He has a friend at another big-4 in NY, also a cloud architect, he is making $400k
I think that the $1 million package is incorrectly calculated. This is perhaps the total package for 2-3 years, including signing bonus (vested over a couple of years) and RSUs (vested over a couple of years)
Annual total compensation for any big-4 Sr software engineer with a lot of experience in SF I assume is around $300k and can get up to $500k if you are really good.
I don't know of anyone who is making $1 million a year, even senior directors at big-4s. Perhaps if you are a Phd who worked at Google cloud / AWS / Azure for 5 years, wrote their software, talk at cloud conferences, wrote "Cloud computing for experts" type of books and published a seminal paper on distributed computing, then perhaps you will get a total compensation nearing that.
If you are just a cloud architect at a big-4 I think the lower part makes sense in total comp, the upper bound sounds completely ridiculous. I have friends who got offers from Amazon and Google for very, very senior cloud positions, way more than "just a cloud engineer", and the total comp is around $300-$400. If the stock goes up though, then the RSUs might be worth much more.
If LinkedIn / Facebook are offering engineers an annual $1 million I'll be very surprised.
We all know that there are actors who make a million dollar per episode, but most of them don't.
I think that unless you are in the "I wrote the Dremel paper for Google" or "I'm Doug Cutting and I wrote Hadoop" or "I invented MapReduce" or "I created the Xen hypervisor" then don't get your hopes up for a 1 million$ package from Google/Amazon/Microsoft.
In any profession you can find top notch people who are making a million dollar annual salary. But usually it's the very top.
If there are 200 engineers at this level at Amazon, let's say there are 200 like this at Google and 200 more at Microsoft Facebook and LinkedIn, e.g. there are ~1000 engineers who make 1 million dollars salaries.
Let's say there are between 1-3 million software engineers in the US (excluding managers) - sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_engineering_demograph..., http://www.infoq.com/news/2014/01/IDC-software-developers
so only 0.03 to 0.1% of Software Engineers make a million dollar salary. e.g. the 99.9 percentile or higher.
Now compare it with doctors, lawyers, brokers, and you'll see that this is nothing to be proud of.
There are about 100 actors who make more than a million dollar a year:
And about 60,000 employed actors in the US
So about 0.166% of Actors make more than a million.
More likely to make a million$ a year as an employed actor than as a software engineer? I don't know, but it's not that different.
The main difference is obviously the width and height of the pyramid...
Bottom line, with even $300K total comp, even in SF, I don't think life is too bad.
But don't get your hopes high for much more than $500K unless you are really going to cost the company a lot if you leave to the competitors, or if you move up high into management.
If you really want to make tons of money, and can sell, then move to sales, (or even presales).
I know someone who is very successful. He was pushed into sales. After he sold his first CAT Scan machine (5% commission), he never looked back.
It all goes back to are you a cost on the balance sheet or bringing revenue in...
It came from accounting/consulting where there are four really big consulting giants: (KPMG, Earnst & Young, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and Deloitte). Interestingly enough, the above aren't known for being particularly nice employers.
On the sub the inclusion in the "big four" varies a bit, Google is the only one who's always in it. Others sometimes included are Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Adobe.
However, if we look at the disambiguation, we find at the bottom of the subsection:
"Big Four, the most influential international technology companies Amazon.com, Apple Inc, Facebook and Google".
So I'd say it's pretty ambiguous.