Increasing total comp. in DC?

Capital One / Design ETF189
Nov 23, 2017 22 Comments

Product designer with 2yr+ experience making around $85k TC.

I like living in the DC area and I’d like to settle within this city.

On the other hand, I’d also like to grow my career and savings (current life goal is to become financially independent and retire early).

Do you think a DC based designer with 2-4yr experience can hit $150-200k TC like the rest of the FAANG designers on the west coast? If so, which companies/institutions should I target?

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TOP 22 Comments
  • New / Eng zOcY81
    I work in DC. Only tech work making 150-200k (salary) are architects and senior devs.
    Nov 25, 2017 5
    • Amazon 🦃🦃 the
      Did you even read the thread bro. You're wrong
      Nov 25, 2017
    • New / Eng zOcY81
      Wrong about what exactly, bro?
      Nov 25, 2017
    • Amazon 🦃🦃 the
      Amazon pays entry level SDEs 150k and up in this area lol only means other companies are gonna have to start getting more competitive
      Nov 25, 2017
    • New / Eng zOcY81
      I was mentioning salary and not TC. When I got an offer from Amazon last year as a senior engineer it was $120k but I'm guessing around $145k TC. I'm not sure if you were referencing TC or salary but I was hard pressed to get them to go higher than $120k. I feel like Amazon is a unicorn in the DC area. The only similar companies in the area are Microsoft or splunk unless you WFH and live in DC. It's mainly govt contracting out here.
      Nov 25, 2017
    • Gen!x / Eng
      XPbr65

      Gen!x Eng

      PRE
      Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HPE, Northrop Grumman
      BIO
      mehy
      XPbr65more
      Nothing wrong with govt contracting. I got a 140k offer in ‘06 from Northrop because my security clearance was valuable to them.

      Decided against it. I love DC but I also love my 3500sf digs in BumFuck, OH
      Dec 3, 2017
  • Capital One GsuQ05
    Nope. You need to understand that the cost of living on the west coast (SF in particular) is *WAY* higher it is in DC - at least 25% if not 50% higher. So expecting west coast compensation in DC isn’t realistic.

    If you knock it out of the park performance wise and land a promotion (and continue to knock it out of the park thereafter) your compensation will grow considerably. We are a pay for performance company.
    Nov 23, 2017 3
    • Amazon 🦃🦃 the
      DC is pretty expensive.

      There was no CoL adjustment for me when I moved back to DC, and we don't pay hires here any differently than Seattle.

      I know of several SDE college hires in this office making the standard ~150k TC - no different than college hires in Seattle.
      Nov 23, 2017
    • Microsoft qpOp40
      DC is just as expensive as SF. The benefit is that if you are willing to commute 30 min it's way cheaper.
      Nov 23, 2017
    • Capital One / Design ETF189
      OP
      Thanks for the reply.

      I understand that SF is more expensive, but I think people exaggerate it somewhat — though I might be wrong. (I should probably sit down and write all the numbers out!)

      Based on numbeo.com, rents seem to be 50% higher in SF than in DC, but that’s a relatively small uptick if you can get your TC to grow by 50% moving there.

      Also, there seem to be some companies other than C1 in the DMV that can offer competitive salaries to designers, like APT or even the gov (had a friend who got an offer that could go up to $140k). Then again, not sure how interesting the work there would be.
      Nov 23, 2017
  • Amazon 🦃🦃 the
    I work for AWS in the DC area and am compensated around 150k as an SDE I.

    There are offices in DC, Arlington, and Herndon.
    Nov 23, 2017 3
    • Microsoft OsamaGates
      Developer? Didn't know Amazon had offices in DC.
      Nov 23, 2017
    • Amazon 🦃🦃 the
      Yep. The major engineering office is in Herndon (probably one of the largest ones outside of Seattle by now), but there were also SDE positions in Arlington last I checked. Amazon pretty much seems to have major development offices in or near every major city.
      Nov 23, 2017
    • Microsoft OsamaGates
      How big is the office? I would think the best is in Seattle but maybe I'm wrongp
      Nov 23, 2017
  • Capital One / Eng V.v.V
    No way
    Nov 23, 2017 0
  • LinkedIn KenEm
    Not that many designers in the bay area even make that much. You would be better moving to the bay area for a while and then try to go remote. The supply for designers is almost entirely in the bay area and so are all of the companies and jobs. Without the competition the pay won't go up.
    Nov 23, 2017 2
    • Capital One / Design ETF189
      OP
      Thanks for the reply. Do you have any thoughts on NYC?
      Nov 23, 2017
    • LinkedIn KenEm
      NYC is better but still not comparable to bay area. You could try Google in NYC.
      Nov 23, 2017
  • Workday HIO
    No. Sad but true - you have very limited option. AWS has pretty much no UX in DC. We had designer ex-coworkers/friends in c1, success factors, APT, MIcrostrategy/alarm/angel, Appian, defense contractors, consulting companies, and non of them making TC > 150k afaik. Eventually after a few years many if not all moved to SF or Seattle.

    As for the living expense..DMV is pretty much the same as SF except for the housing. We have two houses inside the beltway, and mortgage combined is less than what We pay for rent in SF now.

    On the other hand, we tripled in TC in two years comparing to what we made back in DC.

    We do love DC and think that at some point of our career it might be a great idea to go back and raise our kids there. But no, not at the beginning of your career.
    Nov 24, 2017 0
  • Microsoft OsamaGates
    DC can be expensive as fuck. Live outside the city and metro in
    Nov 23, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Eng
    Hooliganss

    Amazon Eng

    BIO
    Engineer at AWS
    Hooliganssmore
    Negative ghost rider
    Nov 23, 2017 0
  • Netflix dpST86
    Nope.
    Nov 23, 2017 0

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