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Ask HN: Where are 150k to 200k salary job in Silicon Valley?
43 points by ugenetics on Feb 20, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments
I always hear and have read quite a few times that there are thousands of people who earn 150k to 200k salary. I have 9 years of experience but my salary is 118k per year with 2k as stock options per year. I work in data analytics as tech lead without any direct reports. With $2300 rent in Peninsula it is really really hard to live in Bay area for 2 people.

Is 150k to 200k only paid at google / Facebook / Amazon / Uber?

Where do you find companies hiring managers or directors or tech leads offering such salary ?

I have no network. I tried networking and going to meetup but nothing happened. Even if I go networking way it is going to take longer to find job through that route. I am looking for immediate opportunity. I have LinkedIn profile but it seems that most connections are there for namesake purpose only.

Any guidance and / or tips you can provide for landing such job in valley ?

Ways to earn more money where I come from but probably applicable to SV. Some ideas:

1. Get a job where people report to you

2. Get a job with company with bigger budgets e.g. Google

3. Get a job where you are closer to the money making e.g. sales, finance industry jobs

4. Do something else where you control the flow of money rather than just get a paycheck. I am thinking real estate development or renovations, for example.

5. Live somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper but earn the same money. You could get a remote job in SV then go move away. I don't know US that well but isn't Oakland cheaper? Or if you are remote working just go live in some dead town somewhere.

6. Get a job contracting using some arcane skill that no-one wants to work with so it pays more. E.g. Microsoft SharePoint.

7. Become a business analyst / project manager etc.

8. Become a corporate C*O.

9. Get a 9-5 tech job (literally) and then get a second job.

10. Get a 9-5 tech job (literally) and do a side project money making.

Getting a second job seems to be hard. Despite all companies complaining about lack of tech talent, I've approached several about working 6-12 plus weekends (or other arrangements) but have had no interest despite being well regarded in my area of tech.

For software engineering at least, any of the big companies here (FB/GOOG/AAPL/LNKD/TWTR/etc) will easily pay $150k+ for someone with 9 years of experience. If you perform well the first year or two, your yearly RSU package will easily equal the salary.

Just apply and be firm during negotiations.

Could you elaborate on being firm during negotiations? What aspects are you 'firm on'? I guess there is a technique to all this but not having changed a lot of jobs in my career and getting by on references I am probably less clued into negotiating tactics than someone who has moved every 2-3 years.

I would really like a site where they can teach you these skills or take care of it for you. A few premier sites that can act like agents already want you to have a GOOG/AMZN/APPL pedigree.

Don't give your current comp, and make it clear you're happy to walk away if they don't hit the number you have in mind (Ideally, you would actually be happy to walk away).

NB: It helps enormously to have competing offers.

I think this is fairly relevant for any bartering you may do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xSe604627c

Join Hired or Indeed Prime, you will be able to see salaries of job offers.

And not to be condescending, but if you have no network after 9 years of experience, you might want to think about what it is about you that is causing that.

'Networking' as an activity is not the same as developing a professional network. We all develop networks as we go through our careers. You can't help it. But you can nurture it and maintain it so that when you need to find a new gig, you have people who know you that you can contact. As you work with new people and meet them in the course of doing your job, add them to your LinkedIn and Facebook networks.

Networking as an activity involves contacting the people you know, then if necessary, people they know, and so on. Networking is what you do when you're looking for a new gig.

Attending 'networking events' for people looking for work, you're going to have a low yield, because everyone there is looking for work. You may want to add them to your network for later, but it's not likely you'll find a job right away through that activity.

In business, I've landed first-time contracts with people that I initially met 20 years ago. I added them to my network (by hanging on to their business card and checking in with them every couple of years before LinnkedIn came along). So really, you need to establish and nurture your career-facing network for the long haul. That is the way to stay employed over the years.

Not to be condescending, but I don't have a network and I think you're logic is wrong. Networking is a waste of time for rank and file workers in certain tech jobs. If you're not in a position of power or in a "social" profession no one gives a shit about networking with you. It is all about understanding how the industry works and what people's motivations are. What are the conditions under which some company would find and hire you at the salary you want? What are all the conditions. Is there a person out there that if you sent one email can and would hire you at the salary that you want? Just go to that person and forget everyone else. The only people that will want to network are the people that can't give you what you want. So it's just good for your personal life but not your career.

Yea so I've worked for multiple tech companies in Silicon Valley and was in the 150+ club before leaving the area and every company I was hired at was via a connection. So going to networking events is something I never did. Just made friends at work and also tried to do some social things outside of work.. So my take is that you should change jobs and make some more friends to increase your salary. ;)

same here, just keep in touch with former coworkers that you enjoyed working with, and eventually one will end up somewhere thats neat and/or successful

Do what you need to do to get a job, but this makes you beholden to your friends for a job. Plus you can only work where your connections work. Could you get a job without connections just based on qualifications?

"Beholden"? How so?

It's not about making connections so that people will give you a job as a favor. It's about making connections so that you have social proof of your competence, plus to take advantage of the fact that someone telling your target "hey, take a look at this person" stands out much better than sending one more resume to a poorly monitored email account.

Which, in response to your last question, also means knowing someone who knows someone where you want to work is almost as good as a direct connection. You really don't need to know all that many people to have a usefully large second degree network (doubly so if you're in a tech hub).

Well, there are some foolish companies out there that trust in 'social proof' as you put it, so it is possible to get jobs that way. By beholden I mean that if the only reason you able to keep a job is on the word of another low level employee, then you are in a perilous position politically. No one except your connection believes your social proof because there are a lot of expert beginner people full of shit in technology. If they leave the company you are screwed and would probably have to go find another job. Yes, it is more difficult to get a job relying on skills and marketing, but it is better in the long term.

Yea I got jobs because people at the other companies said "hey that guy knows a lot about this area you should interview him", and when I interviewed everybody I talked to gave their approval to hire me based upon a technical interview, so in my area it was not possible to get a job based upon simply telling somebody you are good, you actually have to do well in the technical interview. I was a principal level hardware engineer, so not too low level. Maybe some people are getting jobs based upon just a simple recommendation, but I thought based upon the OP's data science area its more applicable to discuss the typical situation where the recommendation is followed by a technical interview. I don't know of a situation where anybody I worked with who got interviewed because their friend recommended them that the friend left then the other guy lost his job after that. But maybe that could happen if that person was really not interviewed well and the hiring manager was kinda clueless as to how bad the guy was..

This attitude is unproductive.

As a general rule, if someone hands your resume to a hiring manager, or says "I know that guy; he's good" that carries a hell of a lot more weight than you evidently think it does.

Yes, of course you need to know what you're doing. The point is that knowing someone at the firm you're applying to, or knowing someone who know someone there is useful. Like it or not, we are social animals and we respond to that stuff.

No it's not unproductive. It's better and more realistic. What will happen is that your hiring manager goes away after three months because managers are always trying to reorg and hire people beneath them to save their ass. You friend that handed your resume can be fired or quits to go work somewhere else. Suddenly there is no reason that you should have a job at that company and lots of other people are handing resumes to your new manager for people that they are trying to give your job to. Maybe you can stretch it for 9-12 months. It's far better for job security to just have the credentials and background to get a job without going the social route.

What you are talking about is nepotism.

Networking is where people, usually former colleagues, will remember you (positively) when their employer asks them "Hey, we need someone who can do X?" And vice versa.

If you can't make friends with people you work with, that will make networking hard or impossible but you can't blame that on "networking".

I think this depends on your definition of "networking". For me it means "meet and work with smart/competent/kind people and convince them you are the same". If you do that other people will want to work with you.

Given that definition, I agree it is concerning that OP doesn't know where to reach out. Perhaps the best course of action is addressing why that is the case.

I heard someone say that if you meet 100 people a week you will be unstoppable.

Also, the Bay Area isn't your only option, if you're willing to move. DC area salaries are up a lot this year. I've had six recruiters in the last two weeks sell me on jobs in the 175-200k range. Plus, Northern Virginia is relatively cheap compared to the bay, and the startup scene has been building up for years while government, defense, and intel work has remained flat. I'm biased though because I want it to grow even more.

No need to do networking and all that. Just apply to every public company in the valley and interview with who ever calls you for interview. If you pass the interview, they will hire your as Senior Software engineer or as staff engineer. These jobs will fetch $150K+

Of course, you can apply to startups also...but I am not aware of how much they pay.

"I have no network" can be an important issue. I have similar problems, and don't know where to start. It's easy to give tips like that, but how in practice you'd build the network? You don't want results 20-30 years from now.

I got into most places by reference. That doesn't mean success - no high salaries, no good prospects, just barely managing to find the next place. I wouldn't say I'm too bad socially; young nerdish traits waned enough already. But with growing age finding Bay Area-adequate salary - kids, you know - is harder, not easier, even though experience and skills grow.

It's a real problem. Would be thankful for a good advice.

Network is not something you get overnight. It may take years of strategic planning to achieve.

I would say networking is less about meeting people and more about building a reputation. Commenting here on HN is one way to build that reputation. You can get go to meet ups to meet people, but giving talks is how you get reputation. The same applies to conferences. At work, especially in larger companies, you can build reputation as experts in one particular technology, lead brown bag sessions to demonstrate that expertise.

You sometimes notice other people that have good network. It's also important to stand out in front of these people to get second degree connections. If you also have good network, these people would gladly be your best friend.

Yea if your job is pretty technical, then being somebody that people "know as the guy/girl that really knows their shit and gets their shit done" is a good place to start. It also helps to ask people about their areas or if you hear somebody is struggling on something help them out from time to time. It goes a long way. For example, there were many times when I would be in a hardware lab and hear that somebody is struggling to properly capture some data on something, so I'd be like "hey I can write you a little script to help out with that.. just gimme 10 mins.." then I'd give it to them and they were happy to have the help, and later others would hear that I could help on that kinda stuff so people start to learn who you are and stuff like that so you build up a positive reputation in the company.

Just having a LinkedIn profile won't work. You actually have to use the thing! Connect with old and current co-workers and congratulate them on their new gigs, follow interesting companies, join LinkedIn and other online groups, write articles about your expertise so people will notice you, contribute to open-source projects, and build a killer portfolio. Those are some of the things I try to do, which seem to work - and I don't even have a proper high-school diploma (barely passed my GED).

Talk to technical recruiters, who do have a network. If you want to stay in the Bay area, talk to Aline Lerner (http://blog.alinelerner.com/posts/) or if you want to move to Switzerland, talk to me.

Are you also a right person to contact if one wants to work for Swiss company but remotely, from Europe?

Tons of startups offer 150k+, not just unicorns.

That is so unfortunately true.

I have found the unicorns like to hand out RSUs like candy.

You haven't heard of Glassdoor?

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