Coming from IT, Chasing TC - Looking for Advice

New Rwrg63
Dec 31, 2019 33 Comments

I fell into IT almost three years ago, I tried to start a company in an unrelated industry, which failed, and I needed a job to support my family. That first IT job paid $30k/year.

In the last three years, I got a B.S. in IT, a bunch of certs, and worked my way into a Sr. Cloud Operations Engineer position where I sit now, with a salary of $85k/year and a 10% annual bonus. On my current path, I can see myself over $100k base within 9-12 months, and probably around $110-$130k base within 2 years, with similar bonuses.

I see posts on here pretty often about people that have reached $200-300k+ TC within just a couple years, people getting sign off bonuses that are half my annual income, etc.

At this point, I know I need to do something different if I want to get there. From what I've seen, it looks like I need to become a developer to get there. I was originally going down the DevOps route, because that pays high by IT standards, but seems to be pretty low compared to a lot of developers.

I'm looking for general advice about this path, and anything I should focus on or pursue. I know I'm going to have to learn actual programming, grind leetcode, and it's going to take a while for me to get there. I'm trying to find the most efficient path to get from where I am to where I want to be.

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TOP 33 Comments
  • Symantec / Eng Biotch
    I'm in IT and my TC is about 180k. Takes time to get in a good company. Dont worry about others people TC. Be the best you can be at what you do and money will come in time. Higher TC's are probably managers.
    Dec 31, 2019 7
    • New Rwrg63
      OP
      "Dont worry about others people TC"
      @Symantech/Humatics, I get it, I'm not worried about other people's TC. It doesn't bother me at all that people are making more money than I am. The reason why I bring it up is that it shows opportunities for me to improve myself and do better.

      I like expensive things, eating out at nice places, high end tech, I want to get my pilot's license, travel with my family, etc. Those things are a lot easier with a lot more money. The only reason other people's TC is relevant for me is because it shows it's possible.
      Dec 31, 2019
    • Good for you. I have my pilots license, live in a nice doorman building in NYC, pay for private school for kid. Nothing wrong with going after high TC.

      Btw, 12 yoe, just landed my first real job as SWE, all the rest was self employment. $420k TC, smaller public tech company (not FAANG). You can do this if you want to.
      Dec 31, 2019
  • There is a pretty obvious path for you that can take you to the $200k-$300k+ range.

    With background in IT and Cloud, being a customer facing resource for any of the major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP) will get you there. Typically the TC is 1 level below what a dev at that level makes. However, it's also generally easier to get promoted than as a dev. The roles you can consider are Cloud Solutions Architect, Sales Engineer, Account Executive, Technical Account Manager, Account Technology Strategist etc.

    For even higher TC, consider that as an Account Exec, if you blast past your quota you can have a massive payday that dwarfs any role. But this isn't easy necessarily. Seven figure TCs for major coups as an Account Exec is not unheard of.
    Dec 31, 2019 2
    • New Rwrg63
      OP
      I'm not sure how I'd feel about an Account Exec role, I'd have to learn more about it. I'm pretty good at sales(sold >$100k in 7 months going door to door for my business), but it wore on me. I think it was primarily the type of sales I was doing.

      I wasn't aware that the Architects/Engineers brought in that much money at the major providers, I'll have to look into that more.
      Dec 31, 2019
    • Yep, the Account Exec role isn't for everyone. But the other customer facing roles do have solid TC as long as it's at one of those three companies.
      Dec 31, 2019
  • ClubCorp cod13
    You see people here getting 200-300k within a few years because thats pretty much poverty line in the Bay area.

    Location matters.

    FWIW I'm a SA with FAANG and 175k TC in a LCOL state. Came from a similar background to you.
    Dec 31, 2019 10
    • ClubCorp cod13
      I'm not bitter. I was just making a passive aggressive joke/poking fun at people with the FIRE mentality, which seems to be more common in SV/Bay Area. Yall do whatever you want. I just personally dont like Commifornia in general so it usually doesnt come off as objective in my posts.
      Dec 31, 2019
    • lol, perfect
      Dec 31, 2019
  • Google TK5me
    It's too late, sorry.
    Dec 31, 2019 6
    • New Rwrg63
      OP
      You must be great at parties.
      Dec 31, 2019
    • Google TK5me
      I'm not.
      Dec 31, 2019
  • Microsoft nowwhut
    Curious how old were you when you made the switch to IT?
    Dec 31, 2019 1
    • New Rwrg63
      OP
      24. I joined the Navy out of high school, did that for 4 years, and originally got out and was pursuing finance at a state college prior to starting my painting company.
      Dec 31, 2019
  • Instructure wowsers
    You have to also look at where the people with high tc are at. Those numbers are mostly in SF and Seattle. It is also exponentially more expensive to live in those areas than most of the country.

    In general I would say do what you like and what you’re good at. DevOps roles (with an engineering emphasis) can pay well. If you’re making a switch solely for TC it can be hard to put in the work that’s needed to succeed if you don’t actually enjoy the work.
    Dec 31, 2019 1
    • New Rwrg63
      OP
      I actually like coding a lot, from my small amount of exposure. I do a fair amount of scripting, which I very much enjoy, and I've started going through appAcademy Open. I've got the right head for programming, I'm good dealing with many layers of abstraction at once, and love the problem solving aspect that comes with programming/scripting.
      Dec 31, 2019

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