Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I'd be very cautious about Atlanta. Outside of Google, many of the companies there are wanting to pay salaries I'd consider substantially below market (even including COLA) compared to the other hubs.

That includes those fortune 500 companies (a couple of whom had internal recruiters bail when I mentioned my current salary + the COLA number). Cutting your real estate costs by $12-15k goes a long way but it doesn't magically cover $40k+ paycuts. It is good for employers (for instance, one guy was willing to disclose "I got two guys with Master degrees for $20k less than what you wanted.") but not so good for employees on the upper end of the pay scale. (i.e. above 6 figures outside of SF/NYC)

It is anecdotal, just my experience after looking to move there.




If we're going to be anecdotal, I moved to Atlanta from Boston. I now have lower expenses, a higher salary, the weather is better, cars last twice as long, and people are less abrasive. Every time I check there are more startups, more new buildings, more people, more opportunities...

Just my experience after having moved here.


I just moved to Atlanta from Seattle and got a 25% raise in the process. In fact I had two similar offers to choose from.


I had a much different experience applying for jobs as a data scientist in Atlanta - of the companies I got offers for, the base salaries + total comp were similar to what glassdoor reported for data scientists in silicon valley, albeit just a hair lower. According to the various online cost-of-living calculators, I'd have to be making about $200k in the Bay Area to be living the same lifestyle.

Though looking at glassdoor data for Atlanta, it does look like data scientists have an average that's almost $34k lower than san francisco. So maybe I just got lucky.


> I got two guys with Master degrees for $20k less than what you wanted.") but not so good for employees on the upper end of the pay scale.

MIT grad, data scientist here. Again, if you are not a top data scientist, it will work fine for you. I routinely get offered $300K/year as a recent PhD grad in the Bay area. I would not get anywhere near proportional compensation in Atlanta or even Seattle.


That's some incredible money, congrats!

I'm not going to pretend this is scientific in any way, but using online COL calculators (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/index.html), $300k in San Francisco is supposedly (taken with many grains of salt) equivalent to $172k in Atlanta, which you could surely land?


Those calculators are ridiculous because they assume you spend your entire income. The cost of living adjustment only applies to what you spend when evaluating which salary:city combination is ideal for you.


Those calculators are ridiculous because they assume you spend your entire income.

For most Americans that's pretty close to being correct - the average savings rate is around 6%. (https://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/03/heres-the-average-...)


You don't think that varies a lot by income? My impression is that savings as a percentage go up dramatically with income. I don't think I know anyone working in the industry that considers it reasonable to not max out their 401k, and who doesn't save substantially on top of that.

This would be quite difficult for someone on an average salary with kids, or sometime who works in an industry where keeping up appearances is important.


OK, savings rate does vary by income, according to the Fed: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/2016-economic-wel... . They only break things out into three income brackets (0-40K, 40K-100K, 100K+) - but even in the 100K+ bracket the median savings rate is somewhere between 6 and 10%, which isn't quite "max out the 401k" level. It looks like the data is available (https://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerscommunities/shed_dat...). The survey asks about level of education, what field that education was in, and number of children, so something like what you're asking about is actually checkable.


That's mostly a choice for high income earners, and much of that discretionary spend costs similar amounts no matter where you live.

Vacation costs, Amazon splurges, etc, don't change between Akron and SF.


The thing that's impossible to make up in these COLA calculations is retirement savings. Putting away 10% of $300k is very different than 10% of $172k. And you don't have to retire where you work.


What is that like as VP of data science?


> I'd be very cautious about Atlanta. Outside of Google, many of the companies there are wanting to pay salaries I'd consider substantially below market (even including COLA) compared to the other hubs.

If most companies are paying a certain salary, doesn't that imply that salary IS market rate?

I don't think you can directly compare salaries across cities even after factoring in cost of living since it ignores the fact some places are more desirable to live in than others and thus should command "premiums".


I've heard this anecdotally as well. I've also heard that companies are willing to pay big money to get you in from other tech hubs only to screw you down the line on bonuses. It's tough to justify a raise at an Atlanta tech company when you're the guy or girl who's already paid more than everyone else.

Also, people overestimate the effects of cheaper housing. Yes, cheaper housing is nice but one has to remember that lots of things cost the same no matter where you live. Food, transportation, travel, and education costs are mostly static across the country. It's important to factor that in and not get dazzled by the fancy house or condo you can suddenly afford.


> If most companies are paying a certain salary, doesn't that imply that salary IS market rate?

In my particular case, the "market rate" at Location A is ~$40k higher (after COLA) than the "market rate" in Atlanta.

So, when I mean "market rate" I mean "My options at Location A + the options in Atlanta."

> I don't think you can directly compare salaries across cities even after factoring in cost of living since it ignores the fact some places are more desirable to live in than others and thus should command "premiums".

To be perfectly honest, I consider Atlanta vs. where I am now a wash in most respects and a $40k premium is simply too steep for the difference. It isn't like I live in the Bay Area where rent is $40k.


There isn't such a thing as "market rate"


What companies did you look at and what do you consider market rate? You might consider Silly Valley salaries to be market rate but they're not. In fact those rates are what the top 1% of coders make if they're lucky. I would expect Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and other competitive technology companies to pay those rates but market rate is going to be 60-180k. There are tons and tons of jobs paying in that range from less cool tech companies like NCR, AT&T, Borland (Micro whatever), and IBM. There are also tons of other companies headquartered in Atlanta willing to pay those rates like Rubbermaid, CTX (trains), Coca Cola, and Bank of America. There are also a lot of companies that tend to pay below market rate for coders because of the cool factor of working for them like the TV and Film companies.


> You might consider Silly Valley salaries to be market rate but they're not.

I don't work in the Bay Area, NYC, or a similar location. I'm comparing my current location to Atlanta.

This is now the third time I've repeated this ITT, including the OP.


Atlanta here. My house cost less than my post-tax salary… you can magically cover 40k paycuts.. in fact in SF that 40k would probably be rent alone.


Yes, but I don't live or work in the Bay Area.

The difference in rent/real estate is like $10k/year. I've been to Atlanta regularly for quite some time and I can assure you I know the exact difference in COLA as a result. ;)


I can assure you there are plenty of engineers making north of $100k in midtown


I hear Square's local office in Atlantic Station pays $150k+.


I have no idea what everyone else's salary is (and I'm not going to share mine), but Square Atlanta pays, well, and -- more importantly -- we have an amazing team. And we're hiring. Get in touch if you're interested: my email is ${USERNAME}@gmail.com


I think that's the case. A lot of the Google engineering team that originally was hired on that office closing came at 180+ I heard


I've seen 90-140 be pretty common for mid and senior engineers in Atlanta. That's not SF prices but housing is definitely cheaper. Maybe not for too long though


Yeah, and I've had multiple internal recruiters for these companies nope out at my equivalent salary in Atlanta. Maybe its just something wrong with me in the view of companies in Atlanta vs. where I live now then.


I moved from SF to Atlanta three years ago. I figure that Atlanta will always be cheaper because they can just build more Atlanta if they need to, whereas San Francisco is essentially an island.


This is absolutely true. Check Glassdoor.


Which midtown? Atlanta's midtow?


Atlanta's Midtown, which borders Georgia Tech and is a mixed business / residential district.


Thanks for this :)


Yeah, I'm sure they exist but everyone noped out at my current salary equivalent. So maybe its just my skillset isn't popular Atlanta or something about my personality turns people off in the Southeast vs. where I'm at now.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: