Maxed out salary as Architect. Now what?

New / Eng Kk23sm
Dec 5, 2017 29 Comments

I’m making ~$160k as a software architect at age 34. Based on conversations with recruiters, this is roughly top of market (Texas). Now what? I don’t particularly want to go into management because I prefer working with code, but I also don’t want to be stuck at this salary for the rest of my career. I also don’t want to hang around for a 3% annual raise for the next few years and then find myself taking a pay cut if I ever get laid off. What do you do when you’ve reached the top of your pay scale and you’re still young?

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Mixpanel LlwD75
    That's not really top of market. A friend of mine recently joined a startup in Texas and got $180k + equity. Just gotta sell yourself and be honest with your salary expectations up front so as not to waste your or their time
    Dec 5, 2017 6
    • New / Eng Kk23sm
      OP
      Did you find that directly or go through a recruiter? I’ve been wondering if there are select recruiters that have the better paying clients, cause no one I’ve talked with goes much higher until you move into management.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng Harmar
      Texas is pretty big, where in Texas?
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / Eng Kk23sm
      OP
      Fort Worth
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Mixpanel LlwD75
      True, it was in Austin. Role was as a Senior eng on a small team. The easiest way to boost comp will certainly be moving though. Move for a few years and transfer back at new comp level.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng
      Thdjwjdhhs

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Hate coding quizzes but studying hard for better future!
      Thdjwjdhhsmore
      Austin looks pretty expensive for Texas standard. Close to Seattle suburb though slightly cheaper. Therefore, higher salary might not provide better living condition.
      Dec 7, 2017
  • Upgrade / Other 1:1
    Live where u have friend circle. Don’t just run after money and show ur greed. Friends & Family matter most.

    a life changing guidance 🙏
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • LinkedIn KenEm
    Move to some place that has higher pay. There's not much else to be done if the market isn't offering more. I have about 2.5 yrs of experience and make about 230k in the bay area, I would make way less where I grew up, would be lucky to be making half. You need to move to a tech hub if you want to increase your pay more.
    Dec 5, 2017 3
    • New / Eng Kk23sm
      OP
      True, but the cost of living is also much higher there. I’d take $160k here over $230k there. It’d have to be over $300k to consider the move, which seems doable, but I do like living here overall.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / Eng Laid Djang
      Only if you rent. You can buy a house with your high salary. Other expenses shouldn’t be much higher.
      and 230 is for a lucky mid experienced engineer, architect would be much higher.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • LinkedIn KenEm
      Well that's hard to say. Leveling works very differently across companies. I know people who are "architects" but join as like L4 or L5 at Google/FB.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • Facebook public
    Move, 2x to 3x your salary and bonus points you don't have to live in Texas anymore?
    Dec 5, 2017 2
    • Facebook Fork44
      What didn't you like about Texas?
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Microsoft / Eng
      Thdjwjdhhs

      Microsoft Eng

      BIO
      Hate coding quizzes but studying hard for better future!
      Thdjwjdhhsmore
      Look at the housing price in Texas. You will want to live there. 1m will guarantee you to live in a castle. People are more laid back so it is a good place to enjoy life.
      Dec 7, 2017
  • Microsoft Key-Talent
    moving for a higher salary and higher cost of living is stupid. zero sum game
    Dec 5, 2017 1
    • Google Noogie
      Only if your objective is to buy a home (for SV anyway)
      Dec 5, 2017
  • New / Eng zOcY81
    I think either moving or finding remote work are your two options.
    Dec 5, 2017 3
    • New / Eng Kk23sm
      OP
      Does remote work pay better? From what I’ve seen, it often pays the same or less. Where do you find high quality remote jobs?
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / Eng zOcY81
      Well you could do one as a second job and prob get your TC near $300k. You prob don't want two jobs though lol.

      I've seen remote work pay really well and it's perfect for a developer. As far as where to find work, I'm not sure other than the regular ways - online job sites/LinkedIn
      Dec 5, 2017
    • Square / Eng SQ
      Remote work is all about the TC. Your base would be lower than if it was in SF, but the RSUs is where you make your money.
      Dec 6, 2017
  • Salesforce EobK67
    Move to a company in a higher pay grade city (I.e. seattle is a good option, high pay, no state tax, less cost of living than Bay area) which is very remote work friendly. I work for Salesforce and can easily start full time working from home at any point. Once you are working from home then move to wherever you are. You likely will have to go through a salary adjustment but if you make yourself desirable it's in their best interest to keep you. I have co-workers living all-over the states making a west coast salary.
    Dec 6, 2017 1
    • Microsoft Key-Talent
      move to get a raise then move to get it reduced. dumb plan dude.
      Dec 7, 2017
  • Amazon
    carla420

    Amazon

    PRE
    Microsoft
    carla420more
    Pure bs, never believe any recruiters. I was getting 200k+ when I was an architect in Texas. No point of moving to move to bay area if you can make 200k+ in Texas..

    Note - when I said Texas, obviously it's Austin... nothing grows outside of Austin in Texas!
    Dec 6, 2017 0
  • Amazon / Eng c841b5
    I spent some time in Texas and will join in on everyone telling you to look into Austin. COL has risen lately but still waaaaay cheaper than the west coast.

    A lot of major tech firms have small satellite offices there plus several well funded startups are driving up demand for talent.
    Dec 6, 2017 0
  • Apple Nohandle
    Move to Bay Area , bump up your salary level and savings , move back in a few years . Rents are high but salaries are higher .
    Dec 6, 2017 0
  • Microsoft realbalmer
    Exactly - bonis is you don't have to live in TX
    Dec 5, 2017 0
  • Google LEUy25
    Move. Despite cost of living you’re better off. Have you done any calculations or research?
    Dec 6, 2017 1
    • New / Eng Kk23sm
      OP
      Yes. I agree that with some prep I could land something in the high $300s in SF. I was hoping to stay in Texas.
      Dec 6, 2017