Are you a recently graduated Software Engineer or in your last year of study? I’m sure you’re considering your options, e.g. where to start your tech career. While you’re at it, you should consider starting yours in San Fransisco.
You might think that the piece of advice is silly. “Sure, SF may pay more, but the cost of living is sky-high” you argue. Fair enough – as I’m not a career advisor or something similar, let’s back the advice with real data.
HIRED recently released a survey on 3,000 companies and 10,000 job seekers that reveals the state of salaries in 11 top U.S. tech hubs. The results are interesting, indeed.
San Fransisco’s cost is living is expensive, but…
In the report, HIRED gives an interesting example from the data collected: If an engineer in Austin is making $110K annually, he/she would need to bank $195K in San Fransisco to maintain his/her quality of life.
The survey reveals that the average salary for Software Engineers in Austin, TX is at 110K, while it’s 132K in SF. So, it’s easy to conclude that considering the cost of living, you don’t make that much working for a San-Fransisco-based tech company.
HOWEVER, the report also reveals proofs that show the upsides of starting your career in SF: When you’re starting out at SF tech hub, relocating to other markets to further your career will give you higher earning potential, even when compared to the local cost of living.
Here’s an example: Suppose your salary is the same as the average, $132K, you’ll make more in other tech hubs. If you moved to LA, your average salary would be $133K, which is $11K more than what local engineers are making. If you moved to Atlanta, even if you’re “just” making $111K, you are $15K better off than local engineers. Considering the local cost and living, moving out of SF makes great sense financially.
The bottom line, even though you make less annually, you’ll still end up making more than the local Software Engineers, given that you “graduated” from San Fransisco’s tech hub.
Okay, SF it is. But where?
It depends on the availability of the opportunities, obviously. But the HIRED survey reveals that mid-sized companies (201-500 employees) offer the highest salaries, averaged at $132K.
How so? Well, while companies smaller than those can offer equity and companies bigger than those can offer stock packages, mid-sized companies have less equity to give and typically can’t offer stock packages (not publicly traded) – so offering higher salaries may be the best way to keep them competitive in the job market.
Want more interesting results?
Photo credit: Paul Hart / Flickr