Finance sucks compared to tech if youre smart

mike78787's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 248

I used to always read this website and be so hyped on going into finance. I ended up getting a job at a quant fund and made good money ~250 - 275k. The fund acted like they were doing me a favor by even allowing me to be in their presence. All of my friends who went into tech ended up making more with less hours, less stress, and better work environments. So I quit and joined a FAANG company. Senior engineers are pulling down anywhere from 375k-650k. This is before stock increases. Everyone that joined tech five years ago as a senior engineer ended up making 500k+ lots of people over 700k. The comp has only been going up on the upper end, the work is only getting more interesting and intricate.

If youre smart and can pass an algorithms interview, tech companies are almost always better in the long run than finance. Finance is a shit career that was once good. The number of people who actually make it in banking and hedge funds is so fucking small. Youre so replaceable, you need perfect job history for the top firms, almost always an ivy undergrad, etc. Its pure fucking trash. Tech will hire people who have the talent, regardless of their background or work history. This website is pushing a bullshit fantasy that was true from like 1995 - 2007. Passive management is going to destroy all these prestige obsessed bullshitters who are running funds.

Pay scales for FAANG:

150-200k for new grads

225k - 300k for 2 - 4 years experience

350k - 525k for 6/7-10+ yoe experience

as just a regular software engineer.

If you manage a team, a product, or become a director/VP your pay is way higher. Fuck finance, fuck 100 hours a week, and this scam of an industry that needs to disappear. You arent going to get rich at goldman

Comments (157)

Nov 13, 2019

This is more of a generalization based on one person's opinion, and therefore isn't an accurate description of the situation. Yes, it is true that many people go into finance just for the money, and I don't deny that. However, there are still many people that do finance because they like the work and are passionate about, me being one of those people. It is also true that many people start out in tech and eventually switch to finance, not only because the money is good, but because they like the work. In all honesty, no one can really say whether tech or finance is "better" than the other, it just depends on which you like better. I hope that people do what really interests them, and don't just do it for the money. And here ends my dissertation.

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Nov 13, 2019

My point was that people go into it for the money, but the money is mostly a fallacy. People do make money in this industry, but if you run the numbers on it, finance is an extremely small world.

Nov 13, 2019

What I'm trying to say is that not everyone goes into finance for the money, many do it because they like it

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Nov 14, 2019

but your main point is about salary

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Nov 13, 2019

I don't care, good luck

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Nov 13, 2019

lmfao

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Nov 14, 2019

who's birthday is it?

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

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Dec 4, 2019

BALD EAGLES!

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Nov 13, 2019

I would go into tech...and then I took the Data Structures and Algorithms class in college, and I didn't understand jack shit. You act like anyone can study computer science/coding and be good at it and pass a FAANG interview. The people who usually are at FAANG are extraordinarily smart. The rate of getting an FAANG offer is less than <1%. There's a reason it pays so well--it's hard as shit to do, and do it well

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Nov 13, 2019

I thought the main reason it paid well was because of the absurd profits generated by these companies and their market dominance. Though, it does sound more appropriate and politically correct to say it's paid well because it's "hard as shit."

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Nov 14, 2019

Haha I would say it's about 70% the factors you stated, and about 30% of the other

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Nov 13, 2019

In the long term would a senior quant make more than a senior engineer because they can earn a % of the PNL??

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Nov 13, 2019

If you ran back the last decade, a senior engineer in tech made more. With stock appreciation and high comp, tech paid more than finance. Theres a rare few quants who make a few million a year, but thats only a couple at every firm.

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Nov 13, 2019

Long-term, doing work you enjoy will lead to higher pay.

Nov 14, 2019

Crazy folks don't grasp that

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Nov 19, 2019

yup. It's really hard to be world-class at something you don't like. You might be passable at something you are disinterested in, if the comp is good enough. But to be really world class, and make it to the top of an industry? You gotta be genuinely interested in it - and ideally inspired and driven by its intrinsic challenges to be truly great at your craft.

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Funniest
Nov 13, 2019

Virgin tech hippie vs. Chad finance bro

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Nov 13, 2019

Like I said it depends on what you want to do. I would never go into tech because I know that I wouldn't like the work associated with it. I went into finance because I love the work and the field, I always have. It just depends on the person.

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Nov 13, 2019

I guess but it's not like anyone can just code. Google search C++ or R programming..yeah I'm mentally unable to do that.

Or you could do tech sales if your a normal person and make that money.

Nov 13, 2019

If coding is too hard for you, you probably going to make it to the top of some hedge fund

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Nov 13, 2019

You're right luckily I don't work in finance.

Nov 15, 2019

Looks like I initally misread your post, thanks for thinking I'll make it to the top of a hedgefund.

Regardless you're most likely an asshole in real life.

Nov 13, 2019

Can I ask if you are one of those people who gets a 1600 on their SAT first try or has a 97+ average at a minimum. I know people like this, and they are far and few between. There are a select few people who are at that level of intelligence, and I believe many of them see computer science basics as easy and are able to apply them to extremely complex problems and projects without getting overwhelmed, overworked, or burned out. This may be your definition of "smart" and if it is, that is great for you. You can be at the forefront of new technologies and solve complex problems that not many others really can. However, I do think the vast majority of people in finance and even the world are a similar intelligence level, and even the people who get into Ivy League undergrad are people with the environment, guidance, dedication, and work ethic that can get them there, not necessarily because of their intelligence. What proportion of people with your capabilities do you think exist? I'm genuinely curious, as I believe many people would choose lower hours and being at the forefront of tech and higher pay over a passion for finance, but it feels as though so many would not be able to achieve that.

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Nov 21, 2019

well said

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Nov 22, 2019

I think this is one of the most level headed responses in this thread. In undergrad I got a double degree in math and computer science. I will admit that shortly after meeting someone new, it's common for them to make a remark about my intelligence without knowing any of my life details. But I would assume that people who have the capability of getting into something like an ivy league school or a hedge fund, have the capability of passing a tech interview.

The interview problems are like an undergrad calculus course. Upon working the problem sets for the first time, calculus seems impossible. But then you learn about u substitution, or some trigonometric trick that solves a certain class of problems. And then all the problems reduce to knowing the trick. This is how the interviews work, people study really hard, learn all the tricks, and then they get hired. It helps if you have a natural affinity for programming, but in a similar manner, almost anyone at a good school can do well in calculus if they try.

The reality is also that very few people at FAANG are solving real computer science problems. Most are doing regular line of business programming, which is more akin to blue collar work. Once you get into Google, theres a second filtering mechanism to actually get on a team thats working on tough computer science problems, the large majority of people hired there never work on anything intellectually difficult.

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Nov 24, 2019

What is a tough computer science problem?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Intern in Other
Nov 29, 2019

@mike78787 Im studying CS+math as well interested, primarily in finance/consulting. I agree with most of what you have said, but have a few comments -

1) While you speak of the lack of intellectually stimulating work in FAANG as a good thing, I think the blue collar programming would get boring and not be something Im motivated to excel at. I perceive that while junior work in finance/consulting could similarly be boring, there is more interesting work down the line.

2) There is less upside and narrower exit opportunities in FAANG vs reputable consulting/finance.

I'm curious if you think these are valid counters.

Nov 13, 2019

amen

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Nov 13, 2019

What you're saying would've been considered absurd 10 years ago, its more true today though, sadly. Certainly the heyday of finance has come and gone and it has slipped into the winner-take-most category, with the entry level employees being worked harder than ever for an ever shrinking chance of rising to the top of their respective pyramid structures (be it on the sell side or buyside). Basically, you have to accept greater competition for comparatively reduced rewards compared to the past.

People at the top in finance are making an absolute killing, greater than pre-crisis in many cases, but it does feel like below that level you'd be better off in "tech" in terms of lifestyle even if you don't make as much in absolute terms. I don't want to paint a rosy picture, but it does seem this way.

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Nov 15, 2019

Right, this exactly. I think most of the responses to my post are completely missing this. If someone were to publish the number of people who actually make it in finance, where making it is defined as many years in a row making more than 7 figures, I would guess the numbers are extremely small. On the order of less than 40,000 people. Maybe less than 20,000. But those in that group can see their comp hit 10 million or more. The trick is that its a terrible life strategy to push for this kind of thing. By the time you graduate college, you will have a good idea if these kinds of roles are in youre future (you have family connections, graduated at the top of your class at Harvard, etc). If youre googling this kind of thing and ending up on this website, finance as a career is not for you.

I gained this intuition when working in quant finance, basically everyone knows everyone, or knows someone who knows someone. The field is so small, the same faces show up. If you fuck up at some fund, it will be obvious to another. Theres really only like 15 - 20 quant funds you could work at. The same head hunters know all the heads of these places, people talk. Areas like VC have it even smaller, where being associate means you will never make partner at your current fund, and have to hope another fund brings you on.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 15, 2019

I'm pretty sure you're just posting this to get reactions because I don't think what you have been saying is accurate. Can't you say the exact same about tech? The number of people who make more than 7 figures several years in a row in tech is tiny.

Again, you are also comparing a financial services industry ravaged by regulations to a tech that hasn't gotten the fat government hammer to the face YET. After regulations, tech will be like any other non-finance industry: healthcare, pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing, etc. Plus, this is not a good long term career anyway. No matter how spectacular you are at coding, there are 10 guys in India and China who could code better for a tenth of the cost.

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  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Nov 14, 2019

Dang, where's LeveragedSellOut bro when you need a video assessment on bankers vs techies!?

Nov 14, 2019

Let's make one

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Nov 14, 2019

Good for you.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 14, 2019

You yourself just admitted that finance in 1995-2007 was the shit. You know what changed? The financial services industry got ravaged by regulations. You think tech is going to keep skirting around that? The fact that the comp is comparable right now isn't good news for the tech industry (in terms of compensation), industry as a whole will probably be fine.

It's a solid career path to choose, but the best and brightest in the world (Ivy League+ kids) are still going into finance, not tech.

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Nov 14, 2019
Analyst 1 in IB - DCM:

It's a solid career path to choose, but the best and brightest in the world (Ivy League+ kids) are still going into finance, not tech.

I'm not sure I agree with that measure. I will concede you get a better hit rate with Ivy League vs unranked state school, sure. I think inherently stating that one group of people is always better and brighter is always going to be proven untrue. Again, the median/ average (from a mathematical perspective) of the Ivy+ will be higher, but not always.

Also, not everyone chases money and prestige. Plenty CalTech and MIT grads go to NASA JPL. Which I suppose is arguably prestigious, but the pay sucks compared to FAANG. It doesn't even come close. The fundamental question is what people want to do with their lives. People are not very adept (myself included) in realizing not everyone wants to be like them.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 14, 2019

I don't disagree with anything you've said, but I do believe you missed the point.

Mr. Mike stated that tech is the best option to go for the money, lifestyle, basically everything. I very much disagree because the fact is: why aren't Ivy League+ (inclusive of Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Oxbridge across the pond, etc. etc. etc.) students (SOME of the best and brightest, not all) swarming to tech then? There's been an increase, but as a recent graduate of one of the above schools, finance is very much still the rage. If finance is significantly worse than tech across the board, then theoretically the best and brightest should be swarming to tech, not finance still.

Nov 14, 2019

https://www.leveragedsellout.com/2014/02/the-book-...
The Book of Graham
Paul-Graham-Y-Combinator

I emailed my 22 year old cousin Eric, who's graduating Summa in Economics from Harvard, to see if he needed any help getting interviews at prestigious financial institutions. I was sure there would be recruiters on campus, but I didn't want to run the risk.

"Paul Graham says prestige is for suckers," he emailed back within 2 minutes. "Paul Graham says I should follow my passion."

"Who's Paul Graham?" I asked. No response.

It turns out Paul Graham runs a "startup accelerator" located on 320 Pioneer Way in Mountain View, CA called Y-Combinator. Y-Combinator makes micro investments into very early stage companies and then helps these companies raise venture capital. Thousands apply for a few slots in two "classes" per year. AirBnB, Dropbox, and Reddit are among its alumni.

The accelerator takes small amounts of risk and offloads that aggregate risk onto a market of investors (the VC's). Its Demo Day, which first showcases its companies, is a coming out event, like an IPO. And it attracts top young graduates, like my cousin, from across the world. I spent nearly a decade on Wall Street, and let's be clear: that's our model. Employing Type A personalities to shuffle around amorphous blobs of questionable value is not called a "startup accelerator"; it's called Investment Banking.

And this guy Paul was about to steal Eric, brainwash him into thinking he was doing something else, and pay him next to nothing.

I could picture Eric at our east coast Christmas dinner in his startup T-Shirt, his sunglasses still on his head. "Every day we wake up and tell ourselves we have to just fail faster," he'd say. My father would have a stroke. In six generations, our family had not failed once. Many Y-Combinator founders pay themselves less than $60k a year, about half of what you make your first year in finance. When I saw my cousin a few weeks later, he was flicking through his iPad. He raised his open hand in the air when I walked over to try to talk some sense into him. "Reading Paul Graham," he said. "YC results in a week."

I didn't have much time.

I looked up Paul Graham's essays. He attacks finance head on. "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy," he says. "It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you'd like to like." Instead, he encourages: "Do what you love."

I researched Y-Combinator companies and found ones like HomeJoy and Prim. "Eric - what do you love more, house cleaning or laundry?" I emailed.

That day, I sent Eric a business class train ticket to come down to New York. We went out to dinner and then to PH-D. Two girls joined us at our table, and Eric asked which one he should go after. "Follow your heart," I encouraged. And when the check came, I passed it to Eric and watched his eyes widen at the total. The host came over, expecting his card. I could see Eric sweat. "Oh, this shouldn't be a problem," I assured him. I turned to the host: "You accept equity, right?" Her face contorted. I elbowed my cousin. "Eric - tell her about your startup."

That night, we were out until 5am, and at 8am, I woke up and saw Eric on his knees on the floor of my living room. His "love" was asleep in a t-shirt on the sofa, and he was hunched over his iPad, rocking back and forth, mumbling to himself. As I got closer, I saw Eric flipping through and reading Paul Graham's essays out loud.

"The danger is when money is combined with prestige," he said. "Odds are you just think whatever you're told." "Hackers and Painters are both makers." He repeated that: "Hackers and painters are both makers."

I kicked him with the side of my foot. "What are you doing, dude?" I said. The girl on the sofa rustled, but Eric stayed in his trance. I went back to sleep, and when I woke up, I found Eric in the exact same position, still studying his iPad.

"Your cousin is really...passionate," sofa-girl said, yanking on her boots.

It was then that I started to realize just how formidable an adversary Paul Graham was. Eric had been ensnared in Paul's net and now, wrapped in its warmth, all he and Paul's militia of "hackers" felt they needed to survive was an Internet connection and a cup of Four Barrel drip coffee. Paul had actually convinced my cousin that he would be more than just a cog in Paul's low risk (but Eric's high risk) brokerage machine. I could feel him slipping away.

I texted a friend who still had YC '11 in her email signature even though her company failed miserably. "What the hell goes on over there?" I asked. "What doesn't?" she replied. I learned that Y-Combinator goes beyond just being a brand. It's a community. In finance, we had a blowout holiday party and a liberal corporate card policy. Y-Combinator hosts weekly office hours and dinners and online forums. Constantly brainstorming and discussing and ideating their never-ending list of impractical concepts, Paul's disciples begin to feel a shared identity, like they are part of something bigger than themselves. It becomes their religion.

"Eric!" I shouted. I snapped my fingers in front his face.

I had put together my own presentation for him. I called it: "Science." I slid my iPad in place of his and began my pitch. Slides 1-5 were dedicated to the complete failure of venture capital as an asset class over its entire history. I had charts and quotes from the world's most famous economists. Slides 6-10 listed all the defunct Y-Combinator companies, laid out in three columns in size 6 font. Next to them, the handful of wins looked insignificant. In my last slide, I showed Eric Y-Combinator's hypocritical homepage, where it calls itself "the most prestigious program for budding digital entrepreneurs."

Paul-Graham-Y-Combinator

"Do you see?" I asked.

Eric looked up at me, and for a moment, I thought I saw recognition. Through his eyes, I swore I could make out the gears slowly turning into place. Finally, I thought. My body started to relax. Then Eric picked up his iPad, turned it towards me so I was staring directly at his guru's face, and said:

"But Paul Graham says I must create."

I grabbed Eric's iPad from his hands, lifted it over my head, and hurled it down towards the floor as hard as I could. The screen smashed, and a piece of Gorilla Glass spun out and cut the top of my foot.

"ENOUGH!" I screamed.

The iPad was still on, and through the cracks in screen, I could see Paul staring up at me, smiling.

I went back to my room and slammed the door.

A few days later, my family received a group email with the subject line: "Changing the world!" My head sunk into my hands. Eric wouldn't be going into finance. He and his co-founders had gotten accepted into Y-Combinator for their startup. "The pest control industry has no idea what it's in for!!" he wrote. He quoted Paul Graham quoting Steve Jobs and assured us that everything they would do would be "insanely great." No one responded.

Congratulations, Paul.

The legacy infrastructure to snatch young talent was built on the basic human desire of greed. But you, you leverage a much deeper insight. In constructing your 2%-10% value capture contraption, you've utilized something that didn't even cross our minds in banking. You're able to drive people to risk their lives and work long hours on your behalf with no Seamless account, no black car, all under the guise that it's their idea. And to achieve this, you play upon a much more powerful human emotion, one that every successful campaign to delude America's youth and lasting institution throughout history has had at its core:

Hope.

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  • Associate 3 in IB - Ind
Nov 14, 2019

oh my god

Nov 15, 2019

Wow I think I came across this site years ago. Thanks for bringing it back!

Most Helpful
Nov 14, 2019

I think in short, you're not factually wrong. You work better hours and get paid the same or more in tech. You're also treated a lot better. We're wired to ask, "What's the catch?"

Three things come to mind:

  1. The work itself is inherently challenging.

I am of the mindset that anyone with a baseline intelligence of 1XX (not sure what the exact number is), they can code efficiently enough. I would argue if you get into IB you meet that threshold, so you could feasibly learn to code if you felt so inclined.

  1. The pay levels off unless you want to get into management.

Capping out at 350k-550k (accurate numbers, check levels.fyi) is not a bad way to live life. There's also another caveat, "unless you want to get into management". People say getting to L6 at Google (or equivilent) is highly political. Yes, it is. So is making MD at a bank/ PE firm. That is like saying, "PE caps out at 400k unless you want to start sourcing deals". Yes, the point is to eventually source deals and move beyond Associate.

  1. The technology is always changing so you need to learn new things.

This is true, hence the pay cap for senior engineers/ developers. I would liken this to keeping up with markets and networking with people to source deals. As an MD you keep up with people (golfing, dinners, etc), as a Product Manager/ Tech Lead you keep up with code (manuals, syntax documentation, etc).

OP, while you aren't wrong about tech allowing for a better lifestyle with comparable (or better) pay- your delivery was not great. In fact it was pretty awful. It seems like you wanted a reaction out of people more than to educate people on an alternative path.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 14, 2019

yeah that's the vibe i got from reading it

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  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 14, 2019

One thing to add is that there are far more VPs and up in the worlds of PE, IB, and other FO roles that pay better than tech management jobs at FAANG companies. Unless you're at FAANG, you're likely not clearing that $400-$500k comp, whereas there are far more VP's in banking and PE clearing those figures than at FAANG companies today. Tech is only worth it if you're at FAANG, while finance is not at all goldman or bust.

Nov 14, 2019

I don't have any data to indicate the number of VPs and up at PE/ IB/ CO/ etc. and the number of management at FAANG. Do you?

Also, I disagree that it's only worth it in FAANG. Microsoft, IBM, Snapchat, Pintrest, and several others offer really great comp. Also, your argument is more akin of IB/ PE or bust. Plenty of people are happy in AM and even PWM, those can be outstanding careers for the right people.

See for yourself here.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Nov 15, 2019

This is not even close to being true. How many people at PE funds are making seven figures? Alot of people making 300k - 550k, very few making 1M. By FAANG, I didnt literally just mean those companies, but basically any large public tech company. Slack, Uber, Lyft, FAANG, Snapchat, Zoom, VMware, PayPal, Ebay, Cruise, Palantir, the list goes on and on. The requirements are far lower for getting in, and the average pay for the middle employees is basically the same as some PE shop. Its only at the upper end that PE pays more, which is a pipe dream for most people, they will never get there, wasting their lives for it

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Nov 15, 2019

Although I'm a finance guy, for the record, a lot of big tech companies other than FANNG, like NVIDIA, Salesforce, Oracle, and some less well-known ones (not dropping names here) make 100K+ straight out of undergrad and can pull in $300K+ 4-5 years in.
I genuinely think it is because of the big tech bubble we are living it. I'm not using Pacebook just because it has a marginal improvement on Facebook, and I'm not even using Facebook.

Nov 18, 2019

The old tech vs Finance debate. As someone who lives in a tech heavy market, I have many friends who work in tech. A couple points in addition to @Malta Monkey 's come to mind:

1) Many people don't break into the higher ranks. Most Software Engineers cap out at $150k-$250k per year over their careers. Only certain roles and teams within these companies have high upside. It is not super hard to get a job within FAANG but it is super hard to get onto the right team and role in FAANG to be able to quickly move up the ranks. In finance, I think that it depends on the role. Quant guys don't seem to make as much or have the upside of investment banking for example.

2) Compensation is tiered and not always performance driven in FAANG. The total comp is reflective of sign on bonuses, salary and vested stock. Typically, monetary pay is capped. The upside is stock options which are inherently volatile. You are also unable to liquidate your position easily. I guess the same can be said if you are in Private Equity with Carried Interest however in other roles your comp is a lot more liquid.

In the long run, I would agree with OP in saying that between the average person going into finance and the average person going into tech, tech is probably the better play. If we are comparing a Product Manager and a Principal at a top 5 IB/HF (same level if you think about it), pay is better in Finance.

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Nov 20, 2019

A lot of this isn't correct..

  1. RSUs aren't stock options they're as good as cash when we're talking about public companies.
  2. Plateau is not at $150k in "high-tech", that's mid-high new grad comp. Mid level is closer to ~$200-275 depending on company "compensation tier" (an FB or LNKD will pay more than an EXPE).
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Nov 28, 2019
CRESEA:

In the long run, I would agree with OP in saying that between the average person going into finance and the average person going into tech, tech is probably the better play. If we are comparing a Product Manager and a Principal at a top 5 IB/HF (same level if you think about it), pay is better in Finance.

Pay is definitely better if you "make it" in finance. The point is that its a lot harder to make it, and when adjusted for risk/lifestyle pay is far better for the product manager than the IB/HF guy (~65% of the hours, much less risk of being arbitrarily fired especially relative to HFs).

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Nov 14, 2019

Following OP's solid logic, you wouldn't be in a tech job if you were smart! you'd be an entrepreneur, they make millions / billions, look at WeWork - all in a matter of years!

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Nov 14, 2019

4 of my very good friends including my best friend work in FANNG or other large tech companies. most of them very smart and competent, but 2 of them are not that level when they got offers.

Then How did they get in? Leetcode.

Yes you need to be very good at coding, but not as good as many people think. Once they get into the company, a lot of work they produce is research-oriented. There is not really a way to quantify how much you are contributing in those research groups.

Being in tech, a lot of people are not good at diplomacy and socializing, which makes it harder for them to get into mgmt level, compared to finance.

Also working in finance broadens your possible exits no? Not necssarily in software

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Nov 14, 2019
mike78787:

This website is pushing a bullshit fantasy that was true from like 1995 - 2007.

Pretty sure the most famous career fantasy from that period was the tech bubble.

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  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Nov 14, 2019

Damn dude this is such an informative post. Hold up, lemme just change my whole career trajectory. This exact post has been done 5-10 times in 2019 alone, 0/10 my guy

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Nov 14, 2019

Good luck with fitting more ads into my fb feed.

There are not that many ppl who do something just for the money. I dont care that someone out there earns a shitload of money for doing some IT shit. I would be totally fine earning half of your money in finance and actually enjoying the job.

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Nov 14, 2019

OP is right, the top tier tech jobs outpay the top tier finance jobs.

But at the very least finance folks should have a better idea of how to invest their money than techies, so in the long run that probably equalizes the two compensations

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Nov 14, 2019

gotta love the tech elitism clickbait...

you're ignoring most of the actual work done in big tech. very smart people will not find FAANG appealing. i'd say like 90%+ of my olympiad/putnam friends from HYPSM decide not to do big tech software engineering because it's pretty mind-numbing to sit there for 9 hours a day working on stability improvements for WhatsApp calls or closing the next dozen Jira tickets. the iteration cycle is so slow and there are so many engineers (e.g. 30k+ at Amazon) it's no surprise that people feel like a cog in a machine.

if you have found more success in tech that's great for you but there's no reason to throw a temper tantrum about how "smart" people should go into tech because you messed up by drinking the kool-aid without thinking critically.

for the record truly smart people are pretty industry-agnostic, i see them going into finance (QR/trading, PE, HF), tech (early-stage startups, YC, rarely big tech), medicine, research, etc. they understand that top performers in any industry will be rewarded and choose their work based on interest.

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Nov 15, 2019

HYPSM get rejected all the time by tech companies. They get snapped up quickly in finance which relies on prestige, not talent. Hedge funds for the last 30 years have been about the appearance of having a coherent brilliant investment philosophy. Its a scam, so few funds ever maintain real alpha in the market. But they chock their employee base full of harvard grads so that institutional investors invest in their fund. Prestigious employees are the product.

Tech companies need programmers that can actually produce, that piece of paper means nothing

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  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 15, 2019

Only thing I got from any of your posts is that you went to a shit school and are salty about it. Everything else is straight retarded talk.

Nov 15, 2019

i'm not talking about prestige, i'm talking about how you seem to associate tech, especially big tech, with smartness and competence. unfortunately that's just not true. when i mention HYPSM, i'm not referring to the average HYPSM student--i'm specifically talking about people who are MOP, IMO, IPhO, RSI, putnam winners/honorable mentions.

my point is that the really smart people can be found anywhere, it's not limited to tech (and big tech especially is actually a massive turnoff). again, if you're happier in tech then that's good for you, but there's no need to discuss your decision in context of intelligence, that just screams insecurity.

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Nov 14, 2019

ok nerd. i'll email you my iq report and then tell you why im into finance

Nov 15, 2019

Only one friend is in FAANG, and he is upper management there after spending a decade with the company as an Analyst. The rest are in medicine/law/finance. These are the people who could get into FAANG, but felt it would not be worthwhile.

Something you learn as you get older -
1. Live below your means - this provide an opportunity for you to pursue your future endeavors/passions.
2. Learn to budget! Taxes rape you.
3. Do what you find interesting (or love), because as time marches forward (as it always does), the burnout from the daily grind going into the weekend takes a heavy toll on your body.

PS - I find finance and tech both interesting, but learning more about finance has helped me tremendously in terms of budgeting/investing/socializing. I wouldn't had gotten as far as I would be now without WSO and the amazing people I have gotten to know over the years!

No pain no game.

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Nov 15, 2019

Just do whatever, tech or finance. Don't chase an industry, just keep upskilling and be open to new experiences. D/S for industries change over time anyways, who knows what's next!?!

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 15, 2019

Okay, tech is booming right now, but I would say at least 90% of what he has said is factually incorrect and could be proven wrong in less than 10 seconds.

I have no idea why this guy is insisting on spreading incorrect information.

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Nov 15, 2019

The biggest companies in the world are now tech companies. Its not "booming", its the new reality of who runs the show

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 15, 2019

LOLLLL. Tech firms are in control of the world guys. You heard it here first.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 15, 2019

News flash, the work that tech firms do is meaningless and have a negligible impact on anything. Wow I have Facebook and Snapchat now, fantastic. All my problems are solved. Wow Amazon can send me packages in one day, joy to the world.

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  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 15, 2019

Guess Walmart, Nestle, and Volkswagen also run part of the world. Shit brah, you think they're spying on me now?

Nov 15, 2019

the fact you care this much about money tells me you'll never truly be happy

what's the point of money if you're not happy?

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Nov 15, 2019

I always wonder why tech people feel the need to come on here to swing their dick around the try to plug the industry so hard so they can ideally convince everyone tech is the best or whatever the goal is. Do bankers do that on software engineering forums?

Nov 15, 2019

in between gator tails and pitchbook updates, they're looking at finmeme accounts, I think this is a one way street

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 15, 2019

Finance is a more manly field. Who cares about creating some new iphone update when the phones are really solid anyways? Let's do some real stuff like closing deals on companies and making profitable portfolios on the buyside.

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  • Analyst 1 in CorpStrat
Nov 16, 2019

What if you're in the business side of FAANG?

Nov 16, 2019

What does this mean?

Corporate finance role?

I would assume that they're paid roughly on par with other corporate finance functions in other large businesses -- like cost centers. They pay their engineers well because that's what they're competing for with other companies.

Nov 16, 2019

They get paid more because tech in general pays more than other corporate jobs. You can find managers in fp&a on ~$250-300k total comp, sr analysts on >$150k total comp. Much higher than other industries.

Nov 16, 2019

Tech sucks compared to basketball if you are an NBA player.
What's your point ?

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Nov 17, 2019

Yeah the joy of working at FAANG:
- wherever your location is, you are certain to face insane cost of living, higher than bankers
- you are stuck in hyper-liberal cities where most people are batshit insane
- even if you are a liberal, most of your comrades despise you because they think you helped Trump winning
- should we touch the amazing social skills of engineers? At least most of my coworkers are chilled
- the girls ratio
- HR is generally bad in most big companies, but holy fuck try FAANG
- you actually work with neurologists to make kids addicted to your social media/whatever bs; you are basically the inventor of this century's cocaine; congrats!

But hey, tell me more about your one-dimensional argument about 230k you make in x time. The irony is that your companies wouldn't be anywhere near this overvalued if it wasn't for the Fed and the ECB pumping money into the markets. God those imbecilles bred parasytes.

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Nov 17, 2019

Yield-starved investors don't know where else to turn to for returns, so they pump money into these companies (and startups) in the hopes that they become large monopolies of sorts.
It's not irrational that they bid "tech" companies up, but the extent to which they're bid up can become unsustainable also.

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Nov 17, 2019
CAS_89:

Yield-starved investors don't know where else to turn to for returns, so they pump money into these companies (and startups) in the hopes that they become large monopolies of sorts.
It's not irrational that they bid "tech" companies up, but the extent to which they're bid up can become unsustainable also.

Yes. Also Ray Dalio wrote a nice article about this recently. Problem is,then they can't whine when people eventually elect Bernie Sanders, who will first slap a 95% wealth tax on billionaires and when that doesn't work, will start putting people into gulags.

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Nov 17, 2019
neink:

- you are stuck in hyper-liberal cities where most people are batshit insane

lol some truth here

Nov 18, 2019

Could go the other way. I worked as a Project Engineer for a construction firm. Still waiting on Obama to go to jail for being President despite being born in Kenya and coming to the US illegally.... Trump will personally make that happen and bring back the gold old years in American history.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 29, 2019

Right, because the ratio is so good in finance!! And NYC isn't liberal!

Nov 29, 2019
Florian227:

Right, because the ratio is so good in finance!! And NYC isn't liberal!

Certain financial depts are basically all libertarian and/or conservative. But yeah De Blasio tries really hard to make San Francisco look good in comparison.

Nov 18, 2019

Finance sucks compared to tech if youre smart

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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  • Prospect in Other
Nov 19, 2019

Can you explain the quant fund thing in more detail? What do you mean by less stress/hours? Where did you work?

Nov 19, 2019

don't engineers get aged-out pretty early though?

Nov 19, 2019

Not really. It actually depends. If you learn a language and refuse to learn another language then yeah, you're phased out if your language falls out of style. I bet if FB ever goes away, all the people who are PHP enthusiasts will either adapt or get left behind.

I would liken this to PE. If you're an Associate and know how to model, but don't ever work on networking or source deals- yeah, you're going to be forced out eventually. In tech you can more or less stay at the Associate level, but in turn you've gotta keep up with technology and languages.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Nov 20, 2019

Wow...someone is salty. If you're unaware of history, please realize that tech is in its prime right now and will likely correct in the near future. Read "The Accidental Investment Banker" for an eerie glimpse into what has happened in the past. And for context, I come from a bullshit school with zero preftige. You're probably right when it comes to public markets/quant investing/etc. But for a good lesson on why relying purely on algo's is a bad idea read "When Genius Failed." History will most likely repeat itself in similar fashion as it has since the beginning of time because at the end of the day, we're still human. There is also a long tail before private company investing goes away meaning IB and PE will still offer good careers to those that enjoy the work.

    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

Couple of points:

  1. Sure a person can make more money as an engineer at a FAANG than working in Finance (FO role), but at that level of seniority, as a banker you would be generating revenue. As an engineer you are typing code into a computer all day (or managing people that do that). So you are either a nerd or a manager of nerds, with limited possibilities of realizing your full potential, from a competitive perspective. It's not you vs anyone in a deal, so there is no winning and no busting colloquial victory nuts.
  2. Have you ever met a successful engineer? They are nerds who don't know how to spend money. I'll take middle-upper class wages with consistent debauchery over having a liquid bank account and a portfolio of CDs.
  3. Nerds
    • 1
Nov 20, 2019

Nerds actually do know how to spend money. In fact, they have terrible financial management skills. My friends in FAANG don't even know what time value of money is

Nov 20, 2019

You just described the phenomenom I am referencing

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 20, 2019

Just wanted to point out that this is completely off for the UK.

Having done a CompSci degree and seen the roles that my peers have ended up in, I can say that the majority of tech jobs outside London (and many even within London) pay half (or less) than what a first year analyst in IB would expect to make.

As far as I can tell, there are a pretty limited number of FAANG jobs available, and even these pay significantly less than a first year IB analyst - PS50k vs PS60-90k. This trend continues throughout all levels and the gap only increases.

Nov 20, 2019

I think this is due to the fact that software development talent is severely lacking in the UK. For some reason Google's European headquarters are in Zurich. I believe their comp is consistent with Mountain View (and their cost of living is just as high)

Nov 20, 2019

ok so let's assume what you're saying is true for Devil's Advocate sake. Finance has passed its prime, and tech is where all the best opportunities are. How can someone who has studied finance then participate? Not everyone on this site is also dual-trained in engineering. So is your advice to 1) get re-trained as a software engineer at a tech bootcamp for 3 months, and then get a job as a full-stack developer? or 2) to try to get a CFO role or corp dev role at a tech company? or 3) some other path you can suggest? Or is the point of the main post to simply say "you guys chose finance, y'all are dumb, tech is where it's at, and it's mmmm...mmm ... good" ?

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Nov 20, 2019

I think there was another similar post on WSO
https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/tech-as-an-...
I've spent time in both startups and in PE, and I can say in both cases the grass is greener and neither is all it's advertised. Unlike banking, which has a somewhat more uniform nature across the industry in terms of experience (at least if you're doing mainline IBD at a BB) the experience in PE and tech are highly dependent on the nature of the firm due to the highly idiosyncratic nature of the companies. YOu can be at a winner or a loser depending which firm, or when you join in their lifecycle.

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  • Intern in Other
Nov 21, 2019

Lol,
I'm currently at Google as a New grad.
I hardly work 20-30 hrs a week and defintely out earn everyone in IB with same years of experience.
IB is really shit compared to Tech.

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Nov 21, 2019

Eating meat sucks compared to soy beans.

Nov 21, 2019

Lots of ignorance comment here.

Not everyone that works in a tech is a nerd. Passionate about tech? Sure

If you're saying that you don't care about money on a finance forum, why are you even here? Try doing IB for 75K/year and see if you still feel "passionate" about it.

Look, the situation is very clear. If you want a high paying career with decent work life balance and longevity, plus have some technical chop, then tech is a clear winner.

Software is hard for everyone. It takes dedication and hard work to get started. Don't blame your IQ for your laziness.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 22, 2019

Tech guys have been losers their entire fucking lives, which is why they jerk off about their pay on a FINANCE FORUM.

Finance people are superior beings, fuck off and go jerk off to some more anime.

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Nov 22, 2019
Analyst 1 in IB - DCM:

Finance people are superior beings

Hahahahahahaha thank you for the laugh on this one. I seriously cannot tell if this is sarcasm or not. Equally funny either way.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Nov 22, 2019

Let's leave anime out of this. It never hurt anybody lol

Nov 23, 2019

Look, I could care less about being a finance guy/ or a tech guy. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your compensation. If I have to be labelled as a tech nerd to get the big pay check, so be it.

Nov 23, 2019
secrethidden:

If you're saying that you don't care about money on a finance forum, why are you even here?

I agree. The whole field is about money. It's like saying I am in tech, but I dont care about tech. I'd fire anyone who is in finance, but doesnt care about money.

Nov 22, 2019

Can we just ban all these tech nerds? I prefer my ivory echo chamber, I've kind of engineered my life this way.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - DCM
Nov 22, 2019

I know this is sarcasm, but do these kids not bother you? Like holy shit, shut the fuck up and go jerk off about your pay somewhere else. I really don't give a flying shit about tech.

Nov 22, 2019

They do a little, but then I remember how completely meaningless they are in the context of my life...which is pretty great tbh...and I laugh.

The funny part is that I invest in tech and I'm not some founder obsessed cuck. I truly enjoy pushing out idiot technocrat founders and making obscene returns off of their work, because they were too obsessed with some random code to know how to really make money off it.

It's also hilarious how quickly we lay off engineers when growth stalls or the like. They're literally numbers on a spreadsheet... That's a big salary, looks like if I cut that I can generate postive EBITDA, and just like that, they're back looking for another job.

Nov 22, 2019

only half of FAANG adds any societal value (Apple, Amazon, half of Google).

Have fun coding to get people to click a like button on FB, watch endless amounts of worthless shit on Netflix, and convince people that the earth is flat on YouTube. What an amazing fulfilling lifestyle.

Nov 23, 2019

You're not wrong but societal value doesn't equal more compensation or impact.

Nov 23, 2019

I remember a post on here that had a quote...

""The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb"

This is coming from the thread - https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/how-to-quit...
In terms of might and superiority - neither are immune to layoffs. Firms and companies alike have periods where lay offs occur. Save what you can.

No pain no game.

Nov 23, 2019

If we are talking financially salary wise, you have a better chance making $25-$100 Million+ as MD at a bank, if you want to contribute to society and improve the world with less hours, FAANG is the world to go. I like all my friends in Finance and Tech, different strokes for different folks.

"It's okay, I'll see you on the other side"

Nov 23, 2019

"$25-$100 Million+ as MD "

Really doubt this. You have a higher chance of starting your own company. How many mds that make 25 million are there? I would be less than a few hundred. Terrible chances for that outcome

Nov 23, 2019

Thank you for the post. Based on my impressions, while what you said on your posts apply to most finance jobs(IB, Consulting, etc), but I thought quant trading was better than tech companies in terms of money, maybe except for start-ups. I always thought Jane Street, HRT, Citadel, and their peers were the best, then tech companies like Airbnb, Stripe, and a few positions from FAANG, and then 2nd tier tech companies and quant funds. Could you please elaborate more on your experience and what you heard from your friends in finance and tech?

Nov 24, 2019

I'm guessing the argument the OP is making is around work life balance and "averages"/opportunities.

What you are saying is true, right now (this changes every few years) top quant funds (or "quant like" as quant means a lot of different things) pay the most. They pay the most for new grads. They will also pay the most at the top end. Firms like citadel don't lose talent to google on comp, it is based on other variables. I've talked to several recruiters in tech and finance and done my market research on comps and tech cannot compete with that side.

But, reading through this, the argument seems to be around how difficult it is to land these jobs (very), how difficult to is to be one of these top performers (also very hard) and the work life balance required to do this (this is more firm dependent). So the argument is more around "average performers" can get to a pretty sizable comp with a reasonable work life balance.

I know people in the big tech firms and the top quant shops. Both are happy, the HF/quaint people make more, but there is definitely more vol in the HF space (expected) and I believe (personal opinion) that it is tougher to get.

    • 2
Nov 25, 2019

my opinion

if youre going into cs for FAANG, you need to go to a good school with an empahsis on stem (mit, caltech etc). most of the people applying there are white and asian nerds.

sorry but i dont want to be associated with 5'7 twinklet balding nerds.

Nov 28, 2019

Your opinion is wrong. FAANG does not require MIT or Caltech. Sure, it's easier. But it's not like "non target gunning for GS TMT versus Wharton grad". It's mostly about Leetcode and solving algorithms along with having the right experience for the team they're hiring for. At least understand something first if you're going to speak about it.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Nov 29, 2019
Comment

Cocky millionaire

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Dec 4, 2019
Dec 5, 2019
Dec 5, 2019
Comment

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

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Dec 12, 2019