Principal/Senior SWE base salary comparisons: DC region, Boston, NYC, Silicon Valley, So Cal, Seattle, Austin

Leidos hobknob
Feb 14, 2018 16 Comments

I'm just gauging salaries at various tech regions within US for someone with the following CV. I'm looking to potentially move to one of these areas (currently in AZ).

Principal/Senior SWE, 20+ year experience, full stack, Java/Python/JavaScript, J2EE/Spring/Django/Android, Oracle/Postgres/Hadoop/Mongo. No experience with AI/machine learning.

Please share base salary only (no sign-on, bonus, rsu, etc) if you're from these areas:

DC region: ?
Boston: ?
NYC: ?
Silicon Valley: ?
So Cal: ?
Seattle: ?
Austin: ?

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TOP 16 Comments
  • Netflix fs92
    SV, recent offer from Google was 170 base for L4, Facebook base for E5 was 190

    Not sure why you don't want equity numbers, as those make the real comp go way higher. Companies are now giving out stock quarterly instead of yearly.
    Feb 14, 2018 6
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng Kolmogorov
      Exactly, DC base is probably similar or a bit higher but TC will probably be a fourth of what you'd get out there.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Leidos hobknob
      OP
      First of, thanks for your response.

      With 20+ years of experience, I've worked for many startups and big corps. I've been burned by equity a few times where price of vested stocks are below strike price. So equity is for optimists (if price is higher than strike price when vested), whereas salaries are guaranteed.

      Hypothetical: which offer would you choose: (1) $200k base + 50k shares; (2) $150k base + 150k shares (4 year vest schedule 10/10/40/40).

      After 4 years and all shares vested, offer 1: best case, take home $800k + stocks worth something; worst case, take home $800k + stocks worth nothing. Offer 2, best case, take home $600k + stocks worth something; worst case, $600k + stocks worth nothing. With offer 1, you pocket $200k guaranteed.

      I'd choose offer 1 hands down. I chose to exclude equity in my original question because it's not guaranteed. Actually, equity is a big gamble and when you're someone experienced like myself, you calculate the risks carefully.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng Kolmogorov
      But FANG rsu are real money and provided the market remains relatively stable you can assume a decent cash flow. I understand where you're coming from though.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Leidos hobknob
      OP
      That's what I meant as optimistic view. I assumed you haven't been burned by equity. When your vested stocks are worth zero, you look back and wished you negotiate for higher salary.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Google UBdG56
      Yeah but you’re talking about options (where you get burned if price of vested stocks is below strike price). At FANG we get RSUs so unless the company’s stock price goes down to 0, we’re guaranteed something. Sure, I understand it’s not cash, but discounting it completely isn’t right either.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Netflix fs92
      Actually at Netflix we get options, the rest get RSUs
      Feb 14, 2018
  • Amazon DziC74
    Seattle: 200 - 250K
    Feb 14, 2018 4
    • Leidos hobknob
      OP
      Thanks
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Uber VXdV80
      Base can't be that high at Amazon.
      Feb 14, 2018
    • Visa Yogic
      There are extremes where base can even go to 185.. normal range is 140k to 170k base..
      Feb 15, 2018
    • Visa Yogic
      you go to remember where FANG stands out of the rest is the 4 year RSUs and sign on..
      Feb 15, 2018
  • New WKUN02
    DC: 220-270
    Feb 15, 2018 1
    • Leidos hobknob
      OP
      Wow, that's quite high.

      I wonder if that range requires some specific high level of clearance. DC isn't known for high salary like SV.
      Feb 16, 2018
  • Visa Yogic
    Austin is around 140 to 170.
    Feb 14, 2018 1
    • Leidos hobknob
      OP
      Thanks
      Feb 14, 2018

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