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My Salary Progression in Tech (georgestocker.com)
521 points by GordonS 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 598 comments





> It's always been my intention to retire early, > I'm interested in making huge money and retiring early, > I don't begrudge people with their crazy salaries but I do get frustrated that I can't find success myself.

I am shocked and surprised at the same time (knowing that I only selected quotes of a few commentators).

Shocked to see the same mindset as many managing consultants and investment bankers I have met and worked with. They work a lot with the idea to stop working eventually. Not a single one of them has retired early. Not a single one of them I would call happy or satisfied (again: my bubble).

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama

Surprised maybe because I hoped here on HN people might have a different mindset towards money and success. Or: know that there is not a strict connection between the two. To read all this "Keeping up with the Joneses" makes me sad...

Choose life, not career. Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself, not for some postponed happiness.


> Choose life, not career. Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself, not for some postponed happiness.

Insightful story about the investment banker. Your policy about choosing life feels like good advice in light of that story. The implementation details, that’s where it always gets difficult.

My story:

I want to make music. I think of music all the time. Whenever I made music I was passionate about it.

However:

- my music training is limited

- people that I know who are amazing alternate from being homeless to renting out a place. They are poor.

Do I have that much passion that I want to risk 10 to 20 years of my life in poor wealth and perhaps poor family life?

No. I want to live a middle class life while making music.

Sounds realistic?

Just follow your passion people, the invisible hand will help you.

Obviously I am cynical about this, I sincerely hope you can prove me wrong, for I would love to make music.


To build on what you said: in my twenties I fell in briefly with a group of pretty elite level, classically trained, working musicians. Though I am not a music person at all myself. I would go to their (very fun) parties and just got to know them and their scene a bit. Do you know what they talked about more than anything else? More than theory or favorite artists or their instruments?

Money.

They had to be obsessed with it, about where to get it, what gigs were paying how much, about when to sell out for it. Because none of them had any, but they all still needed to pay the rent.

Amazing people, astonishing talent, wild life. Constant worry.


Yep, that's the whole problem with this "follow your passion" BS. I'm the opposite: I work in a tech job on something I really don't care much about, but the pay is excellent, and the stability is actually pretty good too. I work 8h a day, I have an easy commute, I don't stress about money. I have a pretty easy life that way. But it also feels pretty empty in some ways, but the way I see it I've removed what for me was a big stressor in my earlier life. Maybe later, after I've saved up a lot, I can think about doing something that brings me more fulfillment, but for now I just concentrate on enjoying my free time, and look at work as just that: work.

I also look at the janitors in my building when I leave work in the evening, and remind myself that they're not following their passion either. Most workers do not get to do anything that really excites them. So I count myself lucky that I can do something that doesn't ruin my health or make me hate life, and I can get paid well for it, so instead of worrying how to pay rent, I can worry about less urgent things like what to spend my weekend doing. Plus, with my free time (since I don't have a job that's overworking me, like some people), I'm free to pursue my other passions there.


You have a great outlook on things in my opinion. Cheers!

>I want to live a middle class life while making music. Sounds realistic?

Not even remotely. These days the arts are for trust fund kids or risk-takers, not those aspiring to be middle class.


Look for the middle ground. I realized that I want to work on things I like, but I still need to eat, so I've decided to split my time. I want to work at least an hour to something I'm passionate about. That way, even if I spend more of my time working for someone else, I know I still spend some of my time doing something I love.

So follow your passion, but also your survival instinct.


> So follow your passion, but also your survival instinct.

As far as simple quotes go. This sounds optimistic, yet reasonable.

Based on your advice, maybe I should just go to Thailand and freelance as an app/web dev for 3 days per week and play guitar / make electronic music for the rest. I'd wonder how I'd prepare for economic down turns though.

I'd make about: 5000 euro's per month (@ 50 euro's per hour as a freelancer). Living on about 10000 euro's per year, I'd save 20000 euro's after taxes (Dutch, high taxes, yay!). Regardless of that, I guess I wouldn't need to worry about recessions after 2 years of part-time remote freelance work, not in South East Asia anyway.

Sounds doable, at first glance. I need more glances. Especially the, "what about my girlfriend, friends and family?" glance.


Worry about a wife and kids when you WANT to worry about it. Living the life you want is the best way to meet a partner who supports that lifestyle.

Maybe one day you’ll decide it’s time for kids, and both you and your partner decide to head back to the EU for that. Or maybe you’ll raise kids in Thailand. Or maybe your partner will get an amazing opportunity somewhere else entirely and you can be a stay at home parent, making beats while the kids are at school.

It’s your life. Live it the way you want. Don’t worry too much.


If you're making 50 euros per hour, couldn't stay in the Netherlands, so that you get to be with your girlfriend, friends and family and still work 3 days per week? I think 5000 euros per month should be enough even for the Netherlands. It's true that you would save less, but you would get to be with your friends and family.

Or you could just go to Thailand for a few months, so you also scratch the traveling bug. There's nothing stopping you from coming back when you start missing the people close to you. You have options.


Then get cancer and die young.

Hey Retra, I looked at your comment history, to see why you'd possibly be saying this.

I've noticed two type of comments that you made:

1. Comments that have substantial reasoning, mostly technical but not always. These seemed to be appreciated.

2. Short comments that seemed to attack the person or a particular concept. These short comments did not have any reasoning from your side. Also, most of these comments are non-technical.

My first thought was: it seems that you have a lot of technical knowledge, and people appreciate this. I know I do.

Two observations on the category 2 comments you make:

1. In the comments that I skimmed, no one seemed to tell you to read the guidelines. I'll post the link [1]. Saying "then get cancer and die young" is an offensive thing to say because you're attacking the person. For some people this is obvious, but based on your comment history, I doubt whether this is obvious to you. Attacking a person is not a civil thing to do, not a nice thing to do (unless it's meant in a constructive fashion, even then it'd be debatably constructive). Regardless of that, it is in violation of the guidelines. As a technical person, I hope you'd appreciate that I'm pointing to a source appointed by Y Combinator. They make the rules on how to behave here, so then behave like that, the guidelines are reasonable. You seem to do so in most of your comments.

2. In most cases, short comments don't work quite well on Hacker News (many counter examples exist, I'm describing a trend which I observe). This is not because HN'ers dislike discussion, they dislike a discussion that does not have scientific evidence (again, a trend), most already have a problem when someone says "based on my experience". Do with this observation what you will, it's just my observation which is biased as well.

I hope these two points will help you to improve your comments like these ones, because it is obvious that you have a lot of insightful things to offer. And HN would be a more fun place if we'd see more of that and less of "then get cancer and die young" type of comments.

If you want a private conversation about this, you can always email me (check my profile).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html -- read the section "In Comments"


I understand that what I said was possibly ambiguous, but I was not actually suggesting to someone that they should get cancer. I was 'bookending' a story that they were implicitly telling, in an attempt to point out that "going for your dreams" can easily run off the rails due to circumstances out of your control, and that a reasonable person might rather spend their efforts building a safety net for themselves, so that they will be able to go after there dreams without worrying so much about such matters.

Unfortunately, the more effort I seem to put into a post, the less effort others tend to put into reading it, so we all walk a fine line between precision and conciseness, and sometimes we end up on the wrong side. I don't take it personally.


Haha, that isn’t how I saw it.

That’s a sad bookending :(


There's always a possibility of that happening, but you shouldn't let it at the forefront of your mind. Unless if it makes you appreciate every day more.

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”


I've heard this story before and I love it, but there is an important point missing. The fisherman may one day find that he can no longer catch enough tuna in just a little while to support his family. At that point he may find himself in much worse shape; maybe he has to work a lot more, or commute into town to work at the factory, or even move someplace with more opportunity. The post-retirement banker does not have that problem. I think the banker would say that his over-work earlier in life has bought him optionality that the fisherman doesn't have.

I think about this in my own life. I don't want to be like the banker, deferring my real life into the future while focusing on work. But I also don't want to be like the fisherman. I want to strike a balance that allows me to live a fulfilling life while also using the fact that my skills are currently in high demand to but myself some optionality for a future in which they may not be.


I can't say that I agree completely with the message from this story, but I do think the point would be stronger if the last bit was changed to:

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to an exclusive coastal tourist village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your grandkids, take strolls with your third wife, go to an expensive place in the evenings where you could sip fancy wine and watch people who remind you of your old amigos play the guitar.”


> Find something you love doing and do it for the 'work' itself

People keep repeating that advice, but finding something you love doing just for the work might be an endless chase, not unlike the chase after success and money.

Some of us actually feel that it is easier to chase money than it is to find work you really love.


Yes.

I am so tired of people parroting "Do what you love."

Real life isn't a Disney movie. Doing what I love, I would be lucky to make $10k a year.

You know what else I love beside that? Making enough money to eat.

You know what I REALLY like, knowing that I'm making enough money now to GUARANTEE my dreams will come true.

Not scaping pennies together as a starting artist, crossing my fingers, and hoping that one day I get my break. No, I did that for 10 years. You know what I noticed? No one ever gets a break.


> Real life isn't a Disney movie. Doing what I love, I would be lucky to make $10k a year.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of people don't feel this way. Their solution is to increase their salary (and benefits) at the ballot box.


Or fortunately, depending on your sociopolitical views, assuming you're talking about universal basic income?

I think he meant more like minimum wage increases and health insurance mandates.

I'm talking about anything and everything that the many choose to take from the few.

Dollars are a social construction of disassociated trust of value, wherein your ability to establish rent grants you power over rentees. Votes are another way of expressing power, wherein your ability to establish a majority opinion grants you power over the minority. Seems like the equilibrium would be at the point where power expressed by the renting class is only just not quite able to override the power expressed by the majority opinion.

Where do I put my cross to make more money as a tea farmer?

Even worse. Doing something you love for work means you end up hating it for a lot of people. Then you spend your entire life drifting and finding nothing else you love.

I do something I hate enough to walk in with a sword and fight it every day.


I'm a bit mixed in this. I've actually had both experiences. I've turned two hobbies I loved intoy full time job.

The first one (magician) went as you stated, I ended up hating it, or atleast hating it as a job. It paid pretty well, but performing because I had to instead of wanted to made a big difference.

On the other hand though, I also took my hobby of hacking stuff into the my current career doing application security consulting and vuln research. Also pays quite well and I enjoy my job quite a bit, possibly even more than doing it as a hobby.

So with a sample size of me, that's 50/50 odds on finding something you love working out as a job you love. Not great, but imo not reason to atleast take a shot if your passion also happens to pay well, and is feasible.


For me it's about security and freedom, not "keeping up with the Joneses". I earn a good salary for the UK, even if it might look small compared to the US salaries. But I've been very careful not to inflate my lifestyle too much. I don't have an expensive car. I don't go on expensive holidays. I save approximately 40% of my take home pay. I feel I need to do this because I won't necessarily be employable long past 50 and I don't feel like I can buy a house or cohabitate with a spouse.

> But I've been very careful not to inflate my lifestyle too much. I don't have an expensive car. I don't go on expensive holidays.

That's what I noticed during my undergraduate years in the UK after growing up in continental Europe: "lifestyle" for most people in the UK from the young age is associated with spending money on material things and holidays, not pursuing life-long hobbies and interests.

In much of continental Europe people seem to be enjoying their lives a way more, despite often earning 2-3x lower salaries while doing similar jobs.

In my own country, even a person making 15k / year might have a second home in the countryside, where he spends every summer weekend with his friends and family.


The UK is very similar to the US, the culture is quite individualistic which leads to a consumerist outlook. You can opt out of that but you won't get much support, indeed people will mostly push you towards it. The rot set in with Thatcher and it's got steadily worse since then.

> a second home in the countryside, where he spends every summer weekend

So, material things and holidays? All that says is that those things are cheaper for people outside of the UK.


The second home is usually a hobby by itself that includes building, woodworking, gardening, some light plumbing and electrical stuff etc. It's very different than a hotel or Airbnb.

People without big salaries often have second homes because they built them themselves as a hobby over a long period of time on a plot of land they could afford.

> “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama

I like the quote but sorry the Dalai Lama never said it: http://thedamienzone.com/2011/10/12/dalai-lama-quote-on-face...


That's one way to look at it. Another is that one uses the early retirement as a driving goal that ultimately helps one grow. Yes, you may afford to retire and live mediocre if you want, but would you now, with your newly realized potential that the journey towards your previous goals helped you discover? For many that choose to continue, I guess it's that old saying "it is better to wear out than to rust out", the difference between those who work affording to retire comfortably in any moment and those who don't is the kind of work they do. That is the real prize worth pursuing. As regarding to publicly declared goal, it's just a good enough explanation to feed the inquisitive spirits. And it's more comfortable for them hearing that you have to work in order to make it (towards a different level than they do, but still, a shared experience there) instead of bragging that you don't have to crawl any more.

You can grow, but you'll experience growing pains your whole life. Maybe that is a fair tradeoff.

This. I left my job last month while making $500K/year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19135399. I realized that after I attained a basic level of financial security (bills on autopay & some savings), addition income stopped mattering for my satisfaction. I don’t intend to retire. Work gives me satisfaction, but I want to work on my terms and doing things that intrinsically motivate me. Trying to find satisfaction in earning as much as possible is an unachievable thing.

I like to start doing things, just because I want to, and do not have to stress about it being "likable" by others, and thus generating money.

I make some woodworking? No thinking about starting an instagram account, gathering audience, trying to sell, making a newsletter..

I travel? No need for me to publish travel hacks stuff just to fund my travelling.

We work in IT, we are very fortunate to make $$$. Let's work part time, and have more time for us, really for us.


Agreed. I'm at a stage in my life where my median friend probably is between 'just entering the workforce' and maybe 2 years of experience (from uni). One reoccurring idea in my mind right now is the notion of 'selling out'--what does the transition look like from "I'm happy living frugally like a college student" to prioritizing your career in your waking hours of your life? What does it look like to slowly convince yourself that just getting that next raise will finally make me happy (even though I have to sacrifice other things to do so)?

In my experience, even if you stay frugal, and I did, the main change comes from the job requiring full-time hours (and some weird culture stuff). I worked part-time in college and programming hasn't changed, but then I had daylight hours to walk outside, the freedom to stay home if I felt sick, etc. I started working F/T and almost immediately, the hour+ commute and not seeing daylight in winter rewired my brain. Suddenly, my mornings were spent preparing my lunch so I could go to work, my evenings cooking dinner and recovering from work, and on the weekends, I did everything except talk about work. (In those days my partner was still a student, and it made the contrast greater).

After the first year, my work had become my only source of pride; after the second, I was constantly wondering how to be better at work; three years after that, I engaged in a hobby for the first time in my adult life. It snuck up. I don't like money that much and I never made the conscious decision to prioritize my career; but it ate my life and I doubled down because it was all I had left.

The fact is, for most young adults, jobs pop into their life right on cue to replace the family they're no longer seeing and the dreams that have disappointed them (around 25 where that first crisis hits). If you're 25 and lonely do not go to work happy hours. If you're bored don't take work home. When your boss tells you you're very promising and he can see you grow in this company, tell yourself you're an interesting person who's had a life full of stories that people would love to get to know. The best promises are the ones you make yourself.


Well that one is easy: Get a girlfriend, like each other enough that you move in together, have a child. Boom, your most attractive option is now a decent, steady and slowly increasing pay check every month.

I found that fortunately right out of school I was very content- I had roommates, but I enjoyed that lifestyle. I had enough to put away each month into retirement and outside savings accounts and life was good.

Then I got a serious girlfriend. We moved in together. We were getting a bit older and eating dinner on the couch because our tiny apartment couldn't fit a table grew old. We got a bigger/nicer place. This was ok, I was making about 2x what I was when I first got out of school. Life was good.

We got married, we hit 30. We were tired of being at the whims of landlords and ever steeply increasing rents in our area. We bought a condo, with the intent on staying put more than 3 years (as opposed to moving every 1-2 like we had previously. It was a big scary commitment to take on, and it was right in the middle of the financial crisis. My comp stagnated for 3 years as I was at a company that at the end of each year said "well you know, money is tight..." Overall though, we could afford our place, our savings was growing, and as we started leaving the crisis, my retirement and brokerage accounts started to bloom. I eventually ditched the shitty company and joined a legit tech company for a 50% total comp increase. At one point, all my other savings exceeded what I owed on my mortgage, which was a big relief. I life was good.

We have been married about 5 years, our condo is great, but not big enough for a family. Our neighborhood, which we love, and while was one considered "bad" is now quite desirable as people realized the commute into the core of the city was quite easy. Property values are through the roof. I DREAD the notion of going back to living in a check to check fashion. An upgrade to a forever home in our area is going to cost us 2-3M. My wife and I both work relatively long hours. We either face moving out of the city and into the burbs, but trading that for a long commute, or having a mortgage that could potentially ruin us and cause great stress. I like my job, but I did get a call from a competing company, where I could potentially 1.5x my comp again... life is good?

I hope this gives some perspective on how the salary treadmill happens. We are in a very high cost of living area/tech hub, this would look a lot different if I was in the midwest, but I think this path is pretty typical for those living on the coasts these days.


I'm in kinda that position (keeping the condo not having more than 1 kid, though). And honestly the sad thing is the kids don't care. Growing up my parents did the whole, salary treadmill, long hours, 30% travel, Saturday conference call business. The money's gone. The vacations forgotten. It kind of sucks nobody cooked in my home and I had to learn how to boil pasta at 17. I don't have college debt, but it's not like I use my degree anyway. I'm not sure all the stuff my parents doubtless told themselves they were doing for me was worth it.

You’re alive, it sounds like your life is pretty stable, and you obviously understand the value of providing for your own kid(s). I’d say your parents spent their time well, even if they (like all of us) made some mistakes along the way.

One of my favorite sayings is that every single new parent, upon arriving home with their first child, immediately realizes that they have no clue what they’re supposed to do now. We’ve all been there, and so were our parents.

Those who choose to try and give their kids a good life at their own expense are always doing something right.


It just becomes the new norm because of the people who surround you, there's no need to convince yourself. Your current norm as a student living relatively frugally is also shaped according to your context. There's a point where you realize: "My norm has changed." You might not find yourself believing the next raise will make you happy. But it might help with the feeling that you're treated unfairly.

Just for the sake of variety, I started off as a promising young software developer but let idealism and thirst for adventure get in the way :) Besides loving to code, having skills in high demand has allowed me to travel and explore the world for the past 20 years.

1997-1998 - $32k - Programmer for State government

1998-1999 - $86k - Consultant, Phoenix & NYC

2000-2004 - $32k - Software developer for NGO, Amsterdam

2004-2006 - $28k - Developer & Network Admin throughout Asia for NGO

2006-2007 - $14k - Independent remote software consultant while studying Mandarin full-time in Beijing

2007-2008 - $10k - Manager of ceramics studio in Jingdezhen, China

2008-2017 - $14k - Studio Ceramicist in Jingdezhen, part-time remote developer

2018 - $38k - Part-time remote software consulting while pursuing an MFA, Alfred, NY


As someone who cares more about adventure than $$$ and just founded my own NGO, mad respect.

2014: -$10k - Founded a startup.

2015: $35k - Moved to SV, raised a small seed.

2016: $54k - Running my startup in SV.

2017: $60k - Remote contracting from Scotland.

2018: $25k - Remote contracting. Founded an NGO in Europe, almost all of my contracting money goes to supporting my work with that.

2019: $20k - Remote contracting + full time on my NGO. Living in Serbia to stay close to the action.


Any good link on how NGOs work/how to start on in Europe?

Are there unified E.U. rules about it or does it change from country to country ?


Don't have links on hand, but it changes from country to country. We started ours in Sweden, where my cofounder is from. It was pretty easy compared to the 503(C) process in the US: create a governing document, put together a board, hold your first meeting, apply for organization status, apply for charity status.

Happy to talk more if you want- my email is in my profile.


While I haven't lived in China and Amsterdam, I haven't exactly deprived myself of experiences, and I'll make your 20 years worth of income this year, and last, and next.

Good for you, but I can't imagine risking my options for the later portion of my life like that.


this is the life I want. do you have a more detailed write-up on your life anywhere?

if u want to try it out, there are lots of opportunities in the non-profit sector for IT people: https://www.idealist.org/en/?functions=TECHNOLOGY_IT&type=JO... you can also check the websites of organizations you are interested in working with, for example amnesty has a "technology and human rights team": https://careers.amnesty.org/vacancy/technologist-technology-...

Sounds like a lot of fun stories. Do you have any regrets?

definitely not! but the trade-off, of course, is that you'll most likely always be poor, never own a house, and never retire (not that i'd want to)

theres a cost for everything we do in life. we all have same rate of passing us by time just the choice how to spend energy in that time.

You are living my dream my man

My progression:

  23 - 45K  (University sysadmin, east coast)
  26 - 60k  (University research systems programmer, east coast)
  31 - 65k  (SWE, small IHV, remote)
  32-42 -- incremental raises up to $145K (senior SWE, same company)
  43 - 425k (Senior SWE, Google, Mountain View CA)
  44 - 390k (Senior SWE, Google, Mountain View CA)
  45 - 350k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)
  46 - 400k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)
  47 - 525k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)
  48 - 600k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)
  49 - 800k (Senior SWE, Netflix, Remote)

What kind of genius does one have to be to earn $800k? Or do you possess rare knowledge and connections in your industry?

probably TC, including stocks accumulated that got more value over time.

AFAIK Netflix doesn't give stocks.

According to their website [0]:

  Each employee chooses each year how much of their
  compensation they want in salary versus stock options.
  You can choose all cash, all options, or whatever
  combination suits you
And what's really freaking cool:

  There are no compensation handcuffs (vesting) 
  requiring you to stay in order to get your money.
  People are free to leave at any time, without loss of
  money, and yet they overwhelmingly choose to stay.
  We want managers to create conditions where people love
  being here, for the great work and great pay.

[0] https://jobs.netflix.com/culture

What do they give then? They must have some other sort of compensation other than the base salary...

What's TC?

Total Compensation (stocks, bonuses, etc.)

Thanks!

What does TC mean?

Total Compensation: salary + shares + other perks

Thank you

Damn dude, what type of learning did you do from 32-42.

Yeah, also what company gives that many raises!?

Normally it seems it's 2-3% and if you want more you jump ship...


Having been to 3 corporations, all of them offer a raise of 7% - 10% every year. I'm not sure if I'm lucky but I thought this is a norm.

Yeah, you might be in the rare - and lucky! - case...I've worked for numerous large enterprises in northeast U.S. (in different industries), and all of them were 2~3% increases per year max.; and in some years such as during recession, they were 0~1%. Kudos to you good sir!

I'm in Europe and inflation is like 1% here so maybe that is why it's always been really low?

But a 10% raise is def. not a norm here - I've only gotten that when I was promoted and when I had a market correction raise (i.e. not the usual annual raise).


I've taken > 10% y/y for the past 4 years. I had one year in there where I was being jerked around as a sort of Mr. Fix-It between multiple teams and doing much more than just proving my worth. That year I took about 25% in pay raises _and_ negotiated cash bonuses for myself and two other team members who were carrying that product. I've nearly doubled my salary with my current employer over the past 4 years.

How did you get a remote job at Netflix? Were you hired as remote or did you get an offer and then negotiate remote? I will eventually need to move away from the Bay Area to take care of family but the company I work for (FB) has almost no remote options and no offices near my family.

800k remote at Netflix?! Wow. Respect.

Edit. Saw you are remote for netflix. Can you expound which location you work out of? And where the team is located? Am amazed by 800k.

I assume the 800k is because of vested stock with strong share growth.

An actual Netflixer can chime in, but as far as I know from friends who work there, Netflix is almost all base, no stock and no large bonus. My friends are data engineers with 3-5 YOE making about 400k base upon their hire, so I believe it. They thought folks in the ML group were in the 700-800k range. All hearsay though, so please take with grain of salt.

Ex-Netflix here. I left at the tail end of 2016 & was making 320k then. No bonuses, but they did give you [an additional] 5% of your salary in options at I think 40% of the strike price. I assume it is still that policy.

Can you share your friends backgrounds that go to data engineers?

wow, you really want to find out who these people are.

I mean I'm interested too, I thought my 150k was good but holy fucking god...

Maybe he just wants to find out if MSc in Data Science is worth it.

interested as well lol

At 800K, I am extremely curious how your work-life balance is? I am assuming after an age and salary number, a lot of your time goes into managerial tasks and at the rate you are compounding on salaries, I would bet it will be a hectic WLB. Further out of curiosity, at what age do you plan to retire?

how typical is that to be making 800k as an swe? Or even 425k - 800k? And what can one do to reach that point faster?

According to the itnernet if you aren't making that by 35, you're a failure.

800k is no easy feat, at Google OP would have to have been Senior Staff or Principal, and there aren't many of those. Unless OP joined early and is including stock appreciation, then that would be more reasonable.

Wow! Curious what kind of hours you've had to work for that sort of increase.

Do these amounts included RSU, bonus, etc? I'm curious what the base salary would be.

Netflix's salary philosophy is "top of personal market" and they are almost all base. If they want you, they aim not to lose you because you got a higher offer.

These are unbelievably high salaries. In Germany such salaries are possible only at management positions (not talking about IB) of large companies only. I visited US 3 years back and I found everything better - clothing cheaper, food more delicious, people friendlier and houses bigger. Yes you don't have social security and have poverty issues but I would still be in US than in Europe considering the amount of money you guys make. Comparing all this, it seems like we're are being exploited here.

I work in a management consulting firm (not in top3). Salary progression is as follows (all in euros before taxes): 2010-2012- Ausbildung + odd jobs - 30k 2012- 55k - full time job 2015-65k- full time job 2017-75k- full time job 2019-85k- full time job

I'm interested in making huge money and retiring early, but seems less certain to do that at the moment. Compared to you and many others here, I feel like I should act soon now, to reach such levels. But actually I don't know what I should do. Any suggestions?


Europe is all about quality of life raises rather than cash raises. My passion is acrobatics and I negotiated less working hours rather than a big pay raise. This year I'll do partner acrobatics teacher training for a month in spain and still extra time left over for staffing a meditation retreat over christmas. I'm in Austria and my progression is as follows. (All of below hours are flex time, all overtime can be redeemed as time off at a later date) (* is negotiated raise)

2011 - Moved from Canada to Austria fresh out of college

2011 - 26k€ 38.5H/W Company 1

2012 - 31k€* 38.5H/W Company 1

2013 - 35k€* 38.5H/W Company 1

2014 - 37k€* 38.5H/W Company 1

2015 - 46k€* 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month

2016 - 49k€* 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month

2017 - 50k€ 38.5H/W Company 2 - Mandatory overtime 10/month

2018 - 35k€* 30H/W Company 2

2019 - 42k€ 30H/W Company 3

A few notes -> Taxes are very high, but so is support. I have no worries health care, dental, etc everything is covered. 5 weeks paid vacation a year, unlimited sick days. I end up with about 1000€/month after rent/food/entertainment and I live very comfortably. I'm not rich but it works well for me.


I also moved to Graz, Austria 5 years ago for FW development. What brought you here all the way from Canada and what's your field of activity if I may ask? You aren't also in Graz aren't you? :)

I've also noticed this BS in some contracts of Austrian companies that include mandatory overtime or worse, all-in contracts. I tried to negotiate my way out of that but got funny looks and some said that'll hinder any career progression in that company as that's seen as not being a team player.


I moved here originally for love, then stayed because it feels like home now. I'm in Linz, I started in Testing, moved to back end in Java and am now full stack + devops. Still spend most of my time hacking away at Java on the back end though. ^^ I pass through Graz every now and then, I have friends there and there's an amazing acrobatics community there.

That's a cool story. Don't know if you'll read this but hit me up, it's cool to meet new expat techies in Austria. My e-mail is in my profile. If you're ever around Graz you're invited to a coffee.

The mandatory overtime is a thing in Japan, too, though it's more like 30-40 hours built into the salary, not 10. You start getting paid 1.25x with your 41st hour of OT in a month.

Salaries are Europe-like, too. Having experienced all three, I'd move from Japan to Europe for the QOL increase before moving to the US to get more money, I think.


Don‘t focus on the huge money aspect. There is a lot of selection bias here, only few people make this much outside of some very particular areas/companies.

Comparing Germany (where I’m also from) and the US, I’d say that Germany still gives much higher standard of living at the same salary, especially due to lower rents in the big cities.

FYI my progression

120k joining top3 mgmt consulting after PhD, stayed for 4yrs, left when being promoted to project leader (200-250k)

200k in mgmt position at e-commerce company in Berlin

Anyway, I think money matters way less than happiness in the job and a good work-life-balance, at least when you have no debt and aren’t struggling financially (=there is enough money left for vacations and some savings)


> 200k in mgmt position at e-commerce company in Berlin

For the context: this is an insane amount of money in Berlin, which used to be one of the poorest capitals in Western Europe. Most software engineers make 60-70k.

> after PhD,

A quick question: does it matter from which university one received his PhD in Germany?

I read multiple comments, that unlike in the US and in the UK, most universities in Germany are considered more or less equal.

But wouldn't a MSc / PhD from Humboldt University of Berlin be considered above a MSc / PhD from University of Potsdam when applying for jobs and negotiating the compensation?


In Germany the university playing field is much more level than elsewhere. While certain universities stand out in certain areas, it’s not a deciding factor in most cases. Many of the small town universities are actually quite renowned.

The big divide is Universität vs Fachhochschule (university of applied sciences), which are in many fields considered inferior unless they have special profile (eg highly international).


Look, you're right about happiness, but let me make 200k/year for about 5 years and then I'll publicly share your view. Also, that's Berlin; the situation in NRW (excluding D & K) is a bit different. Currently earning 1/4 from what you earn, with 6 years experience in the same company.

Did you take a pay cut moving from consulting to e- commerce company? Did it make your work life balance better?

Yes I agree that wanting more money can result in frustration as in Germany such salaries are not that common outside of management positions or specific companies, but I have some plans to fulfill - buying a Porsche; travelling the world; opening an NPO in a developing country, employing literate and teaching underprivileged, etc..

With the pennies that I'm earning, I wont be able to save as much, wont be able to retire as early as I would like to and, most importantly, the impact of final initiative won't be that high. So for me it is important that I earn huge..anyway, it's a choice of thinking, I'm happy with my life even now, just not quenched with the money I have..


Yes and yes. The work life balance was one primary motivation among other things.

I don’t have aspirations to buy a Porsche and I would have taken the job for much less. I was genuinely surprised when I got the offer.


This is a lot of money and some massive savings you're talking about. How many hours are you working per week ? (I'm asking this from the other side of the Rhine where such wages are phenomenal).

About 50. Some colleagues on the same level work more but I’m just too tired after that.

Out of curiosity, what did you study since I've never heard anyone in Germany earning so much out of university?

Thanks for this very informative post! Here in Japan, salaries are much more Europe-like, whereas hours are (I suspect) US-like -- the worst of both worlds!

My pay as a non-software-engineer doing a lot of Excel monkey work in the back office of a fintech company. I'll use yen for consistency; today the exchange rate is about 110 yen per US dollar.

1999-2001 3.6M base

2002-2006 3.6M base + 1.0M (night shift bonus)

2007-2008 4.2M base + 1.0M (night shift bonus continues)

2009-2015 4.5M base + 700k bonus + 1.0M night bonus

2016 4.5M base + 300k bonus + 500k night bonus (rotating shifts; fewer nights) + 200k vested stock options (issued 2012, vested after 4 years)

2017 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 500k night + 200k stock

2018 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 1.0M night (worked nights all the time again) + 80k stock (stock value plummeted)

2019 4.4M base + 300k bonus + 90k stock (no night shifts anymore)

I'm not a native speaker of Japanese, and have no desire to go into middle management, so I suspect things will continue as they are now indefinitely. There's a lot of pressure to reduce salaries and we have onerous KPI demands: five to seven every half year, all of which must be met to maintain salary. It gets harder and harder to keep coming up with ideas for them as the years pass, and I'm thinking of giving up my full-time hard-to-fire status and becoming a contract worker. Bonuses and stock options would disappear but stock options earned in past years would continue to vest. And my stress level would drop by quite a bit!


I'd say tech salaries highly depend on your company and even the type of position you're in.

At foreign FAANG (which means Google and Amazon here) and investment banks traditionally you can expect upwards of 10M JPY/y (total compensation) for moderately senior engineering positions and even over 15M for more senior positions. But it's not just foreign companies. Some Japanese companies like Mercari and Fast Retailing are now in an engineer hiring craze and they're offering highly competitive salaries.

My personal history in Japan: 2015-2016 8M JPY 2017 12M JPY (renegotiated my salary) 2018 13M JPY 2019 14M JPY


That's a pretty impressive bump you negotiated! Same company, or a different one?

I'm in fintech too, but I'm not an engineer; more like a dime-a-dozen Excel monkey. Most people I know doing programming are terribly paid (<250k per month); they make even less than generic office workers, who make over 1600 yen per hour.

Having entered my 40s and not being in management, I suspect that my chances for a pay increase have long passed. I went to graduate school in my spare time (when I was working nights) and might try going into academics if I can't take company life any more.

Do you expect to see increases beyond that 14M or do you think that's the cap?


You know, that the salary m America is partly so high, because a lot of it goes to retirement, paying back your university etc.

Best plan for sure is :study in germany for almost free, live in US and enjoy a lot of money.

Sure, it is kinda abusive toward the system. But as long it is possible...


In Austria, the upper end for senior developers seems to be 70k. Architect roles seem to range from 70k to somewhere below 100k...

Even big companies often have a fixed upper limit, like "we can't give him more than 65k" and they rather wait many months until they find a good one who will work for that money or rather hire "IT consultants" from Accenture/CapGemini etc. that cost more than twice as much. It's kind of sad.


I've noticed the salary cap is quite popular in Austria as a wage suppression technique to keep salaries low acroos the board and not generate competition among companies for employees. Are your numbers valid for Vienna or Graz?

I only know about Vienna.

It's improving a lot in Austria right now I feel like, there's huge demand. I have friends that thanks to big bonuses are taking home ~100k€ for developer positions. (They are very good at what they do)

Out of curiosity, what field/jobs are those 100k/year people doing, if I may ask?

Mostly Java Backend or full stack, they have a niche in a smaller company and get noticed for delivering great results.

100k for an employed developer position is very, very far away from the median.

How much is 70k after taxes in Austria?

43.500 a year, that's 12x3626. Keep in mind we do have "free" health care/insurance included. This is a great income and will allow you a comfortable life including vacations.

Salary growth rate hasn’t been that high in Germany for the last 10 years. Also, 85k€ is pretty decent. Way more than the average salary: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/75731/umfrage...

Although compared to tech jobs in the US, it seems pretty low (but the numbers here are also biased).

In Germany, your best bet apparently is a management position or having your own business. This, of course, takes time. But it’s also very rewarding.


There is very little concept of thrift left in the United States, so if you make a huge salary the entire economy is designed for you to spend it all and more.

What do I mean by that? The more you make, the more banks aggressively offer you credit. You have no idea how many people I know that make several hundred thousand a year, but are crippled by debt.

Not just mortgages on big houses, if you make a lot of money banks literally mail you forms saying "Sign this and mail it back and we will deposit $100,000 into your bank account, Pre-Approved."

I agree with the other person who commented and said it would be better to live in the US for 10 or 20 years and then return to Germany to retire.


It’s a matter of personal discipline. There is an enormous variety and quantity of inexpensive calories available as well. Some people take excessive advantage of that and others don’t.

I get those same credit line offers and just don’t respond. We live in the same house we bought 12 years ago when I was making around half of what I make now. We drive our cars for 8-15 years and usually buy them used (my cheap electric LEAF was bought new only because of the $10K in government incentives made buying used make no sense, all others were used).

Frugality can easily be done; it does take some discipline. I see colleagues with $100K kitchen renovations and two leased luxury automobiles. I am quite sure we’re headed to a happier and more secure retirement, early if we like, but more likely simply flush and setting our kids up for a good financial grounding and head-start.


> I found everything better

That is because everyone in the US lives above their means. I am astounded at how frivolously my acquaintances live, despite having huge student and car loan payments. Home ownership is also worryingly low among urban youth.

The trend towards buying SUVs is IMO another sign of this. The coupe / hatch is way cheaper, but they must have the SUV despite not needing it as much.

HN is the exception, with a lot more people being fans of a minimalistic and careful approach to spending.


Just curious, why don't you move ?

Well moving, as much as i would like to do, is not that easy..I live with my wife who is also working. She is not comfortable in working in English. We have bought a house in south of Germany which has to be paid off..uncertainty in jobs and hire & fire culture is pretty scary..also, we live close to our parents and extended family, where we have lots of fun over the weekends..

I am Asian but was born and raised in Australia. I have a Bachelor of Science and I work as a web developer, e.g. Spring, ASP.NET, React, WordPress, Drupal, etc.

2013 - 23yo - $45K - First job - Magento developer building eCommerce websites for clients.

2014 - 24yo - $54K

2015 - 25yo - $70K - Second job - Magento / Shopify / WordPress developer, building eCommerce websites for clients.

2016 - 26yo - $75K

2017 - 27yo - $80K - Third job - Full stack web developer - Predominantly using Spring and React to build bespoke solutions for clients.

2018 - 28yo - $85K

I don't begrudge people with their crazy salaries but I do get frustrated that I can't find success myself. I'm really struggling with savings and building up a nest egg for retirement.


Just my 2 cents...If you want to make significantly more, focus on the business problems you can solve, not the technology you know/use. I’m not an “X” developer. I’m a business person that happens to use code to add value.

If this is outside your comfort zone, look for some basic books on business and internalize the fact that until you can tie your knowledge to dollars coming through the door, you likely won’t make significant jumps in pay.

There are numerous posts that have been shared on HN on how to make more money as a consultant/contractor/freelance developer. They are almost 100% relevant to company employees.


Could you elaborate a bit more?

It's hard to realize what problems a business faces without being involved intimately in the industry.

How can one seek out these problems and begin to work on solutions?

Would you mind sharing those posts?


I’m not saying this is something you can change tomorrow. It could be months, could be years. Really depends on how quickly you can learn the business you are involved in and where you are starting from. I don’t know you or your situation so this advice is extremely general. Focus on what the problems are your business/clients have which cost them money or find a way to answer a question like “if we do this it costs X and we make Y.” Make sure you drive those types of initiatives and get your name attached to them but that doesn’t always mean doing it alone.

The posts are pretty easily searchable and even if you don’t find the ones I’m thinking of, the process of searching and filtering on its own is important. One thing I had to learn the hard way is that, with a few rare exceptions, no one is going to be your teacher/mentor. Everyone is too busy with their own shit.

Ultimately, if you want to know more or make more, it comes down to finding ways to justify that to the people that can make that decision. Given you make around $85k/year you need to look at the people several years ahead of you in the career track, if one exists, at your company.

If your goal is to make more, you need to be aggressive. Invest in yourself in as many ways as you can. Learn more about software. Start by expanding beyond “web developer”. learn back-end programming, databases, etc. Talk to the people in your company that do sales, marketing, operations, HR. Learn as much as you can about your business or one you want to move into. Experience trumps everything. If you aren’t getting experience that makes you more valuable, you need to move on.

My last piece of advice is more of a warning. A lot of how much you make comes down to luck. Did the interviewer like you for the highly paid job? Did the team you are a part of get the credit for a major win for the company? Or other things that aren’t always within your control. The important thing is that you keep moving forward. Looking for opportunities and driving things to completion. Hard for me to not phrase this in terms of finance...you want to constantly be buying call options on yourself. So that new thing you learn/project you complete that gets your name out there? It is a call option on yourself. Most of those options expire worthless, but hopefully a few pay off big time.


Wow this is great advice, thank you I appreciate the time and effort you took in writing that.

I have a few follow up questions if you dont mind.

>If your goal is to make more, you need to be aggressive. Invest in yourself in as many ways as you can. Learn more about software. Start by expanding beyond “web developer”. learn back-end programming, databases, etc. Talk to the people in your company that do sales, marketing, operations, HR. Learn as much as you can about your business or one you want to move into. Experience trumps everything. If you aren’t getting experience that makes you more valuable, you need to move on.

Its so easy to learn in isolation, but how can you actually turn it into profit? How can you quantify your skills? How does one get good at tha?

Also, why the call option analogy, do you work in finance (just curious)?


In case you happen to see this: The commenter replying to you here is right, but that approach also seems really overwhelming. Something actionable but I think a bit easier along the same lines: take projects or seek opportunities to work closely with your product managers, or whatever your company calls the people whose job is to figure out what the customer / market wants from your product. Basically the people they make the most fun of in Office Space - "I talk to the customer so the developers don't have to" - are really important and great people to learn from.

Web development and other easy domains like iOS / Android are quickly going the way of other craft jobs of the past: Blue collar.

If you want to make above average salaries you're going to have to specialize. Find something that is both challenging (to reduce barrier to entry) and niche (to demand a higher salary). In other words - specialize. Staying as a generic web/ios/android dev is only going to guarantee that your salary becomes more and more diluted by the avalanche of developers entering the field. The barrier to entry is just too low.


>other easy domains like iOS / Android

In my department, mobile is the bottleneck for every PM's ambitions and the only speciality where recruiting never even approaches headcount/budget. It's possible that the low end contract labor market is flooded or something, but iOS and Android devs who can pass a whiteboard are worth their weight in gold.


I really don't agree with this. I'm a 27 year old JS-focused web dev @150k base.

I understand that the bootcamps and proliferation of web-teaching schools have made web dev seem like the easy thing, and I agree that what I do is less complex than these $800k-earning data engineers, but web development in 2019 is no joke. The same goes for iOS/Android.

The types of things these companies are trying to build are not just "slap it together in a week and done" type projects and it takes experience to architect and engineer them effectively. Your average bootcamp grad is not able to do it yet.

iOS/Android/Web development forms the 3 primary portals to a company's clients, and as long as that's true, the value of such skillsets will remain high.


Who is a data engineer here making $800k?

I'm sorry, but anyone who says any domain is easy either hasn't written real code in it, or is making gross generalizations about entry level code monkey positions that doesn't reflect the entirety of the space.

I don't care if it's games, web front end, back end, databases, machine learning, mobile, embedded literally doesn't matter, if you think you can brush off any of them like that, you haven't built something substantial with them.

Are there varying levels of difficulty across niches? Sure, but one person can slap a few python libraries together in an afternoon and call it AI/machine learning, and a 3-5 person team can also spend 6 months building a monster, fined tuned native iOS application.

There's challenges everywhere, it's a matter of finding them.


I get your point, but it's objectively false. If your same argument cannot be made for any domain, than you can't simply make it for domains of your choosing.

Certain careers DO have levels of challenge, as well as other barriers to entry, that increase the value of workers. You could not argue to me that flipping burgers at McDonalds is hard. Within the domain of computer science, you simply cannot argue to me that generic CRUD web/ios/android is hard.


And you can't argue that the extent of web/ios/android development is generic CRUD. I'm not attempting to make it for domains of my choosing, I'm making it for the entirety of computer science related domains.

Of course not. I think it goes without saying that within any technical domain is the capacity for a top ~5% performer, who understand such a depth of that domain that it becomes a specialization in itself.

I'm merely stating that the domain itself, is not by default, a high enough barrier to entry to merit any kind of above average salary. Of course if you're a much higher performer, with a much deeper knowledge base within that domain, then your pay will likely reflect that.


I have never encountered this. Good mobile developers are in extremely high demand.

What are some examples of challenging and niche fields? How can one do research to find fields like this that they also enjoy? As well as realize whether they have any marketable potential?

I just walked away from an offer at a React shop in Manhattan for 200K TC. There's plenty of specialization available still.

The only thing this means is that development quality goes down as salaries get lower though.

this is simply wrong, don't listen to this.

I am in Australia as well, I started on a similar base as you. I told employers that I was willing to learn and do anything. Most the stuff I have worked on is back-end services.

2010 - 25yo - 41k - First job - .net dev (internal services / sql).

2011 - 26yo - 41.1k

2012 - 27yo - 65k - Second job - job advertised as .net became pseudo COBOL dev.

2013 - 28yo - 80k - moved more in to tech lead / manager role.

2014 - 29yo - 86k - Third job - .net web dev (webforms / mvc).

2015 - 30yo - 86k

2016 - 31yo - 163k - COBOL / .net + odds and ends

2017 - 32yo - 163k

2018 - 33yo - 170k

As others have said, technology really isn't the thing that will drive your increase in remuneration. It is understanding client requirements, creating business solutions, being able to communicate said solutions.


Was it hard to get into a COBOL role? I am interested in moving that way, was driven to Coldfusion under the excitement of working on challenging code. Naturally the next progression is COBOL.

Oh man you hear some silly numbers being thrown around when it comes to COBOL...

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-banks-cobol/banks-scra...


Are these US or Australian dollars?

Look into the E-3 visa if you want to earn an SF/NYC salary. It's only available to Australians and we never use the entire quota.

Atlassian (Sydney) is always hiring for Java and/or JavaScript. Great company, good compensation, plenty of room for growth. If you’re interested, or want to know more, hit me up - marcins at gmail

Just chiming in to second all of this. Best combination of comp, culture & growth opportunities in my career.

Disclaimer: am a hiring manager at Atlassian, so obviously I am biased (though currently hiring in the US market).


Sounds sort of inline with me (Melbourne):

2014/2015 - 23 - $50K - $70K | Fraud Analyst using C#/Python/SQL

2016/2017 - 25 - $90K | Teradata/SQL Developer

2018 - 26 - $70K | SQL Developer and Coldfusion/Java

I switched companies in 2018 to be a little closer to home which resulted in a substantial paycut.

I feel your struggle with savings, buying a house in Melbourne is definitely not easy.

I couldn't care less about salary if I could work remote.


> 2018 - 28yo - $85K

I assume these are AUD. You don't say where in Aus you're based, but it's not terrible at that age, you're still some way off peak, it's slightly above average.

Based on https://www.livingin-australia.com/salaries-australia/

  Average Full Time Ordinary Time Earnings Q2 2018
  State Average Annual Wage
  Tasmania $71,718
  South Australia $75,369
  Queensland $80,304
  Victoria $80,610
  New South Wales $83,517
  Northern Territory $86,762
  Western Australia $90,496
  Capital Territory $94,224

Do you work in Australia as well? If so, Ignoring US even, you've got 5 years exp and you're making $85k AUD. That's not high for Australia. Is that including Super?

The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads.


> The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads

Which larger tech companies?

I'm self employed and have worked 100% remote for around 5 years, so am a bit out of touch. However, I have close friends in senior positions at major tech companies in Melbourne (REA, Xero etc.) and $120k for grads sadly does not align with what I've heard from them, closer to $70k (AUD) for a grad seems to be the norm.


> closer to $70k (AUD) for a grad seems to be the norm

Which by all accounts is a fantastic wage for someone fresh out of Uni -- nothing to sneeze at. Don't get discouraged keep at it, you'll get there.


It's absolutely nothing to sneeze at when comparing yourself to the rest of Australian society. Certainly got to be thankful to be in the industry.

However, it's a surprisingly weak effort by Australian tech companies to attract high quality talent. My first full-time software development job, almost 10 years ago and without a degree, was $70k. That was at your run-of-the-mill medium sized enterprise consulting firm.


Not REA, they offer really low.

I'm talking about Atlassian, Canva, Google, AWS, IMC, Optiver.


> The larger tech companies in Melbourne and Sydney are giving $120k+ AUD total comp to grads.

That's some nonsense. Could you drop some names for 'Graduate X' which has that kind of pay scale?

With that being said, it's quite possible to earn 150k+ within 4-5 years in Melbourne. Just be smart about it, listen out for what technologies are trending because inevitably they will be the most numerous and with the highest chance to score a well paying role -- especially if you have your ahead of the influx of developers in X language.

By all accounts I'm not especially talented and I have done so.

PS. If you want $$ learn Salesforce, the money which comes along with knowing that system is freakin craziness.


Not nonsense at all. I answered with a list of companies.

I got offered $150k+ at Zendesk Melbourne out of uni, but that was a special situation. But also I literally did get that offer so no, 120k is not "nonsense".


You just stated that it was an exceptional circumstance and now we're saying that it's normal. You played your cards right and got out on top, that's great - congrats.

I can tell you however, that is not a normal run-of-the-mill pay-scale for a Uni graduate.


Yeah it's not run of the mill, but great graduate candidates can absolutely get $120K+, so it puts into perspective the salary of the thread's OP, who had like 5 years experience.

You get paid 3 times as much working in the US. You also get treated well rather than as a cost centre which was my experience back in Aus.

I'm an Australian developer earning triple that+stocks on top at one of the FAANG. Trump, guns and shitty healthcare don't affect you day to day in the states. The E3 visa for Australians to work in the US is trivial.

The funny thing is that Sydney real estate is comparable to silicon valley despite no one earning anynear as much.


+1 I'm not doing much more different than I was when I left Australia, but went from 130K-ish AUD (inc super+bonus) to 260K-ish USD (inc bonus+stocks) = 370AUD in the last few years. The taxes are significantly lower on these amounts in the US as well (at least in Seattle where there's no income tax).

Not that funny for those of us in Sydney haha.

Where do you live?

Perth, very similar to your stats.

Sydney

2016 60k First Job

2016 65k

2017 70k Second Job

2017 80k

2018 90k

2019 110k


Some context: PhD in EE, but spend most of my time coding.

    2011: $100k, industry R&D lab, VA
    2012: $150k, “”, “”
    2013: $150k, “”, “”
    2014: $0, self-employed and didn’t turn a profit
    2015: $100k, academic researcher, Midwest 
    2016: $160k, industry R&D, SV
    2017: $165k, “”, “”
    2018: $170k, “”, “”
Since 2016, I’ve been working in SV for a company that pays engineers all cash, a modest bonus, and no stock. I like the work and people, but I feel like I’m leaving a lot of money on the table.

Almost anywhere else in the country, I’d be making a considerable amount of money. In SV, it doesn’t feel that way. Myself and most of my (unmarried) coworkers are in our 30s-40s and living in studio apartments. I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me), and they managed without college educations.

I’ve recently tried making the jump into a FAANG company or unicorn, but so far no luck. One company was willing to give feedback: I don’t have enough experience with large scale systems. It’s tough, because I’ve aged out of junior positions, but I guess I lack the right experience for experienced positions. Still have a couple irons in the fire though.


Honestly, time to leave SV if you want to provide for a family. I'm in Atlanta. 10 years experience, 135k base, 150k total comp (401k and bonus). You can easily provide what you parents provides you here for 100k salary, which can be easily had. No one will judge you if you don't have large scale systems experience.

As a potentially helpful data point, I've occasionally been approached for senior technical roles in Atlanta, at large non-tech companies, where they've opened with $600-700k total comp. While I've never seriously pursued a job in Atlanta, that market apparently has at least some willingness to pay well for high-end technical talent that I would not have expected.

Are you open to sharing which companies? I've looked extensively in Atlanta and haven't found anything near SV comp. Square was the highest that I found.

Are those CTO/VP Eng level roles?

Ignoring the actual numbers because of cost of living, an EE with coding experience would be doing far better here on Florida's eastern coast. That "studio apartments" bit is horrifying.

My coworkers and I seem to do lots better. I've seen my coworkers use a single income to buy: a condo on the beach, a new McMansion, 11 acres with farm animals and shooting, waterfront property with access to the ocean, waterfront property for an airboat into marshlands, and lots of toys. I went for a simple house, 3500 square feet on 0.38 acres and now fully paid off, within walking distance of work. I also had 11 children and bought 3 cars.

I'll take a hopeful guess that an EE with coding experience might enjoy assembly language. If so, maybe I can help get you into a more family-friendly situation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19284153


> I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me), and they managed without college educations.

It depends where you live. That's probably possible on £30k in the UK including various benefits, certainly on £50k, as long as you live somewhere sensible.

What are the non-housing costs you need?

In 2008 a couple with 2 kids spent, per week:

  Food and drink £103.53
  Clothing and footwear £29.26
  Household goods and services £27.11
  Personal goods and services (inc health) £27.39
  Transport £35.02
  Social and cultural activities £90.08 
£320 a week, or £1400 a month. That's £1800 a month after inflation [0]

Housing costs say £650 a month for a mortgage [1]

£2.5k a month, or a net of £30k, that's a single income of £42k a year [2]

You'll also get £1800 in child benfit.

If you have larger outgoings, say 30% more to £2400 a month plus housing, you're looking at a net of £36k, or gross of £52k [3]

(Marginal tax £50k-£60k is 69% though so there's not much point earning more than that, until you're past 60k and it drops back to 51%)

[0] https://www.in2013dollars.com/uk/inflation/2008?amount=1400 [1] https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-70111... [2] https://listentotaxman.com/42000?plan=2 [3] https://listentotaxman.com/52000?plan=2


> I don’t have enough experience with large scale systems.

I'm frustrated for you. This is a dumb reason to say no to someone. "Large systems" are a solved problem and i dont think anyone is working on some system that cant be handled. I work at one of this scale companies, there's nothing special about, people jerking them selves off.


> 2015: $100k, academic researcher, Midwest

This is more than some tenured research faculty. How the heck did you make so much in academia?


I was hired by a professor who I’d worked with before. He’d just landed a very large grant, so he had some flexibility with the funding.

> I couldn’t provide a family with the same lifestyle my parents gave me (a house, two cars, safe neighborhood, good school district, mother could stop working for several years to raise me)

That's true, probably. But you don't need 2 cars and a house for your family to have the same quality of life.

If you live in the right neighborhood 1 or zero cars is fine. And a family of 4 can live just as happily and comfortably in a 2 bedroom apartment.


Salary progression, no college degree. Cash only comp, no RSUs or anything like that.

  20 - $65k   (Office Rural NY, SE)
  21 - $65k   (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE)
  22 - $75k   (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE)
  23 - $85k   (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE)
  24 - $85k   (Remote, 10 Person Startup, SE)
  25 - $225k  (Remote, SF Series B Startup, Lead SE)
  26 - $225k  (Remote, SF Series B Startup, Lead SE)
  27 - $393k  (Office, SF Series C/D Startup, Principal SE)
  28 - $393k  (Office, SF Series C/D Startup, Principal SE)
  29 - $0     (Took a year off)
  30 - $0     (Took a year off)
  31 - $150k  (Founded a startup)

You paid yourself $150k in your first year as startup founder? Huh.

Yeah, weird situation, good business opportunity + good funding. The barnacles that come with a high income means that it's hard to cut back. I would have trouble living on less than this.

That’s a really great company to pay SF rates while working remotely. Wish I could find one like that.

What how did your salary jump so much between 24/25? Bonuses? Or base?

New job, good negotiation skills. $225K was base. IIRC, I negotiated a bonus (not included in the 225) that was like ~30K when then next funding round closed.

What industry were you working in when at the Series B and Series C/D companies? Do you feel like your salaries at those companies represent the going-rate your colleagues also received?

Series B company was a B2C mobile app. Series C/D company was B2B startup.

What did your day to day look like?

Where you live influences your salary by quite a bit. You insert javascript ad tags? That's ~70k/yr in southern california, and 150k/yr in New York as remote. If you have experience building a system to handle a billion metrics per day, of course you can jump into a Senior Engineer IV position (or whatever) at 180k... It's hard to talk about salaries when the context is opaque because titles and skills are so fungible on both sides (employers and employees)

I did something like this once, but from a different angle. Since salaries usually trend up, it's interesting to look at each salary bump in terms of how much money it makes for you over your entire working lifetime.

For example, if your first job pays $60k, and your working years are say 52 years total, the payout from sustained employment is $3.12 million dollars (52 years * $65k).

If you then move onto another job 2 years later, and make $70k. The payout for that jump is $500k ($10k * 50 years).

Or another way is to look at how much each pay bump has made for you till now (instead of over your entire potential working lifetime).

This helped put into perspective for me how important certain pay increases were for me and how unimportant others were. For example, big pay increases that occurred recently haven't yet had time to really make me any significant money, but even modest ones from 20 years ago have.

It also really puts into perspective how bad bonuses are vs wage increases. Even a large bonus pales in comparison to decades of small increases.

It also gave me better information when I chose to take a job at lower pay, in terms of how much I was sacrificing, and when I eventually ended back up where I was, how much that choice was actually costing me over my lifetime.


Throwaway account; I am currently in my late 30s.

Graduated from Kansas University in 2008.

2008 to 2010 - $50K CTO/co-founder of a small company

2011 - $125K SDE II @ Amazon

2012 - $125K SDE II @ Amazon

2013 - $175K SDE III @ Amazon

2014 - $217K SDE III @ Amazon

2015 - $200K E5 @ Facebook

2016 - $500K E6 @ Facebook

2017 - $800K E7 @ Facebook

2018 - $1M E7 @ Facebook

2019 ~ $1.25M E7 @ Facebook


I really need to get these skills up to snuff and get my butt back to the US. These salaries are ridiculous.

Not salary. It's total comp. Most of it is stock growth.

Makes sense actually. Still the tax paid on the sale of stock (held for a year or more I think) is taxed under the Bush era cap gains values of only 15% IIRC so that's pretty good.

When your stock gets awarded, the full amount is taxed as income. If you don't sell that stock for a year and then sell it, any gains from the price at the award date and the sell date are taxed as cap gains so not really.

Ugh that complicated things for sure.

> is taxed under the Bush era cap gains values of only 15%

Not really. A lot of it is taxed as income when vested, as mrep mentioned. And if you do keep them long term, at that level of income the long-term cap gains tax is 20%. And there is also the Net Investment Income Tax of 3.8%.


What technologies you work in ?

Jesus, that's a quick career progression at Facebook...

Damn! I graduated MSEE from KU in ‘96 and make 1/8 that. Don’t go into hardware, kids.

Do you mean the University of Kansas?

I have worked in Spain and Sweden. My salary as developer has been in the range of €32K-€45K in the past 15 years in Spain. It has been around €65K in Sweden (similar to what now friends make in Spain). And it is below €100K as an architect.

The cost of living in Sweden is higher than in Spain. And Spanish salaries in IT has soared. So, economically, it was not worth moving. But, the experience of living abroad is worth the money.

It is difficult to compare with USA salaries as here there is more taxes but you get better services. For me the deal breaker is the equality. I know that people around me makes a living wage. But, I will not discard to move to any other country in the future for the experience as every country has its own charm.


It seems absolutely insane to me that salaries can be so different across countries even though people themselves can acquire visas or contract across borders.

It is difficult to compare, but the reality is that especially at FAANG companies the company has good services. They provide transport to/from the office, healthcare, retirement stuff, etc. However, the taxes in Europe are higher.

There are some benefits in knowing that the people that make your food, drive you, clean your streets, etc. don't live out of their car.

I've been pretty fortunate. Hard to believe that in 2004, my little family survived on only $16k. That was a tough year. I was really grateful for government assistance, as we were below the poverty line.

And last year I made more than $2M. I paid more than $1M in income taxes. I hope some of that money is going to help little families like mine in 2004.

2004: $16k

2005: $36k

2006: $47k

2007: $53k

2008: $56k

2009: $63k

2010: $53k

2011: $116k

2012: $152k

2013: $160k

2014: $246k

2015: $444k

2016: $556k

2017: $1830k

2018: $2260k


Wow! What did you do that led to such a dramatic growth starting in 2013?

I don't want to be too specific, as I'd rather keep this anonymous. But I happened to find myself with some rare and highly valuable skills, and I took on a lot of new responsibilities. I'm now in technical management.

I don't think my success is necessarily repeatable, I just happened to see some opportunities and seize them. I've been fortunate.


Guessing he got to senior manager or higher at Amazon and lucked out since most higher ups pay is in stock and Amazons exploded by a factor of 6 in the past 5 years.

Suspicious amounts of Throwaways in here that all happen to earn over a million $ a year...

I have no qualms letting people know my comp so they know that is possible, and helped many developers in my short 6 year career get better jobs/get life changing comp.

Caveat to my numbers - I am an asian male math PhD dropout from a top 15 graduate program who had hardly coded prior to his first developer job. I also have substantial open source contributions to major libraries, starting from my first developer job.

Nov. 2012 - $51k (in DC)

Sept. 2013 - $75k (new job)

May 2014 - $105k + paid relocation (in Silicon Valley)

August 2014 - $140k (laid off from last job, changed to new one in 2 hours)

Jan. 2015 - $145k (raise at same job)

July 2015 - $160k (laid off from prior job in June)

July 2017 - $280k = $160k base, $15k signing bonus, $105k RSUs in FAANG (laid off from prior job in May)

Sept. 2018 - $303k = $164k base, $14k performance/annual bonuses, $125k refresh RSUs (annual raise from performance reviews at same job - was band limited on the base salary)


How are you managing to get laid off so much and so often :)

Are you counting vested RSU? A 400k 4-year vesting RSU should only be counted 100k/year. Also, why do you keep getting fired? And do you tell your employers that you got laid off?

Fired =/= Laid-off

Whats your position/title?

Is the amount of money typical for developers?

Any advice? Like how others can reach that point, faster?

What would you have done differently to reach that point quicker/

Do you think being a phd student helped? Contributing to libraries?


As a developer based in Europe looking at these numbers is quite depressing.

Can we really compare them, though? I live in France, where €90k/y puts you in the top 1% salaries. In the US, you’d need to earn $400k/y to be in the same position. Standard of living and other social benefits come to mind.

I don't get this thinking. I think everyone is making the comparison to Silicon Valley, which is ridiculously expensive because their are too many people making too much money that all want to be in the same place.

In most of the USA, not only do you make more than you would in France, but things are actually cheaper, not more expensive. Imagine you make $150,000/year, a really nice house cost $300,000 (think $2,000 monthly mortgage/taxes/insurance payment), groceries, electricity, internet, car for a small family is $2,000 month. And that is with a very high quality of life. If you want to live frugally cut all the expenses in half. The company provides health insurance.

I think the biggest difference might be that Americans report their salary before taxes, and I think Europeans tend to do it after taxes. $150,000/year with a small family is probably $110,000-$120,000 after taxes in most states. €90k after taxes is comparable. Just need to consider quality of life differences.


European salaries are in my experience usually reported pre-tax, which makes the situation even worse :P Half the pay of our American counterparts, double the taxes and most non-real-estate goods are more expensive.

Hello from Japan as well. And we have American-style vacation allotments!

> I think the biggest difference might be that Americans report their salary before taxes, and I think Europeans tend to do it after taxes. $150,000/year with a small family is probably $110,000-$120,000 after taxes in most states. €90k after taxes is comparable.

Europeans also report before taxes, and that 90k€ is definitely before taxes. I don't know about this person's taxation, but it's probably around 50k€ after taxes. That's still a very good salary in Europe though.


I took the 90k figure from [1]. I don’t know about the average european country, but in France annual salaries are reported before taxes. You can remove ~25% off that to get the after-taxes amount.

I haven't heard of anyone in Europe reporting their salary after-tax.

Monthly salary is usually discussed after-tax (since you usually compare it with monthly expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, etc), annual before.

> too many people making too much money

The people making "too much money" are doing the indispensable work that generates the profit (or chance-at-profit) for their employers, and the employers are by definition OK with paying them that share, which even in very profitable industries is highly unlikely to be as big a share as "management" gets.

If people in France get a much smaller cut (I assume they do, people in Germany certainly do) then wouldn't that mean they're getting too little?

(I think this was close to the other half of your point actually.)


I should clarify, I don't think there is anything wrong with being paid a lot to do valuable work. I didn't mean it that way when I wrote it, I'm not used to this concept that people that make a lot of money are doing something wrong. Seems like they are doing something that people value a lot.

I hardly ever comment on HN (I usually lurk) but I felt compelled to due to the sheer amount of false claims in this comment.

First off, can we define "things" in your sentence "things are actually cheaper, not more expensive"? What are the "things" you're talking about?

Education? Eh... not really expensive in the US, is it? the US student loan debt is swelling at about $1.5 trillion... and counting. It speaks volume as to how costly education is in the US. [1]

Healthcare? Hugely expensive for a country as "rich" as the US. Unless, of course, you work for a generous employer and in that case, everything is paid for. Wait a second, I'm told not all employers provide a healthcare plan along with a 401k plan? That's unfortunate. Let's also remind ourselves that the US doesn't provide universal healthcare for all its citizens unlike other advanced industrialized countries. So if you happen to be jobless? You're SOL. Awe-effing-some. Let's move on... [2]

Housing? In SF/SV/NYC/Seattle/Washington/any major US city, housing is extremely expensive as is housing in any major European metropolis such as London/Paris/Munich/Zurich. I bet the $300,000 nice house you mention in your comment must be somewhere in the countryside where nobody lives, right? Let's make this clear: houses located in the middle of nowhere in any European country also cost zilch. Let's take France for instance: 30K euros gets you a 100 sqm house (even bigger sometimes) in the Creuse region. Yeah nobody wants to live there but hey at least I can own a large house for the price of a car. [3]

I could go on and on. I haven't even touched on other topics such as Internet, groceries, rent or insurance. Your comment comes across as plain ignorant and downward complacent. I don't get this tendency of always sugarcoating the US, as though it would make it magically more appealing to the average Joe to move there.

Please back up your claims next time with articles or sources. Just use your favourite search engine.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_debt#/media/File:Stude...

[2]: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/26746...

[3]: https://www.seloger.com/list.htm?enterprise=0&natures=1,2,4&...


I just live and work in the USA my whole life, if anything I'm wrong about France. I'm not going to bother to refute most of your claims, as the premise is what are the salaries of tech people, not what are the standards of living of jobless people in San Francisco. Most of the US population, including myself and most of my acquaintances, live outside of those major cities, and that was the point I was making. You listed off literally the most expensive places to live in the USA, where the majority of people do not live. Education expenses are whatever you want to pay, we have plenty of choices including cheap choices, and generous scholarships for those that can't afford it but are smart.

Amazing.

I just caught you out making stuff up and now you resort to making yet again even more stuff up: "Education expenses are whatever you want to pay" (yeah, let's just buy 1/10th of a Bachelor degree, sounds like a plan to cut the costs), "you listed off literally the most expensive places to live in the USA, where the majority of people do not live" (sure, nobody lives in major cities) (why the hell are they called major cities then? God knows).

This conversation is leading nowhere so I'm just gonna stop responding.


We've banned this account for breaking the site guidelines. Your points appear reasonable, but the personal attacks and nastiness with which you've made them are unacceptable here.

If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html



> Education? Eh... not really expensive in the US, is it? the US student loan debt is swelling at about $1.5 trillion... and counting. It speaks volume as to how costly education is in the US. [1]

Education in the US is not unavoidably expensive. Quoting student loan aggregates does nothing to account for the number of students who took tens or hundreds of thousands worth of loans they didn't really need because they rejected an affordable alternative in order to go to their target school.

In 1998 I rejected my target school because attending would have cost me a minimum of $12,000/year out of pocket. I stayed local and graduated with no loans. 21 years later, if I started in 2019, I would still graduate without loans from that same school.

> Healthcare? Hugely expensive for a country as "rich" as the US. Unless, of course, you work for a generous employer and in that case, everything is paid for. Wait a second, I'm told not all employers provide a healthcare plan along with a 401k plan? That's unfortunate. Let's also remind ourselves that the US doesn't provide universal healthcare for all its citizens unlike other advanced industrialized countries. So if you happen to be jobless? You're SOL. Awe-effing-some. Let's move on... [2]

I don't have rebuttal to this point, but based on your tone I don't think you have any interest in discussing it in good faith anyway.

> Housing? In SF/SV/NYC/Seattle/Washington/any major US city, housing is extremely expensive as is housing in any major European metropolis such as London/Paris/Munich/Zurich. I bet the $300,000 nice house you mention in your comment must be somewhere in the countryside where nobody lives, right? Let's make this clear: houses located in the middle of nowhere in any European country also cost zilch. Let's take France for instance: 30K euros gets you a 100 sqm house (even bigger sometimes) in the Creuse region. Yeah nobody wants to live there but hey at least I can own a large house for the price of a car. [3]

"You bet" very wrong. The house I used to have in Dallas is worth $275,000 at the moment. Many of the houses in suburban New Jersey are less than $400,000, and some are even less than $300,000.[1] . Less stock in Maryland[2], but there are still many options.

> I could go on and on. I haven't even touched on other topics such as Internet, groceries, rent or insurance. Your comment comes across as plain ignorant and downward complacent. I don't get this tendency of always sugarcoating the US, as though it would make it magically more appealing to the average Joe to move there.

I'm sure you could, but it would just serve to further demonstrate your bias, condescension, and ignorance.

> Please back up your claims next time with articles or sources. Just use your favourite search engine.

The irony of this snark is that you have done a rather poor job of this yourself.

[1] https://www.redfin.com/minorcivildivision/70/NJ/Lyndhurst-To...

[2] https://www.redfin.com/city/31343/MD/Wheaton/filter/property...


> In 1998 I rejected my target school because attending would have cost me a minimum of $12,000/year out of pocket. I stayed local and graduated with no loans. 21 years later, if I started in 2019, I would still graduate without loans from that same school.

In 1998. That's really the crux of your comment. As to the costs of your school in 2019, since you haven't provided a link to back it up, I cannot check your claim.

> I don't have rebuttal to this point, but based on your tone I don't think you have any interest in discussing it in good faith anyway.

I have read countless studies online (studies, not just newspaper articles) and have friends who've moved to and/or lived briefly in the US that have experienced it first hand. Sorry for not showing empathy but when one of the richest country in the world isn't able to provide healthcare for all its citizens, I think something is slightly wrong. Worst yet, the babysteps that have been made during the Obama era are now being rolled back by the Repuplican party. And yet, you're pointing fingers at me like I'm the problem. How about a nice warm cup of reality to start the day?

> "You bet" very wrong. The house I used to have in Dallas is worth $275,000 at the moment. Many of the houses in suburban New Jersey are less than $400,000, and some are even less than $300,000.[1] . Less stock in Maryland[2], but there are still many options.

Fair enough. In that case, I think it's expensive. The same price range gets you a very comfortable flat in Berlin, Germany's capital. [1]

> I'm sure you could, but it would just serve to further demonstrate your bias, condescension, and ignorance.

Still not OK with reality. That's fine, you'll get used to it. We all do after a while. :-)

[1] https://www.immobilienscout24.de/Suche/S-T/Wohnung-Kauf/Berl...


> In 1998. That's really the crux of your comment. As to the costs of your school in 2019, since you haven't provided a link to back it up, I cannot check your claim.

Fair enough. http://www.fau.edu/finaid/other/cost-of-attendance.php

> Fair enough. In that case, I think it's expensive. The same price range gets you a very comfortable flat in Berlin, Germany's capital. [1]

I was filtering apartments out, but there are quite a few in Brooklyn and Queens as well.[1]

> And yet, you're pointing fingers at me like I'm the problem. How about a nice warm cup of reality to start the day?

> Still not OK with reality. That's fine, you'll get used to it. We all do after a while. :-)

I'm complaining about your tone and general attitude, which have apparently not improved. Being a condescending jerk has nothing to do with reality.

[1] https://www.redfin.com/neighborhood/219258/NY/New-York/Brook...


lol I'm sorry but no. 400k a year in US puts you in "I am a millionaire" status after like 5 years. 90k euros and big city purchasing power in France is most likely comparable to 180k in US. Remember, all these jobs we are talking about come with full benefits -- 401k with between 5-8% matching, stock options, healthcare, vision, dental, etc.

And I am assuming you are talking about 90k euro after taxes not before because the French have one of the highest tax burdens in the world.


This was discussed in the sibling thread, but that 90k€ is definitely before taxes. It's exceedingly rare to make that much after taxes, perhaps unless in senior management.

Wow, well then 90k Euro in France is no where close to 400k, much less 180k US.

It's worth noting though that it's the US (and Canada to a degree) that is the exception here. It's great that software engineering can be such a boon for talented folks, but everywhere else even the highest SW salaries place people squarely in middle class, alongside teachers and doctors.

It's still a nice life, just not one of abundant riches. Over 4k€ monthly after taxes goes quite far in Europe as you don't need to worry that much about saving for healthcare, pension, and your children's education later in life.


> And I am assuming you are talking about 90k euro after taxes not before because the French have one of the highest tax burdens in the world.

Source?


90k euros is where, not Paris right? $120k feels very different in San Francisco vs Boise Idaho.

France in general. I took this number from here: https://www.atlantico.fr/decryptage/1698781/ce-qu-il-faut-ga... (in French)

One trip home from the ER and you'll be the one laughing.

Look, I agree the US system is inefficient, immoral in the aggregate, and generally a bit of a pain to interact with.

But this idea that highly paid professionals in the US have crappy healthcare experiences is just silly. Anyone earning $100k as an employee in the US will have a good health plan that will provide excellent quality of care for a reasonable out of pocket cost.

In fact, this is kind of the problem with the US system! Rich people have a healthcare system that works well for them, they get lots of choice, very fast access to specialists if they want them, and generally rich people are happy with their health care.

This means there's no electoral coalition strong enough to pursue more egalitarian or more efficient systems, they'd all run the risk of appearing worse to the rich people.


I'll concede that one trip to the ER was a bit hyperbole. That fact is though, that medical emergencies have a way to royally screw you over in a way that is unheard of in most European countries.

Personally, with a background in a European country, a personal bankruptcy is something that only happens to the most financially careless/gambling addicted of people. In the US it seems to have become a sad part of a lot of peoples' coping strategy if a medical emergency arises.

Got cancer? No retirement for you I guess.


TLDR: these kind of salaries also come with really good health insurance that your company pays for.

A trip to the ER might cost your health insurer $50,000, it costs you a $1,000 deductible, and almost nothing for any follow up visits.


* 2018 $1,155,000

* 2017 $1,259,000 Senior Staff Software Engineer

* 2016 $661,000 time off

2015 $1,543,000

* 2014 $1,465,000

* 2013 $1,241,000

* 2012 $876,000 Threatened to quit, got a bunch of stock

* 2011 $368,000

* 2010 $318,000

* 2009 $244,000

* 2008 $192,000 Staff Software Engineer

* 2007 $167,000

* 2006 $165,000

* 2005 $157,000 Senior Softare Engineer, Norcal

* 2004 $246,000 stock sale

2003 $80,000

* 2002 $76,000 Software Engineer II

* 2001 $102,000

* 2000 $59,000

* 1999 $55,000 Software Engineer, Northern VA


Here's mine. Bay Area the entire time, and similar promotion history. Based on pretax W2 (hence, including all cash bonuses and stocks/options):

1999 65K

2000 86K

2001 90K

2002 107K

2003 101K

2004 110K

2005 117K

2006 166K

2007 223K

2008 226K

2009 256K

2010 269K

2011 310K

2012 356K

2013 588K

2014 518K

2015 532K

2016 792K

2017 1118K

2018 1278K

I think your retention stock made the biggest difference compared to mine. Maybe it's time for me to try threatening to quit :D


Woah. I’m assuming this comp is mostly stock but wow this still seems insanely high. I suppose “threatened to quit” is the key here?

Still in VA?

Is it typical for senior SWE to make 1.2 million?

How can one reach that point faster?


Staff Engineers at FAANG typically make 400-500k/pa. What made the difference was a retention grant. I got a competing offer and they gave me millions in stock, which I accepted and stayed. After I was fully vested, I basically got lucky and found another big company that had a department that was doing some pretty undisciplined hiring and brought me in at Senior Staff. I'm not really doing the job at that level, but they don't want me to leave, so we're in stasis. After the initial grant runs out this will stabilize at ~700k.

I don't know how to repeat what I did. I think retention grants are rarer than they used to be. However, once you get to Staff, you have a lot of negotiating leverage. I received multiple offers with initial grants over 2 million.

Build relationships, progress your career, get good at whiteboard interviews, and change jobs more often to make progress.


Do you think it's possible and that your advice is still applicable if one doesn't have a degree?

Is there a glass ceiling?


Any advice on changing jobs faster in Cal but not bay area? For example, remote positions?

How often you changed jobs? And what kind of work do you do?

I've only changed jobs three times. I should have changed a lot more. I do iOS dev these days.

Says he moved to NorCal in 2005. I’d wager this is not typical, even for the Bay Area.

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