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Old 01-19-2015, 11:33 AM   #41
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Seattle is pretty hot right now (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple)
Seattle is big plus - no state income tax.
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Wife pulls in similar to those figures with bonus as a senior software engineer but she is brilliant and performs the work of 3 normal engineers.
Did she say that or that's what you think?

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Warm bodies can still get into six figures and engineers with more people skills (my wife tells her boss and his boss how wrong they are quite frequently) can get above $300k.
That means that you have to get into management.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:43 AM   #42
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Price of housing seems to be driven by Mainland Chinese and Indian who often have 3 generations in the house but it's good for me. If I need extra cash for retirement my house will do nicely since it's paid for and is worth FAR more than I paid for it
I think it is driven by buyers with lots of cash and not enough homes for sale.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:11 PM   #43
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Bay Area housing prices have been sky high for decades. We lived in Silicon Valley from 1972 to 1997. Our 1500 sf, 3 bd, 2 bath house went like this:

1975: $52k
1997: $465k (when we sold)
2015: $1370k

An appreciation of 10.5% per year for us. Nice leverage if you put down only $5k and had the Prop 13 tax frozen status.

But the booms and busts are pretty extreme. It can be tough to ride the tech industry wave. The tech specialists of 2015 could find it tough going in a few years if they do not getting the project experience of the emerging technologies -- whatever those might be at any given period. I had to make several career adjustments and it was worrisome at times. There are some people who walk on water and do just fine. Very smart Americans from all over the country, plus plenty of Europeans, India trained engineers, and Chinese.

Lots of brains and egos -- huge egos. It can be a hard environment if you are a sensitive person. People can change from being a playful puppy dog out of school to being a manager on the elevator going up with all the social implications. Don't believe all those stories of work environments where people play with nerf balls or whatever. It can get cut throat when layoffs loom or even any time.

It's probably just fine for very young workers and especially if they salt away some of their earnings. Buying real estate is a tough decision.

While we did well, I'm glad to be out of that stressful work environment.
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:36 PM   #44
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I think it is driven by buyers with lots of cash and not enough homes for sale.
Must be those software engineers

There will never really be enough houses for sale in the Bay area which is why housing will always be an premium here..Ocean/Bay and mountains restrict the amount of land that can be built on. And those same mountains/water make access restricted as well so so moving too far away comes with the price of a nasty commute. Lately the trend is for high density housing as a result...not cheap but cheaper but if you want a house with a big yard there aren't too many and those of us that have them are in fat city
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:53 PM   #45
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If you think some of the compensation packages being mentioned here are big, you should consider how much money many of the sales reps make who work for these companies. Based on my personal experience, even an inside sales guy at a mid-sized tech company with a solid product can make $150k-200k. Field sales reps (non-management) can make upwards to $750k to $1.25M. Yes, they're in sales and carry a quota, but many get paid big money just on maintenance & support renewals, with some getting quota retirement for purchases made as a result of license compliance audits. Also, and perhaps more importantly, sales reps can often live in low cost areas since they're always on the road.

If I were a software engineer today, I'd consider becoming a Sales Engineer supporting Field Sales, and then learn how to sell (you pick up a lot by osmosis by accompanying field sales on customer calls). If field sales didn't work out, I could always go back to being an engineer.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:25 PM   #46
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Did she say that or that's what you think?
Just my experience. She is quite modest but is always inheriting bad C# code from someone who leaves the group and ends up rewriting a cleaner, more efficient version. One time she took work done by another engineer over a three month period and rewrote the whole code in a weekend. When a section was outsourced to India and that failed after quite a few months of back and forth miscommunication, she took on the whole project and finished it in 10 days. She is underpaid for what she does....should go into sales or management but has zero people skills (perhaps even negative people skills).

The sales guys indeed make $500K or more.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:28 PM   #47
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If you think some of the compensation packages being mentioned here are big, you should consider how much money many of the sales reps make who work for these companies. Based on my personal experience, even an inside sales guy at a mid-sized tech company with a solid product can make $150k-200k. Field sales reps (non-management) can make upwards to $750k to $1.25M. Yes, they're in sales and carry a quota, but many get paid big money just on maintenance & support renewals, with some getting quota retirement for purchases made as a result of license compliance audits. Also, and perhaps more importantly, sales reps can often live in low cost areas since they're always on the road.

If I were a software engineer today, I'd consider becoming a Sales Engineer supporting Field Sales, and then learn how to sell (you pick up a lot by osmosis by accompanying field sales on customer calls). If field sales didn't work out, I could always go back to being an engineer.
Yup! Communication & people skills always outweigh technical skills.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:31 PM   #48
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Just my experience. She is quite modest but is always inheriting bad C# code from someone who leaves the group and ends up rewriting a cleaner, more efficient version. One time she took work done by another engineer over a three month period and rewrote the whole code in a weekend. When a section was outsourced to India and that failed after quite a few months of back and forth miscommunication, she took on the whole project and finished it in 10 days. She is underpaid for what she does....should go into sales or management but has zero people skills (perhaps even negative people skills).

The sales guys indeed make $500K or more.
She's truly a hyper/super performer and is highly wanted by any company.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:05 PM   #49
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Yup! Communication & people skills always outweigh technical skills.
Yes there came a time in my career when my manager flat out told me "you're maxed out as a techie. If you want more money I need you at client sites consulting or being a crit sit leader". Frankly I enjoyed that more than straight development. The crit sits fed my adrenaline addiction. I still had to have extremely sharp tech skills as you had reponsibility to get a resolution the issue(s).

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Old 01-19-2015, 03:15 PM   #50
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Yes there came a time in my career when my manager flat out told me "you're maxed out as a techie. If you want more money I need you at client sites consulting or being a crit sit leader". Frankly I enjoyed that more than straight development. The crit sits fed my adrenaline addiction. I still had to have extremely sharp tech skills as you had reponsibility to get a resolution the issue(s).

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Old 01-19-2015, 04:36 PM   #51
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no way you could get me to move to the bay area for a job, even if my pay was doubled - there is a reason they have high salaries there, they need them to thrive


one of my golf buddies in Houston got transferred to San Ramon and the cheapest golf club he could join was about $150K initiation
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:12 PM   #52
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One possible way to reach FI early is working as a software developer or manager in Silicon Valley according to some of the discussion at What is the average savings of a software developer in San Francisco area? - Quora



Despite well-known high-tech compensation in the Bay Area, some of claims seem high, however.

Anyway, DD just started working as a software engineer there a year ago after graduation, making over $100K (just in salary) already. Cost of housing is very high (~2x average), but the pay definitely compensates it quite nicely.
This is not limited to Silicon Valley.
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:16 PM   #53
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If you are a single and renting, you can save a lot working as a Engineer in the Bay Area, since your expenses are so much lower than your salary.
This was my experience as well. It seems to me that the only really expensive part of living in the santa clara valley is rent, and while the average is high, there are well priced reasonably well located places available if you look. Maybe I was tighter than most, but over the past decade my living expenses (excluding income taxes) were about 6% of AGI. FI was easy to hit even though I never went into management, never changed jobs, and gained less than a month's pay on company stock and options over my entire career. IOW there can be a decent consolation prize for those who fail to get the big kill in the valley.

If one executes a minimalist expense + high income mad rush towards FI, I think it would be plausible to reach basic FI after about a decade of continuous fulltime work here assuming no debt burdens and no major IPO score. At that point one could choose to retire to a low cost vacation paradise or perhaps stay on while ramping down the wage-income savings rate towards zero over the next decade. If you are aiming for remote work to transition into retirement, I think it's best not to get entangled into management duties-- find some esoteric niche with a steep learning curve and high demand for expertise, then dig in and help everyone who asks, especially those involved in sales or managing crit sits.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:34 PM   #54
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I saw this billboard today advertising for "hot" tech talent:

This is How Silicon Valley is Marketing Tech Geeks Now | NextShark

It has programmers in their boxers, and spoiler alert, they do not exactly look like David Beckham.

"Silicon Valley, where tech geeks are celebrated like rockstars and sex symbols, is having a lot of fun with their new surge in the billboard industry. One company, Dice, is getting a few laughs in traffic with their new and provocative campaign to market real programmers and engineers that are baring it all save for a pair of merciful boxer shorts."
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:12 AM   #55
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I saw this billboard today advertising for "hot" tech talent:

This is How Silicon Valley is Marketing Tech Geeks Now | NextShark

It has programmers in their boxers, and spoiler alert, they do not exactly...
Hey, that geek has no beer belly, no tattoos. I don't think the guy on the billboard look that bad, but what do I know as a male geek myself?
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Old 01-26-2015, 08:23 AM   #56
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My Megacorp off-shored most of the IT Dev to India. Just a matter of time till the whole industry is gone from the US.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:14 AM   #57
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My Megacorp off-shored most of the IT Dev to India. Just a matter of time till the whole industry is gone from the US.
IT and software development is not the same. A lots of company farm out their IT projects but most, if not all, software development for their products remains in the US.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:15 AM   #58
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Hey, that geek has no beer belly, no tattoos. I don't think the guy on the billboard look that bad, but what do I know as a male geek myself?
concurred - These guys look fine to me. They should include some female geeks also.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:19 AM   #59
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IT and software development is not the same. A lots of company farm out their IT projects but most, if not all, software development for their products remains in the US.
Be careful there. "most" does not apply at my Megacorp and a few others I know.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:29 AM   #60
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Yes I've seen work be pulled back after being outsourced. The supposed cost savings eaten up by infrastructure costs, training, international travel and housing.

Not to mention the cost of reworking the code, as the developer didn't really understand the business problem that needed to be solved.

Smart staff, but without a clear understanding of the business, most fail. YMMV.


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