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There are at least a some people that are so amazingly good at e.g. optimizing assembly routines that they have a very high ceiling on their comp even if all they ever do is that and maybe an occasional talk or blog post. But as you go further and further out on the definition of "very high" it gets rarer and rarer.

The bigger issue, in my opinion, isn't the ceiling on comp. It's the job security as you get older. A lot of the people in their early 30s thinking "the senior engineer role rocks, and $250k total comp is more than enough" aren't thinking through their plans are for their 40s and 50s. Some are, a fair number with that mindset I've meet are into the early retirement / financial independence thing, but many aren't.






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