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      So, what’ve you been paid and what are you being paid now?

      Here, putting my money where my mouth is: 55K -> 60K -> 125K -> 160K now, not including contracting and consulting and founding and other misadventures. All base, not counting (usually laughable, never worth it) equity.

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        Approximations from memory with some kind of parseable format

        2008,37000,39000,first dev job
        2009,42000,48000,merit raise
        2010,53000,62000,merit raise
        2011,64000,70000,merit raise
        2012,75000,115000,merit raise + acquisition
        2013,81000,83000,COL raise
        2014,115000,120000,role change
        2015,117000,121000,COL raise
        2016,124000,127000,merit raise
        2017,140000,140000,retention raise
        2017,176000,195000,new job with reports
        2018,183000,202000,COL raise
        2019,140000,170000,laid off in end of 2018 with new job early 2019
        2020,140000,174000,new bonus and RSU structure kicks in
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          Can I ask, what is tc?

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            Total Compensation, which is generally calculated as salary + bonuses + equity if RSUs and not options. Some folks will include 401k in it, but that’s rare because 401k matches are all over the place and are a function of your salary anyway.

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              That helps, thank you both.

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            My guess is “total compensation” i.e. salary + bonuses

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        From 2012 to now: $60k -> €63k -> €68k -> €78k -> €110k -> €98k. A couple of those years I also got around €35k in bonuses, but those will probably prove to be outliers in the long run.

        I took a pay cut at the start of the year to have a job with more flexible hours and less stress so I could spend more and better time with my family. It has been 100% worth it and I wish I’d done it sooner.

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        In terms of cash, I’ve gone:


        2010-11: $7.25-$10/hr (I was a high schooler / college freshman)

        2012: $15/hr interning where @colindean was at the time


        2013: $25/hr at a startup

        2014: $75k/yr + RSUs at my first long-term full-time job

        2015: $90k/yr + RSUS (promotion)

        2016-2018: $90-150/hr doing freelancing

        2018: $95k/yr + a little equity working 3/4 time at a startup

        2019: $145k/yr + more equity switching to full-time and also getting a raise

        Almost all of this has been full-stack web development in Rails or Clojure.

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          Oh hai!

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            Hope things are going well in your post-IBM life! I miss the burgh!

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        In US, various places, mainly Kansas City and Phoenix, currently Pittsburgh. The older figures are VERY vague though.

        2008,32000,33000,First job as baby sysadmin tech
        2009,37000,39000,raise + bonuses + overtime
        2010,28000,30000,then absconded to grad school.
        2011,21000,22500,Grad school kinda sucked
        2012,21000,22500,but I finished it with no debt
        2013,24000,25000,though moving to Seattle was a mistake.
        2014,58000,61000,Working in oilfield stuff pays the bills
        2015,46000,47500,but takes its toll in mental health.
        2016,56000,62000,Academia is better
        2017,57000,63000,but the hamster wheel gets awful
        2018,41000,42000,and I should have quit way earlier.
        2019,75000,81000,So here I am at a mid-life startup
        2020,78000,84000,and I love it.

        I’m currently rather underpaid, judging by @colindean ‘s awesome survey, but I wouldn’t get to help build flying robots at Facebook or whatever. You don’t get to take money with you after all, and I’m literally posting this during a work trip to a helicopter factory.

      5. 2

        Boston area, software developer, primarily backend.

        • 66 (base, thousands of USD), starting job out of college in 2011, where I had interned before
        • 69, standard raise
        • 88, changed employer, 2013, did not negotiate
        • 99, when manager noticed how little I was paid
        • 103, standard raise
        • 106, standard raise
        • 108, standard raise
        • 118, raise when I pointed out how badly underpaid I was
        • 142, changed employer in 2019 and actually negotiated my salary (although insurance plan not as good, which cuts several thousand out of this)

        I could probably be making 150+ depending on employer, or 180+ if I worked for an employer I hated.

        I’ve tried mentioning my salary to other developers in contexts when it made sense, but they’ve never offered, and I’ve never asked. Not really sure how to get that conversation going.

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        A friend of mine did very well on his startup equity 4 startups in a row. But yeah your mileage will vary.

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      Obligatory linkage to Patrick McKenzie’s widely-praised salary negotiation article: https://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

      My other recommendation: seek and clamor for compensation surveys in your area. I conducted a compensation survey for Code & Supply in 2017 and used that survey result to secure for myself a 40% raise and countless people have told me they also cited it to ask for raises or negotiate when seeking a new or first job. We’re doing it again in mid-2020, so keep your eyes peeled if you care about the rust belt job market for software folk.

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      One flipside of this is that, as a consultant, I’m incentivized to not talk publicly about my rates. If they’re publicly available, then companies can use that in bargaining against me. I try to charge as much as the company is willing to pay. Let’s say that’s 10 dollars a day.¹ If they know that I normally charge clients 8 dollars, they know I’m probably willing to settle for 8 dollars, and they can refuse unless I lower to the standard rate. They’re confident I’ll lower my rate than lose the business entirely, saving them money.

      The downside to this is that consultants don’t know how much other consultants charge. There was a Twitter thread a while back where a high-profile speaker raised her keynote fee to 5k plus T&E, and several people chimed in that she was vastly undercharging.

      ¹ (no I’m not charging 10 dollars a day, it’s at least 15.)

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        If you think that your salary is too low, there’s also an incentive to not let your prospective next employers know. I know I’ve made that mistake once, and it won’t help you to get good offers.

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          Yeah. It’d be nice to disown my comment about my salary just so this couldn’t happen to me. Is that an option, @pushcx?

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            The disown link appears next to my comments if I go to “Your Threads.”

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              Interesting, I don’t see it. I’ll check the codebase for what causes it to appear.

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                Looks like it is time bound? Would make sense as I also can’t disown some comments anymore from two days ago. But I certainly had this button after creating them for some time. But it should be at least 1 day to trigger ?!

                Edit: It doesn’t make any sense, I can still disown comments from 29 days ago, but not from 2?

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                  It’s deleteable for a period (currently 14 days), then disownable. Disowning is seen as a way to let people walk away from old conversations without turning those discussions into an unreadable mess, not as a way to post anonymously.

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        yeah, definitely - i think i didn’t write this as clearly as i could have - the point i was trying to make is that how and with who you talk about your salary matters, and talking about it 1:1 with a co-worker is probably much more useful than just dumping how much you make on twitter. this is a good example of why that can be.

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          Twitter has such a variety of content and outrage that it’s not a great place often for many things, but for fora (such as this) that focus on actionable stuff for practitioners I think these datapoints can still be can be illuminating.

          Unionization is a pipedream in tech I think is a flawed idea in many ways but the first step to any sort of progress is people share their salary information. Limiting that information to your coworkers is I think a good way to breed resentment and upset a working environment, and also kinda reinforces a sort of provincialism that is already systemic in the tech industry: a bunch of GOOG or MSFT folks in NYC or SF or Seattle kvetching about their perf bonuses and kitchenette cutbacks to each other may be missing the bigger picture of flyover country and other nations.

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        This is a really good point. I’ve noticed that recruiters are very aggressive in asking your current compensation. They would love to be able to look up your twitter handle and figure out how much you’re making, so they can figure out the lower bound that will make you switch jobs. Instead of putting it out on twitter, share information with your peers through private channels. Unlike consulting, general jobs have enough information through tools like levels.fyi to know what you’re worth, so posting about it on public channels is harmful to you

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        Information asymmetry prevents efficient price discovery and leads to one party making more money from the other. :)

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        as a consultant, I’m incentivized to not talk publicly about my rates. If they’re publicly available, then companies can use that in bargaining against me.

        Then thank you for taking a risk with this comment!

        no I’m not charging 10 dollars a day, it’s at least 15.

        I see what you did there ;)

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      Since my salary can be calculated anyway from GitLab’s salary calculator, I’ll share some details:

      • Based in Hilversum, The Netherlands (close to Amsterdam)
      • My position is “Staff Backend Engineer”
      • Just under 10 years of experience (something like 9.5 at this point)
      • Started in 2010 at the age of 17-ish, earning around €15 000 per year (grossly underpaid)
      • My annual salary is currently just under €110 000 per year.
      • Somewhere around 80 000 stock options, of which I was able to sell off a few twice now. How much this is exactly worth remains to be seen. Based on GitLab’s current valuation this seems to be worth around $1 500 000. Since GitLab isn’t public yet this could easily end up being worth $0.

      Getting here has been a bit of a ride. For example, in the early years of GitLab the way salary was calculated was not well defined at all. I remember having to spend several weeks trying to convince those in charge of money that I should be paid according to the Amsterdam rate of our calculator, instead of another region (Utrecht, which came with a significantly lower pay). GitLab’s approach at this time basically came down to using Google search results to figure out if people travelled more to Amsterdam or Utrecht from my location; as if that somehow mattered. I eventually managed to convince GitLab to pay me the Amsterdam rate when I found out that Hilversum is officially part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area. Since then it has improved, and I think it now comes down to more or less “If you live within 90 minutes of commuting to Amsterdam, you get the Amsterdam rate”.

      My biggest pet peeve with salaries is paying people based by location. It’s always sold as being “fair”, but in reality it’s only fair to the employer. I really hope this trend goes away, but I fear it is here to stay.

      If anybody would like to know more, feel free to ask :)

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        My biggest pet peeve with salaries is paying people based by location.

        Amen to that. On the other hand, if you can get paid US coastal salaries while living literally anywhere else you can run arbitrage in your favor.

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        Since I’m also Netherlands-based, I’ll reply to you.

        I’m 28, work in Utrecht, and work as a compiler engineer, and make about 40k. This is my second job. I started in 2017 at 25, at about 30k for 32hrs/week (although in practice I worked more), I have slightly less than 3 years of experience now.

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          What company is this if you’re willing to disclose that? Compiler jobs are rare, certainly in The Netherlands as far as I know.

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            I’d rather not post it publicly, but we make toolchains for embedded systems. It’s not a very big company, which is why the salary is meh (for anyone in doubt, the 40k is per year). For now, it’s OK.

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        My biggest pet peeve with salaries is paying people based by location. It’s always sold as being “fair”, but in reality it’s only fair to the employer.

        It’s skeevy AF.

        The official tagline pre-remote work was, “your salary is commensurate with the value you bring to the business.” Of course, the profit-per-dev is bonkers at some places, so we can’t have that!

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        My biggest pet peeve with salaries is paying people based by location. It’s always sold as being “fair”, but in reality it’s only fair to the employer.

        Depends how you look at it’ if you view it as “pay people less because they live in cheap areas” then sure, but if you look at it as “pay people more because they live in expensive areas” then it makes more sense IMHO.

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          It’s not even billed as fair. It’s billed as “market rate”, which means the lowest an employer can get away with paying for the calibre of employee they’d like to have. Companies explicitly target a percentile. When I was at VMware it was an open secret that they targeted the 75th %ile & paid accordingly. At Google NYC I have frank discussions with my reports & tell them they can make much more money by working in for a private equity firm without having to move to another city.

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          Why would I look at it like that?

          Willingness to pay the higher rate means both that company can afford it and values worker’s output to be greater than that rate. Well, to be fair it could also mean that lower paid workers partially subsidise higher paid ones above their value, but again, why should they find that reasonable? (I also doubt many companies do that)

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            I think the GitLab page actually does a pretty good job at explaining it: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/people-group/global-compensation/#paying-local-rates

            Remote work is kinda weird when it comes to salaries, but the idea of paying everyone as if they were living in the most expensive area doesn’t strike me as realistic or fair.

            In a way, people do get paid the same when adjusting for local salaries, because after cost of living everyone gets to put the same amount of money in their savings account at the end of the month. i.e. it’s (salary = cost_of_living + compensation).

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              They don’t get paid the same amount. It’s a crude estimate of living expenses oblivious to different tax regimes, personal situations (e.g. has family or not), do they rent a place or own it… A while ago I was thinking of applying to Gitlab and tried cost estimates for a few places I know well enough and it was clearly unbalanced.

              However, even if it was perfect in ways it would be unrealistic to expect, I still don’t agree with their reasoning, but appreciate that they put some thought into it and made it open.

              Point 1 is basically want to exert control on people’s movement. I don’t think most people are so willing and open to moving as they fear, but even if they were, I certainly don’t find this approach appropriate. If this was main worry, then better approach would be to hire for specific time zones and require approval to move out of them.

              Point 2 may or may not be true, but high-wage regions are also such because people move there for things they can’t get in lower-wage regions and this is completely ignoring this.

              Point 3. Either these unhappy people perform well and it’s none of the company’s business if they’d rather be elsewhere or they don’t and there are remedies for that. Nobody is forced to put up with employees with negative impact. Also, this is effectively an argument that the company should never be the one paying the highest salaries (so unhappy people always have a place to leave to).

              Point 4 is basically stating the caveat in my previous comment. Have no idea of Gitlab’s financials, but I’ll take their word for it.

              Point 5 is true, but they could also pay everyone somewhere below high-region salaries and just employ more people outside of those regions. I’m not buying an argument that talent is so scarce that you have to also higher in the most expensive regions.

              I like Gitlab, but when I was thinking about applying, it was this part that bothered me the most.

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        I started at EUR 24k in Rotterdam back in the days :)

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      The more I hear the more I think it’s time for collective agreements, CLAs, or Tarifverträge as we call it in Germany. I started to work in 2013 and earn around 86k € pre tax plus a 13th salary and some useless stock options. I have some stocks from my former employment. I’m happy with my salary as I plan to move where the living costs will be 30% less and once I’m married (April 3rd : ) I’ll have a nice tax cut.

      However, I always sensed that the salaries were not fair. My former manager actually gave out raises because the differences were quite big within the same level. I get that it’s always hard to even out salaries but I just don’t want to think I have to negotiate every time. Eg a friend in aero engineering got a pay raise because of a new collective agreement. Which basically means he was paid too little.

      It seems a lot of engineers think they would be paid less with CLA when they would actually earn more.