IT compensation comparison

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Topic Author
skor99
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:51 pm

IT compensation comparison

Post by skor99 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am

https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?

megabad
Posts: 2401
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by megabad » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:21 am

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
Well this data seems to reference "software engineers" (an important distinction), not really IT but nonetheless, this isn't surprising to me. We just had a CA school teacher post here with an income of 115k. If a school teacher is making 115k, it seems reasonable that a VHCOL software developer could make 180k. No a software engineer that lives in a location with 50% lower cost of living that accepts a lower salary from a different company is not a "chump". He/she probably wants to live in a different location or did not go to a feeder school for a top tier software company. That doesn't make a chump at all. This is like saying everyone that doesn't go to Harvard and MIT and end up working at NASA in Washington DC is a chump. If so, there are a lot of billionaire chumps out there and I would happily become one.

simas
Posts: 426
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by simas » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:27 am

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
it is usually overstated if taken 'on average'. self-selection, only few locales (very high cost of living) participate, people do it as a form of bragging.
also, 3 years of tenure is not 3 years of experience - you can have 20 years of experience and 3 years of tenure in particular company..

do not put any real attention on this, focus on your options where you want to live and work.

the other item is that high comp people get cleaned very regularly - I worked for Schwab before (years ago) and yesterday/today they layed off hundreds of tech people (still VERY profitable company, sorry we can find people cheaper). The people who are gone were in 100-160 range with 10+ years of experience. if 'average comp' is 180k (which is not true), then Schwab would never layoff people being paid significantly less than that knowing that it could hire tech talent for even cheaper and still have a line out of the door of dozens of applicants for each position.

In short, do not waste your time on this. most of this is bragging BS.
Last edited by simas on Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

fortunefavored
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by fortunefavored » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am

There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.

KlangFool
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:31 am

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
skor99,

When you asked the wrong question, you will never get the right answer!

The correct questions are

A) Are they paid well enough to live in those places?

B) Why should you care? I don't.

KlangFool

Topic Author
skor99
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by skor99 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:56 am

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:31 am
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
skor99,

When you asked the wrong question, you will never get the right answer!

The correct questions are

A) Are they paid well enough to live in those places?

B) Why should you care? I don't.

KlangFool

I agree that comparison is the thief of joy, but on the other hand everything in the world is relative. You have to care what others are being paid, otherwise you will be left behind in purchasing power. Nobody gives you what you are due out of the goodness of their hearts, unless you are aware and ask for it.

KlangFool
Posts: 13713
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:05 am

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:56 am

I agree that comparison is the thief of joy, but on the other hand everything in the world is relative. You have to care what others are being paid, otherwise you will be left behind in purchasing power. Nobody gives you what you are due out of the goodness of their hearts, unless you are aware and ask for it.
skor99,

<<I agree that comparison is the thief of joy, but on the other hand everything in the world is relative.>>

You can choose to be happy or not. If you choose to be unhappy, don't blame the world for your lack of joy.

<<You have to care what others are being paid, otherwise you will be left behind in purchasing power. >>

No, I don't. I save 1 year of expense every year. I would never be left behind in term of purchasing power.

<<Nobody gives you what you are due out of the goodness of their hearts, unless you are aware and ask for it.>>

How much others are paid is not the same as whether you are compensated properly. You should know this by now. If you don't, you should start learning.

You can be drowned in a lake with an average depth of 3 inches.

Please ask the correct the question:

Start a new topic,

This is my specific situation. Am I paid well enough given my qualification and where I am? If not, what should I do to improve my earning?

Stop wasting time and effort on how others are paid.

KlangFool

Kaizen Soze
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by Kaizen Soze » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:25 am

The west coast is very different from other parts of the country.
I live in a MCOL area. The local IT and teacher salaries are about 40-50% of the recently discussed west coast salaries.

As Klang pointed out, don't compare yourself to others. Just determine if you're fairly paid.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:06 am

simas wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:27 am
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
it is usually overstated if taken 'on average'. self-selection, only few locales (very high cost of living) participate, people do it as a form of bragging.
also, 3 years of tenure is not 3 years of experience - you can have 20 years of experience and 3 years of tenure in particular company..

do not put any real attention on this, focus on your options where you want to live and work.

the other item is that high comp people get cleaned very regularly - I worked for Schwab before (years ago) and yesterday/today they layed off hundreds of tech people (still VERY profitable company, sorry we can find people cheaper). The people who are gone were in 100-160 range with 10+ years of experience. if 'average comp' is 180k (which is not true), then Schwab would never layoff people being paid significantly less than that knowing that it could hire tech talent for even cheaper and still have a line out of the door of dozens of applicants for each position.

In short, do not waste your time on this. most of this is bragging BS.
The median compensation of most public companies are now required to be disclosed in DEF 14A filings, in the CEO Pay Ratio Disclosure. Here is the data for some Bay Area companies:

Twilio: 222k
Netflix: 202k
Workday: 188k
Citrix: 170k
Square: 155k
Salesforce: 152k

This is the median for all employees, globally. If we assume that Bay Area Software Engineers are in the top half of pay at these companies, then these numbers would represent the pay of a relatively junior software engineer at that company. Or, speculating further, a mid-level “IT person”.

Finally these numbers include stock at the grant value, so they do not include any gains that will have occurred between grant and vest. So these numbers are actually understating vested stock compensation (which has almost always been higher than grant value with this bull market)
Last edited by HEDGEFUNDIE on Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:50 am, edited 6 times in total.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:09 am

Kaizen Soze wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:25 am
The west coast is very different from other parts of the country.
I live in a MCOL area. The local IT and teacher salaries are about 40-50% of the recently discussed west coast salaries.
This is correct. Following up on my last post, here are the median compensation of:

Ultimate Software (based in FL): $92k
Paylocity (based in IL): $75k

These are direct competitors of Workday, which pays its median employee $188k.

DonIce
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by DonIce » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:17 am

Software engineering is not IT. People that do IT get paid maybe about half of what's being discussed in this thread. Software engineers at Amazon/Google/Facebook/Microsoft in Seattle do generally earn in the 150k-250k range.

HornedToad
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by HornedToad » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:18 am

Don't compare IT and Tech companies, they have different pay scales and skillsets.

For skill sets in IT/Information Systems (IS) that do overlap (software engineering, data and analytics, Cloud, etc) then the pay scales are much closer although Tech companies still are significantly higher. Many companies are increasing their compensation for in demand skills as they try to become more "digital", i.e. more like a tech company.

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bligh
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by bligh » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:45 am

DonIce wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:17 am
Software engineering is not IT. People that do IT get paid maybe about half of what's being discussed in this thread. Software engineers at Amazon/Google/Facebook/Microsoft in Seattle do generally earn in the 150k-250k range.
Not just that but not all software engineering is the same.

Building for Petabytes of data is not the same as a little database with a few thousand records.
Building for Millions of daily active users is not the same as building a marketing website for a company.
Building AI and Machine learning algorithms is not the same as someone building yet another rewards mobile App
Dealing with High frequency trading algorithms is not the same as building a CRUD corporate internet

A software engineer (and certainly more senior ones) at these larger tech companies have to deal with a lot more complexity. There is higher competition for engineers with those skill sets and so they are able to command much higher salaries.

As you go higher up the skill and expertise ladder even $180K is, as you put it, "chump" change. Compensation can easily be in the 7 figures.

https://techcrunch.com/2010/11/11/googl ... ook-offer/

TheOscarGuy
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by TheOscarGuy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:13 pm

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
You mean Tech not IT.
For Seattle yes that seems fine.
No way to know *for sure* they are not overstating it, but I have plenty of (more experienced) friends in this industry working in Seattle and it doesn't seem likely they are overstating it.

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Watty
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by Watty » Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:17 pm

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
https://insights.dice.com/2019/09/16/mi ... -salaries/

The link above gives an idea of the average compensation of a typical microsoft employee with 3 years of tenure. It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
One thing to realize is that the FAANG companies and Microsoft probably get a hundred reasonably qualified job applications for every software engineer they hire so you would expect their employees to be in the top few percentiles of the earnings curve.

A friend of my son went to work for one of the FAANG companies in the Bay Area when he was just a couple of years out of college. He probably made something in that ballpark or even more.

He only lasted for about six months before he quite and came back to Atlanta. Part of it was home sickness but he had not been there long enough for the stock grants and bonuses to start so he found that he was not making enough base pay after taxes to pay for a decent apartment and to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle after paying rent, taxes, student loans, and a car payment. His employer offered free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners so he made a point of eating as many meals there as he could just to save money since his budget was so tight.

He was from Atlanta and a decent software developer with a degree in Computer Science and and a few years of experience in desirable skills can easily make over $100K here and be able to afford to buy a nice home and a nice lifestyle. Even with the higher salary he clearly was not being paid enough to cover the very high cost of living in the Bay Area and it would have taken years of living on a tight budget to have gotten enough pay increases and additional stock grants to be able to afford a lifestyle in the Bay Area comparable to what he could afford here in Atlanta.
Last edited by Watty on Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jharkin
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by jharkin » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:43 pm

megabad wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:21 am

Well this data seems to reference "software engineers" (an important distinction), not really IT but nonetheless,

This is an important distinction.
- Software developers make a lot more money than traditional "IT" fields like network, database and systems admins,etc
- Within developers, certain specialties (like data science and network security) can make a lot more money than run of the mill web or desktop application development.
-Developers also earn different pay at companies whose primary function is developing software (say MSFT, GOOG), vs developers who work on software back end at non-software companies (like dev working on Schwabs trading platform, or Walmarts eCommerce platform, or the scheduling system at UPS, etc)
- Even within the ranks of "pure" software companies there is a great range as developers typically make more money than supporting roles (like quality assurance, doc/technical writing, tech support) but may in turn make less than business roles like customer facing product management.
- Then you have the big pay gap between the FAANGs/MIcrosoft, and everyone else (a Dell developer doesn't likely make anywhere near what a Netflix developer does, for example)
- And even within the same company there may be a big salary spread between the valley and other locations.

jharkin
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by jharkin » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:55 pm

bligh wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:45 am

As you go higher up the skill and expertise ladder even $180K is, as you put it, "chump" change. Compensation can easily be in the 7 figures.

https://techcrunch.com/2010/11/11/googl ... ook-offer/
One or two high profile extreme offers (and this was a long term RSU valuation in the millions, not salary) is not the same thing as it being "easy" or common"

knightrider
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by knightrider » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:05 pm

jharkin wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:43 pm
- Software developers make a lot more money than traditional "IT" fields like network, database and systems admins,etc
- Within developers, certain specialties (like data science and network security) can make a lot more money than run of the mill web or desktop application development.
-Developers also earn different pay at companies whose primary function is developing software (say MSFT, GOOG), vs developers who work on software back end at non-software companies (like dev working on Schwabs trading platform, or Walmarts eCommerce platform, or the scheduling system at UPS, etc)
- Even within the ranks of "pure" software companies there is a great range as developers typically make more money than supporting roles (like quality assurance, doc/technical writing, tech support) but may in turn make less than business roles like customer facing product management.
- Then you have the big pay gap between the FAANGs/MIcrosoft, and everyone else (a Dell developer doesn't likely make anywhere near what a Netflix developer does, for example)
- And even within the same company there may be a big salary spread between the valley and other locations.
Very good summary. The only thing I would add is that a lot of "lower-paid" IT can be very technically challenging.. In fact, writing software is probably the easiest compared to debugging hardware and networks.. At least, in my opinion!

knowledge
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by knowledge » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:00 pm

Agreed with other points made in this thread.

As to how this level of pay can be justified, think about it this way:

FAANGs (and other software focused companies) are some of the largest and high margin businesses in the world (ignore Netflix, honestly Microsoft should replace them but then the acronym would have to change). A software dev is directly impacting the products/platform and dealing with the challenges in building and maintaining the entire stack. Give the scale of these companies, I'm certain that each of these orgs have many devs that make 7 figures a year (mostly in stock). And typically, this is a young person's game. So average of $180k in compensation for a dev at MSFT after 3 years seems absolutely plausible.

These compensation numbers are pretty unique to top tier tech companies only.

shiftleft
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by shiftleft » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:06 pm

The 180K/year is actually low now, at least in the Bay Area. Personally know of recent graduates with 2 years experience making 240K/yr TC in the Bay Area. FANG of course. MSFT is actually one of the lower payers, but with better work life balance. There's a reason Bay Area housing is so much. The pay can support it.

retiringwhen
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by retiringwhen » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:10 pm

Watty wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:17 pm
...
A friend of my son went to work for one of the FAANG companies in the Bay Area when he was just a couple of years out of college. He probably made something in that ballpark or even more.

He only lasted for about six months before he quite and came back to Atlanta. Part of it was home sickness but he had not been there long enough for the stock grants and bonuses to start so he found that he was not making enough base pay after taxes to pay for a decent apartment and to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle after paying rent, taxes, student loans, and a car payment. His employer offered free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners so if made a point of eating as many meals there just to save money since his budget was so tight.

He was from Atlanta and a decent software developer with a degree in Computer Science and and a few years of experience in desirable skills can easily make over $100K here and be able to afford to buy a nice home and a nice lifestyle. Even with the higher salary he clearly was not being paid enough to cover the very high cost of living in the Bay Area and it would have taken years of living on a tight budget to have gotten enough pay increases and additional stock grants to be able to afford a lifestyle in the Bay Area comparable to what he could afford here in Atlanta.
+1 this, my company has started opening offices near rural (away from the Coasts and big cities) Land Grant type Universities to capture lower cost hires in software engineering. It works great, they have LCOL in a town that is attractive for many of the same reasons folks retire to those same places. We get lower salary costs, normally stickier employees and happier employees and a better bottom line vs. paying 50-100% more salary to put them in a VHCOL metro area.

visualguy
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:58 pm

retiringwhen wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:10 pm
+1 this, my company has started opening offices near rural (away from the Coasts and big cities) Land Grant type Universities to capture lower cost hires in software engineering. It works great, they have LCOL in a town that is attractive for many of the same reasons folks retire to those same places. We get lower salary costs, normally stickier employees and happier employees and a better bottom line vs. paying 50-100% more salary to put them in a VHCOL metro area.
This seems to make sense, but I haven't seen it done at the companies that I'm familiar with, so maybe not very common... The remote hiring is more commonly done abroad in India (by far the most common based on what I've seen), and sometimes in Eastern Europe, China, UK, and Israel, of course.

X528
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by X528 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:04 pm

fortunefavored wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.
Do the "big boys" recruit graduates at schools like the University of Nebraska Computer Science department?

Topic Author
skor99
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by skor99 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm

Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it

retiringwhen
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by retiringwhen » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:20 pm

visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:58 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:10 pm
+1 this, my company has started opening offices near rural (away from the Coasts and big cities) Land Grant type Universities to capture lower cost hires in software engineering. It works great, they have LCOL in a town that is attractive for many of the same reasons folks retire to those same places. We get lower salary costs, normally stickier employees and happier employees and a better bottom line vs. paying 50-100% more salary to put them in a VHCOL metro area.
This seems to make sense, but I haven't seen it done at the companies that I'm familiar with, so maybe not very common... The remote hiring is more commonly done abroad in India (by far the most common based on what I've seen), and sometimes in Eastern Europe, China, UK, and Israel, of course.
This is true, but some companies have reasons to stay on shore, mine does and it has found a relatively untapped resource that does not have timezone, language, legal, time/space issues that most of them do.

Stormbringer
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by Stormbringer » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:55 pm

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:12 am
It shows total compensation of around 180K including stock and bonuses but not including benefits. Is this normal or are people overstating the numbers ?
3 years is pretty much fresh out of college. Normally IT people in regular ( non silicon valley/seattle ) do not come close to these numbers even with 15-20 yrs experience ( except for high level management positions ). Are IT folks working in regular companies ( manufacturing/insurance etc ) chumps ?
Writing software is quite different from most other professions.

In most professions, the difference in productivity and quality between an "average" worker and a "good" worker might be 20-50% or something like that. In software development, the difference between an "average" programmer and a "good" programmer can easily be double or triple. In the case of world class programmers, it can be much, much higher than that. A team of top programmers can be the difference between a billion dollar software product, or a buggy piece of junk that nobody wants.

Top companies know this, and they go to great lengths to acquire top talent. Often that includes high, even obscene salaries.
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

KlangFool
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 pm

skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it
skor99,

How is this actionable for you? I would like to know.

KlangFool

DonIce
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by DonIce » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:55 pm

Stormbringer wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:55 pm
In most professions, the difference in productivity and quality between an "average" worker and a "good" worker might be 20-50% or something like that. In software development, the difference between an "average" programmer and a "good" programmer can easily be double or triple. In the case of world class programmers, it can be much, much higher than that. A team of top programmers can be the difference between a billion dollar software product, or a buggy piece of junk that nobody wants.
Good point, and if anything you are understating it. The difference between a good programmer and an average programmer can probably be 1000x. I've worked with some of both. But this is also true for other creative engineering and technical disciplines. The difference between a top physicist and an average physicist is certainly at least as great, same with all kinds of other scientists and engineers.

Programmers are in the fortunate position where there are a large number of private sector positions at extremely profitable companies where their skill is appreciated and which have a culture of compensating technical talent highly.

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JoMoney
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by JoMoney » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:14 pm

I believe this is more realistic if you're looking for national averages:
https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes150000.htm
...Note that the current numbers are just over a year old
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jjunk
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by jjunk » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:22 pm

X528 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:04 pm
fortunefavored wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.
Do the "big boys" recruit graduates at schools like the University of Nebraska Computer Science department?
Yes. If you can do the work, they dont care where you went to school.

an_asker
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by an_asker » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 pm

visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:58 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:10 pm
+1 this, my company has started opening offices near rural (away from the Coasts and big cities) Land Grant type Universities to capture lower cost hires in software engineering. It works great, they have LCOL in a town that is attractive for many of the same reasons folks retire to those same places. We get lower salary costs, normally stickier employees and happier employees and a better bottom line vs. paying 50-100% more salary to put them in a VHCOL metro area.
This seems to make sense, but I haven't seen it done at the companies that I'm familiar with, so maybe not very common... The remote hiring is more commonly done abroad in India (by far the most common based on what I've seen), and sometimes in Eastern Europe, China, UK, and Israel, of course.
This is what I was wondering about as well. Are we folks in the LCOLs numbskulls? Why don't these hi falutin companies open locations in podunk hillbilly locations? One of the smartest minds I know in my team is someone who would be the stereotypical hillbilly as painted by the Bay Area gang. Granted she has her niche comfort zone job and probably makes less than $150k (which is still way over what I make), and her skills might be consdered obsolete in the Bay Area. But wouldn't it be great to train someone like her as opposed to some young 'un who might be hit or miss?

True story here: there is a high flyer in my virtual network. Dude has changed companies four times since graduating from grad school a few years ago. Works for a FAANG. When I innocently asked the question "why don't companies like his open software development offices in the, say, midwest?" I got an uber passive aggressive response, "Why don't you open a company in a podunk town yourself?" [note: I have zero enterpreneurial DNA, let alone the capital to create my own company]

TLDR: Question still stands - why don't the FAANG open software development centers across the country? Build it - they will come ... and for less money than in the Bay Area and northeast!

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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:31 pm

To keep this discussion actionable, please post about your own situation.
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by an_asker » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:32 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 pm
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it
skor99,

How is this actionable for you? I would like to know.

KlangFool
These discussions are actionable for anyone reading them. It could be a parent trying to advise their kids, could be a person looking for a move up in the rat race, for instance...

an_asker
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by an_asker » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:35 pm

jjunk wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:22 pm
X528 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:04 pm
fortunefavored wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.
Do the "big boys" recruit graduates at schools like the University of Nebraska Computer Science department?
Yes. If you can do the work, they dont care where you went to school.
I don't know about UNL, but surely there have been threads where folks have stated that the big firms don't even visit campuses of the typical state schools. And that they typically visit only the top ten or twenty schools.

Unless you are talking about not the starting jobs right out of school (i.e., not on-campus job interviews), which is what I thought X528 was asking about.

KlangFool
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:37 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:32 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 pm
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it
skor99,

How is this actionable for you? I would like to know.

KlangFool
These discussions are actionable for anyone reading them. It could be a parent trying to advise their kids, could be a person looking for a move up in the rat race, for instance...
Please explain. I do not get it as to what is actionable. And, I am asking it honestly.

KlangFool

retiringwhen
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by retiringwhen » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:38 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 pm
TLDR: Question still stands - why don't the FAANG open software development centers across the country? Build it - they will come ... and for less money than in the Bay Area and northeast!
Its about the source of the Capital. If you can get someone in Omaha to seed the funds then maybe you could setup the company there. Silicon Valley, NYC and DC Metro areas are the primary sources of Capital and they keep their stuff close to home. It does show that unlike stock markets, labor markets are not nearly as efficient as they could be. OTOH, the town I grew up in Ohio, is the same size or maybe smaller than it was in 1980, the vast majority of the high school graduates escaped for the coasts like they say in so many Country songs. It didn't help that the farm labor requirements have dropped by 50% in the last 40 years (and 98% since 1900!)

fortunefavored
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by fortunefavored » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:51 pm

X528 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:04 pm
fortunefavored wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.
Do the "big boys" recruit graduates at schools like the University of Nebraska Computer Science department?
Alluded to in some other posts, here's how it works: These megatechs have a "college recruiting pipeline" they create by visiting 10 or 20 campuses. These hiring reqs are "special" in that they come with a whole bunch of perqs, special compensation packages, fast track hiring, intern programs, etc. Many of these companies have a mandated requirement to hire at least N% college graduates per year so they are extremely aggressive.

As long as your degree is in certain fields, and your graduation date falls within a certain range, you qualify for this pipeline, but getting INTO this pipeline is basically impossible unless you are recruited early from the top schools they have chosen.

I have personally recruited "nebraska" people into this pipeline and leveraged those packages, but it was my own network - our recruiters certainly did not. They were busy trying to lure people from MIT or similar.

As an aside, I have also hired many people from middle america who came out, worked for absurd money for a few years, then went home with paid off student loans, bought a house back home, and took a more normal job.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by HawkeyePierce » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:14 pm

That information is a few years out of date. Recruiting routinely happens at lower ranked or smaller schools.

I graduated from a tiny liberal arts school. When I graduated nobody from out of state recruited from our class. According to a professor I keep in touch with they now routinely get visits from Amazon, Uber, Apple and other top companies.

This for a department that graduates twenty students a year.

My current employer (very well known tech co) sends recruiters to plenty more than just top 20 schools. With the competition for talent so tight right now there’s no other way to fill our ranks. We have hundreds of open engineering positions and a good chunk of those will be filled by new grads.

visualguy
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:19 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 pm
TLDR: Question still stands - why don't the FAANG open software development centers across the country? Build it - they will come ... and for less money than in the Bay Area and northeast!
If they are willing to hire remotely (not in their HQ locations), they can (and do) hire offshore in India, etc. where they get even better value for the money. The actionable lesson in this is to strive to be a "rockstar" engineer and be recognized as such because they are rare, and you can even get hired anywhere working from home, or get paid enough to live in the Bay Area, Manhattan, etc. If you can't differentiate yourself from the masses, you're competing with many from around the world in this field, which is a tough situation to be in sooner or later, particularly in the US.

HawkeyePierce
Posts: 692
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Location: Colorado

Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by HawkeyePierce » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:16 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 pm
TLDR: Question still stands - why don't the FAANG open software development centers across the country? Build it - they will come ... and for less money than in the Bay Area and northeast!
They do. Google, Twitter, Uber, Salesforce and Amazon all have major engineering centers in Colorado.

Austin and Atlanta have picked up considerably lately. Square just opened in St. Louis. A few have popped up in Phoenix (Carvana) and Las Vegas (Zappos).

It’s not about saving money. It’s that these companies need to hire so many engineers they’ve virtually tapped out the supply in California. I work from an office in Colorado and I only make about 5% less than my San Francisco counterparts.

newinvestor54
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by newinvestor54 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:26 pm

That salary seems about right for Microsoft. It's much higher for software engineers at Google or Facebook where three years out of college will typically earn $250k+ in total comp and the better ones will be above $300k. See levels.fyi for some solid data on tech salaries. I work at one of the listed tech companies and my comp, as a high level software engineer is a little higher than what they list for my level (although it's lower than I made in prior years before I hit the equity cliff caused by initial stock grants being larger than the later grants). The comp for software engineers at FAANG companies is more extreme than most folks would believe.

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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by noco-hawkeye » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:37 pm
an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:32 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 pm
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it
skor99,

How is this actionable for you? I would like to know.

KlangFool
These discussions are actionable for anyone reading them. It could be a parent trying to advise their kids, could be a person looking for a move up in the rat race, for instance...
Please explain. I do not get it as to what is actionable. And, I am asking it honestly.

KlangFool
It is actionable when you look at where you are in your career and especially when you have conversations with your manager.

If you of a similar experience level (3 years) then you can look at the pay and see where your pay is at. Sure you have to factor in geographies as well, but this is not that complicated to take a swag at.

Similarly, if you have 20-something years of experience and are leading teams of these types of engineers - you should be getting paid more than these numbers. Full-stop. If you aren't, then you should know that a lot of places are remote worker friendly and you could get a good pay increase.

Just ignoring this information because these people might live in a different part of the country is very short sided IMHO. It's how people end up working at mega-corp for 30-40 years and short change themselves a great deal of money.

My $.02.

KlangFool
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KlangFool » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:35 pm

noco-hawkeye wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:37 pm
an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:32 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:40 pm
skor99 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:14 pm
Thanks all! These are the kind of responses I was looking for (Klangfool , please read :-) ) . Makes sense when the distinction is made between highly qualified software engineers creating new applications and even new technologies from scratch VS somebody maintaining an existing application or system or even executing projects which are just for that company as opposed to the whole world. I would still argue that 180K for somebody just 3-4 years from college is a lot, but perhaps there are some geniuses who deserve it
skor99,

How is this actionable for you? I would like to know.

KlangFool
These discussions are actionable for anyone reading them. It could be a parent trying to advise their kids, could be a person looking for a move up in the rat race, for instance...
Please explain. I do not get it as to what is actionable. And, I am asking it honestly.

KlangFool
It is actionable when you look at where you are in your career and especially when you have conversations with your manager.

If you of a similar experience level (3 years) then you can look at the pay and see where your pay is at. Sure you have to factor in geographies as well, but this is not that complicated to take a swag at.

Similarly, if you have 20-something years of experience and are leading teams of these types of engineers - you should be getting paid more than these numbers. Full-stop. If you aren't, then you should know that a lot of places are remote worker friendly and you could get a good pay increase.

Just ignoring this information because these people might live in a different part of the country is very short sided IMHO. It's how people end up working at mega-corp for 30-40 years and short change themselves a great deal of money.

My $.02.
noco-hawkeye,

So, do you use that information successfully?

KlangFool

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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:26 pm

I can state authoritatively that these numbers are 100% accurate and not even slightly exaggerated. That said, it says 3 years of tenure, not 3 you. The L62 level mentioned usually takes 3-5 years to reach (sometimes longer, usually not faster). Almost all of those people will be in the Seattle area. But yeah, that’s what people make. Microsoft pay is quite low compared to FANG.

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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:33 pm

X528 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:04 pm
fortunefavored wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:28 am
There's a huge difference between FANGM (the big boys) and everybody else - namely the stock packages and stock compensation.

The short answer is: $180K quite normal at the 3 year mark if you add that all together for software engineers at a top tier tech company. They would likely be earning >$300K in 5+ years.

Everybody else (non-software engineer) is on a different compensation track. Software engineering is in a unique time and place right now.
Do the "big boys" recruit graduates at schools like the University of Nebraska Computer Science department?
Yes, they recruit everywhere. Out of the dozens of people whose alma mater I know, maybe one or two went to one of the “name” universities you would associate with computer science. Many don’t have a CS degree at all.

KyleAAA
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:37 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:30 pm
visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:58 pm
retiringwhen wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:10 pm
+1 this, my company has started opening offices near rural (away from the Coasts and big cities) Land Grant type Universities to capture lower cost hires in software engineering. It works great, they have LCOL in a town that is attractive for many of the same reasons folks retire to those same places. We get lower salary costs, normally stickier employees and happier employees and a better bottom line vs. paying 50-100% more salary to put them in a VHCOL metro area.
This seems to make sense, but I haven't seen it done at the companies that I'm familiar with, so maybe not very common... The remote hiring is more commonly done abroad in India (by far the most common based on what I've seen), and sometimes in Eastern Europe, China, UK, and Israel, of course.
This is what I was wondering about as well. Are we folks in the LCOLs numbskulls? Why don't these hi falutin companies open locations in podunk hillbilly locations? One of the smartest minds I know in my team is someone who would be the stereotypical hillbilly as painted by the Bay Area gang. Granted she has her niche comfort zone job and probably makes less than $150k (which is still way over what I make), and her skills might be consdered obsolete in the Bay Area. But wouldn't it be great to train someone like her as opposed to some young 'un who might be hit or miss?

True story here: there is a high flyer in my virtual network. Dude has changed companies four times since graduating from grad school a few years ago. Works for a FAANG. When I innocently asked the question "why don't companies like his open software development offices in the, say, midwest?" I got an uber passive aggressive response, "Why don't you open a company in a podunk town yourself?" [note: I have zero enterpreneurial DNA, let alone the capital to create my own company]

TLDR: Question still stands - why don't the FAANG open software development centers across the country? Build it - they will come ... and for less money than in the Bay Area and northeast!
It isn’t economical. A small town may have 10 engineers of that caliber, total. Not worth the cost when it’s cheaper and easier to attract talent globally to a few hubs. There are a few larger cities becoming hubs, like Austin and Atlanta, but there just isn’t enough raw talent to justify wholesale investment, so you’ll see one or two midsize companies testing the waters and maybe a FANG, but they don’t really pay any less than they do on the west coast so there isn’t significant savings.

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ClevrChico
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:43 pm

The major downside of LCOL tech is lack of any company equity, which obviously can make the FAANG workers rich quickly.

LCOL areas do have their own tech scene, and can pay very competitively (or better) when you consider COL. I had a SV FAANG offer, and my LCOL Megacorp had better retirement (significantly) and medical, go figure. Part of my retirement will be covered by private pensions. Good luck getting a pension at a FAANG.

I think the secret of LCOL tech jobs is starting to get out based on recent publications I've read. But, I'd be surprised if it blows up much, which is fine by me.
Last edited by ClevrChico on Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

visualguy
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:08 pm

newinvestor54 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:26 pm
That salary seems about right for Microsoft. It's much higher for software engineers at Google or Facebook where three years out of college will typically earn $250k+ in total comp and the better ones will be above $300k. See levels.fyi for some solid data on tech salaries. I work at one of the listed tech companies and my comp, as a high level software engineer is a little higher than what they list for my level (although it's lower than I made in prior years before I hit the equity cliff caused by initial stock grants being larger than the later grants). The comp for software engineers at FAANG companies is more extreme than most folks would believe.
Right, although I have to say that this is all a phenomenon of the last 10 or maybe 15 years or so. The pay in large public tech companies wasn't all that great before that (it wasn't bad, but much less than what it is now.) To make serious money, you had to climb up to an executive position, or you had to join a good startup early, and get lucky.

The other thing is that the average tenure for engineers at FAANG companies is really low (around 2-3 years) - it's not a long-term career for many.

newinvestor54
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by newinvestor54 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:22 pm

visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:08 pm
Right, although I have to say that this is all a phenomenon of the last 10 or maybe 15 years or so. The pay in large public tech companies wasn't all that great before that (it wasn't bad, but much less than what it is now.) To make serious money, you had to climb up to an executive position, or you had to join a good startup early, and get lucky.

The other thing is that the average tenure for engineers at FAANG companies is really low (around 2-3 years) - it's not a long-term career for many.
Well, most of the engineers I've known who leave after a few years are jumping to another FAANG to get an even larger bump in comp. Recruiters are constantly trying to poach FAANG engineers on behalf of other FAANGs.

visualguy
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Re: IT compensation comparison

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:49 pm

newinvestor54 wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:22 pm
visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:08 pm
Right, although I have to say that this is all a phenomenon of the last 10 or maybe 15 years or so. The pay in large public tech companies wasn't all that great before that (it wasn't bad, but much less than what it is now.) To make serious money, you had to climb up to an executive position, or you had to join a good startup early, and get lucky.

The other thing is that the average tenure for engineers at FAANG companies is really low (around 2-3 years) - it's not a long-term career for many.
Well, most of the engineers I've known who leave after a few years are jumping to another FAANG to get an even larger bump in comp. Recruiters are constantly trying to poach FAANG engineers on behalf of other FAANGs.
Yes, but there are only so many FAANGs... You hop around a bit doing these 2-3 year gigs, and then what? How do you get decades of career out of this?

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