Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

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jharkin
Posts: 2685
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by jharkin »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:13 pm
klondike wrote: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:08 pm
mdavis wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:22 pm Computer engineering at any big mega-corp. in medium cost of living geo.
recent college grad: ~100k
senior engineer: ~150-250k
staff/senior staff: ~200-300k
PEs: ~300-400k
SPEs: ~400-500k
Fellow: ~500-650k
Good to know that I'm not overpaid. I heard the term "Megacorp" many times. Can someone provide some example what "big Megacorp" are?
There's no official definition—the term comes from a scifi novel anyways. I think we can roughly define it as any company with thousands+ of employees. My employer has about 2000 engineers.
Interesting. I always thought of "megacorp" as companies where the employee count was into the 5-6 figures and valuations in the 10s to 100s of Billions - i.e. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dell, GE, GM, General Dynamics, Boeing, Exxon, Merck, Fidelity, Berkshire Hathaway, etc.

When asked I always say I work for mid-caps. Both of my major employers have been in the 3000-7000 total headcount range with valuations in the 1B-10B range. I really like this size, big enough that you are past the pipsqueak startup stage where its easy to get crushed/bought out and there are some real large company standard processes in place, but still small enough where you dont need to be a C-suite executive to make a name for yourself company wide.
HawkeyePierce
Posts: 1768
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:29 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by HawkeyePierce »

jharkin wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:17 am
HawkeyePierce wrote: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:13 pm
klondike wrote: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:08 pm
mdavis wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:22 pm Computer engineering at any big mega-corp. in medium cost of living geo.
recent college grad: ~100k
senior engineer: ~150-250k
staff/senior staff: ~200-300k
PEs: ~300-400k
SPEs: ~400-500k
Fellow: ~500-650k
Good to know that I'm not overpaid. I heard the term "Megacorp" many times. Can someone provide some example what "big Megacorp" are?
There's no official definition—the term comes from a scifi novel anyways. I think we can roughly define it as any company with thousands+ of employees. My employer has about 2000 engineers.
Interesting. I always thought of "megacorp" as companies where the employee count was into the 5-6 figures and valuations in the 10s to 100s of Billions - i.e. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Dell, GE, GM, General Dynamics, Boeing, Exxon, Merck, Fidelity, Berkshire Hathaway, etc.

When asked I always say I work for mid-caps. Both of my major employers have been in the 3000-7000 total headcount range with valuations in the 1B-10B range. I really like this size, big enough that you are past the pipsqueak startup stage where its easy to get crushed/bought out and there are some real large company standard processes in place, but still small enough where you dont need to be a C-suite executive to make a name for yourself company wide.
My employer has about 5000 employees total, but we're in the S&P500 so we're not a mid-cap. In any case it's a pretty loose definition and my proposed threshold may be too low.
investingdad
Posts: 1821
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by investingdad »

GoldenGoose wrote: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:47 am
bh7785 wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:45 pm This thread is depressing. You think you're doing well until you go and read posts on the internet. Damn. I feel like a lot of these "engineer" salaries and benefits are what the executives at smaller companies are making.
If you are content at your current employment and knowing that your pay is not as much as some of us posting here, ask yourself why you are not making the move. In some cases, money is not everything. For me, time worth more than money.
Bingo.

Yes, at 46, it can be tough to watch people a decade younger than you moving way up the ladder. And I've caught myself having doubts about not pursuing or pushing for this type of advancement.

But I've never missed a school function, extra curricular practice, after school game, music lesson, or what have you for either of our two kids... one high school, one middle school.

And because both my wife and I started investing heavily at 23, I'm reasonably confident we are not dissimilarily positioned financially (around 3.3 at the moment).

LBYM works if you let it; and for us, it has eliminated the need to fight, claw, and push for the big salary.
Miguelito
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Miguelito »

I find a lot of these incomes to be surprisingly high. I've worked at a few employers in the suburbs of a HCOLA, and right now, for mechanical engineers, the starting salary is ~$80k for a good candidate. A senior engineer with say 8-10 years probably makes ~$120k. A principal engineer with 15+ years of experience is probably at ~$145k but can be more for someone with specialized skills.

Admittedly this is at companies that don't work you hard, 6% 401k match, good benefits, not much travel, etc.
goflyers13
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:40 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by goflyers13 »

I'm with the people who have commented that the salaries posted in this thread seem unusually high. I'm sure there's some selection bias on this forum, but I'd be really surprised to hear of an engineer earning more than $150-$175k in my LCOL area.

Here are my stats:
Research engineer at a university research institute
B.S mechanical engineering
M.S. materials engineering
6.5 years experience
$81k salary
7% 401k match
$1000 HSA contribution
Very low insurance premiums (about $2k/year for family medical, dental, and vision)
35-40 hrs/week, flexible hrs & location
12 sick days/year
18 vacation days/year
16 paid holidays/year
FREE college tuition for children if I stick around long enough (and they don't pull the rug out from under me)

I could probably get a higher salary at another employer in my area, but I'd be a fool to give up what I have now. My family lives comfortably, and we're able to save plenty for retirement. I have a lot of vacation/holiday time in addition to ample sick leave. Add in a very short commute and flexible hours, and I have a nearly unbeatable work/life balance. It's hard to put a price on that.
ghj4567
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:12 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by ghj4567 »

sjl333 wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:32 pm aerospace/structural engineer, 250K+, 8 years experience, at my 4th company (been hopping every two years), started at 65k. 50 hours per week. I am in the upper echelon in the pay scale compared to my peers (most of them are in the 100K-120K mark). I have mastered my job so companies pay me top dollars because they cant find people w/ my type of skill set. Gotta love capitalism.
I am a aerospace/structural engineer with 16 years experience at same mega-corp making 120k. Would you mind sharing what skill set commands such a premium? (Congrats BTW! :beer )
Nathan Drake
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by Nathan Drake »

ghj4567 wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:23 pm
sjl333 wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:32 pm aerospace/structural engineer, 250K+, 8 years experience, at my 4th company (been hopping every two years), started at 65k. 50 hours per week. I am in the upper echelon in the pay scale compared to my peers (most of them are in the 100K-120K mark). I have mastered my job so companies pay me top dollars because they cant find people w/ my type of skill set. Gotta love capitalism.
I am a aerospace/structural engineer with 16 years experience at same mega-corp making 120k. Would you mind sharing what skill set commands such a premium? (Congrats BTW! :beer )
He’s working as a contractor (not FTE) at around 90-100/hr, and calculating 1.5x hourly rate for OT

The market is tight right now. When things settle down those rates won’t be available
Engineer250
Posts: 1081
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Engineer250 »

MechEng, 9 years, $120k, HCOL, 45-70 hours a week depending, nights and weekends sometimes, no overtime, good benefits, stable industry and I don’t have to worry about layoffs at my company (privately held).

I agree the numbers on here seem high. Even hot shots at my company in the 10-15 year range only make around $150k. I could probably work an easier job and make the same or job shop and make another $10-20k a year more but I like what I do (don’t always love the hours) and like my company and like what we do. My husband is an unemployed recent comp sci grad though so it sounds like if I could merely get him a job out income would skyrocket.
Where the tides of fortune take us, no man can know.
Jgrace
Posts: 4
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Jgrace »

B Mech Eng + MBA, 15 years of experience. Moved early in my career into project management, which was a wise decision from both a job satisfaction and financial standpoint. I probably make 20% more than a principle engineer in my company.

$145k
~15% bonus
3% match
40 hrs/wk
Skip other benefits in favor of my wife's (in education)
Low/Med stress level
MCOL Midwestern city

I started at $50k in 2005. My biggest pay increases, by far, were (1) when I almost left my first company and got paid to stay, and (2) when I made my first company change a year ago.
mottooscillator
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:14 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by mottooscillator »

Engineer in Bay Area. Total compensation: $1M/year.

Salary: $300,000
Bonus: $100,000
Stock: $600,000
random_walker_77
Posts: 1301
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by random_walker_77 »

Engineer250 wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:46 pm MechEng, 9 years, $120k, HCOL, 45-70 hours a week depending, nights and weekends sometimes, no overtime, good benefits, stable industry and I don’t have to worry about layoffs at my company (privately held).

I agree the numbers on here seem high. Even hot shots at my company in the 10-15 year range only make around $150k. I could probably work an easier job and make the same or job shop and make another $10-20k a year more but I like what I do (don’t always love the hours) and like my company and like what we do. My husband is an unemployed recent comp sci grad though so it sounds like if I could merely get him a job out income would skyrocket.
Yes, beware of heavy sampling bias here. At the same time, keep in mind that average compensation varies heavily between disciplines (CE vs ChemE vs EE vs CS). Within a discipline, it varies based on industry -- an EE working for Siemens is going to have a very different experience from an EE working in semiconductors.

Within an industry, it's going to be pretty different if you're at one of the leading companies. Big companies tend to be able to pay more than little companies. Highly profitable companies can afford to pay more than companies that are barely breaking even. That's why oil can pay so well -- they have the money. That's why software companies, which have minimal product manufacturing costs, can make so much money. (Microsoft doesn't even have to pay for floppy disk / CD copying for its products -- just think what that means for gross margins)

Google and Microsoft have gross margins around 60%. Facebook's at about 80% gross margin. By way of comparison, Boeing, which actually makes physical things, has gross margins around 15%-20%.

Finally, if you're at a company like google, where CS is your bread-and-butter profit center, your engineers are not treated as costs. Their engineering staff gets paid well because they put out profitable products that fuel their enterprise. So they're going to try and hire top "5-10%" folks, and they've found they need to pay to keep their top internal talent. It's supply and demand... and until either supply of top talent catches up, or demand drops off (hello, recession?), it can be good to be a top engineer at a top-paying company.

Personally, I'm glad to see that technical talent is finally getting well-compensated, rather than just the sales/finance/legal folks.
Arpek
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:03 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Arpek »

This thread is making me wonder if I should jump ship and switch jobs for increased pay.

I’m a software engineering manager in Boston at $160k salary and 20% target bonus.
Nathan Drake
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Nathan Drake »

random_walker_77 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:21 am
Engineer250 wrote: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:46 pm MechEng, 9 years, $120k, HCOL, 45-70 hours a week depending, nights and weekends sometimes, no overtime, good benefits, stable industry and I don’t have to worry about layoffs at my company (privately held).

I agree the numbers on here seem high. Even hot shots at my company in the 10-15 year range only make around $150k. I could probably work an easier job and make the same or job shop and make another $10-20k a year more but I like what I do (don’t always love the hours) and like my company and like what we do. My husband is an unemployed recent comp sci grad though so it sounds like if I could merely get him a job out income would skyrocket.
Yes, beware of heavy sampling bias here. At the same time, keep in mind that average compensation varies heavily between disciplines (CE vs ChemE vs EE vs CS). Within a discipline, it varies based on industry -- an EE working for Siemens is going to have a very different experience from an EE working in semiconductors.

Within an industry, it's going to be pretty different if you're at one of the leading companies. Big companies tend to be able to pay more than little companies. Highly profitable companies can afford to pay more than companies that are barely breaking even. That's why oil can pay so well -- they have the money. That's why software companies, which have minimal product manufacturing costs, can make so much money. (Microsoft doesn't even have to pay for floppy disk / CD copying for its products -- just think what that means for gross margins)

Google and Microsoft have gross margins around 60%. Facebook's at about 80% gross margin. By way of comparison, Boeing, which actually makes physical things, has gross margins around 15%-20%.

Finally, if you're at a company like google, where CS is your bread-and-butter profit center, your engineers are not treated as costs. Their engineering staff gets paid well because they put out profitable products that fuel their enterprise. So they're going to try and hire top "5-10%" folks, and they've found they need to pay to keep their top internal talent. It's supply and demand... and until either supply of top talent catches up, or demand drops off (hello, recession?), it can be good to be a top engineer at a top-paying company.

Personally, I'm glad to see that technical talent is finally getting well-compensated, rather than just the sales/finance/legal folks.
The gross margins of these industries and software engineers not being treated as “costs” won’t last forever.

The products that EEs, MEs, and CEs put out also fuel their respective enterprises.

The past decade we have seen the revolution of business models being shaken up by software. As these systems evolve and mature, there will be no need to pay exorbitant rates for labor. It’s been a race to first, but as that race becomes no longer relevant, neither will the premium that these engineers command.

Most sales/finance/legal folks aren’t ridiculously compensated either, although the top end of their distribution has a higher ceiling traditionally.
fleckmc
Posts: 12
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by fleckmc »

EE, PE with MSEE. I've been in the industry for 14 years. MCOL area. I work in a very stable industry and love what I do. That means just as much to me as the compensation. There have been several studies on it, and from my own experience, increased salary doesn't make you that much happier once you go above ~80k,

Compensation is:
  • 120k base
  • 401k match (contribute 8%, receive 6%)
  • Pension 7% that is company funded
  • Bonus 20% of base (typically pays out 90 -100%)
  • RSU 20% of base
  • Really good health benefits (Premiums $2.6k,$1.2k max out of pocket for family)
  • 4 weeks vacation plus 3 floating vacation days
  • 12 sick days a year - not that I take them
  • 13 holidays
tigers174
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:24 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by tigers174 »

Reddit is doing something similar right now to compile the data that has the average lower pay that's been discussed here.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/c ... urce=share
B4Xt3r
Posts: 549
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by B4Xt3r »

Arpek wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:30 am This thread is making me wonder if I should jump ship and switch jobs for increased pay.

I’m a software engineering manager in Boston at $160k salary and 20% target bonus.

Any chance you would mind sharing a few companies in/near Boston who employ software engineers? Doesn't have to be your own, just curious about the area.
jharkin
Posts: 2685
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Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by jharkin »

B4Xt3r wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:18 am
Arpek wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:30 am This thread is making me wonder if I should jump ship and switch jobs for increased pay.

I’m a software engineering manager in Boston at $160k salary and 20% target bonus.

Any chance you would mind sharing a few companies in/near Boston who employ software engineers? Doesn't have to be your own, just curious about the area.
* Fidelity - They have a big software group that supports their website and trading platform,etc
* Carbonite
* PTC
* Wayfair
* Teradyne - they are a semiconductor test company but employ a lot of software people
Google
GE
* Akami - Cambridge and Westford
Facebook - Cambridge
IBM - some small offices downtown and on the 495 belt
Microsoft NE Reasearch Center - Cambridge
Amazon Robotics - Westborough
Dell (ex-EMC) - Hopkinton
Cisco - 4 or 5 locations in the area
* MathWorks - Natick
* Bose - Framingham


And these are just the large ones (mostly hundreds to thousands of engineers locally) that I can think of off the top of my head. The * are companies that have their world HQ here. There are also tons of small startups, particularly in Cambridge area coming out of the MIT incubator.

I have worked a few of the names on that list and if you add friends and colleagues I know people at most of them. And none of them live like they are making these 500k+ packages a lot of the west coast folks boast of.
HawkeyePierce
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Location: Colorado

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Google, Twitter and Facebook all pay the same for software engineers in Boston as they do on the west coast.
PokaDot
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by PokaDot »

epargnant wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:09 am Some reasons people make more:
- Shift work/on call work
- Security clearance
- Very talented at their jobs/go above & beyond
- Willing to work in LCOL area where it’s hard to recruit, so salary is higher
- Live in NYC region/Bay Area
- Luck with company stock
- Good contacts/networks
- Going into management
I would argue that having a security clearance doesn't necessarily mean you'll make more. Sure, contractors make more than their govies, but they'll likely still make less than going private sector.

For example, I (12 yrs exp, HCOL) make around $140k as a SWE (in aerospace), but if I were to go private sector, I could probably double that. Many of my peers feel the same way. The salary is "lower" because supposedly having a clearance means you'll always have a job.

A good mentor of mine (who lives in Seattle) frequently tells me to move there, because he's helping college hires start at what I make now.
HawkeyePierce
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Location: Colorado

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by HawkeyePierce »

PokaDot wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:39 pm
epargnant wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:09 am Some reasons people make more:
- Shift work/on call work
- Security clearance
- Very talented at their jobs/go above & beyond
- Willing to work in LCOL area where it’s hard to recruit, so salary is higher
- Live in NYC region/Bay Area
- Luck with company stock
- Good contacts/networks
- Going into management
I would argue that having a security clearance doesn't necessarily mean you'll make more. Sure, contractors make more than their govies, but they'll likely still make less than going private sector.

For example, I (12 yrs exp, HCOL) make around $140k as a SWE (in aerospace), but if I were to go private sector, I could probably double that. Many of my peers feel the same way. The salary is "lower" because supposedly having a clearance means you'll always have a job.

A good mentor of mine (who lives in Seattle) frequently tells me to move there, because he's helping college hires start at what I make now.
That's indeed less than we start college hires at as SWEs. They're starting at closer to $160k total comp.
Miguelito
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:21 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Miguelito »

Arpek wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:30 amI’m a software engineering manager in Boston at $160k salary and 20% target bonus.
That sounds right to me.
Topic Author
sapper1371
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by sapper1371 »

tigers174 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:34 am Reddit is doing something similar right now to compile the data that has the average lower pay that's been discussed here.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/c ... urce=share
A quick flip through that indicates the responses here are skewed significantly to the high end, even for software engineering.
LawEgr1
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Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by LawEgr1 »

delete
Tamales
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Tamales »

tigers174 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:34 am Reddit is doing something similar right now to compile the data that has the average lower pay that's been discussed here.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/c ... urce=share
There are instructions listed at that link for finding the "cost of living" index so they have a consistent reference point in their poll.
This is something that is probably of general interest for this forum since COL comes up in a lot of threads, so I've copied the instructions below. The number comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (in the Dept of Commerce)

How to calculate Cost of Living
If you are in the United States:

Follow the instructions below and list the name of your Metropolitan Statistical Area and its corresponding RPP.

Go here:
https://apps.bea.gov/itable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=70&step=1

Click on "REAL PERSONAL INCOME AND REGIONAL PRICE PARITIES BY STATE AND METROPOLITAN AREA" to expand the dropdown

Click on "Regional Price Parities (RPP)"

Click the "MARPP - Regional Price Parities by MSA" radio button, then click "Next Step"

Select the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) you live in, then click "Next Step" until you reach the end

Copy/paste the name of the MSA and the number called "RPPs: All items" to your comment
Nathan Drake
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Nathan Drake »

PokaDot wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:39 pm
epargnant wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:09 am Some reasons people make more:
- Shift work/on call work
- Security clearance
- Very talented at their jobs/go above & beyond
- Willing to work in LCOL area where it’s hard to recruit, so salary is higher
- Live in NYC region/Bay Area
- Luck with company stock
- Good contacts/networks
- Going into management
I would argue that having a security clearance doesn't necessarily mean you'll make more. Sure, contractors make more than their govies, but they'll likely still make less than going private sector.

For example, I (12 yrs exp, HCOL) make around $140k as a SWE (in aerospace), but if I were to go private sector, I could probably double that. Many of my peers feel the same way. The salary is "lower" because supposedly having a clearance means you'll always have a job.

A good mentor of mine (who lives in Seattle) frequently tells me to move there, because he's helping college hires start at what I make now.

Maybe true for software jobs in select areas right now, not necessarily true for other types of engineering jobs outside of software based tech
onourway
Posts: 2824
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by onourway »

sapper1371 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:37 pm
tigers174 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:34 am Reddit is doing something similar right now to compile the data that has the average lower pay that's been discussed here.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/c ... urce=share
A quick flip through that indicates the responses here are skewed significantly to the high end, even for software engineering.
Without someone doing an actual analysis on the results in both threads, it's impossible to say for sure, but to me it looks pretty similar in both places. A few entry level/LCOL jobs in the $60-80k range. Most jobs in the $80-130k range. A few more in the $150k+ area, and a relative few outliers usually in software of computer tech much much higher. That tells me that Engineering of almost any form is a pretty safe bet as a career path. More than likely you will be able to earn 6 figures plus, depending on your exact skills and willingness to move/travel.
Last edited by onourway on Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
onourway
Posts: 2824
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by onourway »

Tamales wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:25 pm
tigers174 wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:34 am Reddit is doing something similar right now to compile the data that has the average lower pay that's been discussed here.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskEngineers/c ... urce=share
There are instructions listed at that link for finding the "cost of living" index so they have a consistent reference point in their poll.
This is something that is probably of general interest for this forum since COL comes up in a lot of threads, so I've copied the instructions below. The number comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (in the Dept of Commerce)

How to calculate Cost of Living
If you are in the United States:

Follow the instructions below and list the name of your Metropolitan Statistical Area and its corresponding RPP.

Go here:
https://apps.bea.gov/itable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=70&step=1

Click on "REAL PERSONAL INCOME AND REGIONAL PRICE PARITIES BY STATE AND METROPOLITAN AREA" to expand the dropdown

Click on "Regional Price Parities (RPP)"

Click the "MARPP - Regional Price Parities by MSA" radio button, then click "Next Step"

Select the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) you live in, then click "Next Step" until you reach the end

Copy/paste the name of the MSA and the number called "RPPs: All items" to your comment
Thanks. Is there a breakout somewhere that defines that number to a range similar to the LCOL/MCOL/HCOL terminology we typically use here? I've always had a hunch regarding where our area falls, but I'd like some more solid data.
jthokie4
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:47 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by jthokie4 »

ChE ~$155k total comp (factoring in bonus and 401k matching) in LCoL area, 19 yrs experience. This thread makes me regret not getting a CS degree.
Last edited by jthokie4 on Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
X528
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:51 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by X528 »

jthokie4 wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:48 am ChE ~$155k total comp in LCoL area, 19 yrs experience. This thread makes me regret not getting a CS degree.
But is age discrimination a big factor in limiting one's career in software engineering? Software engineers may make these big lucrative salaries, but for how long does their career last at that level?
Williams57
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:16 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Williams57 »

Thanks so much everyone, this has been an eye opener. I know I've been kind of careless about my career and I think my salary is a reflection of that. I decided that I am going to stick around one more year at my current job, try harder and smarter, and see if that changes things and my compensation. I am not a salary chaser, but do believe that I can do better.
Tamales
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:47 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Tamales »

onourway wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:39 am Thanks. Is there a breakout somewhere that defines that number to a range similar to the LCOL/MCOL/HCOL terminology we typically use here? I've always had a hunch regarding where our area falls, but I'd like some more solid data.
Different people could set the boundaries for those categories in any of several legitimate ways.

If you click on the BEA link, then follow a slightly different process, you can get the bulk data list of all the MSAs. Follow essentially the same instructions but select All Areas instead of a specific MSA.

For the MARPP by MSA, All Items data, if you run some calculations on it,
the mean is 93.81116883
the standard dev is 8.214469255
So you could say that MCOL is +/- 1 std dev from mean, or 85.60 to 102.03.
And from there say that below 85.60 is LCOL and above 102.03 is HCOL.
And you could further divide the MCOL into the lower MCOL (85.6-93.81) and upper MCOL 93.81-102.03.
But I don't know if there is some other preferred way to create the different buckets.
BillyV001
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:50 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by BillyV001 »

BS / MS Chemical Engineer
26 yrs - Mid major oil company
Houston area
W2 wages: $242k
Incentive bonus: $20k/yr
Stock: $12k/yr
Various pretax savings plans...value of company contributions: $10k/yr
"Other": $5k/yr
shans2000
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:16 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by shans2000 »

mottooscillator wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:17 am Engineer in Bay Area. Total compensation: $1M/year.

Salary: $300,000
Bonus: $100,000
Stock: $600,000
That is outstanding! How many years experience and is it FANG?
Nathan Drake
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by Nathan Drake »

BillyV001 wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:59 pm BS / MS Chemical Engineer
26 yrs - Mid major oil company
Houston area
W2 wages: $242k
Incentive bonus: $20k/yr
Stock: $12k/yr
Various pretax savings plans...value of company contributions: $10k/yr
"Other": $5k/yr
This is shocking to me. Way outside the norm for age, experience, industry, and location.

Please tell your story
OldSport
Posts: 491
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:01 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by OldSport »

BSME, Megacorp, 15 years experience, Lead Engineer, MCOL Area
$165k Base
16% Bonus
8% 401k Match
Excellent Benefits
~50-55hr weeks
TheEngineer
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:37 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by TheEngineer »

BSCE (Civil Engineer), Senior/Project Engineer in public sector (State), No PE (yet), Upper MCOL Area (RRP: 101.8), 7 Years Experience. Mainly project management/administration, not heavy design work.

Base: $90K (civil service annual step increase system, currently maxes around $125K for this position, raises generally tied to State budget and negotiations)
OT: $10-15K typical/as needed basis
Rarely any bonus potential (again subject to State budget/negotiations)
Provided Vehicle Allowance/Other Cash Allowances
Flexible schedule, typically work 5 days one week, 4 the other
Very good fringe benefits
Very low health insurance premiums, low deductibles/out-of-pocket max, great coverage
Pension based on final average salary & years of service, full retirement age 63
457 Plan with good low cost fund options (Vanguard, TIAA, etc.), no employer match though
Retiree health insurance for self & spouse after sufficient years of vesting service
Paid FMLA
Professional Development Fund covers various miscellaneous expenses ranging from dues/approved expenses in Engineering associations (ASCE, EWB, etc.) and continuing education
Access to wide range of other discounted benefits such as short-term/long-term disability, home/vehicle, long-term care, etc.
12 holidays/15 Vacation days (increases with years of service and can rollover each year)/3 Personal days/15 sick days per year
On the point of PTO, have regularly taken up to 4 weeks off in a row to go on vacation without issue

As a point of reference, labor market is tight and base salaries with bonus/stock/profit sharing potential are now substantially quite a bit higher in the private consulting/contracting firms I work with although usually with less generous benefits packages.
navyasw02
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:38 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by navyasw02 »

Good info to see comps for my post Navy career.

Any thoughts on the value and worth of a PMP certification for engineering (non computer science or IT)?

Navy 18 years, BS Naval architecture, masters engineering Management, MS mechanical engineering and mechanical engineer (post masters), PE here.
BanquetBeer
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:57 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by BanquetBeer »

Nathan Drake wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:38 pm
BillyV001 wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:59 pm BS / MS Chemical Engineer
26 yrs - Mid major oil company
Houston area
W2 wages: $242k
Incentive bonus: $20k/yr
Stock: $12k/yr
Various pretax savings plans...value of company contributions: $10k/yr
"Other": $5k/yr
This is shocking to me. Way outside the norm for age, experience, industry, and location.

Please tell your story
I would say the only thing shocking about his compensation is the % bonus. The total compensation is in line with a *good* IC engineer in upstream but typically I have seen lower base and higher bonus. I say good because a there is a large difference in engineer capabilities, even at the same company.

Question: are stocks are a discounted stock purchase plan or gifted/bonus?

FYI Houston COL:
RPPs
All Items: 101.7
-Goods: 95.3
-Rents: 104.3
-Other: 107.7
Last edited by BanquetBeer on Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
BanquetBeer
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:57 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by BanquetBeer »

BanquetBeer wrote: Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:20 am
jayk238 wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:58 pm The average engineer makes about 50k in europe would you guys live in europe for that salary?
The average engineering salary in the US is probably much lower than on bogleheads. I know plenty of engineers making under 100 salary.

That said I have 4 data points.

ChemE 11 yrs exp, mechanical job(oil related). 135k + 20-25% bonus + 7% match (above avg technically, below avg people skills)

EE 12 years, oil and gas, $215k base, 10% match, 15% bonus (high flyer) + ~2-5k/yr awards

ChemE 12 years, manager in technical services (oil processing related), $155k, bonus is always promised at 10% but always comes in around 3-4%, will verify 401k

ChemE 6 years, oil and gas, $145k, 10% bonus 9% match

MCOL gulf coast.
RPPs
All Items: 101.7
-Goods: 95.3
-Rents: 104.3
-Other: 107.7

Will also note just spoke with a coworker about salary. They were getting 23% less than me for same job. Maybe a bit less technical but well rounded candidate - I believe the difference is how you market yourself (advertise your success/cost savings to the company), how well you communicate your salary expectations, and where you come from (previous company/salary - I don't believe my company does raises well: +2% over inflation in the last 4 years, so you better come in with a high salary)
f35phixer
Posts: 121
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:41 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by f35phixer »

Lowly Electronics Tech here 112K/year with unlimited OT at 80/hr. Plus i LOVE my job!!! Can retire as federal now and this Nov will be 62 so another 10% added to pension. Have even been thinking about another year into Dec. 2021. 26 paid vaca days/ year, 10 federal holidays, 104 hr sick/year which convert to your years worked for pension calculation at 1400+ total now, along with compressed work week every other Friday off to make for nice long weekends....
MICKFI
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:19 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by MICKFI »

navyasw02 wrote: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:53 am Good info to see comps for my post Navy career.

Any thoughts on the value and worth of a PMP certification for engineering (non computer science or IT)?

Navy 18 years, BS Naval architecture, masters engineering Management, MS mechanical engineering and mechanical engineer (post masters), PE here.
navyasw02 - Based on your education description, I think I was in the same navy community as you are. I retired 15 years ago and have worked in MegaCorps leading large engineering/construction programs and hired a lot of engineers. While a PMP is nice, I don't think it is make or break for getting a high compensation position post-navy, especially with your experience (which I assume is heavy project and program management focused). I found the drivers to landing a good post-navy role are networking, strength of resume, getting on with a team that is new or growing, and then once hired working hard to re-establish your reputation (no one cares about your former rank). I worked in a MCOL area and my total comp (base + bonus + RSUs, sans navy retirement) has been as high as $275K. You can get much higher if you go work for a FAANG (even in non-SWE roles). I hope that helps! PM me if you have more specific questions.
mottooscillator
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:14 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by mottooscillator »

shans2000 wrote: Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:52 pm
mottooscillator wrote: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:17 am Engineer in Bay Area. Total compensation: $1M/year.

Salary: $300,000
Bonus: $100,000
Stock: $600,000
That is outstanding! How many years experience and is it FANG?
FANG, 20 yoe+, 15+ in Bay Area
ARoseByAnyOtherName
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

spae wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:52 pm
Nathan Drake wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:48 pm I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if the labor market is that wildly inefficient then this party isn’t going to last.
Jeff Kauffman made this argument recently and most programmers think he's wrong, if you read programmer forums, the tech equivalent of bogleheads, most people think he's an idiot. https://www.jefftk.com/p/programmers-sh ... -lower-pay

I agree with Jeff myself. I hope Jeff is wrong, but I'm prepared for him to be right. I personally view anything I make beyond baseline engineering compensation in other fields, adjusted for regional COL difference in the U.S., as an undeserved windfall that could disappear at any moment. People can quibble over what that means, in my hometown I would put that at $80k/yr. The $80k/yr isn't deserved either, but it's not a windfall.
Why do you agree with Jeff? It's important to share your reasoning because doing so could possibly be illuminating.

Jeff in that blog post says "we don't understand why programmers are paid so well" (direct quote from his blog post) and thus concludes that the high pay won't last. I mostly disagree with that.... I dunno man but like is it really a big mystery? With software there is effectively zero marginal cost for every additional unit you sell. Couple that with the internet which is a sales channel that reaches a huge fraction of the people on planet earth at very little relative cost, and the pay doesn't seem so ludicrous.

Ben Thompson over at https://stratechery.com/ has done a lot of interesting thinking and writing in this area, particularly on the effect of the internet and software on markets and consumers.

Then there's our own Nathan Drake, who had a back-and-forth with spae (most of it captured at viewtopic.php?f=2&t=300926&start=50#p4961346) that concluded with the quote above: "if the labor market is that wildly inefficient then this party isn’t going to last."

But is this really truly a discussion about the efficiency of the labor market? I don't think it is. I think it's really about how the economic value of various jobs differs, and how that difference has changed over time.

All of the huge entrenched tech companies that offer massive comp packages are incredibly profitable (Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc). All of them have massive global reach enabled by the internet and all of them rely on software engineers.

What's the catalyst that will cause these companies to stop offering these huge comp packages?

Actually, could it be possible that things go the other way, that programmers become even more valuable (and compensated)? Let me return to Ben Thompson who in turn recently invoked Carlota Perez (paywalled unfortunately) and argued that we're in the "Maturity" phase the latest technological revolution, when viewed though Perez's cyclical framework. Is it possible that these huge companies - and their profits, and their comp packages - are so entrenched that we actually see a widening gap between programmer vs. non-programmer compensation?

One last thought about Nathan Drake and spae's discussion I linked to above. There was talk about how "hard" people work in various jobs, and the hours people work in various roles at various companies, with the conclusion that the labor market may be "wildly inefficient".

I think that's the wrong conclusion. It's wrong because I don't think compensation is correlated with how "hard" a job is or how many hours someone works. I think compensation is ultimately correlated with the economic value of the job.

It's immediately obvious that someone breaking rocks 10+ hours a day has a "harder" job than probably anyone reading this, and yet their total compensation for that labor will be.... disappointing. On the flip side, is it really that hard to believe that a programmer could work 40 hours a week, sit in a comfy chair for almost all that time, and yet consistently either save or make a company millions of dollars a year.... which is far in excess of their comp package? I hope it's not hard for you to believe.

I'll stop there for the most part, even though I think there are points to be made about the dot-com crash in 2000 and the Great Recession in 2008 that could be interesting.
random_walker_77
Posts: 1301
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by random_walker_77 »

Perhaps this should go into a different thread as it is a bit of a side discussion. While I agree that the economic value added by a given employee (such as a sw engineer) correlates to how much a company can afford to pay that employee, I think it's also important to keep in mind that supply matters a lot as well. If supply of such talent exceeds a certain point, they're not going to be as special. Yes, the work output adds a lot of value for the company, but if companies have enough choice of people to do this work, that compensation gets bidded down.

Imagine a world where hot-shot level programmers were everywhere. At $1M in value per engineer, they'll hire as many as they can get. Pay them 500K, reap 1M, and profit. But eventually, the marginal value of hiring another thousand engineers goes down, and pay will drop. Given enough supply of labor, the price of labor will go down. SW is pretty much the polar opposite of a mature industry. Someday, it will mature. Someday could be 20 years down the line, or it could be 100 years in the future.

Now that it's getting to be well known (through levels.fyi) that it's lucrative to be working for the top tier of companies, I'd expect the supply of SWEs to increase over time. The problem is that, like other areas of engineering, it is hard. Many can learn the basics, but relatively few get really good and are highly productive. Few companies want to hire the bottom 50% of talent. The bidding wars are over the (perceived) top 10%, though talent evaluation is also pretty primitive.

In EE and CS, we've seen flat-out that, even though hundreds of thousands of engineers minted annually in India and China, the quality of talent is generally poor and only a tiny fraction are top-tier. This suggests to me that it's going to take a long time before we have "too many" good/great SWEs.

This is also a problem for growing domestic talent. Yes, while there are coding boot camps that can pump out lower-level SW talent, in many cases by stealing top talent from adjacent fields (engineers, mathematicians, physicists etc), the prospects for your average/below-average CS grad from a generic state school are not going to be so rosy. In some respects, they are competing against the low-cost talent from India and China. Your top-quartile CMU/MIT/Berkeley/etc CS talent is probably going to do quite well for a long time.

(Note, I'm not saying that great talent is only at elite schools, only that they're over-represented there and recruiters like to go where the pickings are good. Exceptional talent does show up at non-prestigious state schools, but there's a lot of average talent to sort through)
ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:11 pm What's the catalyst that will cause these companies to stop offering these huge comp packages?"
SW has historically been cyclical. Growing companies also tend to defer trimming the deadwood. When the next recession comes, there will be an adjustment, and if nothing else, all the equity-based comp will naturally modulate downwards. That would likely be a bump in the road.

My bet is that it'll be related to Moore's law. Now that Moore's law is coming to an end economically, if not physically, that is going to dramatically reshape this industry and push the industry towards some maturing. Even so, that could be 20 years away.
srj
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:18 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by srj »

Software Engineering salaries have ballooned unbelievably. I started at one of the FAANG companies 12 years ago, out of college with a bachelor's degree making 80k. Now at a different FAANG company and making many times that. It does feel like the music has to stop sometime. There sure are many more CS grads now than there were when I was going to school in the shadow of the dot-com bust.

If you're in the Cambridge MA area and looking for a SWE job or want to talk feel free to PM me.
ARoseByAnyOtherName
Posts: 1000
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:03 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by ARoseByAnyOtherName »

random_walker_77 and srj made interesting points that I want to think about more, but very relevant to the discussion is this article from March 2019:

US computer science grads outperforming those in other key nations
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/03 ... y-nations/
All told, the US produces about 65,000 students with computer science degrees each year, a number that's gone up dramatically over the past few decades. That number is dwarfed by either China (185,000 students) or India (215,000 students). But the new research suggests those students are extremely well-prepared compared to those in other countries.
Article is short and the entire thing worth reading.
Nathan Drake
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:28 am

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by Nathan Drake »

ARoseByAnyOtherName wrote: Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:11 pm
spae wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:52 pm
Nathan Drake wrote: Fri Jan 17, 2020 8:48 pm I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if the labor market is that wildly inefficient then this party isn’t going to last.
Jeff Kauffman made this argument recently and most programmers think he's wrong, if you read programmer forums, the tech equivalent of bogleheads, most people think he's an idiot. https://www.jefftk.com/p/programmers-sh ... -lower-pay

I agree with Jeff myself. I hope Jeff is wrong, but I'm prepared for him to be right. I personally view anything I make beyond baseline engineering compensation in other fields, adjusted for regional COL difference in the U.S., as an undeserved windfall that could disappear at any moment. People can quibble over what that means, in my hometown I would put that at $80k/yr. The $80k/yr isn't deserved either, but it's not a windfall.
Why do you agree with Jeff? It's important to share your reasoning because doing so could possibly be illuminating.

Jeff in that blog post says "we don't understand why programmers are paid so well" (direct quote from his blog post) and thus concludes that the high pay won't last. I mostly disagree with that.... I dunno man but like is it really a big mystery? With software there is effectively zero marginal cost for every additional unit you sell. Couple that with the internet which is a sales channel that reaches a huge fraction of the people on planet earth at very little relative cost, and the pay doesn't seem so ludicrous.

Ben Thompson over at https://stratechery.com/ has done a lot of interesting thinking and writing in this area, particularly on the effect of the internet and software on markets and consumers.

Then there's our own Nathan Drake, who had a back-and-forth with spae (most of it captured at viewtopic.php?f=2&t=300926&start=50#p4961346) that concluded with the quote above: "if the labor market is that wildly inefficient then this party isn’t going to last."

But is this really truly a discussion about the efficiency of the labor market? I don't think it is. I think it's really about how the economic value of various jobs differs, and how that difference has changed over time.

All of the huge entrenched tech companies that offer massive comp packages are incredibly profitable (Microsoft, Facebook, Google, etc). All of them have massive global reach enabled by the internet and all of them rely on software engineers.

What's the catalyst that will cause these companies to stop offering these huge comp packages?

Actually, could it be possible that things go the other way, that programmers become even more valuable (and compensated)? Let me return to Ben Thompson who in turn recently invoked Carlota Perez (paywalled unfortunately) and argued that we're in the "Maturity" phase the latest technological revolution, when viewed though Perez's cyclical framework. Is it possible that these huge companies - and their profits, and their comp packages - are so entrenched that we actually see a widening gap between programmer vs. non-programmer compensation?

One last thought about Nathan Drake and spae's discussion I linked to above. There was talk about how "hard" people work in various jobs, and the hours people work in various roles at various companies, with the conclusion that the labor market may be "wildly inefficient".

I think that's the wrong conclusion. It's wrong because I don't think compensation is correlated with how "hard" a job is or how many hours someone works. I think compensation is ultimately correlated with the economic value of the job.

It's immediately obvious that someone breaking rocks 10+ hours a day has a "harder" job than probably anyone reading this, and yet their total compensation for that labor will be.... disappointing. On the flip side, is it really that hard to believe that a programmer could work 40 hours a week, sit in a comfy chair for almost all that time, and yet consistently either save or make a company millions of dollars a year.... which is far in excess of their comp package? I hope it's not hard for you to believe.

I'll stop there for the most part, even though I think there are points to be made about the dot-com crash in 2000 and the Great Recession in 2008 that could be interesting.
When I decided to study a hard engineering field (EE), this was coming off the dot-com boom in the early 2000s. Even at that time, software engineering (CS degrees) made roughly the equivalent of other engineering fields, perhaps slightly lower due to the industry going through a downturn. Fast forward to the past ten years, and Software Engineers are making 5-10 times what a similarly experienced EE, ME, or CE is making.

Arguably, the hard engineering disciplines are more rigorous and difficult. The analogy you made of a person "breaking rocks" does not apply, since almost anyone can break rocks. Not everyone can design mechanical/electrical structures and components, or write software code, nor do they have the necessary credentials to get a well respected job in those fields. The baseline level requirements are approximately the same - 4 year bachelor of science. The rigors of the course material are similar (challenging, STEM area, analytical & problem solving based thinking).

So what happened to cause such an enormous growth of Software Engineering salaries over the past decade? Our society became constantly connected as the internet and mobile phone space matured. This allowed tremendous growth of new software platforms that could reach a global consumer base. Companies were now in a "race to be first" mode in establishing these software ecosystems. There simply wasn't enough software engineers in the labor market to meet this demand, and the difference between having software engineering talent or not could mean the loss of a first mover advantage.

So no, it's not necessarily surprising that during this sort of environment a rather middle-of-the-road software engineer with 10-20 years of experience could make $500k-1 million sitting in his chair working a relaxed 35-40 hours a week (as multiple people have claimed in various threads). But it should also not come as a surprise that this is not sustainable and will not last. For one, the labor market for competent programmers will dramatically rise as a result of the current compensation of the industry. So you will have a lot more supply. On the demand side, once these software giants mature and firmly establish the moats around their platforms, growth slows as their consumer base becomes saturated, and there's no need to radically change the software architecture that's in place then there's less need to pay sky high rates for labor, less demand for software based workers in the space, and labor rates will far more in line with reality - and compensation will have far less equity/bonus components, and salaries may normalize with other engineering disciplines with similar baseline requirements.
poundwise
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:17 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by poundwise »

Great thread! I wonder how the data here compares with that in Glassdoor, Blind, etc.

Anyone want to compile the responses in the form (comp, engineer type, yrs experience, cost of living) and report back the summary statistics? :)
HawkeyePierce
Posts: 1768
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:29 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Engineers - What are you making?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Nathan Drake wrote: Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:11 pmSo no, it's not necessarily surprising that during this sort of environment a rather middle-of-the-road software engineer with 10-20 years of experience could make $500k-1 million sitting in his chair working a relaxed 35-40 hours a week (as multiple people have claimed in various threads). But it should also not come as a surprise that this is not sustainable and will not last. For one, the labor market for competent programmers will dramatically rise as a result of the current compensation of the industry. So you will have a lot more supply. On the demand side, once these software giants mature and firmly establish the moats around their platforms, growth slows as their consumer base becomes saturated, and there's no need to radically change the software architecture that's in place then there's less need to pay sky high rates for labor, less demand for software based workers in the space, and labor rates will far more in line with reality - and compensation will have far less equity/bonus components, and salaries may normalize with other engineering disciplines with similar baseline requirements.
I don't buy this "end of history"-esque narrative. What reason is there to believe technology is going to plateau in a way that requires less code?

Today's giants might not be tomorrow's giants. Silicon Valley has a strong history of chewing up its current champions as they become complacent and the next generation surpasses them.

This also assumes that once they do find moats, they stop there. Amazon could've stopped at retail but expended into AWS. Google could've stopped at maps/search/email but expanded into, well, everything. Microsoft added gaming and cloud services. I see no reason to assume any of them are going to stop there—or that new upstarts won't fight their way to top as well.

Companies at this scale are already pushing the state-of-the-art on big data and it's an unending challenge. That alone consumes vast engineering resources where I work and we're not evening close to Google's size (though we do run some of the world's largest Hadoop clusters).
RocketMaaaan
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:49 pm

Re: Engineers - What are you making? ($$$)

Post by RocketMaaaan »

Civil Engineer, 10 years experience, MCOLA.

I spent 10 years in private consulting and just moved to a large federal government agency that has great benefits and a nice “cool job, dude” factor. I was making about $110k as a consultant, took a pay cut down to $92k. Obviously federal benefits are nice, and I’m now working 40 hours instead of 50’ish hours. Shorter commute, and less stressful by not having a bunch of needy clients.

Guaranteed raises on the GS pay scale, with occasional COL adjustments...not bad at all. Plus, guaranteed back pay during government shutdowns.
Locked