How much do ~average~ software engineers *actually* make?

Everyone loves to compare tech to finance by talking about how much FAANG etc. SEs make, but let's be real there are only a select few elite coders who are actually making it rain at these places. Where does the average joe software engineer work, and how much does he actually make? When you compare this to finance, is it really better? Is the comparison really accurate?

Edit: it has come to my attention that these top tech companies alone hire amounts of coders an order of magnitude greater than the entirety of all ib analysts hired in a single year. This definitely changes the perspective. 

Comments (162)

Nov 27, 2021 - 6:50pm

software engineers have an easier path to starting their own company while also having the skillset to make a lot of money in a corporate setting whereas finance people can also make a lot of money in a corporate setting but do not have an inherent skillset which will make it easy for them to start their own company.

Nov 28, 2021 - 1:29pm

AttackSnail

You think they have an easier path to starting their own company? It seems like finance guys can run pretty much LBO any company and let management run it while tech guys only competency is the actual tech side of things

And how the hell are you gonna "LBO" a company by yourself.. raise a shit ton of money from friends and family investors? What about debt?

Funniest
Nov 28, 2021 - 1:53pm

What about debt?

Service it with cash flow.

And absolutely, that's literally what PE is. It's just a bunch of finance guys raising money via connections to do exactly that. 

Software engineers have no clue about the inner workings of a company, neither operational nor financial. They may have an easier time creating a tech product that one could build a company around, but by no means would they be better at running a company. Outside of their narrow tech scope, they're inherently useless. Finance guys can go from working on transactions in industrials, to tech, to consumer, to business services, all in a single day. 

Saying a software engineer would be better at starting/running a business is like saying a chemical engineer would be better at starting/running a business than an IB M&A guy. Simply not true. Engineers are intelligent, but their knowledge base as a whole is typically centered around one narrow, complex space. 

Nov 28, 2021 - 5:11pm

AttackSnail

What about debt?

Service it with cash flow.

And absolutely, that's literally what PE is. It's just a bunch of finance guys raising money via connections to do exactly that. 

Software engineers have no clue about the inner workings of a company, neither operational nor financial. They may have an easier time creating a tech product that one could build a company around, but by no means would they be better at running a company. Outside of their narrow tech scope, they're inherently useless. Finance guys can go from working on transactions in industrials, to tech, to consumer, to business services, all in a single day. 

Saying a software engineer would be better at starting/running a business is like saying a chemical engineer would be better at starting/running a business than an IB M&A guy. Simply not true. Engineers are intelligent, but their knowledge base as a whole is typically centered around one narrow, complex space. 

Well, they have the ability to create a product like Zuck did. If you can create a product with cash flow, you can just hire finance people to manage the financials.

"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

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Nov 29, 2021 - 4:03am

This is probably one of the most stupid comments I've seen here. Have you been under a rock for the past 7 years?

Product is the core of a business and everything else you can build around. When sequoia gives you funding, they help take care of the ancillary and business building shit, which is yes super important. Would you rather know how to roll up shitty ass companies for 4X EBITDA and sell at 6X or build a software startup at 50X Revenue.

Just anecdotally, tell me the number of folks in our industry that have made it big buying up PE-type businesses for themselves vs. the tech guys. In our generation the cream of the crop software engineer entrepreneurs are much better off than the cream of the crop PE entrepreneurs.

Maybe I'm "biased" because I went to Stanford but seriously the good tech talent outstrips the good finance talent easily.

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:13am

Exactly, you're proving my point. Keyword: "cream of the crop". 

Unless you're the one who's been under a rock the past 7 years you'd know that 99% of startup ideas aren't worth the shit stains on my toilet paper as almost all of them fail or get beat to market by a real player. 

The average level finance/PE guy can at least competently keep a company afloat, while the average software engineer absolutely can't.

You said it yourself, even the cream of the crop needs someone like Sequoia to step in and handle the business side of things. Nowhere in this thread did I talk about "making it big", its about the business competency of the averages and finance wins out every time.

Controversial
Nov 29, 2021 - 11:31am

Loool you think a PE investor actually knows how to run a business in and out, soup to nuts and can just slide into a CEO role? Please please have you been in that seat? Do you think you really can be an operator after sitting in front of a 1000 line model and having endless DD calls and MDs asking you to model out various strategic scenarios? I can tell you after my IB/PE years I couldn't just go hop into a portco as a CEO nfw. Am I stupid compared to my peers? No - I'm realistic and honest.

If we're talking about "averages", the average finance guy is at some no name bank in Kansas City or a $50MM PE fund in Reno. Get the fuck outta here. If you're at an EB/BB or UMM/MF, then you're not average as it pertains to finance. You should be compared to the Stanford grads that get jobs at DeepMind and shit. Idiot.

Nov 29, 2021 - 2:00pm

SWE and high finance give you equally useless experience for running a company at everything but the highest levels, so this take is basically complete nonsense. Then at senior levels you should be comparing engineering managers or technical product managers to banking SVPs / MDs, and there it's going to depend on the type of business. For tech companies, where most of the startup activity is, claiming the banking guy is going to have the edge seems like a pretty big stretch

Nov 30, 2021 - 9:40pm

I have SWE friends working in FAANG and have asked them on what side project they're working on and if they have ideas for their own apps - most are just satisfied with their jobs and don't have a desire to code outside of work or the creativity to come up with a business idea

Nov 27, 2021 - 7:19pm

s&t is basically a "normal" finance job at this point, just like am, corpdev, er, etc

lemme break down finance jobs into tiers:

white shoe gold finance:

pe mf

high finance:

tier 1 city mbb
top ibd (pjt rssg, evr m&a)
mid finance:

vc

bb/eb ibd

umm pe

mbb in first world countries
low finance:

boutique ibd

am

er

corpdev

s&t

mbb in shit tier countries

b4 strategy

normal finance:

all else

Nov 27, 2021 - 7:20pm

I think you've left out key components of the question: cost of living, taxes, tenure, actual work/life balance. If you're an SE for Oracle/MSFT/SalesForce/etc (since you wanted to get away from FAANG) it's a night and day difference between living/working in the bay vs living/working remotely in a college town in the midwest or even in a metropolitan space like Miami, Denver or Austin.

I used to work with a couple of SE's in FinTech who had impeccable work/life balance because they were getting projects complete, and completed on time so the entire process keeps moving. Despite making probably ~20% less on paper in Iowa, compared to their same position in Seattle or the Bay area they had big ass houses, happy wife, no debt, maxed out retirement savings, etc.

Start out with already above decent pay and keep compounding those 8% raises every year with bonuses and equity comp and you see why there's proper lifers at Microsoft who's only "promotion" after ten years  was adding the word senior to their job title instead of jumping every three years max like in finance.

Nov 29, 2021 - 6:56am

Tenure in tech is way longer on average than 1-2 years. Source: 4-5 years at FAANG.

Nov 27, 2021 - 8:17pm

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/cla…

If we're talking about averages, a random non-target CS major, or any of the other types of engineering, will beat a random non-target finance major any day of the week.  Not even debatable, if you can find a result that disproves it, please show me.

All the money in finance is at the top of the bell curve, maybe that's why it's so competitive.

Nov 29, 2021 - 4:53pm

Its a lot more than just "at least an order of magnitude greater". These days 150k for new grad is considered low in hcol cities. Amazon recently bumped their base to around 148k with all in first year to around 190k or so. Everyone and their mother has an Amazon offer these days. Google even bumped their lowball pre-negotiation offer to something like 141k base 205k all in. This isn't to mention the dozens upon dozens of unicorns/ipo'ed unicorns that pay 220-300k or the top bracket quant firms that pay 350-500k for new grad. 

Nov 28, 2021 - 5:10am

I have two friends who work at some no-name companies as software engineers after graduating and both earn between in the £35-45k bracket. No sure about bonuses, doubt they get any tbh. 

Array
Nov 28, 2021 - 3:04pm

I am paying entry level developers doing fairly straightforward frontend work ~$100k/yr and those with intermediate experience (~2 - 4 years) around $150k. I would expect to pay $250k - $300k for a "good" developer who is a true fullstack dev.

All these clowns work ~40 - 50 hours a week tops and are total divas. 

A few years ago I was not paying anywhere close to that but salaries have exploded in the last 3 years.

In an HCOL area, a developer with 2 years of exp at a big corp is probably a 300k hire and the dude will work like 30 hours a week.

BTW we are in eCommerce, which definitely pays ~30% - 40% less than SaaS. My talent is very much so "good" and not excellent. Front end work simply doesn't attract god tier devs who want to work on hard problems. 

Nov 28, 2021 - 6:32pm

Also, front end does actually pay very well. It's arguably the fastest way to grow your career in tech. Reaching senior and beyond with just a few years. It's just I imagine the above isn't running a business with high scale demands so he doesn't need to compete for the best FE devs. At FAANG companies there is no difference in pay between FE and other engineers.

In my experience, the promotions are usually way faster for FE engineers because engineers are geeky and like to work on brainy issues when at the end of the day all engineers are paid based on value provided / impact. Thus there is usually a ton of promo opportunity for FE engineers due to lack of competition.

Nov 29, 2021 - 11:11am

I wonder if there's a cap on earnings these guys can get though? Or is the potential essentially limitless the more skills you add? Seems like despite only working 30 hours a week, the name of the game is to spend your free time consistently upskilling yourself in order to a) advance and b) stay relevant

Nov 29, 2021 - 11:39am

I've never even met a bootcamp grad and to be honest I feel like they're being artificially pushed online because they're for the most part for-profit institutions.  If you want to maximize your earnings without spending money just study CS at community college then 2 years of state university with scholarships/aid.  Or if you have a bachelors and time is more of an issue than money, take a few CS classes at a community college and then apply for a 1 year master's program.

https://web.archive.org/web/20170609211210/http://medium.com/techspirat…

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:37pm

Lol I read an article about a guy who figured out it took about 5hr of effort to land a job, and took 1-3mo to get rid of him after he did no work. At his peak he had something like 11 jobs at once and a run rate of 1.5MM+

"one for the money two for the better green 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine" - M.F. Doom

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Nov 28, 2021 - 5:05pm

Quick story. My gf's cousin dropped out of a no name college, worked at wallmart for a year, joined a 1 year coding bootcamp in NY. This was over the past 2 years. After graduating he got a 100k job at a random software company working remotely. After 6 months he was promoted and now makes 150k. The finance bros who've been grinding their whole life are getting seriously fucked.

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:38am

It won't. In swe, the aspects of your resume that count are portfolio and work experience. No good tech hiring manager would ding them for no degree and the bootcamp basically supplements most education before like masters/PhD etc.

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:50am

This is why college might be obsolete in 10-20 years.  

Array
Nov 28, 2021 - 5:08pm

I used to work in corporate finance for a large tech company and could see pretty much everyone's salaries across the world and many software engineers in the US made somewhat average salaries unless they were an executive, but we would outsource a good bit of work to India and they would pay them close to nothing there.

"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

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Nov 28, 2021 - 5:45pm

Yeah average in US was $60-$140K roughly. The higher you go the less technical skill was needed and you could be a manager making much more than that as well. It was a big company so there were many levels of management.

"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

Nov 28, 2021 - 6:05pm

Devs in the bay should expect at least 350k (cash + equity) when they reach senior status, which varies per person but is considered the expected terminal position for most engineers. It takes anywhere between 3-7 years to reach senior.

There is a common misconception that a terminal position means moving beyond senior is rare but that isn't true at all. Senior just means you no longer need hand-holding, so you're expected to know how to grow your own career. Thus managers don't automatically groom you beyond that rank. For example, Facebook actually penalizes you for not reaching senior within 5 years but after that, they no longer pressure you to take on higher scope work.

Tech salaries are currently being bid higher as part of the overall reshuffling in the economy. Facebook and Amazon are in particular finding it difficult to hire and are single-handedly pushing up the average pay for the industry. Remains to be seen how high and how permanent the salary bumps will be. More importantly, don't trust any number you hear that is more than a year old as salaries in tech are growing pretty fast yoy in general.

a FAANG job to be honest is a very low bar compared to working in IB. Unlike IB jobs, FAANG jobs are something any dev could obtain after a few months of studying algorithms (brainteasers essentially). So depending on what you consider normal, 350k in the bay is pretty easy, especially given recent trends in the market.

I guess someone is going to ask if getting a FAANG job is so easy why doesn't everyone work there? Well for some reason, people refuse to study and would rather complain about how the interview is stupid instead. It's kinda like how people in finance refuse to study for the CFA. As long as the general population refuses to study basic high school math, there will be a FAANG job waiting for you.

Nov 28, 2021 - 11:01pm

CFA might not be totally comparable here. As someone who passed two levels of CFA and work in IB, I find CFA useless. I should've spent those hours on modeling, or reading valuation books or whatever. 
A friend of mine who landed a buy side research gig out of undergraduate told me the CFA is most useful when you tell the client you have one. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:26pm

particularly annoying that I see buyside roles (PE mainly, not MF though but probably them too) all the time that say CFA is a plus, even though it's almost entirely irrelevant

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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Nov 29, 2021 - 4:05pm

+1

The quip about people preferring to complain about the FAANG interviews instead of studying made me chuckle and is 100% accurate. Facebook and Amazon especially are desperate for engineers right now and will essentially hire anyone who can solve Leetcode medium, but people still refuse to prep. 

Also the bit about the bar being way lower than IB is spot on. Comparing the recruitment process for IB and FAANG just isn't fair, the bar for is so much higher for IB, and the race starts at the beginning of high school when your track record for undergrad admissions begins. For SWE you can start anytime, study for a few months, and get hired

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:16pm

Disagree with you on the "They just don't do Leetcode" part.  

An interview at a tech company still consists of behavioral rounds and resume screens like any other company, and since they're at the top of their game they are able to reject a lot more.  Keep in mind, the number of interns hired in 2020 and 2021 at the places I worked was a small fraction (1/3 to 1/4) of the normal number so a lot of kids have blank resumes and are not making it past these rounds.

Keep in mind, this is for new hires/interns.  I'm sure seniors who earn a lot of money couldn't be bothered to relearn Leetcode and you're probably right in that case. 

But the massive difference that makes it way easier is you can just apply to Google every six months or so and eventually get in on your third or fourth try.  I'm not as familiar with non-quant finance but I don't think you can do this at Goldman

Nov 29, 2021 - 10:52pm

Some firms (Goldman, BAML, MS, among others) have cap of 3 applications/year. Other firms are unlimited, and yes you could theoretically keep applying every time a position comes up.

Array

Nov 30, 2021 - 2:44pm

Yea that's true. It took me forever to get a FAANG recruiter's attention but that was solved with a few years of work experience. After I got the interview it was fairly straightforward (just leetcode and sys design). Behavioral is kind of random but does ding a lot of people, especially at senior levels, because they don't show enough maturity. Still, these are things you can just study for. For behavioral if you prep for the Amazon leadership interview you'll be all set for the rest of the industry. Sys design is not really necessary for mid-level FAANG jobs. Even if they ask a design question they aren't really grilling you until you interviewing senior roles.

Overall, I stand behind my "people don't study enough leetcode" statement. Your first job might not be FAANG but if you eat your vegetables and grind out a few problems a week over the long run, you'll land a FAANG job eventually. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 12:08am

The average software engineer does not make a lot of money and honestly have short "lifespans" when looking at their skillsets. If you are a skilled software engineer at a large company, you can certainly pull in 300-500k a year including base, bonus, and stock options. In reality though, the majority of developers do not reach these roles, or if they do, are unable to stay in these coveted roles for very long because the required skills are always "changing" every 10 years. To stay relevant you must either return to "school" to learn the next trend, be selected to move into managing a team of engineers (which most engineers are not well equipped for, managing people is hard), or "lateral" into product management (which again most engineers are not well equipped for, coordinating cross-functional teams of developers, marketers, and more is also hard). If you cannot keep your skills relevant, learn to manage people, or learn other aspects of a business, which average Joe engineers are usually unable to do, you are out. The majority of average Joe engineers spend their careers bouncing between struggling SMBs who need some experience engineers at a discounted rate. They can still make between 150k to 300k a year, but this income remains stagnant (only increases if the market rate increases, which is slow given how inexpensive foreign engineers are). 

These average Joes can get lucky though, where the real money is in the tech world is in RSUs at hyper growth rate startups. If a friend starts a company and likes you (and you are good enough to get things off the ground), they may bring you aboard and give you equity. Conversely, plenty of startups needs one or two experienced engineers at home base who can "manage" the lower cost engineers contracted out abroad. If you are lucky and the company takes off, you can make tens of millions of dollars if the company goes public ten years later. But to put the chances in perspective, only 2% of the 2000 to 3000 companies are accepted into Y-combinator (one of the most well regarded seed funds) per batch. From there, the investors only expect 2% of those accepted to succeed. But again, your network and reputation is critical to being selected, and you have to be willing to take the risk, both of which the average software engineer probably does not have. Good luck. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 12:33am

"or "lateral" into product management (which again most engineers are not well equipped for, coordinating cross-functional teams of developers, marketers, and more is also hard)" - My suggestion: pull experienced customer success managers for these spots. Their entire purpose is combining subject matter knowledge and relationship management to act as traffic cops connecting/directing resources. They already have to work with and wrangle devs, marketing, accounting, legal, education/training, sales, and those are just the internal teams.

Nov 29, 2021 - 12:43pm

I have a friend who started making $300k out of college at large tech firm as a software engineer. You probably use their app daily. Anyways, he was compensated with a lot of stock options which has been really nice for him, but a couple promotions later he's making probably mid-400s. He works on some pretty cool projects too. Fun to mess around with the prototypes and see how they work.

I think I did this right

Nov 29, 2021 - 12:56pm

Outside of tech companies / finance firms / higher paying non-tech companies people can expect: $60-90k entry-level, $100-130k mid, $120-160k Senior and $160-180k staff / manager. Then directors probably around $200-300k. 

Within tech companies / finance firms / higher paying non-tech companies, that's more like: $120-300k+ total comp entry-level, $150-$400k+ total comp mid-level, $180-550k+ total comp senior level, $220-700k+ total comp staff / manager, $250k-1M+ total comp senior staff / sr manager, $300k-2M+ total comp principal / director, $350k-3M+ distinguished / sr director. 

Lower paying companies (HPE, Dell Technologies) on the lower end and higher paying companies (JS, Meta, Google, Roblox, Two Sigma, Pinterest, Netflix) on the high end.

So, there's a whole range of income outcomes depending on where you work. Not to mention the lottery like returns of earlier stage startups. 

Same thing goes for other roles like: product design, product management, technical program management, data science & analytics, UX research, design program management, test engineering, SRE / DevOps, network engineering, data center engineering etc. Except some roles are a little bit of a discount vs SWE. 

Also re: tenure engineers job-hop a lot for higher pay, higher level, more interesting work, more scope, taking a risk on a startup, becoming a founder etc. People who perform and want to stay generally stay quite a while. 

Array
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Nov 29, 2021 - 2:22pm

This isn't a fair comparison because the number of "star" coders who get FAANG jobs paying 150-200k is at least 10x (probably more like 20x) the number of entry level investment bankers + consultants hired nationwide. Amazon alone hires a number of entry level software engineers comparable to the total number of investment banking analysts hired in the US in any given year. A more fair comparison here among "stars" in either field would be number of elite boutique slots to number of quant finance positions where engineers make 350-550k+ first year out of undergrad.

The median entry level software engineer across all companies nationwide makes around 80-100k while the median entry level role in finance (I.e. all of finance not just high finance) pays probably ~50k.

Nov 30, 2021 - 2:22am

Admittedly not a perfect method to test this out but go on LinkedIn and click on a tech company and search for software engineer and then do the same for banking.

When I just did it, searching software engineer on Amazon returned 82k profiles, while investment banking at GS returned 9k. Now consider that every tech company that's a household name, plus a few dozen other places, all pay 150k+. And then some nontech companies too, I mean Goldman pays like 150k for software engineers. The size of the workforce is just way bigger

Nov 30, 2021 - 3:50am

Those multipliers are way too high. 

Banking (and other common entry-level high finance gigs like S&T, ER etc) is actually pretty fucking massive in the US, Wouldn't be surprised if all firms collectively hired 5-6k new analysts a year. Globally you could probably add another few k to bring it to ~8-10k? 

For SWE new grads at big cos, you're talking more like ~2-3k for Google and Microsoft, ~5-6k for Amazon (maybe more idk, they're massive - 120k+ engineers), ~1-1.5k Meta and ~0.5k Apple. For ~14k total. All other decent tech companies are a fraction of the size of these therefore hiring need is much lower so maybe like 2-3k for all of those. So let's say 16-18k? 

You're looking at a multiple of 1.6-2x?

Array
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Nov 30, 2021 - 4:42am

Based on what I've read elsewhere on this site, you're overestimating the size of high finance analyst classes. This thread estimates 1,000 total IB slots https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/how-many-investment-banking-anal…

If you assume 50-100 slots at each BB and then less as you move to smaller and smaller shops, something in that ballpark rings true. ER is tiny compared to IBD and S&T classes are also smaller. I don't claim to be an expert on the size of the IB industry by any means, but from the admittedly shoddy research I've done it seems like a 10x size differential is a reasonable estimate. 2x is definitely too low.

Nov 29, 2021 - 4:24pm

75k out of school

After 2 Years: 100k

Senior SE: 110-120

Lead SE: 130

Manager: 140-160

Senior Manager: 150-180

Director: 200-270

After that, it depends on the company. Some VPs make 170, others make 400. Some C-level execs struggle to break the 200k mark, others make triple that. For a place like NYC, add 25k to everything up until manager, and add 40k for senior manager and higher.

Nov 29, 2021 - 7:30pm

This is unbelievably inaccurate. I recently graduated from a top CS program, and I don't know a single person in my cohort pulling in less than 220k year one. Getting less than 160k is considered complete failure. In 3-7 years all of these people will be between 350-550k. If you make director at any large cap tech company you'll pull in at least 1M

Nov 29, 2021 - 7:35pm

Keyword: top CS program. What I told is the average. I have parents that have been in the industry for decades, and these are accurate numbers as to what one of my parents is paying for positions on their teams. 90% of people do not receive the insane high 6 figure/low 7 figure salaries. They get low to mid 6 figures. It is very unlikely that an undergraduate student from Illinois State University will be making over 200k out of the gate. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:00pm

These are the most accurate figures on this thread. Have parents in this field and multiple relatives as well. The top FAANG salaries are literally only to the top 10% of the field. Everyone else is on this track.  

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:12pm

Seconded. And also seconded that these are accurate figures in this thread. And before anyone whimpers that those aren't "leet salaries yo!" even though the entry level end of that scale is already approaching double the median household income by itself: when you live/work in a LCOL area and have an actual work/life balance to match it makes up for way more than what you think bragging about working for FAANG in NYC/SF is worth.

Nov 30, 2021 - 3:57am

Senior is way too low in this..

Median salary of SWEs according to BLS is $110k there's no way a senior engineer is only making the median salary of SWEs. More typical would be ~$140-150k if we're talking more normal salaries.

Ditto manager, way too low. 

Array
Nov 30, 2021 - 4:05am

These are figures from a midwestern city. As said in my addition below, for MCOL/HCOL, add 25k. But for a midwestern city, these figures are spot on. One parents is at the Director level managing a team of 80 people, so they were able to give me an idea of salaries. The other parent is a senior SWE, so they were able to give me the salary ranges for SE all the way to Lead SE.

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:46pm

Both are skewed towards the very high end of the bell curve.  People who get a decent offer, even at a FAANG, and stay in it, are less likely to report it to one of those sites than the hardos who switch jobs every year or so and talk about TC on blind all day.  And those companies tend to pay laterals much higher compared to people who stay put.

Nov 29, 2021 - 7:02pm

I did a "top-rated" web dev bootcamp about a year ago and took a 90k offer in MCOL area (aka not NYC/SF) after about a month of job searching. This was considered to be on the low end of the offers only because if you're in NYC/SF you should be taking at least 100k. That being said my friends who work in MAANG all pull 150k+ and have ridiculous WLB. Like do an hour of actual work, then a meeting, then dick off the rest of the day WLB (all while remote from wherever). The market is absurdly hot right now and with a few full-stack projects under your belt you should already be competitive for most shitty startups. 

Nov 29, 2021 - 8:57pm

I was a mechanical engineer before switching with about 1.5 YOE and 0 web development experience.  And honestly, I wouldn't even say it's that much of a risk if you have a decent background, are properly motivated, and are good at coding.  Short term outlook is great. Getting the first role is the hardest part and from there it becomes exponentially easier at getting traction at the more desirable MAANG/Pre IPO companies. Some people do make the jump straight to those companies from unorthodox backgrounds so I wouldn't rule that out either. Just really comes down to getting your resume through and being able to Leetcode. Based off the ambitions of a lot of the startups I've interviewed with and the direction big tech is heading I don't think tech is slowing down anytime soon. Lots of new interesting new projects in the space if you're into AI, robotics, or crypto, although some of these areas are difficult to get into without a traditional CS degree. My current role is with a small digital agency building mobile/web applications for a range of companies. Goal is to put a year or two in and then make the jump to one of the bigger names or a startup.

Nov 29, 2021 - 7:53pm

imbaby

I did a "top-rated" web dev bootcamp about a year ago and took a 90k offer in MCOL area (aka not NYC/SF) after about a month of job searching. This was considered to be on the low end of the offers only because if you're in NYC/SF you should be taking at least 100k. That being said my friends who work in MAANG all pull 150k+ and have ridiculous WLB. Like do an hour of actual work, then a meeting, then dick off the rest of the day WLB (all while remote from wherever). The market is absurdly hot right now and with a few full-stack projects under your belt you should already be competitive for most shitty startups. 

More details on this boot camp and your experience before doing the camp? Considering career switch 

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:54pm

I highlighted my experience above, but to build off that I graduated from a mid-tier Big Ten school. I went to a bootcamp called App Academy. It needs to be stressed that not a single company cares what bootcamp you went to (unless they have a partnership with the bootcamp, which is more common than I expected). The main purpose of a bootcamp is to simulate a real work environment with paired programming and get some impressive projects under your belt. I thought App Academy did this very well, although it was lacking in data structures and algorithms. I've heard Codesmith, Hack Reactor, and Fullstack are also good. Getting a masters is probably the best bet for longevity and industries that are more selective (quant finance/ML), but a bootcamp will definitely get you into the industry.

Nov 29, 2021 - 9:34pm

It's fun to see that anonymous posting is not allowed in Off topic forum now.

Anyway, before I landed my current IB gig, I was doing some Leetcode problems since quite a few are just math problems (I was a math major in college). So a lot of concepts were more like review instead of learning new stuff.

I think Leetcode requires a lot more efforts than say M&I 400 or the WSO technical guide. A lot more. For the guides, you mainly need to memorize stuff, which is more like rote learning. Of course, you need to understand the concepts as well, but I don't think you need to know the guides upside down unless you are interviewing for some hard EB groups. You can still make healthy $ in MM firms.

The industry is client facing, so we take a lot of shit from people and we work very long hours because people refuse to rethink about the industry paradigm and what is right and wrong.

Au contraire, you need solid coding skills to not mess up your Leetcode problems and it typically takes more than 3 months to prep for that shit with a good foundation in math, statistics, and computer science. Otherwise, you won't hit the threshold. 

On the class size, yes, MAANG companies recruit way more people compared to BB + EB +MM investment banks. I think some boutiques probably recruit <15 people per year, while in Facebook or some non-MAANG large tech like NVIDIA, one group can have as many as 20 people. That is just one group alone. The amount of people in tech is way more. 

Comp is decent. My buddy at NVIDIA got 110K all in as a first-year SWE. Keep in mind he worked like 30 hours per week and had like 2-3 hectic weeks the whole year. Progressed pretty fast and hit ~200K in 3/4 years. WLB is even better now. Maybe an average Associate in IBD does make more marginally, but the margin may not be significant enough to justify the WLB. 

Fine, you say, that's NVIDIA, some pretty high-profile chip-making giant. What about other firms that we just haven't heard of? A college friend went to work at a small/medium-sized (<300 people) IT/SaaS company after graduating from college and got like 100K all in. Yes, that was a real number. He worked like 15 hours a week. 

Overall, I believe computer science is a better route unless you absolutely hate CS, absolutely love finance, or you got into buy-side research straight, top IBD/PE MF.

Nov 29, 2021 - 11:03pm

What makes you think these guys are working 15-30 hours a week?

Array

Nov 29, 2021 - 11:23pm

IncomingIBDreject

What makes you think these guys are working 15-30 hours a week?

I could see that being possible if they're on the sales side of the spectrum ala sales engineers who build out custom demos. Or if you're the one SE left for an outdated and prosaic piece of the stack that only has to perform once in a blue moon but they need you around because who knows when that'll be. Or the CISA/CISSP engineer that only gets busy during audit season but otherwise just occupies a desk in case some one-off 0-day happens to your firm. I've seen those and other examples.

Edit to add: All of these examples are also the SE's who've been there for 5+ years and more than likely have the word "senior" in their job title. And no, I don't expect them to be taking home anything near $250k/yr. But they got cush salary and benes with some real relaxed expectations, so they're going to be in that chair until the heat death of our solar system.

Nov 30, 2021 - 4:00am

Nvidia pays a lot more than $110k total comp for an entry-level SWE. More like $160-180k. 

Array
Nov 30, 2021 - 12:32am

Fwiw, I'm not say buddy does this every single day throughout the year, but he really has a chill life. Throw MS if you just don't choose to believe such a job exists. 

Just one data point from a close friend:

Company: Facebook

Location: Menlo Park HQ

Comp: ~250K. Didn't tell me the exact number. 

Title: Senior Network Engineer. 3 years+ of exp after graduating from a top CS program. Not any Ivy but a great CS school like UIUC/Purdue. 

Typical day x 3 days a week:

Clock in around 10:30am, fool around until 12pm.

Grab lunch with girlfriend who also works at FB.

Eat lunch and chat for ~1.5 hours. Get back to work at 1:30pm.

Do some work untill 3:30/4pm.

Go play soccer until 5:30pm, grab dinner with girlfriend or teammates after that, sometimes see a movie or whatever.

7:30pm/8pm, home. Play guitar, have sex with GF, or play Dota 2. 

Nov 30, 2021 - 11:41am

I know people who work at FB. That's not the norm at all. Your buddy is basically the equivalent of bottom bucket for finance. 

Array

Nov 30, 2021 - 2:31pm

This schedule is exactly like my first job out of a bootcamp. worked 3 hours a day 3 days a week. Made 100k+. Pretty great years but eventually I wanted to grow into something bigger instead of just relaxing all day. Especially when my peers at other shops are doubling their pay and I'm just chilling.

Nov 30, 2021 - 12:42am

Always a neat comparison I guess

While I seriously envy the tech WLB, I never get the feeling that I'm missing out or made the wrong choice professionally by not becoming a SWE because the work just seems so utterly uninteresting to me personally- so it was never a choice really. Same reason I don't really read up on doctor compensation because I never had the stomach or enthusiasm for medicine…

I've always wondered though, if the trope that coders work like five hours a week holds true, then how does it make sense for every tech firm to hire so many of them and pay them all so well?

Is it that the five hours of work are pure genius and actually worth that much? (I thought half of them are just dicking around creating Like buttons) Or is it just because FAANG and other Big Tech firms have more money (cash or stock or otherwise) than God and they just can? The question then is how sustainable is that? Obviously finance had its golden era decades ago the way tech is having its golden era today, but it's tough to see how the pendulum ever swings back or swings to something new for that matter.

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Nov 30, 2021 - 1:20am

I wouldn't say it's 'pure genius". What I've seen is more of "I did my piece. Now all I can do is wait on the rest of the group to finish their part." The next person may be waiting on you to finish your five hours in order for them to have what they need to work their five hour piece, and on it goes. Meanwhile QA is waiting at the end of the line for everyone to finish their five hours so they can finally do their's. Lather, rinse, repeat. That's a pretty short-hand version, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Nov 30, 2021 - 1:38am

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Nov 30, 2021 - 2:09am

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Nov 30, 2021 - 11:33am

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 4, 2021 - 4:02am

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