I also highly doubt they adjust their submitted salaries for inflation.
3. (entry level) software engineer : $175k-$225k
4. (experienced or phd) software engineer : $225k-$300k
5. senior software engineer: $300k-$400k
6. staff software engineer/engineering manager: $400k-$550k
7. senior staff software engineer/senior engineering manager: $550k-$750k
8. principal engineer/engineering director: $750k - $1m
As a data point, my own comp. is above the corresponding range here due to stock appreciation.
I am currently hw/sw engineer at AMD austin (rank: Staff Engineer) and I get paid 140K base + 80-100K stocks. Yearly refresh is 10-20K. This data makes me cry.
If a hiring manager wants to use this data to gouge employees then that's a problem with their ethics, not OI. The place where OI is incredibly useful is for making fair offers, especially for roles you're unfamiliar with. Maybe your company has 6 engineers and you're about to hire your first PM. What should you offer them? A market salary would be $X. You are not trying to figure out X so that you can make a lowball offer; you're trying to figure out X so that you don't offer 1.5X (which hurts your capacity to make future hires) or 0.5X (which might come off as stupid or insulting to the candidate). OI tells you what X is.
Data transparency is a good thing. It helps people avoid dumb mistakes. To be honest, I think it would be great if employees could have access to this data, too.
It is apparently purpose-built to allow only the employers to arbitrage that extra insight into hiring patterns.
It would also kill OI's business model: provide a semi-legal mechanism for hiring-collusion among the giants and their wannabes.
If you are running a start up and you're using this to fuck over your very first employees' salary then please take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. You are decieving the very people you are hiring to make your business a success. Are you really cut out for this kind of work if you deliberately fucked over your first and likely some of the most important employees in your business? Just to save a tiny fraction of some VC's money?
With respect, I think if this is you then you may as well shut the startup now and save everyone the time and pain and money that will inevitably come later (either due to failure stemming from your questionable ethics and questionable business acumen evident from your hiring practices, or when your employees/engineers #1-10 realised you conned them and they leave for someone else and leave you in the lurch at some critical point). It's not going to be a great experience for anyone.
I've wondered why this happens so much, and I think some of it comes down to a personality difference between management types and many engineering types. Managers and other negotiating types aren't uncomfortable with the process, to the point where they are often bewildered that someone would go through all of that (leaving the company) when they could have just asked for more money.
In my experience, even YC startups don't actually care for their employees outside of their contributions to the team. The only things that matter are the customers, the investors, and the founders-- and sometimes not even the customers.
The ideal of a small company worrying about its rank-and-file, fighting "evil" giant megacorp is frankly just a useful ruse to buy developers on the cheap. Why pay a wage when you can give kool-aid?
This is one reason why I favor making all salary information public. I know it freaks a lot of people out, but I work for a public university where all salaries are public, and while the earth shattering problems I hear about haven't materialized, the information it brings to the workforce is very positive (you can actually see what the university pays your future colleagues when you weight a job offer). The main disadvantage is that our info is public but private colleges keep it, well, private, which probably does put the publics at yet another disadvantage (Stanford can easily find out how much all the profs and staff at Berkeley and UCSF earn, but not the other way around).
If this happened in the private sector, I think there would be a bit of a well deserved reckoning, but far more good would come of it than harm. If a blanket requirement would be too intrusive or unconstitutional, I think the gov't could make it a condition for H1B visas, which does have a nice consistency to it (if a corporate HR dept is going to be empowered to decide who does and doesn't get to work in the US - a massive power usually reserved for government - then it's very reasonable to ask for a high level of transparency).
By this, I mean that if a company requests an H1B visa, they must make all salary info public the way public institutions are required to, not just for the particular job, and not anonymously.
That plus, as you mentioned, including old, historical data with equal weighting to newer data will drag down the averages for both salary and total compensation.
> He recalls walking away from negotiations with a newly hired employee thinking, “Man, this guy is underpaid—we got a good deal.”
But I think it's naive to expect that salary negotiation isn't adversarial. Both sides are trying to get an optimal deal. Employees making data-driven acceptance decisions is better than "employees figuring it out" later.
"If I pay this smart, black, female engineer less than every other male engineer, just because she doesn't have a college degree, how would that look if everyone found out?" 
"Adversarial" is expected in a negotiation. Short-sightedness is not. "Bragging" about stiffing staff isn't just a a bad look, it's a sign that the dealmaker is an animal in human skin.
I'm sure 10% of OI's users have good intentions. The rest are living examples for why hiring collusion is outlawed and subject to prosecution.
 Yes, I worked for a startup that did exactly that, and was surprised when the engineers started quitting weeks after the truth came out.
FWIW, when I mentioned "bad look", I meant it in the extended sense that you're talking about here, so I agree that employers should never do that, and even that it's a warning sign. I think it definitely impacts the culture of a startup in a negative way and it's a horrible way to treat people.
Joe is employee #2 FoolzRUs, at a Sequoia-backed startup, in CA. The company is small, having 10 employees total, and maybe 6 engineers. Joe is interviewing to get another job, because he feels that his company is not going to last. The prospective employer happens to be a growing company that was funded by Sequoia. The recruiter looks up FoolzRUs in Option Impact and deduces that the Principal Engineer at FoolzRUs sounds like Joe, and thus, his salary. Now she does not have to ask Joe what his salary is, but is she violating California's new law, where an she is barred from asking Joe what his compensation is?
Of course, they can use general data that they think matches his experience. But not if they're using that as a way to dig for his individual past salary.
I think the aggregator/sharing company is owned by equifax. there might be more than one of them.
i became a data scientist because I love that type of work. I like solving puzzles and diving deep into data and helping to drive decisions. I imagine others want to be / or have become a data scientist for that reason.
I don't think "low-level" means what the article's author thinks it means.
Ideally, regulators would, but we live in a hyper-capitalistic age, so they probably won't.
From a data standpoint, using such a resource to determine salaries would like cause salaries to become predictable, based solely on what other people paid for the combination of experiences used to classify the salaries (Ruby programmers with 5 years of experience in startups of size Z get X). So salaries would tend to not diversify much from the median (perhaps tend down a little).
That is the problem I have with collective bargaining in higher skilled fields — it assumes people are interchangeable based on worthless “years of experience” metrics. Some sysadmin with 20 year experience might not know the first thing about DevOps, while a fresh college graduate might be an expert. Yet the 20 year guy would get paid more despite knowing less.
This is laughable. Especially if you're an American.