Moving from India to Bay Area with spouse.

Amazon / Eng
atgz62

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Apr 26 100 Comments

I am moving from India to Bay Area on L1 Visa for a SDE 2 role with TC ~ 170k.

My husband will be on L2 and plans to apply for EAD. What compensation can he expect with 6.5 YOE with Indian startups. He is working as an Architect / Principal. We are concerned because the companies he worked with were all unicorns but people might not know them in the US.

His present compensation is ~ USD 105k ESOPs (120k over 4 years) in India.

What is the compensation he should be targeting ?
What companies should he be looking at ?

Anything other general advice.

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TOP 100 Comments
  • Apple KGHP41
    I am dumbfounded. With that sort of compensation why would you want to move to the Bay Area?
    Apr 26 8
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      India hardly has good senior technology leadership. It is improving but we feel a few years in the US would help us grow faster. It is hard to get mentored above a certain level.
      Apr 26
    • Apple KGHP41
      You’re going about it the wrong way. The competition in the Bay Area is extremely fierce therefore growth is difficult. Given your visa status you will be hamstrung. All the people I know of who have had phenomenal growth have gone to remote offices that have relatively less competition and high growth due to their performance in local offices.
      Apr 26
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      Oh but I am sure competition would make you a better engineer.
      Apr 26
    • Apple KGHP41
      Growth has nothing to do with being a better engineer.
      Apr 26
    • Microsoft weirvhtd
      You would be very happy to travel the world and keep that as your primary motivator.
      You don't want go leave India with that kind of compensation. You can virtually outsource all your menial work like driving, cleaning, cooking etc. And just live life
      Apr 27
  • Facebook uPNE71
    Tech companies pay 10,000s of software engineers 200k+ .

    As long as he’s normal IQ, he’ll be fine.
    Literally anyone can make 200k right now. What an amazing time to be alive
    Apr 26 12
    • Google Mr. GIass
      So be smart. Don't be dumb with your money.
      Apr 27
    • Microsoft weirvhtd
      Are you dumb enough to disagree that 200k in 2000s >> 200k today?
      Apr 27
    • Google Mr. GIass
      Don't be stupid. No one suggested that. All I'm saying is not to be dumb with your money.
      Apr 27
    • Microsoft weirvhtd
      Well you are the first one to suggest to be "smart" when we are just talking about the value you..
      No one explicitly said they were dumb
      Apr 27
    • Google Mr. GIass
      So be smart with your money. Don't be so offended.
      Apr 27
  • Microsoft jooyvjl
    Wow why you are moving is beyond me. What do you think you will gain from an experience of working in a tech company in US that you don't gain from working for tech company in India?
    I mean apart from the work culture, I don't think anything will differ. And in India, software companies already have a good culture (I think).
    Apr 26 6
    • HackerRank leKd41
      It’s the money and the quality of life. I won’t believe anyone who doesn’t list this as one of their motivating factors. Happy to be convinced otherwise
      Apr 26
    • Microsoft jooyvjl
      I mean its gonna be difficult if not impossible to find something in Bay Area that can match one person earning 105k in the most expensive cities of India.
      Quality of life - cooking, cleaning, driving all by yourself vs having house help for all of it. I would choose the later!
      Apr 26
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      Money is not a factor since it would only be significantly different if we stay for more than 5 - 6 years (and if he gets a high paying job like in India) so too many unknowns for money being a factor.

      Quality of life, yes, but since we only plan to move for a few years it is not what we are thinking out primarily. Also, better quality of life is debatable
      Apr 26
    • Oracle / Eng yoy-
      Are you moving here to get birth right citizenship for your kid/s?
      Apr 26
    • Kohl’s jJrR
      ^...This is the reason why OP is moving...
      Apr 27
  • Salesforce raisetime
    He can get from 170 k to 500 k depends how he does in the interviews and what interview opportunities he gets. He should leetcode and prepare well
    Apr 26 4
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      Is referral the best way for US startups or would you suggest going through a consultancy
      Apr 26
    • Oracle pzd
      With an EAD, your spouse can apply anywhere and if he's got the skills, get any job. (FAANG and tier 2 co.) Why aim for startups / consultancies?
      Apr 26
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      Maybe he is biased based on his experience. Good startups provide excellent ownership opportunities in India and they pay really well :)
      Apr 26
    • Oracle pzd
      That, unfortunately, is not the case in the US. Startups cannot afford to pay anywhere near as much as public co.
      Apr 26
  • Google praise
    105k (70L) is a great income in India. I think you might be regressing in terms of standard of living in Bay area. People have already mentioned this above and I seriously think you should reconsider.

    If you are coming for growth purposes, it's completely hit and miss kind of game. With L1 you won't be able to quit as well. If you are determined to come, I would recommend H1. If you are coming purely to put savings on steroids for some time and then go back, then it's ok.
    Apr 26 2
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      More than anything else, it is a FOMO. Now is the time for us to move to a new place, and Bay Area is the most logical place if you’re in tech. Few years down the line, we might not be in a situation to do so, given our parents would need our help, and we might also want stability. And we love India. We might be putting the savings at a risk, but other than that we could not see any other reason stopping us. Also, once my husband finds a job, we may be back on track. We can always go back in few years. Is moving out of your comfort zone for some time such an irreversible debacle?
      Apr 26
    • SAP h1btrap
      Forget FOMO, JOMO is the new thing! Coming to your point. Thats how everyone starts with this journey. But once you are on it, you evolve, your opinions change and thats when things start getting complicated. To each their own learning curve. Good luck!
      Apr 27
  • Google codecodeco
    Didn’t know people in India make that much lol
    Apr 26 1
    • New Duh1
      Yes these days they do, not the norm but highly prevalent
      Apr 27
  • Oracle alwzangry
    From what others have said, your lifestyle will take a hit - that's true for almost anyone moving to the Bay Area. Why not try Seattle too?

    While it's good to travel the world and live in other places, you will find most of the interesting work and bulk of the workload have moved to India and China. If you move here after becoming a manager, I know that it fast-tracks your residency or green card. You may not grow as fast in the US, even if you're better because you don't have as much leverage that people in India seem to have.

    You're welcome for the experience but keep your expectations in check. Finding a great manager who'd give you the good assignments isn't something you can control.

    You should target a base salary in the range of 150-170 at most companies.
    Apr 26 4
    • Cornerstone Isap82q
      Most of the interesting work has moved? Doubt it
      Apr 27
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      Seattle is good for amazon, but isn’t Bay Area a better place to be? For a lot of reasons.
      Apr 27
    • New xib
      Seattle has strong comp (my TC: 600k+), slightly lower cost of living, and (in my opinion) a slightly better WLB due to the older tech demographic coming from MS and Amazon veterans.

      Our startup scene is strong. Our big co scene is strong.

      But our traffic suuuuuuucks.
      Apr 27
    • Oracle alwzangry
      Seattle is good for MS, Google, FB, Oracle, and a bunch of other companies.

      Read what Duh1 said below. I know people on visas who are stuck in the same job since mid-2000s because they couldn't quit and take up growth opportunities at critical stages of their careers.
      Apr 27
  • Amazon / Product
    .🦔...

    Amazon Product

    BIO
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    You sound like a fighter. Your husband will get a job in less than two months and all will be great. Keep powering through and you’ll be the next tech Nooyi :)
    Apr 26 0
  • New pawpaw
    Please go ahead full steam - you have nothing to lose and if it doesn’t work out you can always go back to India. Too many folks have jumped to say you shouldn’t do this but it’s always good to try out something new. plus unless you try it how will you know?
    Apr 27 2
    • Google Mr. GIass
      I completely agree. This thread is full of chickens who are afraid of change and projecting their insecurities on to other people. When you're young is when moving is the easiest.
      Apr 27
    • Oracle pzd
      Some of us are specifically referring to the substantially low TC. OP still hasn't addressed that point.
      Apr 27
  • Apple net worth
    Unless you have health issues like asthma or allergies which makes life difficult due to the high pollution levels it may not make sense to move at your TC. 170k is going to make saving almost impossible with high cost of living and taxes
    Apr 27 0
  • Sprinklr swing
    Why the hell would you move to the US? BAD MOVE... get ready to work like a slave and lose your lavish lifestyle... no maids, no cooks, no family, no big house...
    Apr 27 9
    • New Duh1
      Never happens in real life , one gets stuck 🙁
      Apr 27
    • Salesforce curious03
      If u had citizenship, you wouldn't be working in a shit hole like sprinklr
      Apr 27
    • Salesforce curious03
      @Duh1 golden handcuffs are not bad
      Apr 27
    • New Duh1
      Depends on the priorities 😀
      Apr 27
    • and no gas mask and no caste system and DL without a bribe, are you kidding me .. stay in Indian and enjoy :)
      Apr 28
  • New Duh1
    This could get messy.
    The worst barrier to your happiness could be the visa status. Unless you/your spouse can go for EB1A, you will be stuck with your job. Your husband will get a 200K job perhaps. You will just make ends meet with 300K comp.

    With passage of time, you will resent the Immigration situation. At the same time even if one of the partners does not want to go back to India, you are stuck here.

    Once the baby comes, all the more trouble. You are stuck here difficult to relocate with baby, moreover he/she is American. You resent the visa situation more.

    All other reasons people mentioned above are secondary. The root cause of misery for Indians and Chinese in US is IMMIGRATION. If you were on L1A would have been great, I suspect this as you are on L1b!
    Apr 27 5
    • Amazon / Eng
      atgz62

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      What do you think is a good comp for staying in Bay Area? 350-400k also not enough?
      Apr 27
    • Salesforce curious03
      Why do u think it's difficult to relocate with a baby ?
      Apr 27
    • New Duh1
      You are not getting my point. Money is not a factor. You will likely be fine money-wise. Your husband can study in the time it takes for the EAD to come and get a 200K+ job. Life is going to be comfortable with total of your salaries.

      Problem is immigration. It’s the problem that has destroyed many in US. Limited freedom to do anything due to visas, job change is difficult , job safety is always a concern, being an entrepreneur is extremely tough etc. Immigration was not a major concern in the past, but specially in the past two years it has been

      Problem will be more for you than your husband. He will get an EAD and can be more flexible
      Apr 27
    • New Duh1
      Because you don’t want to cause trouble to the baby. You want them to experience a better standard of life. Also, as I said , it takes only one parent to not want to go back
      Apr 27
    • Microsoft weirvhtd
      @op, its the price you are ready to accept to give up your freedom.
      Differs from person to person..
      If you are in rags, 300k is big money, but remember you might be able to save 100k at best. (Huge if you are poor).. on the other hand, if you have a house in the area of your choice in India and have 2 crores in saving, please stay away from the 300k offer. You don't want the hassle of being treated like a second class citizen in another country.. if you want to experience usa, travel for 6 months, it's a beautiful country to Visit and work (for non-Indians)
      For reference i just use 1/3 of your salary for savings (1/3 gone in taxes, 1/3 in expenses).
      Apr 27
  • Oracle pzd
    I will try to keep it concrete - your spouse needs to leetcode hard for 3 months. With his experience and EAD, it won't be difficult to get interviews in the bay area. Also, ask him to work on his technical communication, if that may be an issue. Because of cultural difference, the ideas about what a good resume looks like is different in the US. Get him to rewrite the resume if needed.

    Don't go to startups. Aim for medium and large public companies in tech.
    Apr 26 3
    • Oracle edsav
      Why no startups?
      Apr 26
    • New Duh1
      Startups don’t pay as much as large companies in the US
      Apr 27
    • These days they can be more profitable that large companies. I see start up millionaires everywhere.
      Apr 28
  • Apple / Eng abcedfghij
    If you think it’s worth the risk, do it! Who knows? Maybe you guys will crush it here and go back as kings and queens.
    Apr 27 4
    • Oracle / Eng yoy-
      Or not go back
      Apr 27
    • Google Mr. GIass
      Yeah, they don't need to go back if they don't want to and are skilled enough to stay. That's the beauty of their decision. I don't understand why so many people on this thread see this as some kind of risk. For some of us, moving is not a risk. You can always choose to move back if you want or stay if that's what you prefer.
      Apr 27
    • Nobody goes back :) They might whine a bit but they know it is shit back home.
      Apr 28
    • Google Mr. GIass
      Nah, I personally know people who have transferred to the same company office back in India. But yeah, many stay.
      Apr 28
  • Salesforce curious03
    Does Amazon sponsor H1b once u are in US as an L1b ?
    Apr 27 3
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      atgz62

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      Yes
      Apr 27
    • Oracle pzd
      It doesn't really matter much. At current rate, op will have to wait 15 years to go from H1B to GC.
      Apr 27
    • Apple srand()
      100+ years this year. 15 is for EB-1.
      Apr 27
  • Veeva DUwB55
    Assuming his salary as 70 lak and 30 lak as your sal . You can afford lot of stuff in India . There is difference between quality of life and standard of life . Yes you might get good quality of life but standard of life what you get in India you will never get here with both together making 400k .In India you can hire your own driver maid to clean maid to cook . But here it’s impossible . And also buying house here is challenging with 300+k salary . There is no good or bad decision . Your husband can get at least 200+ if u searches . All the best
    Apr 28 2
    • you need a driver in India cause it is impossible to drive there by yourself. why in the world would you do the same here?
      Apr 28
    • Veeva DUwB55
      Even Bay Area commute is as worse as India if you are commuting😀. In case if you buy house but far . I was just saying that affordability is more there with same money .
      Apr 28
  • Google praise
    It's not impossible. There are so many ppl who drive themselves. It's more about convenience.
    Apr 28 0
  • Go for it, take the plunge and good luck ! There is no right or wrong decision in these types of situations. You can breathe clean air, you can drink the water from the tap, no power cuts and most of all no social and family tensions. None of this can be bought with your husbands 70L pay check back there .. somethings will never change in that country!
    Apr 27 4
    • Oracle alwzangry
      Err don't drink water from the tap.
      Apr 27
    • Oracle pzd
      Why? Bay area water no good?
      Apr 27
    • Tap water has to be potable .. it is the law. To me it actually tastes better.
      Apr 28
    • Oracle alwzangry
      "has to be potable" but once in a while you see news reports about what shouldn't be in the water (not talking about Flint, MI, but there are marshlands and toxic dumps around). Get filters or bottled water if nothing else.

      It's a nit-pick, not that big of a deal.
      Apr 28
  • Salesforce curious03
    Do u already have kids or are u coming to US to get birthright citizenship for your children ?
    Apr 27 0
  • Salesforce curious03
    Baby will have a good standard of life both in US and India. How is relocation affecting this ?
    Apr 27 3
    • New Duh1
      It could be good in both countries , but it’s more predictably good in US. There are less risk factors of something going wrong. Then again , maybe I am paranoid 🙁
      Apr 27
    • Apple srand()
      Well, you will definitely loose in living standards. I have the worst living standard I’m my whole life here in the Bay Area, despite the highest TC ever.
      Apr 27
    • May be you should start spending some of that money and it will go up ?
      Apr 28