I missed when working in the US was 5-6 weeks annual paid leave. 10 days off/year means people are highly incentivised to apply to/present at conferences tho
In the USA, it is common to get more paid leave as you stay with a company. People who switch jobs often will only get a tiny amount, while those who stay in one place get plenty.
The first year might be 5 or 10 days. After 10 or 15 years, you might get 20 to 40 days.
Was that normal? I'm used to 10 company holidays plus 3-4 weeks of paid vacation.
It’s the standard, some big companies offer a bit more
Job prospects for information workers will be far better than those in physically demanding jobs. People’s bodies give out by 50. Not completely, but enough where they can’t do physically laborious work.
The broader point of the new replacing the old is generally true (your marketability will decline by age 50), but I still see many baby boomers holding onto well paying positions for the foreseeable future. I save to hedge the risk, but I’m not too worried, since I believe the risk is over-stated.
> These may be things you take for granted but a large majority of the population has to have a large emergency refund in case they get severed from their company without any notice for any reason
This seems like somewhat of an idealistic view point when over half of Americans have less than 1k in their bank account.
Does that distract from the main point of "You have to have an emergency fund"?.
Compared to the EU, one would have to fund a larger emergency fund to avoid surprises.
Exactly: and in many countries in the EU you are still fine when that happens. Not so in the US.
I wholeheartedly agree with this comment.
If we are to compare US vs EU salaries, we must take into account healthcare cost, retirement, welfare, parental leave, PTO and so on. Otherwise the whole purpose of the exercise is pointless and it may embellish on side of the argument vis-a-vis the other.
How do you call that sort of tactics already? Propaganda, right? The POTUS would respond "Fake News!" (although I'm not fond of him).
Ignorance and complacency run amok on HN these days.
I don't see why you shouldnt come up with such "irrelevant minor stuff" like standard of living, mostly free healthcare & social services (depending on the country etc. You might not want to hear it, but for many people the whole not having to worry about healthcare is a massive benefit.
I'm certainly not saying that a comparison is equal, but it feels like for anyone except the highly paid, the gap isn't that wide all things considered.
This is one person divulging their personal salary history. You're welcome (and encouraged) to share yours too as a European to add to the discussion.
Why are dev salaries so much lower in Europe than in America?
Pretty straightforward I think: America is way ahead in terms of its economy, tech industry, and business environment and way behind in terms of government-provided social benefits.
Very interesting question. Most capital is deployed into fixed assets (like land) which generate regular dependable income. Excess capital is then invested in US companies.l (based on historical performance).
Also: a B2C service startup in the US has a bigger potential market than the same one in Europe (assuming they’re targeting what they know—the local market).
End result: no gigantic piles of cash looking for investment opportunities going to VCs to funnel into 100x success maybe startups, no companies minting money like crazy, no salary inflation
If I never had to worry about healthcare or education costs for me or any member of my family for the rest of my life, I'd be fine making half of what I make now.
But you still have to worry about these things though. The universal healthcare in countries like Poland and Romania is heavily underfunded and dysfunctional, in countries like Italy and Germany is skewed towards the older people who are the major voting demographic. German healthcare insurers had record high surplus recently, yet young people still pay extra for common things like various dentist, or eye doctor services. Bismarck-style pension system will face a turning point in the upcoming 1-2 decades, especially in countries like Italy, Germany, and Poland.
I've heard the same thing about Canada.
The article starts out with a fairly standard condemnation of white people for daring to keep our salary information to ourselves, and/or for daring to believe that we make the money we make fairly (you know, by delivering value to our employers).
No, it doesn’t. It starts out with a tweet saying that people in general (not just white people) have issues with discussing salaries. The tweet then says that white people in particular should openly discuss their salaries because we all know that some companies try their best to swindle employees, and that in general white people have a better sense about what it means to be fairly compensated. Is that not what you read? Or did you just not agree with it?
There is a footnote in the first paragraph that mentions white people and privilege. The purpose of the footnote was for the author to explain that even though he’s providing this information, it may not help non-white people.
Either way, neither the tweet nor the footnote say what you’re saying.
Agreed (author here).
It's a really taboo subject to talk about to begin with; and there are really two extremes that you'll hear:
1. It's a meritocracy and anyone can do this! (It isn't, and they can't)
2. Yea, this will work for you but not in general. (You're probably right on this one, as my salary and my progression are very personal things).
To thread the needle, I'm trying to point out that I acknowledge #2, and explicitly reject #1 as empirically false; and I hope that by sharing my salary, I bring light to the fact that #1 is false, and that if more people who are similarly advantaged as I am talk about it, we can make #2 no longer be the case.
By "whites" here, I assume you mean "white-collar workers". Usually, in vernacular, "whites" is taken as a slightly derogatory metonym for "white people", so I was initially slightly taken aback by your comment. Sorry if I was being obtuse, but I have never heard the term "whites" used in this fashion.
The blog post talks about white people.
That was my impression as well.
"white people especially need too..." No, black people need to stop complaining about everything, if this guy or whatever it is was worth enough to his company he would get the money he deserve. Nobody owe any information to anyone, and I will ignore your preferred pronouns.
Just blacklisted your site at the corporate firewall ... your pop-up ads are not omay for our 200k users.