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engineering compensation

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I know a lot of you must work in the hardware and software engineering industry, especially in silicon valley, so I want to ask what is fair compensation.

I've gotten a few offers from silicon valley companies and they seem to be lowballing me. I'll be graduating this semester with an M.S. The silicon valley companies are offering low 80s while east coast ones are also doing the same.

Living cost is much lower at the east coast locations, so it seems like the silicon valley compensation is very low. How much do starting people with M.S. normally get especially at a company like Apple.

[ 03-26-2002: Message edited by: mmaster ]</p>
post #2 of 22
Do you have any experience in the field? In my limited experience low 80's is not lowballing at all. I realize that salaries are higher in SV than elsewhere but given the current economic climate that is a pretty fair salary. I don't know anything about software side of things but I know they are hurting just as bad as hardware. Remember there is a lot more to compensation than salary, what about upward mobility, options, signing bonus, relocation, 401k matching?

In the Austin, TX area current starting ranges for B.S's in my field are in the mid to high 60 range. A M.S. usually affords about 10-20% increase over those levels.
post #3 of 22
Low 80s... sucks to be you.

proud resident of a failed state
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proud resident of a failed state
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post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
nope, no experience. Went straight from B.S. into the M.S. program. I've lived out East all my life, so don't know much about living costs in Silicon Valley other than it is high. I was looking and rent was going to be over 1K a month and buying a house is out of the question because getting even a two bedroom house would run at least 400K. 80K in Silicon Valley is probably much less than 70K in Austin. You can probably get the same house in Austin for under 200K. I think pay has to be about 100K in silicon valley to match a 70K Austing salary.

One thing I have noticed is that the hardware side pays a little better than software. I was leaning towards hardware anyways since that is what I like more, but I was playing the numbers game since the economy is a little slow and companies are not as willing to hire right now as a couple of years ago.

All of the other components to compensation are basically the same which is why I was more concerned with the salary. I hear that 80K in silicon valley is close to poverty level, so I just wanted confirmation from others in the area about starting salary. I really would like to live somewhere sunny, but not if I will end up living paycheck to paycheck for the same work I could have done somewhere else.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Don't want to start a new thread on this, so I will ask here in case anybody knows. I've been reading AI for a while now and just registered for a forums account today. Now I can't even access the front page. It just redirects me here. I guess it is not much of a problem since nothing has been posted on the front page for a while, but still it would be nice to be able to read the front page.
post #6 of 22
post #7 of 22
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by AirSluf:
<strong>As for Silicon Valley wages. The SV unemployment rate is somewhere over 15% right now according to an article in either today's or yesterdays Chronicle. That's a lot of ready to work experienced folks you are competing with.

80K is pretty good considering. Even though it won't go as far as other areas, they don't have dot-com meltdown and post-911 driven unemployment simultaneously. It's a hirers market out here.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes, I guess that is part of it. There is more competition now for the same job, so employers can pay less. I guess it is not so bad since rent has also gone from 3000 to 1000 for most 1 bedroom apartments, so living cost has also been reduce. Rent at 1000 dollars is comparable to the East Coast. I guess that is why the salaries are the same now because the cost of living have equalized. This is all conjecture though since salary information is so hard to come by.
post #9 of 22
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
After some more researching I have found out the the SV companies are really lowballing me. Median income in San Jose, CA is 82,000 dollars. While median income in Nashua, NH is 60,000. That is over a 20K difference and this is considering that Nashua is the city with the highest median income of all my East Coast cities. This difference in median incomes is likely proportional to the difference in living cost, so I would be much better off going for the Nashua job with the same salary as the SV job.
post #11 of 22
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by AirSluf:
<strong>The starting salary is lower than the median, what does that mean. Half the salaries paid in SV or Nashua are below that point. Where do you think the starting salaries are? In the top half? With this much unemployment? Take the best offer you get before someone who is willing to take much less is pulled in behind you.</strong><hr></blockquote>

yes, I understand that I should take the best offer. I just needed to see what the best offer was. All offers were for basically the same salary (low to mid 80K). So since if I take the job in Nashua, I would be beating the median by 20K+, I likely will have a higher living standard there even though the income is the same. If I made 80K the rest of my life I would have no hope of buying a house in SV. In Nashua at least I have a chance to buy a house with an 80K salary. If I got an offer in Austin for 80K, that would be the best situation since living there is dirt cheap compared to SV, Nashua, Boston, or NY.
post #13 of 22
post #14 of 22
I can't believe that someone so bad at judging numbers is being offered 80k?
post #15 of 22
[quote]Originally posted by AirSluf:
<strong>Yeah. Get 2-3 years under your belt and earn a good reputation where you can afford it, wait on the house unless you are ready to settle for good (maybe better to stay flexible at the start of a career for a few years).

Meanwhile, meet some folks at industry conventions and then quietly drop the idea you are looking for bigger and better positions through that network of buddies in places you would really like to work. About 80% of the really good jobs never get advertised and a lot of those never even see a resume. Just filled by a good word and a short "personality interview". Invitation only more or less.</strong><hr></blockquote>
Good advice : i really started to earn money at the age of 35 : 80 000 dollars income per year (before when i worked in a hospital i only earn 25000 $ per year), and i can not go farther than 100 000 $ in my job in the town where ia m. I know US is more rich (France tend to become more and more crappy ) and life cost less where i live : my house only cost me 200 000 $ all tax included, and i wish to upgrade it a four years for approximatively 100 000 $.

So there is no need to whin for a 80 k annual fee : you may evolve if your boss think you worth it.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Scott H.:
<strong>I can't believe that someone so bad at judging numbers is being offered 80k?</strong><hr></blockquote>

salary and median income numbers still leave lots of variables out. I was just trying to get opinions of people who have more experience. SV has the advantage of having lots of tech companies. Easier chance of moving around in case you don't like your job. Nashua has more a small town feel and I'll be more at home since I have lived in East Coast all my life. It is also a moderate drive to a big city like Boston or NYC.

Also, numbers aren't everything. If I were just going for high salary I would have taken the one IBanking position I was offered. 50 percent more salary, but not what I want to spend the next few years doing. Just applied as a backup since job market is really slow right now.

Thanks for the advice guys. I think I will take up the job in Nashua. I already know a few people working around the area and I can probably save more money than in SV which will give me flexibility to go back to school or retire early.

[ 04-09-2002: Message edited by: mmaster ]</p>
post #17 of 22
[quote]Originally posted by mmaster:
<strong>

salary and median income numbers still leave lots of variables out. I was just trying to get opinions of people who have more experience. SV has the advantage of having lots of tech companies. Easier chance of moving around in case you don't like your job. Nashua has more a small town feel and I'll be more at home since I have lived in East Coast all my life. It is also a moderate drive to a big city like Boston or NYC.

Also, numbers aren't everything. If I were just going for high salary I would have taken the one IBanking position I was offered. 50 percent more salary, but not what I want to spend the next few years doing. Just applied as a backup since job market is really slow right now.

Thanks for the advice guys. I think I will take up the job in Nashua. I already know a few people working around the area and I can probably save more money than in SV which will give me flexibility to go back to school or retire early.

[ 04-09-2002: Message edited by: mmaster ]</strong><hr></blockquote>
Good luck Mmaster
post #18 of 22
Hardware has to be paying a lot more because I am in software and I only get low 50s. Granted I don't have an MS degree but I do have 3 years experience, 2 of which with C++. I am always looking to go to a new job but almost no one is hiring in my field. Hotjobs, Monster, my local newspaper and some other places have almost no jobs listed for software people. In fact, I am lucky to still have a job ( 10% of my department was laid off ). I wish I could find a job offering 80K.
"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
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"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
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post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
salary depends greatly also on the area and the type of company you are with. Companies like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft pay a premium for their workers because they want the best to stay competitive against the other big players. If you work at a smaller company many times you will be making 10-20K less for a job with the same title. It usually does not mean you are being short changed though because the work will be less challenging which is why there are more people that can fulfill the the position and thus the lower salary.

For hardware it depends on what your job is. Jobs in chip design (both architecture and vlsi) pay more than other EE/CE jobs. I know people in chip design in Nashua who started at 70K with a B.S. Average starting salary for people from my school who got software related jobs was around 60-65K. Companies like MS, Amazon, Apple, Trilogy, Intel, HP, and IBM paid at or above the top of this range. Companies that don't need as good of workers such as Lockheed and CA paid only around 48-55K (probably part of the lower salary is these companies are located in lower living cost places). The average for EE jobs was about the same with the chip and IC guys getting 70+K and the telecom guys bringing in the rear with below 60K.

Job market has been slow this year and last, so many people graduating won't be getting jobs. It kind of sucks, but their is nothing you can do about it other than spending a few more years in college to wait it out. If you have a job already then working really hard to hold on to it is a good idea. Wait until the market improves before you think about jumping ship. During my job search I looked at places like Monster and HotJobs and they have probably less than 10 percent of the listings they had during the tech boom. On campus recruiting at my school this year is less than 30 percent of what it was 2-3 years ago. More than half the people I know will be unemployed when they graduate.
post #20 of 22
[quote]Originally posted by mmaster:
<strong>salary depends greatly also on the area and the type of company you are with. Companies like Apple, IBM, and Microsoft pay a premium for their workers because they want the best to stay competitive against the other big players. If you work at a smaller company many times you will be making 10-20K less for a job with the same title. It usually does not mean you are being short changed though because the work will be less challenging which is why there are more people that can fulfill the the position and thus the lower salary.

For hardware it depends on what your job is. Jobs in chip design (both architecture and vlsi) pay more than other EE/CE jobs. I know people in chip design in Nashua who started at 70K with a B.S. Average starting salary for people from my school who got software related jobs was around 60-65K. Companies like MS, Amazon, Apple, Trilogy, Intel, HP, and IBM paid at or above the top of this range. Companies that don't need as good of workers such as Lockheed and CA paid only around 48-55K (probably part of the lower salary is these companies are located in lower living cost places). The average for EE jobs was about the same with the chip and IC guys getting 70+K and the telecom guys bringing in the rear with below 60K.

Job market has been slow this year and last, so many people graduating won't be getting jobs. It kind of sucks, but their is nothing you can do about it other than spending a few more years in college to wait it out. If you have a job already then working really hard to hold on to it is a good idea. Wait until the market improves before you think about jumping ship. During my job search I looked at places like Monster and HotJobs and they have probably less than 10 percent of the listings they had during the tech boom. On campus recruiting at my school this year is less than 30 percent of what it was 2-3 years ago. More than half the people I know will be unemployed when they graduate.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Thanks for making me feel better, I thought I was getting totally ripped off. BTW, my company is not small, but in terms of software, we are. We have ( at last check, it goes down all the time ) about 80,000 employees worldwide but, I would guess, less than 1,000 do software. If you don't know where I work, look at my location and make a guess. What company has 80,000 employees located in Rochester, NY. Yup you guessed it, Kodak. Here is what I work on: <a href="http://www.kodak.com/go/digitalminilabs." target="_blank">http://www.kodak.com/go/digitalminilabs.</a>
"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
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"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
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post #21 of 22
[quote]175advsurfer - Kodak CI AOL-Advantix
175maxwave - Kodak CI AOL-Max
<hr></blockquote>

Do you add blast capacity to AOL?
Kodak, home of 80,000 pink slips in Rochester alone
post #22 of 22
[quote]Originally posted by Eskimo:
<strong>

Do you add blast capacity to AOL?
Kodak, home of 80,000 pink slips in Rochester alone </strong><hr></blockquote>

No I wish I did something fun like that. I work on making $200,000 printers make pictures. They may cost alot but those pictures look nice!
"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
Reply
"Ninety-five percent of houses have a toilet, but just because I have one doesn't mean I'm going to edit my movies on one." - Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller
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