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.
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.
I want to make music. I think of music all the time. Whenever I made music I was passionate about it.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Not even remotely. These days the arts are for trust fund kids or risk-takers, not those aspiring to be middle class.
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.
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.
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.
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 . 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).
 https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html -- read the section "In Comments"
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.
That’s a sad bookending :(
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of people don't feel this way. Their solution is to increase their salary (and benefits) at the ballot box.
I do something I hate enough to walk in with a sword and fight it every day.
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.
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.
So, material things and holidays? All that says is that those things are cheaper for people outside of the UK.
I like the quote but sorry the Dalai Lama never said it:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Are there unified E.U. rules about it or does it change from country to country ?
Happy to talk more if you want- my email is in my profile.
Good for you, but I can't imagine risking my options for the later portion of my life like that.
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)
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
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.
Normally it seems it's 2-3% and if you want more you jump ship...
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 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?
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'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.
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.
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)
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?
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).
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..
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.
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!
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
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?
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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)?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: am a hiring manager at Atlassian, so obviously I am biased (though currently hiring in the US market).
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.
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
South Australia $75,369
New South Wales $83,517
Northern Territory $86,762
Western Australia $90,496
Capital Territory $94,224
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.
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.
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.
I'm talking about Atlassian, Canva, Google, AWS, IMC, Optiver.
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.
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".
I can tell you however, that is not a normal run-of-the-mill pay-scale for a Uni graduate.
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.
2016 60k First Job
2017 70k Second Job
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, “”, “”
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.
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
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
Social and cultural activities £90.08
Housing costs say £650 a month for a mortgage 
£2.5k a month, or a net of £30k, that's a single income of £42k a year 
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 
(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%)
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.
This is more than some tenured research faculty. How the heck did you make so much in academia?
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.
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)
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.
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
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%.
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.
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.
I don't think my success is necessarily repeatable, I just happened to see some opportunities and seize them. I've been fortunate.
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)
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?
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.
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.
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.)
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. 
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... 
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. 
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.
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.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email email@example.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
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... 
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. 
"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. . Less stock in Maryland, 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.
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. . Less stock in Maryland, 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. 
> 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. :-)
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. 
I was filtering apartments out, but there are quite a few in Brooklyn and Queens as well.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* 2017 $1,259,000 Senior Staff Software Engineer
* 2016 $661,000 time off
* 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
* 2002 $76,000 Software Engineer II
* 2001 $102,000
* 2000 $59,000
* 1999 $55,000 Software Engineer, Northern VA
I think your retention stock made the biggest difference compared to mine. Maybe it's time for me to try threatening to quit :D
Is it typical for senior SWE to make 1.2 million?
How can one reach that point faster?
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.
Is there a glass ceiling?