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Poll: How much do you make as a programmer?
222 points by vaksel on Oct 23, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 147 comments
What are the salaries like out there? I've decided to have 2 tiers, one for those who live in high cost of living areas (California, New York etc, anywhere it costs $2K+/mo for a 1 bed room) and for those who live in less expensive areas (Idaho/Kentucky etc).

And what do you do for your salary?

$100K-150K - high
737 points
$75K-100K - high
586 points
$50-75K - high
435 points
$50-75K - low
424 points
$75K-100K - low
341 points
less than $50K - low
323 points
less than $50K - high
308 points
$100K-150K - low
283 points
$150K+ - high
238 points
$150K+ - low
134 points

This poll exemplifies the problem with all of these polls: it doesn't say what it's measuring. I would put in vastly different numbers for base salary vs base salary + bonuses + shares + other benefits.

I see the same on Glassdoor on elsewhere. The bigger problem is the people volunteering such information have differing views on what to put making such information mostly useless.

Also, if life has taught me nothing else, people lie about their incomes, even anonymously.

I agree. I put less than $50k, but I also only work part-time (by choice-the money I make is enough for my needs, so I'd rather have the free time than the extra cash), which doesn't really get factored in and just makes it seem like I work for really low pay.

Agree totally. For instance, I could never figure out if these American polls take pension deductions into account. Where I live, the employer pays additional ~20% on top of base salary into various pension/saving funds, but since everyone gets it, it isn't taken into consideration when comparing salaries. I always wondered if seeing a quoted $100K salary in the US - does it include these pension payments or not.

My guess is that in general no, because for programmers, typically, there isn't any pension.

However, there's something called 401k which is a type of retirement account. You can contribute to it through pre-tax contribution directly from your paycheck. It's fairly common for employers to match a certain amount to what employees contribute. Some might match 100%, some 5%, some up to a certain amount, some have some vesting period, etc.

So that's one thing that is worth taking into account when comparing job offers, because if you plan on contributing $15k a year to your retirement account, if a company matches 100%, that more or less means an extra $15k a year.

So some people might include that if asked of their overall benefits, some might not…

there's something called 401k which is a type of retirement account. You can contribute to it through pre-tax contribution directly from your paycheck

That sounds very similar to a lot of private sector pension schemes that operate in EU member states, e.g. Ireland.

Fully 12.4% of nearly every American's income is going to Social Security, which is a national pension scheme. (er...national Ponzi scheme)

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation.

Social Security is a social insurance program that is primarily funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.

[above are copy/pastes from Wikipedia]

Back when the demographics worked, Paul Samuelson said that Social Security was a ponzi scheme. Yup, Samuelson with a Nobel prize in Econ.

However, there are a couple of differences. Ponzi schemes are voluntary and you only lose the money you put in. Neither is true of SS.

Why do some people defend the system so vehemently? It's a funds-in, funds-out scheme. New 'investors' are required to pay out old 'investors'.

I agree that 'fraudulent' is inflammatory but to pretend SS is some type of insurance or pension fund is just gilding the lily.

I think everyone would be better off if everyone was just honest about what Social Security is, and what it will be if the contribution/payout ratios start to skew badly. It's belief in financial impossibilities that get people into problems.

> Why defend the system so vehemently He wasn't. He was stating specifically how it worked.

>I think everyone would be better off if everyone was just honest about what Social Security is Calling it a ponzi scheme doesn't accomplish this goal.

You're right - I'm fixing the wording on my comment. I was associating the wrong comment with my reply.

If you remove "fraudulent" from the definition of Ponzi scheme, it accurately describes Social Security. It's an unnecessarily inflammatory way to note that current beneficiaries are funded by new inductees, which is generally a problematic funding structure.

Please stop commenting on this topic until you have the slightest damn idea of what you're talking about.


First of all, that article doesn't refute my point that Social Security is an "investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors."

Secondly, the points the article does try to make are wrong, and the very first comment on it explains most of it. The article also suggests that things are just fine since the government can just raise taxes or reduce benefits to eliminate the problem, but doing so fundamentally breaks the promises that have been made to enrollees. You can fix the finances of any government program by paying less or charging more taxes, so it's kind of a silly argument. Social Security will probably exist forever, but its financial structure requires promises to be broken when population growth rates change (that is, when the rate of new inductees into the scheme slows).

This is off topic; I'm done talking about it.

Shhh! When you say "Ponzi Scheme" people think you're saying "fraud" and get upset because they think you're taking way their free money!

The mechanics are similar, but the motivations are different - in a Ponzi Scheme, the numbers need to keep growing to keep paying out ever-increasing amounts, otherwise people will abandon the scheme. The payouts from Social Security will go down (or inflation will eat them, or some other equivalent) if less gets put in; but it won't kill the scheme. Young people will still put money in, because they have no choice.

Social Security isn't a magic pot of gold. Nobody believes it is. It's welfare that's designed to give more welfare to the people who contributed more when they are able, and less to the people who didn't contribute.

What's a pension payment? :)

I don't see it being that complicated. Just respond with your gross yearly pay, as seen on your paychecks. This works fine for anyone except perhaps co-founders are very early employees that don't receive a traditional paycheck.

I might have polluted the poll, but I didn't see it being US-only so I voted (less than 50k, "low" cost of living though some things are ridiculously expensive, it's not apples to apples).

My gross pay is more than twice my take-home pay (and my paycheck is monthly, not biweekly), I know Europeans face the same (and on top of that, I pay 22% sales tax on everything and 60% to 100% import tax).

Social Security and friends in the US are approximately 7.5% deduction from an employees "advertised" income, plus about the same on top of (called the "employer's portion") that is not advertised as part of the salary. It is a bizarre format.

Social Security is 6.2% employer, 6.2% employee...but most economists would say that the employee pays both halves, since the cost is directly related to a specific person's job. (this year there's a temporary cut in the employee half as a stimulus measure)

There's also a similar 50/50 Medicare payroll tax that totals 2.9% of each worker's salary.

Total hit on most Americans for both programs is 15.3% of gross income.

What's scary is that is nowhere near enough revenue to sustain either.

As a self-employed person, I have to cover both halves. It's a bit of a shock when it's taken out on top of income tax.

I apologize for commenting on a downvote, but what I wrote was a simple and accurate answer to parent's question, with only a mild bit of opinion at the end.

I think that dilemma is probably far less significant for non-Googlers. ;)

One key aspect of statistics is randomly sampling, this poll has bias for sure. It is still interesting to see what HNers make with respect to where the live. It would also be interesting to see salary data compared to hours worked per week and self-employed or not.

Plotted against years in business would give me a measure of where I am based upon my experience.

What is the point is this? Sorry for asking, but you are either curious about how much everyone else is making or trying to value yourself in the market.

If you are curious about how much everyone else is making, stop. Just stop. It won't make you feel good. You will feel shitty because I would imagine the HN crowd will show better numbers than america as a whole, or even just your city. To illustrate my point, if you asked me to write this poll, I would add 250K, 500K, 1M tiers here (as there are plenty of people who are making salaries in those ranges)

If you are asking because you want a sense of whether or not you are properly being valued in the market, you have to do two things: try to find another job, and try to ask for a raise. Simple as that. You don't know the skillsets of people who show higher or lower salary figures.

Lastly, salary doesnt help if you dont consider bonus potential and hours work. I'm thinking specifically of finance, where bonuses in most groups dwarf base salary (and in some fields, the per-hour rate looks pitiful, but that's because it demands >100 hrs per week)

There are enormous differences in the productivity of programmers. Even in the area of "good programmers" really good people can be multiple times faster than others. (Also "better" than others, but that's not directly measurable).

So I think it's perfectly reasonable if the salaries of people are assigned directly according to their capabilities. Why should a programmer that is twice as fast as his peers only get 10% or 20% more?

Actually that's one of the reasons why I've moved to the Bay Area. In my home countries things as seniority are the main factors in regard to the salary. In the Bay Area it's exactly the opposite - and that's much more motivating for me.

"Why should a programmer that is twice as fast as his peers only get 10% or 20% more?" <-- Amdahl's law applies here.

It really depends on the industry. Take finance. Having a programmer who can spit out code ten tiems as fast as his compatriots doesn't result in a ten-fold improvement of returns. There's some economic benefit (because there is real value to having better programmers) but don't expect it to be proportional to skill in an industry for which the software isn't the final product/service (or where other aspects, like legal, really drive the business)

"Having a programmer who can spit out code ten times as fast as his compatriots doesn't result in a ten-fold improvement of returns."

Or maybe it does. A programmer using a better algo might save CPU cycles, storage needed, time to complete, or may even do something which would be plainly impossible for an average programmer. So, in the real world, a programmer who is better by 10% actually yields far more than 10 fold improvement of returns. There is significant economic benefit, but they should be clever enough to point it out.

Salary is unfortunately not (jut) about how good you are, and not even how much money you really make for the company, but how much your managers THINK they need to pay you (minimally) to keep you, while still making it all profitable. So it's much more complicated than just making good code or being efficient, it's just not that linear... like with any other job, it's also about your personality, connections, who's your manager and does he appreciate your work properly, what company you work for, what field of work, etc.

And in general, supply/demand curves are also not necessarily linear. A 10% reduction in the supply of oil could result in a tripling of the price. A 10% reduction in the supply of "awesome programmers" might cause a large increase in their salary, or a small one.

> I would add 250K, 500K, 1M tiers here (as there are plenty of people who are making salaries in those ranges)

I highly doubt you'll find "plenty" of people, here or elsewhere, making more than $250k a year as a programmer.

The shortcomings of this poll have been outlined by others.

You might be interested by this:

* as a high score / pissing contest result. Then whatever the figure, you'll never be satisfied: either you don't mak enough, then you'll feel terrible; or you're making more than your reference group, but then you'll soon change the reference group you're comparing yourself to, and you'll go back to step one until you find yourself feeling terrible.

* as a genuine measure of your well-being, presumably to estimate the appropriateness of changing jobs. Then you probably underestimate non-monetary factors. First, you probably have fun working: that's worth a couple hundreds K$ IMO. Then, the ways money goes out matter at least as much as money coming in: I make a bit more than 50K€ in Europe, which is below the American average for my skills; but I don't have a student loan to repay, I won't have to pay for my kids' education either, I have world-class "socialist healthcare", I can get a nice house for about 250-300K, there's little criminality to be afraid of, I'd need to kill then rape my boss' kids to get fired, I work about 210 days a year...

What kind of conclusions do you expect to draw from this poll?

There's too much whining on this thread. It's clearly limited to the US. Are there other places on the planet? Sure. Go get your own poll. As for total comp, assume it's what's listed as your gross pay on your tax return. There you go, easy. Is it restricted to HN folk? Yes. Do they make more than others? Probably. Does it matter? No.

One gentleman created a poll several months back; he had a google doc where people punched in similar kinds of information. Analytics were promised. I cannot find the link - does anyone remember this, or know what happened?

Edit: here is the link. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2763932

My best suggestion is glassdoor.com for this kind of information. And that resource is not limited to HN participants.

I'm still hoping he'll release that geographical data...

A side note: It took me 6 years of entrepreneurship to be able to pay myself the same salary I was making as an employee programmer.

Not everyone works in the US - fairly narrow minded view of the world?

This poll was clearly designed to canvas United States cities, even if it wasn't explicitly stated. Is that narrow-minded? I don't think so. If I happened upon a poll on a Russian tech site that mentioned Omsk and Moscow and St. Petersburg, I'd assume it was a national poll. And then I'd move on.

Perhaps it's narrow-minded to assume that a poll on a U.S.-based tech site should by default be global in scope?

Audience defines the scope of the site, not the country where it is hosted.

a U.S.-based tech site

This is a US based tech site? News to me. I thought it was a global site.

"US-based" means located in the US.

Cost of living varies dramatically across the globe as does currency value.

To make it truly a global poll, I suppose he should have asked how units, x, of a mixed basket of local goods, b, could you buy per year worked. xb = only possible correct statement of income.

You come up with b and repost the poll if you so desire.

Perhaps ... how many Big Macs you can buy. :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index


Lulziest comment of the year ++

Completely agree. Let's globalise in some data then.

I live in South Korea and work as a programmer. I am making about half what I was making in Australia but I pay 3% in tax, I'm living rent free and my costs are ridiculously low. My disposable income (that is the remaining funds after bills, food, accommodation and other necessities are taken out) is about 2k USD per month (twice what it was in Australia). My costs are low. I know other people here who can live on less than $500/month for rent, food, alcohol, entertainment, the lot. Money isn't really important to me right now because I have no debt, and living and working abroad makes up for lower pay. I'm still quite young so the way I view it is that this is more of a learning experience and I am gaining far more marketable, diverse and useful skills. Learning how other cultures run businesses and do capitalism is a very valuable skill.

I'm sure others have similar anecdotes.

So create your own poll for the region you're interested in.

He didn't say everyone does.

You don't need to ask. The government has already done the polling. http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/compub.htm#CA Look for "Software Engineer - Applications"

Thanks for the effort, but I don't think this kind of plot is appropriate to the type of data. A bar chart would be more useful.

I can't edit the post, so here's an update (bar by popular demand):


Thank you very much - I don't understand why HN doesn't have at least a bar graph by default.

Why wouldnt you use a barchart?

Even in SF it doesn't always cost 2k+ for a 1 bedroom.

I commute to SF on a weekly basis and stay in a hotel because it's cheaper than an apartment. And my bed gets made every day.

Edit: $65/day including tax * 13 days/month ~= $850. Allowing for holidays, vacation and occasional work from home. It's decent, better than Motel 6, more like Best Western. I got a good rate because I negotiated it years ago. It's outside SF itself, but I use Bart.

Really? How much is the hotel? If it's $100/night, which I don't think gets you a very good hotel, and you stay 20 nights a month, that's already $2000.

There are some extended stay hotels that are cheaper. I'm not sure about SF but I know around where I live you can get a studio/kitchen/living space for $700 a month.

But then again you can live in a fancy apartment downtown in the heart of things for around $1.2k a month.

By the heart of things, do you mean the Tenderloin?

Haha no, but that is funny. I am talking about Greenville, SC. As I did say I wasn't sure about SF.

The SF situation is completely different. Padmapper shows studios ranging from 1400-1900 depending on your distance from the financial district, and areas really close (SOMA) have few openings, mostly 1-2 bedrooms in towers (3000+ easy).

Living outside the city isn't too bad, south of SF you can find 1 bedrooms for ~1200 if you don't mind a 30+ minute commute (traffic/train), or Oakland there's plenty of 1br/studios for ~1000, but you deal with higher crime and a social stigma that you live in Oakland.

Seems a lot of people get fooled by the average prices on Padmapper.

But the reality is that expensive apartments stay on the site longer than cheap apartments. So the "average" prices are likely to be higher than the real average.

It takes some time to find a reasonable apartment however.

I've was apartment-hunting for one month each weekend and finally found a huge $1350 a month studio in Nob Hill (that's nearly the size of a one-bedroom). If you don't have that much time to look for apartments the rent will be much higher of course.

The unit next door to me has been on the market for some time - it was upgraded to include a washer/dryer - new paint, refinished hardwood floors and replaced kitchen appliances.

It is really nice, a one bedroom, parking and pets allowed: $2,600

I have a 2-bedroom and have been looking for a 3-bedroom...

The rents are crazy.

There was a beautiful 3-bedroom little house near me; they wanted $7200 per month with a $10,000 deposit! WTF.

If you think San Francisco rents are expensive I suggest you don't move to Manhattan.

I live in a (true) one bedroom second-storey walkup in Chelsea, which actually has a new kitchen and bathroom (renovations made after the last tenant left to get it out of rent stabilization) and pay $2,000 a month for it.

And that actually seems to be a pretty good deal.

For a decent building (one with an elevator where you don't hear everything your neighbours do through the walls, ceilings and floors) in this area it gets closer to $3k+ a month and can easily get to $4k+.

Still, work is a 7 minute walk away and I live in Manhattan. That's hard to beat.

"Still, work is a 7 minute walk away and I live in Manhattan. That's hard to beat."

For you obviously. Some people don't want to live in a big city, or especially some place like Manhattan. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

I live in the mountains in Colorado, work from home (20 second commute) and pay less per month for my mortgage. So for me THATS hard to beat.

Please tell me how you found a renovated walk-up 1BR in Chelsea for $2k :)

A good broker is worth their exorbitant fee.

The way I see it a broker should be doing one of two things (or preferably both):

1. Saving you time in finding an apartment; and/or

2. Saving you money.

It took two afternoons (in January this year) to find this apartment. When I saw it was being renovated so I had no idea what it would look like but it was a decent size (~500 sqft), on a nice street off 8th Avenue and only up one flight on stairs so I took it on the spot and was happy with how it worked out.

But I spoke to three brokers. One was useless and showed me things I could've found myself. This is particularly true of the larger buildings in, say, Midtown West, where you just inquire with the front desk about vacancies. But this apartment I found before it had shown up on the managing agent's website.

Looking in winter helps too (apparently).

The noise thing bothers me slightly. Like the codger below me likes to bang on the ceiling if he thinks I'm making too much noise (nevermind, you know, the stream of traffic and people walking by outside). This has including me having the "audacity" to put on a duvet cover at 11pm on a Tuesday. I'm not sure he realizes who has the power in this relationship since I live above him but anyway...

It would be nice to have an apartment where noise wasn't a factor and I've had a look around at to see what else my money could get me and, honestly, I think I'd need to spend $2700/month to get something that would obviously be better.

So I guess I'm staying put. :)

Interesting hearing your positive experience with the broker. I had a lot of trouble using brokers when I first arrived. I ended up finding my rennovated Greenwich Village 1BR on Craigslist for $2,500 which was $500-$1,000 less than similar quality apartments that the brokers were showing me (On top of their 15% fee!)

Noise is a huge problem as well. Lots of NYU kids in this neighborhood who are out at all hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. But the far West Village is like 50% more so I'm going to be staying put for the time being :)

A good broker in Manhattan is like a unicorn.

Depends on where you live in Manhattan. When I was there in 2006 I lived in Harlem and paid approx. $1000 a month. And with the express trains it only took a couple of minutes to get anywhere.

I'm in a 1 bedroom in SF and it's a base price of $2500 for rent. It just depends on how nice the apartment is and which neighborhood you're in.

Why am I being downvoted for this??

In the east bay even i pay 1900/m for 550 sqft Studio+

What? That is insane. That is more than my mortgage and I have property and a big house in the East Bay.

I also live in a nice neighborhood.

Do you live within 2 blocks of UC Berkeley?

Albany/Berkeley border. Prices are through the roof here due to the school system

Wow. I lived in Point Richmond in a 3 bedroom, with utilities included for $1,500. Now I live in Denver and pay $1,200 for my mortgage of a 4 bedroom.

Agreed - location is a good indicator. I make good money for my area, but cost of living is highest in the country and salaries are higher in other areas.

Location is huge. I live in Michigan and make considerably less than friends that live elsewhere. My rent is also almost 1000 dollars cheaper per month.

So if you get something more than a $24'0000 (($1000*12 months)/.55 after tax income) raise to account for the $1k rent difference, would you go for it?

Depends on where you live. I paid $1200 for a studio apt. in A2, and it can go even higher the closer to downtown you live.

Aye, I rent a 3br house in downtown Ypsi (5 miles away for non-locals) for $1000/month.

"Considerable" is unclear, it'd be easy to cover a 1k/mo spread under my definition of "considerable".

The friends that I would say make considerably more than me could cover it easily. I have others who only make a bit more than me but cost of living is more than offsets it.

This sort of poll teeters on the edge of meaninglessness: you're only considering income and location.

Experience and type of work matter, as does actual ability - and good luck polling on that. Company size is also a factor (actual ability seems to affect pay less as the company gets larger, in my experience).

It would be fun to maps this data against geographic regions and index that against cost of living.. Except those of us in the bay area would discover that while we make $120k-$150k, our houses cost 4-6x what it costs for those who make $80-$120k in the midwest. Then we would all cry.

Or, you could use PayScale's data to find this out.


These salary polls are getting very tiresome.

OP should look at this thread. Relevant and very interesting about CS/EE salaries. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3141716

Please clarify whether this is base pay or total compensation.

base pay + bonuses + current value of stock options

pretty much anything minus benefits

what is "benefits"?

medical, dental, discounted gym memberships etc

~$5k/year Vietnamese programmer with 3 years experience, living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Not bad, huh?

There should really be a choice between areas with "high" 1br-costs-2000-a-month cost of living and Idaho/Kentucky.

Seattle kind of falls between the two, for example.

Along with almost all of the greater NYC area outside of Manhattan as well.


You must live in a low cost area, because you're overestimating the rent in high cost areas.

I live in New York City (Manhattan, even) and believe me, you can get a one bedroom for less than $2000 a month (in Manhattan, even!). And certainly you can't put the entire state of California into the "expensive" category.

> you can get a one bedroom for less than $2000 a month (in Manhattan, even!)

Some might think you're including Harlem, Washington Heights, etc. I pay <$1600 for a 1BR in Murray Hill (midtown).

I don't want to highjack this post but after reading through all the comments here I decided to create a new poll with more information. Check it out : http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3157719

Rails and everything in between

net or gross? and what about specify state? USA is not the same as France or India

These numbers are meaningless outside the US.

And I don't just mean taxes. Cost of living, housing, healthcare, insurances, transportation, social security, all of these things are so vastly different outside the US. It's pointless to compare US salaries to those in France or India.

It's even different inside the US. For example, my company currently pays all health care costs for me (in addition to the salary). But as I understand with many other (small?) companies you have to pay for the insurance yourself.

The correlation between company size and amount of insurance premium paid by the company isn't very strong in my experience, at least for tech companies. The smallest percentage I paid was at the smallest company, actually.

It's got more to do with the attitude of management, but oddly, even the companies that pay all or almost all of the premiums don't seem to discuss that.

From the numbers people seem to put in their gross income.

I would find it interestin to see how much is taken away by the goverment for different salaries and locations.

In Germany, the government takes away roughly 50% of your income.

Last line is bs. Its not "the government". Taxes are much less. It includes all kinds of insurances included (medical, unemployment, retirement, etc.)

Normaly I would not answer someone who calls my writing "bs". But since its a public discussion, I want to get the facts straight:

I pay 42% taxes on income.

I pay medical insurance on my own.

I dont have unemployment or retirement insurance.

Are you sure? You need an income of over 300k Euro to reach 42% taxes in Germany. Not saying, that you are not making that much. But sometimes people get confused between marginal and average tax rate.

The highest step is 42%, but overall you pay much less. On the first 8k you pay nothing for instance, then you pay some 20% on the next 20k or so, and so on. The last step is 42% for everything above 200k or so.

It's not that different for some situations in the US. When you add federal, state, county and township personal & business taxes for me (self-employed), it comes out to around 40% of my income... and once I spend any of it, the sales tax is 7% here.


Where are you getting these? They look like the marginal tax rates, which don't really tell you all that much.

Where do you get those numbers from? If you're taking the top tax bracket, don't, that tells you absolutely nothing about an individual's effective tax rate.

In NYC you will pay about 50% of your gross income if you are just barely qualify for the marginal top tax bracket. Of course these numbers mean squat for your own personal situation:

Federal - ~25% effective, not marginal

State - 8%

Local - 4%

Payroll - 13% on the first 100k or so. 2.5% on the rest.

Sales Tax - 9%

This kind of poll would be more useful if you made it bi or trivariate. Years experience is an important tie-in, and highest level of education could reveal interesting trends.

I see only a slight problem with this poll. There is no option for exactly $0. This is the only truly appropriate option for me, less than $50k still implies I make >$0.

Hmm, Toronto doesn't belong in the low tier alongside Idaho and Kentucky, but I don't think it costs $2k+ for a one bed either. We need a mid-tier on this poll. :)

You need to be a lot more specifc. Before or after taxes? Count benefits? Bonuses? Deferred payment? Freelance or employer? ...

184 people are underpaid and living in poverty.

Why not (for future polls) just have everyone lookup and subtract the cost of living from their gross salary?

Is the low, high - some sort of sampling method to measure peoples likelihood to estimate on the high side?

i wouldn't say it's as low as country living, but it's not quite 2k/mo for a 1 bedroom

Is there a UK version of this?

40k :(


How much do I make? Sometimes, I simply can't put a price on what I do.

Two years ago, I was kidnapped by monkeys, who appeared to be in a trance. They took me to the top of the Swayambhunath Buddhist complex, in Kathmandu. I was told that this was the Monkey Temple. As a monk translated the wishes of the holy monkeys, I discovered that I was required to rewrite the OS of their ancient computer, which had failed to reboot, back in 1839. Since then, they had searched the world for a programmer competent to handle the situation. They were about to give up, as they stumbled onto me, and realized that I was the reincarnation of ChiChu Gomptar, the lead programmer for the CS monkey gang, which had served their monkey king, the creator of this computer. I was flummoxed by its design, as it was made of smooth stones, uniform beads, colored sand, and wooden levers inlaid with gold. I told them that I couldn't remember anything from my past life. They gave me something to smoke, saying that it would connect me, through the eternal ether, to my previous memories.

It did, and after 25 days of extreme programming, of which I recall no details, I had completed the monumental task. I stood up, and ceremoniously dropped the special IPL bead onto the machine, which then awoke from its 170-year slumber with a mighty roar. The holy monkeys were pleased. They handed over a small golden box, with mysterious carvings. It seemed empty, and I was told not to open it unless my circumstances had become truly dire. I thanked them, both for the box, and for the tremendous experience. Unfortunately, I was not able to sell them continued maintenance for their new OS, but that was mostly due to their language not having the word "maintenance". Anyway, I have those memories, and this box to use when things go really bad, plus the always-present hope of future adventure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swayambhunath http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial_Program_Load

This made my morning. You should write a gonzo-style programming epic. It reminds me that some of what we do might as well be magic to the people that hire us and unlike in past cultures where we'd be anointed as medicine men and revered as holy, we're given gilt boxes by monkeys.

It's also reminscent of this Arthur C. Clarke story. http://hermiene.net/short-stories/nine_billion_names_of_god....

Thank you.

This is one of the funniest comments I've ever read! You should write short stories / books (or maybe you do?)

I will assume everyone is too proud to comment that those thresholds are ridiculously high. I work in and I interact with people from different european countries. I'm sorry if I sound like a party pooper, but I would say over 75% of the developers I know make less than 50k€. Many, me included, make much less tan that.

I don't know what all you guys do, but I've had a few average developers jobs and the numbers are much smaller than those pointed on this thread. And I wouldn't say I'm particularly low-payed.

This sort of poll is better conducted anonymously. I'm happy to discuss this stuff anonymously but don't want people I know Googling my name some time in the future.

Also interesting to know would be how much people augment their day-job salary income with side-work (consulting or micro-businesses).

How is this poll not anonymous?

The poll is, but the comments aren't - OP requested information on what we do for our paycheck, which I'd be more inclined to provide if I could do so without it being related to my (real) posting name.

... make a new account?


Pervasive lack of transparency regarding going rates helps people use differential access to market data to exploit young engineers, pervasively. All else equal, we should probably strive to decrease exploitation of the disadvantaged side in that relationship.

Put another way: some kids are grauduating with CS degrees and taking $25k offers, because they think doing otherwise would be impolite.. That is messed up.

Yeah, I got stuck with this when I started out. Cost of living is low where I live and tech jobs were few. The worst part is that companies will use your salary history against you while you're climbing out of this hole.

companies will use your salary history against you

Then get a new job and don't tell the prospective employer your old salary.

I honestly don't care what your salary is, but I think there are things to gain from disclosing.

For one thing, we need developers (we meaning people with unmet information needs, which is pretty much all of us) and advertising how stupidly, absurdly high the salaries are might encourage kids to jump in and give it a go.

For another, I don't really think that any of us is "entitled" to this money, and we can't consense as a group about what these salaries should be--how this money would be distributed in a just world--unless we know what they are.

The problem with this is that the high-end of programming salaries is the low-end of, e.g. medical salaries. Yes, there is more to it than that, but on this axis alone, programming actually does not come out on top. Those inclined to seek "absurdly high salaries" are inclined to skip over programming.

So you're saying because the greediest of kids won't be tempted by programmer salaries that those salaries won't tempt anyone?

ethically opposed to opening allowing fellow workers get a rough outline of what their skills might be worth?

> I gain nothing from helping others, but everything from people helping me.


Then just read the comments and/or skip to the next HN story. It's not like HN will ban you if you don't post your tax returns here,

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