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In my case, finance. It's really not hard to make $300k/yr and the sky is the limit if you learn how to help generate revenue. You can do this in just a couple years easily. The problem is that (for me at least) the work is not satisfying (or worse) and the culture is terrible. Most people don't last all that long or aren't very happy.

The other way I've earned significant compensation is by being hired at a senior level, a VP of Dev or really any very senior technical position. At a company with money, these roles can easily make $200k in base salary, and much more with bonuses/equity.

The thing to keep in mind I think is that inflation is a very big factor. Making $120k in 2003 is effectively the same as making $150k in 2013. The numbers keep getting bigger, so $200k salaries really aren't that extravagant.

And it doesn't matter how much you make if you don't save. Plenty of $200k earners save less than $100k earners do. Anyone who can save $50k/yr is going to be a very happy camper in the future, and most young people could easily do that on $120k if they wanted to.

Keep in mind the housing price. Making 200k on a 1.5 million house is significantly poorer than $150k on a 300k house. All your extra incomes goes towards interest payments and then some.

Inflation have been crazy for the last decade, salary is finally starting to catch up, especially this year.

You know things are getting good when recruiters email out the salary numbers on initial contact.

> Inflation have been crazy for the last decade, salary is finally starting to catch up, especially this year.

Not really. Housing prices raised significantly in a few markets (the SF Bay area a prime example), but inflation has been average for the past decade. That makes sense considering we had a recession, it canceled out high inflation years like 2007.


House prices aren't part of inflation, are they? Generally, economists assume that a house is an asset, and rent (or if people own houses, the rent they would pay) goes to the inflation figures.

From the FAQ on your link:

> Housing: rent of primary residence, owners’ equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture, etc.

So house prices aren't included, just imputed rent.

Not significantly....

5% (interest rate plus property taxes) of 1.2M = $60K

Borrowing money is cheap recently.

Yeah but after a boom and bust cycle, the guy at the 300k house will weather it fine while the 1.5m guy will be bankrupt and lose everything.

> It's really not hard to make $300k/yr

Disagree. If you have an easy recipe feel free to share :). You have to be a front office VP to be guaranteed this kind of money. Aleynikov made 400k as a senior VP working on HFT infrastructure at Goldman.

You can do that at a place like Microsoft:

1) Get hired in at a 62 or 63

2) Steady promotions (you are good technically, work well with people, and pick good projects, and -- hardest of all -- your management chain doesn't suck) for a few years, until you hit L65 (Principal level)

3) Stock awards over the next 5 years take care of the rest

Microsoft? Sure you can make that, but you have to get to a good group, or you have to have psychopathic personality. Have fun competing with your peers for "visibility"

Er, what is a 62 or 63. Pay grade?

They are called levels, that's the senior band pretty much.

Is there stack ranking even at level 62? :)

Oh yes. They lump levels together in "bands" and you're basically competing with your peers for slots. The ranking has forced buckets, so someone always gets screwed. It's about as fucked up as you're thinking right now.

Seriously, there are groups who actually hire people to fall into the seven percent "knucklehead" bucket, so that none of the (presumably) good employees need to be fired.

I don't miss that stuff at all.

Sounds hard :)

Learning how to create, add, or magnify value is the single most important any contractor or employee needs in any industry.

Sadly, very few get it.

I looked for your contact info in your profile, since a buddy of mine who is brilliant is looking into getting into quant/finance work. I'm going to introduce him to friends of mine in the industry, but all my contacts are in Brazil and it's good for him to meet people in the US as well. His strength is C#, C++ and C, but he picks up new languages quickly. He worked as a key engineer on the CLR team at Microsoft for a while. Ping me via my personal info if I can introduce you to him.

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