Where do you see tech salaries going in the next 10+ years?

Jan 7 36 Comments

I'm just starting my career, and compared to my friends in other engineering majors(chemE, EE,) I feel like I know almost no specialized knowledge or math/skills. Their job security/jobs supply is based on that and not a lot of people can understand the math behind Fourier transform or group theory. Especially compared to what they'd be making in 20 years vs what I'd be making in 5 years @ FANG, I'm wondering if the compensation matches the work that I am doing and where it will go.

I'm pretty alright at leetcode, but I also see the competition for these SWE jobs heating up as time goes, and it'll only get more competitive as people vy for that mid six figure job. Maybe I just think that leetcode is not the most challenging thing after lots of practice... I personally feel like for the work that SWE do, it's not specialized or as skill/knowledge-heavy as the other engineering careers so I'm wondering if tech salaries are in a bubble right now due to tech companies being a new form of industry and the salaries will drop to what Mechanical Engineers are making when the demand of programmers catches up in a decade or two.

What do you guys think? Obviously no one can predict the future, especially not the future of tech, but I feel you guys in the industry, esp the ones from Web 1.0 have some insights. I do love computer science and the unique challenges and problems that come with this, but I'm also interested in pursuing an ML PhD or a career in finance, and I'm not sure on what decision I should make.

#techcareers #leetcode



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TOP 36 Comments
  • Salesforce / Eng Full-Send
    How many times has someone stated to you: "oh, you're a software engineer? Oh, I could never do that, I'm not smart enough"

    This ideology will continue for another 10 years AFAIAC
    Jan 7 6
    • Salesforce / Eng Full-Send
      Many bootcamp students don't apply themselves and never break into the industry.
      Jan 7
    • Instructure wowsers
      A lot of Bootcamps are more of a scam, imo. They sucker people in with “you can make 6 figures in 3 months!” Propositions that obviously don’t pan out. Most bootcamp grads end up with a bill and no job.
      Jan 7
  • New aJMl84
    Something definitely smells fishy. How many times have you talked to a colleague about how your being paid way too much for what you do? There’s an artificial scarcity right now that’s being driven by the idea that software engineering is a “talent” based profession (similar to a professional basketball player). However, we all know that software engineering is a learned skill, and given enough learning and experience, most people can do what we do. I suppose our barrier right now is that most Americans would not want to do a software job, but I believe more people will look to software in order to secure a middle class lifestyle as jobs get eliminated.
    Jan 7 4
    • LinkedIn / Design

      LinkedIn Design

      PayPal, Venmo, Apple
      I graduated from a SWE related degree and look! I'm doing design now lol. I was never good at coding, took 4 years of coding courses, still will never be good at coding. I think most people definitely CANNOT do what "we do". Innate talent is not everything, but important for sure!
      Jan 7
    • Google CfJo85
      There's a difference between programming and engineering.
      Jan 10
  • New PPcn28
    Sometimes I think our industry/field needs to do what medicine does and have someone like the ama to basically make the industry regulated like a cartel so we don’t have a mass influx of people who oversaturate the supply of software engineers.

    That being said, one of the greatest things about SWE is that the barriers of entry are relatively/laughably low compared to other high paying industries that require either ridiculous pedigree/connections to get (I.e. ib, top consulting firms, law) or insane years of education (medicine) or a combo of both.
    Jan 7 3
    • New PPcn28
      ...that’s exactly what I’m saying. This industry has no regulation so because of that people flock to join and saturate the supply of swes.

      That being said, you make an excellent last point. However I still think the entry point is insanely lenient + risks over saturation.

      However like I said before the low barrier of entry is great cause it lets people try the industry/field.
      Jan 7
    • Facebook gEKd541
      Not sure I understand what purpose you think regulating swe industry will serve. What's the point?

      Yes, it will raise the already high wages.
      Yee, it can force some people to unnecessary academic studies and increased student debt.

      Jan 7
  • New / Property Dev Malta7
    I think it goes beyond the simple supply versus demand issue. It seems that tech is scalable in such a way that other engineering professions are not. BigLaw is all about billable hours, that can’t scale well. IB is about making people sacrifice as much as possible so your deal teams are as lean (understaffed) as possible. Medicine is similar to BigLaw, except it has less opportunity for pricing to come down because people care about their health.

    Tech seems scalable at such a high rate that the salaries seem to reflect that. People have said pro athlete salaries are in a bubble and it makes no sense why they haven’t come down given so many people are talented and hard working. But sports have scalable media that makes them insanely profitable, naturally the athletes and coaches will share in on that profits.

    The salaries in tech are not that absurd. What makes it so well paying are the RSUs, which are dependent on the market cap of these firms
    Jan 7 0
  • Prudential -asdf-
    The supply of techies in the US is artificially limited because of immigration issues. Look at tech salaries in Canada and Europe. That's what it'll eventually mean revert to.

    That being said, the demand for techies will continue to be strong. So it'll still be a healthy and viable career.
    Jan 7 4
    • Ubisoft yLcC27
      Nah, over for Indian. RoW can easily get greencard in 3 years on H1B or L1. That's about the same as EU's in general (from work permit)
      Jan 7
    • Facebook gEKd541
      Salaries in European tech hubs are actually going up pretty rapidly.

      I dont think the salaries in the US will reach the current European levels, but rather wages elsewhere will get pushed up
      Jan 7
  • Microsoft LowFreq
    I don’t agree with the idea that other fields are more challenging because they use Fourier transforms or other math concepts. The math that’s actually required in most cases is very surface level compared to say, proving tight bounds or convergence of Fourier series. Also, it may be specialized but it doesn’t evolve as quickly as generalist topics in software.

    Yeah, there’s a lower barrier to entry for software. But to be a great software engineer requires a combination of mental agility, focus, intelligence, open mindedness and people skills that isn’t very common. And I think there’s a very high TC ceiling if you have these traits. Not everyone can deal with constant learning and pushing oneself the way we do in this field.

    I don’t think you necessarily have to specialize to do well.

    TC: 600k
    YOE: <4
    I’m a generalist (I don’t work at Microsoft)
    Jan 7 0
  • Lyft yft
    You are wrong about the job being relatively easy. You are probably a highly talented person (in the conventional IQ test) and are probably handling a lot of responsibility and ambiguity.
    You could take your talents and be a good lawyer, doctor, or chill at a low stress job like being a bartender or barista. What gotta stop you? These giant salaries!
    Jan 7 0
  • Facebook gEKd541
    I dont currently see a sign of it slowing down.

    Present day biggest tech companies are ridiculously profitable and require complex tech skills to remain competitive. As long as this remains the case- wages will remain high and keep climbing up.

    The think that can slow down the pace of increase is companies gradually learning to effectively scale out of the west coast. Most already have some presence, but these are relatively small and nowhere close to offset the high demand for swe these companies have.

    Once salaries are so high so that they dont justify the engineer's value to the company's they will be forced to aggressively move their operations overseas if they want to sustain growth which will keep us salaries high (at least in the short and mid terms) but also push the salaries in global tech hubs rapidly higher
    Jan 7 0
  • New / Property Dev Malta7
    wFatDuck2, I work outside the industry and see salaries elsewhere. It doesn’t seem like the salaries at top tech firms are that far out of line from other top institutions. Entry level, sure I can see that. But tech values potential more so than other industries, and this transcends even the investing strategy. VCs take on higher risk profiles compared to other industries (RE/ PE)
    Jan 7 3
    • Google wFatDuck2
      Oh and entry level tc was 90k outside bay and 100k in bay at that employer.
      Jan 7
    • New / Property Dev Malta7
      Got it. I work in RE Development and have many friends in finance. It seems like the RSUs are the big differentiating factor
      Jan 7
  • CS salaries are totally in a bubble. The next recession will market correct this. This is why I didn't move to Cali and buy a $2 million house with a phantom income that is unsustainable. Foreclosures will be rampant soon enough.

    OP - my advice is start saving your money now and don't live beyond your means.
    Jan 7 2
    • Ubisoft yLcC27
      Only top US salaries that's over the top
      Jan 7
    • Bloomberg HorsleFly
      Just FUD.
      Jan 7


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