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Holy Cow, I almost forgot! And on the 10th Anniversary, no less! It's time to start the 2016 Career Thoughts and Compensation Thread! I started doing these threads annually on the FatWallet Finance board in 2006. When I originally started this thread, I thought that it could serve as a great resource for people to learn about the ups and downs of various careers, including information such as salaries and benefits. Over the years, a wide variety of people in all sorts of careers have contributed to these threads, and it's my hope that these threads have proven to be a valuable resource for those who are contemplating their career options. 

IF YOU PARTICIPATE, PLEASE FOLLOW THESE RULES:

If you participate, please try to keep this a positive, informative thread, and let's not get into any arguments about how one's career/education/compensation makes him/her superior/inferior to other people. Please do not insult people by claiming they are overpaid, do no work, etc. Contribute as much or as little information as you're comfortable sharing, but please be honest so that this may serve as a truly informative thread for people mulling their career options.

So, now that the ground rules have been set, how did your job go this year? Did things go well or not so well? How well were you compensated for 2016? Did the poor (but allegedly improving) economy have a serious effect on your career? Maybe each person can give a brief description of themselves, their job, their education levels, and their salaries, present and maybe even projected salaries for the future. As always, since I'm starting the thread, I have to bite first:

Gender: Male

Age: 44

Location: Northern NJ

Occupation: Technology Teacher/Coordinator in an urban school district

Education: M.A., plus 33 additional credits

Years at Current Employer: 15.5

2016 Compensation: $103,000 - Just a touch more than last year. Our contract just got settled after 2 1/2 years, but we're still working under 2013-2014 salaries until Jan. 30, 2017.

Future Salary Projection: Salary increases to $107,000 on Jan. 30 for the 2016-2017 school year. It will go up to just over $108,000 the next school year. Best case scenario, $1,000 per year raises after that.

Benefits: Full medical, although teachers in NJ now have to pay a percentage of their salaries for their medical benefits. (It's currently based on a sliding scale, based on income, but no less than 1.5% of base salary.) We get modest dental, generous sick and personal time, a decent pension plan (at least if the state doesn't default on the benefits). While teachers still get tenure in most states, the protections afforded by tenure have been significantly weakened in many states, including NJ. 

How did you get the job?

I had a very difficult time finding full-time employment after I graduated college. For almost five years, I made ends meet by substitute teaching, working in an after school program, and a supermarket. Despite the fact that I received praise and even formal reference letters from countless teachers and administrators where I substituted, I could not get hired in those districts full-time. I was ready to give up, and pursue a career in retail management, when my current district asked me to teach some demo lessons. The demo lessons went well, the two vice-principals who observed me doing the lessons both liked me, and recommended me for hire.

What's the job like?

Very difficult and getting more difficult by the year. Tremendously long hours, almost no down time during the school day (I don't take lunch very often), lots of work at home, deplorable working conditions, with some classrooms reaching temperatures of 90+ degrees and others below freezing. You will also most likely need to spend a decent amount of money on supplies for students because your school won't provide them, even though they insist on your using them. Very little respect and support from most supervisors, parents, and students, and you're confined by a system that gives you almost no power or decision-making privileges, yet holds you accountable for everything. 

Also, revisions of tenure laws and new evaluation systems have made a very difficult job even more difficult. Evaluations, at least in my district, are not used to help make you a better educator. They are used as punitive devices, with the focus being citing flaws to justify withholding of increments or termination. 

Would you recommend the career to others?

When I started this thread in 2006, I was transferred from one school to another. My experience at the previous school was horrific, and things at my new school, while certainly not perfect, were way better than they were at my old school. So, my attitude towards my job, and education in general, was cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward ten years, and I have a very different outlook. At this point, I have to say that I can't recommend education as a career, at least until things change significantly. The public employee bashing in the U.S. is still strong, with teachers still at the top of the "Bash List", and it doesn't look like attitudes are going to change anytime soon.

The weakened tenure laws and new evaluation systems have exacerbated an already tough situation. IMHO, these changes aren't meant to improve educators. They're meant to enrich private corporations (the testing and evaluation companies are making gobs of money off the schools), and to make it easier to weed out older, higher paid teachers (like me). 

Every move you make is questioned, and no matter what you do, someone somewhere is calculating a way to twist the story so that you are held responsible  for any problems that occur. And in urban districts, there are a lot of problems. Teachers are given autonomy for nothing (you have to ask permission for everything), but accountability for everything. There's no acknowledgment or appreciation for jobs well-done. 

The push for online testing, such as PARCC, is another nightmare. Schools are expected to implement the testing flawlessly despite the fact that the districts do not have the technology equipment, infrastructure, or staff in place to handle such testing. We are expected to now tie everything we teach to PARCC, even though we are mandated by the district to teach other skills for district-level exams that play significant roles in our evaluations. As a technology teacher/coordinator, a significant amount of the pressure is directed at me. However, despite the fact that I'm expected to examine every single computer on a constant basis (close to 200), help with scheduling for practice and real exams, clean computers, etc., I am not given any scheduled time to complete these tasks. In fact, several more periods were taken from me this year to teach additional classes. And the additional responsibilities just keep piling on...

So, it's not an easy job and it keeps getting tougher with no relief in site. If you're doing it correctly, it's at least a 50-60 hour a week job, and it's 50-60 hours of grueling work. I come home every day ready to drop. Teachers in urban districts in particular have taken a real beating. They are expected to be miracle workers, solving all of our society's ills. And, sadly, new workers are likely going to suffer the most. NJ has already cut pension benefits and increased retirement ages for newer workers, and, honestly, it wouldn't surprise me to see pensions eliminated for new employees as well as two or three different salary tiers for teachers based on their time of service in the near future.

If you still want to go into education, be prepared for a very tough road ahead. I'm way too young to retire, and $100,000 jobs with great benefits don't fall out of trees these days, so I'm stuck. But sometimes I really think about the possibilities of getting out. It's a brutal world these days...

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2015: 2015 Career Thoughts and Compensation Thread  
2014: https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1417930  
2013: https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1328580  
2012: https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1247203  
2011: ​​https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1156626 

Template:
Gender
Age:
Location
Occupation
Education
Years at Current Employer: 
2016 Compensation:
Future Salary Projection:
Benefits:
How did you get the job?
What's the job like?
Would you recommend the career to others?
Staff Summary
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rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 31

Location: Texas

Occupation: Paramedic

Education: Master’s degree

Years at Current Employer: 2.5

2016 Compensation: $42,000 base pay $19,000 overtime = $61,000 total

Future Salary Projection: It very much depends on overtime worked.

Benefits: 403(b) with 100% match on up to 3% of income, no health insurance, no dental insurance, reasonably generous paid time off, and minimum sick time.

How did you get the job?

Quite easily. The job market is very much open for paramedics. It is a job seeker's market.

What's the job like?

I think it’s the best job in the world. I work on an ambulance responding to 911 calls. I generate a differential diagnosis and treat accordingly. Yesterday, we successfully resuscitated an individual who had been in cardiac arrest before we arrived.

When I’m not working on the ambulance with a partner, I assist in training our new employees, I teach various classes (with names such as PALS, ITLS, et cetera), and I train firefighters.

Would you recommend the career to others?

If you have a passion for patient care, absolutely! Being a paramedic allows you to direct patient care of patients before they reach the hospital. Sometimes you even save a life.

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Gender: Male

Age: 36

Location: Indiana

Occupation: IT Consultant (Cloud + Security)

Education: Master’s degree

Years at Current Employer: 3+

2016 Compensation: $220K (base plus bonus)

Future Salary Projection: A little bit more

Benefits: 401(k) with 100% match on up to 3% of income, 50% match on next 2% of income, health, dental, vision, life, critical illness, STD/LTD coverage, significant PTO and sick time.

How did you get the job?

Former manager at this company sought me out.

What's the job like?

I get to work with many different customers over the course of the year solving their problems. Most of the time this awesome as I love getting an inside look at various organizations but usually don't have to stay long enough to start dealing with the negative aspects of environments.

The only negative is that when you do experience the negatives of a customer's environment (whether technical or corporate culture) it is usually really bad with everyone trying to shift all of the risk, and then some, onto you.

Would you recommend the career to others?

If you like to work hard and always learn new things, I would definitely recommend it. If you like to coast... don't pick this job... else you may find yourself obsolete within a year or two.

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History: 
2011: Financial Analyst - $50k + $5k signing bonus 
2012: Senior Financial Analyst - $52.5k (didn't post)
2013: Financial Analyst - $65k annual salary with bonuses 
2014: FP&A Manager - $80k annual salary
2015: FP&A Manager - $95k annual salary + $3k bonus
2016: Director, Finance - $105k annual salary + $9.5k in bonuses [details below]

Gender: Male
Age: 27
Location: Pennsylvania
Occupation: Director of Finance at venture-backed tech company
Education: BSBA with majors in Finance and Accounting and a minor in Economics from Big 10 school
Years at Current Employer: 3 years
2016 Compensation: $105k base + $9.5k in bonuses 
Future Salary Projection: Just accepted a job as an SFA with a major tech company at $150k/yr
Benefits: Company pays 100% of health insurance, 20 days PTO + 12 holidays, beer, catered lunches Mon-Thur, free parking, dogs allowed at work, company events/parties, etc.

How did you get the job?
The HR Director reached out to me via LinkedIn and I went through a couple typical interviews and then the CFO asked me to put together a thorough analysis of any publicly traded technology/software firm with a 10-slide PowerPoint deck and an Excel model. I did all that, he loved it, but they ended up hiring another guy who had 7-8 years of experience for the Financial Analyst role, but the CFO told me that they'd likely be hiring again in 6-9 months. To my surprise, they reached out to me again in October 2013, nearly a year after their recruiter first reached out to me and about 6 months after they completed the interview process for the first Financial Analyst position. I was hired very quickly after a brief interview in the office since they were very familiar with me and I was already very familiar with the company.

What's the job like?
Last year's post highlighted how great it is to have such an impactful role in the company and while that is still mostly true, I have become a bit jaded over the past year. Despite my warnings, alarms, and suggestions to avoid a crisis, the company is headed towards a financial catastrophe from which I do not think that it will be able to recover. This is not news to me as it's my job to see these things, but my numerous warnings seemed to fall on deaf ears. After narrowly avoiding insolvency at one point in the very recent past, I was hoping the company's founders would wake up, but that didn't happen. Sometimes an industry leaves behind a company that cannot adapt or pivot fast enough to stick around. Managing finances through adversity presents many more challenges compared to when we were growing at 100%+ year-over-year and that experience has allowed me to grow very quickly professionally. Over the past year, I've had to take on additional roles for people that left the company where we didn't backfill roles, I've had to find creative ways to ensure cash flow was adequate, and I've had to cross my fingers and hope for the best more times than I'm comfortable with. Given the shift in the company's prospects, I started looking for new jobs - thankfully, I found one at a company that I've always wanted to work for and will be starting in less than a month!

Would you recommend the career to others?
100% yes - IF you can deal with a bit of uncertainty and don't mind being held accountable, then it's an incredible experience. I have learned a tremendous amount in the past three years and I've taken on far more responsibility than I expected to at this point in my career. In previous years' posts I have mentioned the idea of going to get my MBA, but as one of the executives I worked with pointed out, my experience over the past three years was like an "MBA in a box." Plus, instead of taking two years off in my career, I was able to show progression while getting paid ~$100k/yr instead of spending $50k per year, which is effectively a $300k (ignoring potential tax implications) positive impact. The job I just accepted is one that is very often filled by graduates of the top MBA programs. I am *very* confident I could not have gotten to this point in my career at 27 years old had I not taken a risk and jumped from my corporate gig to the role at the venture-backed tech company. So again, 100% yes. 

rated:
Dus10 said:   Gender: Male

Age: 36

Location: Indiana

Occupation: IT Consultant

Education: Master’s degree

Years at Current Employer: 3+

2016 Compensation: $220K (base plus bonus)

Future Salary Projection: A little bit more

Benefits: 401(k) with 100% match on up to 3% of income, 50% match on next 2% of income, health, dental, vision, life, critical illness, STD/LTD coverage, significant PTO and sick time.

How did you get the job?

Former manager at this company sought me out.

 

  
What part of IT are you in? What do you do (eg. networking, coding, security, etc)?

rated:
2011 Post 

Gender: Male

Age: 33

Location: NYC

Occupation: Financial services focused in real estate. 

Education: BS Real Estate, MS Real Estate, CFA Charterholder

Years at Current Employer: 5+

2016 Compensation: $143K salary + $144K bonus

Future Salary Projection: Cash salary & bonus are now limited growth - mainly increases in restricted stock compensation. 

Benefits: 3 weeks vacation + personal days. I have dental, vision, medical, donation match, 401K match, faux-pension, etc.

What's the job like?
I make large commercial real estate investments. Position is highly technical and also "sales" - I have to sell the investment ideas to internal and external investors. Written communication is critical  - I write about 50 investment memos annually, ranging from 20-100 pages. Sometimes you get 2 days, sometimes 2 months to complete them. Hours are 8-6, but in crunch times, very long nights/morning happen. After writing the investment memos, you get grilled by investors for 10 - 90 minutes about the deal. Then it's negotiation with 2-10 parties to get the deals done. I love that it's super tangible, like when you see a skyline in a movie and you can pick out which investments you made and the ones you rejected is very satisfying.

Would you recommend the career to others?
I would. There's a lack of talent in the industry, especially people who can communicate effectively and are technical. The real estate industry is incredibly backwards looking and resistant to any changes, which wears me out.

rated:
I believe this is the first year I'll be participating. I find these threads very insightful, especially when considering moving across the country for that "dream gig" that has been presented a couple of times... Figured it's about time that I'd contribute. In the past, I've been pretty focused on keeping my anonymity, but I've realized that being identified here (and one other place I use this username) by anyone I know has a pretty far out chance of happening. I don't believe I've ever shared my age or occupation either. I think really all I've shared is my location. Anyway, here goes nothing:

Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: Tristate but our team is all remote, up and down the East coast (no overseas)

Occupation: Senior level IT Software Consultant

Education: Two semesters of community college; no degrees nor certs

Years at Current Employer: Four months

2016 Compensation: 
April 2009 - March 2016 job: $112k end salary plus $33k bonus (I was in the 15% bonus group, but the company was killing it the last couple years and probably will continue to for the next few; bonus potential was/is high here)
April 2016 - August 2016 job: $135k + $10k capped bonus
September 2016 - current: $145k + 20% annual bonus

Future Salary Projection: not sure really, since I am new to the company. I anticipate small COL type of raises. If I can land a couple clients for the company, that may change. I am comfortable with this scenario though, as corporate America (where my previous jobs were) was so much more cut-throat and competitive. I don't feel that way at all at my new employer, so minor raises are not a big deal. I probably won't be doing this job/at this company forever, so it's not a big deal right now. I know it sounds complacent, but I have other things to focus on right now (just had my first kid!).

Benefits: No type of insurance offered (marketplace is my only option) but I am paying for COBRA from my previous employer for both health and dental on a major carrier--cheaper than the marketplace by about $500/month for family coverage; 401k matched at 6% for my 4% (yes, 150%), unlimited sick, work from home 85-90% of the time with about 10-15% annual travel to clients for kickoff meetings; four weeks vacation annually and three personal days annually.

How did you get the job? Met this company's owner at the company I was previously at and saw opportunity. Great vibe with the owner, and wanted to try out a smaller company atmosphere (non-corp America).

What's the job like? Specifically, the software suite we work with is very niche. Meaning, I had fourteen recruiters calling me for my previous job (the one I left my 7-year job for). This job is 110-120% capacity toward the end of the year, but that's just because big corps have extra budget money so they call us to get smaller projects done. However, the big projects are typically multi-year contracts so those are still going steady even in Q4, hence the 110-120% capacity at all times thing. Boss and team are great, work from home is killer, 401k match is great, flexibility in schedule is mediocre.

Would you recommend the career to others? IT software consulting in general? Yes. What I do specifically? Only if you have interest in the business side of things as well as software consulting and problem solving on a suite of tools available to you. We try to stay off the shelf rather than custom design/dev so there isn't a huge creative opportunity, but technically you feel really good when you are able to solve a client's business problem with the software and make it do what you need/want it to do. I would recommend it if you had the drive to not just be an "IT guy" but become very involved in your clients' business KPIs and solve them with software. Confusing, yes, but I don't see any reason to not recommend it. It's fun and it's not just writing code all day (in fact, I rarely write code). 

rated:
churningisdead said:   
 
  
What part of IT are you in? What do you do (eg. networking, coding, security, etc)?

  yeah, I want to know too. Care to share bit more details please?

rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 31

Location: SF/Bay Area

Occupation: Software Engineer

Education: BA Political Science, a/A bootcamp grad

Years at Current Employer:
2

2016 Compensation: $90,000 base pay, $15,000 bonus, + stocks bonus (determined in the spring)

Future Salary Projection: $110,000 - $120,000 this upcoming year with room for growth provided I continue to deliver and take on additional responsibilities.

Benefits: 401k match up to 4% of salary capped at $4,000 a year, reasonable health and dental, unlimited PTO, company IPO'ed this year, aggressive ESPP plan.

How did you get the job?

Technical recruiter reached out to my as I was trying to break into the industry. I was very fortunate the company was expanding the dev team and looking to hire junior engineers.

What's the job like?

It's exciting as we're a B2B company and our customers are names that everyone knows about. The problems we are solving are challenging as there are different compliance rules in different parts of the world. We're in the financial services space.

Would you recommend the career to others?

Absolutely.

rated:
tsanju said:   
churningisdead said:   
  yeah, I want to know too. Care to share bit more details please?

  Updated my original post.

rated:
2015 Response Here

Gender: Male

Age: 30

Location: Rocky Mountain West

Occupation: Director level role at mid-sized international ad-tech company.

Education: BS in Marketing and self taught in web technology (HMTL, CSS, etc).

Years at Current Employer: 2+

2016 Compensation: $130k

Future Salary Projection: Just got a raise up to $140k. I will be exercising some stock options this year that should bring me to $170k in total comp for 2017.

Benefits: "Unlimited Vacation", Medical, Dental, Vision, a crappy 401k plan and lots of airline miles/ hotel points.

How did you get the job?

Recruited/ referral from a friend who worked at the company.

What's the job like?


It is an interesting mix of client meetings, training coworkers and working with engineering, product and ops teams to grow what was a niche offering into a primary revenue stream for my company across all regions where we operate. There is a significant amount of politics to navigate and stress, especially during crunch times.

2016 was another crazy travel year for me. We opened up some new international markets and I spent a lot of time abroad. I traveled to 10 different countries in 2016 and had repeated trips to certain locations like SE Asia and China. There was a 6 month time period in 2016 where I spent more than 200 hours on airplanes.

I hired someone underneath me in the Q3 to start taking responsibility for the domestic side of my job as I continue to focus more on international growth.

Would you recommend the career to others?

Yes.

rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 28

Location: LA

Occupation: Project Manager

Education: BA Economics, PMP

Years at Current Employer: 7

2016 Compensation: $81,000 base pay, $6000 (excess vacation)

Future Salary Projection: Lucky if base pay increases by more than 2%. While there was no bonus last year, there's been inklings that we may get a bonus this year ~ 5% of base.

Benefits: Fully funded medical, 6 weeks pto, 5% retirement contribution, pension that will probably be gone by the time i retire

How did you get the job?

Monster.com out of college

What's the job like?

I have free reign into how I want to do my job so its both fulfilling and mentally stimulating. Even working for a large organization, I feel like I make an impact. Unfortunately, working for a large organization means Effed up budgeted increases that foster a union mentality (i.e. pay and raises don't feel commensurate to results I produce because everyone almost gets the budgeted amount across the board--as a top performer getting an additional 2-3% on top of the budgeted doesn't feel like enough of a carrot)


Would you recommend the career to others?

Prior to reading the thread, I would have--but seeing all the salaries everyone else is pulling in makes me want to go to a corner and cry. Outside of that, people at my organization get complacent because its so large. Would like to start a business of my own--I have big ideas and dreams (who doesn't), just need to find a way to execute and implement (99.99% of the reasons people fail). 

rated:
This is off-template, but in line with the spirit of the thread. I'm currently completing a top MBA program and received several offers in tech to do strategy & finance. Based on extended negotiations with hiring managers, here is the career track/comp that a high performer at a Fortune 500 can expect in the Bay Area:

MBA grad year: Manager, 145k base + 15% bonus
MBA + 1 yr: Manager, 150k + 15%
MBA + 2: Sr Manager, 155k + 20% + 30k RSUs
MBA + 3: Sr Manager, 160k + 20% + 35k RSUs
MBA + 4: Sr Manager, 165k + 20% + 40k RSUs
MBA + 5: Director, 185k + 25% + 70k RSUs

About half the annual bonus is tied to company performance which you have no control over. Also to be clear, only a minority of folks can take this path, as you would be competing for promotions with other top talent from similar backgrounds. Still, I hope this helps people who are deciding whether to do a (top-tier) MBA.

rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 37

Location: Chicago

Occupation: Financial Consultant

Education: Top Tier MBA

Years at Current Employer: 5

2016 Compensation: $63/hour.  Employed ~75% of the year on average but largely varies from 50% in down economies to 100% in good ones.

Future Salary Projection: It very much depends on overtime worked.  Likely to $70/hour within next three years.

Benefits: 401k, no match. 15 PTO days/2,000 hours worked, not paid for holidays.  Commute reimbursed at IRS mileage rate.  Health insurance subsidized at ~50% for me only, but still pricey.

How did you get the job?  I've been consulting since grad school.  Was lucrative in 2007 then was lucky enough to find a couple of semi-longer term gigs in 2008-2011.

What's the job like? =12.8pxIt's great if you like variety but don't like to travel for business as much.  Helping clients with a variety of projects or work in various industries.  Also great if you don't want to go down the managerial track but still want to earn comparatively more (per hour) than what SFAs top out at.

Would you recommend the career to others? It depends on how risk averse you are and/or whether you have a spouse in a stable job with benefits.  If you have a spouse with a stable job with benefits that takes much of the risk away.  Can also be done if you're single, healthy and don't have any dependents so long as you can budget properly for the down times.  Overall quite happy and I get far more time off than my corporate counterparts, I just don't get to choose when that time is (other than major holidays, which the PTO is used for).

rated:
2014 Post 
https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1475079?showmessage=19345708

Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: Northern NJ
Occupation: IT Engineer
Education: B.A. CSIS
Years at Employer: 3 months
2016 Compensation: $86,700 + $7500 bonus

Future Salary Projection: I switched employer in the past few months which will put me at $106k for 2017, but no bonus.

Benefits: HD insurance plan with HSA, 401k with 75% match (up to 6% match), no limit vacation, 7 sick days, 12 holidays.

How did you get the job?
Recruiting found my resume on a job site, unsure of which one.

What's the job like?
So far, still a lot of learning how to navigate the company. Enjoyable work in general.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Yes, IT will only keep growing with new and different kinds of jobs year and year. It is a great field to get in because every industry needs IT.

rated:
2015 - https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1475079?showmessage=19361448#m19361448

Same as last year
Gender: Male
Location: North NJ (not near NYC)
Occupation - Programmer / Application Developer / Code Monkey
Education - BS in Computer Science.
Future Salary Projection - Normal 2-3ish % raise
How did you get the job? - I interned here the summer before my senior year of college.
What's the job like? - Programming, some project management. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding. Lots of red-tape to get something passed.. but being in a programming role for a big (Fortune 50) company where programming/technology is a small (but important) role makes for some interesting projects
Would you recommend the career to others? - Programming is something which you either like or not. I have liked programming since I was very young.. and now also have an interest in project management and business analysis aspects of a project as well.

What changed
Age: 32 (Last year I was 31. Yes.. I'm a year older after a year. go figure)
2015 Compensation - $81k + $6.8k stocks bonus + $6.8k RSU's bonus (Last year: $80k + $6.25k cash bonus + $6.25k RSU bonus)
Benefits - 5 vacation. "Unlimited" sick days. An actual pension plan. Work from home twice a week. Less than 45 hours of work (including support) a week. (Last year I had 4 weeks vacation. Extra week since I've been with same employer for 10 years)

rated:
Is there a way to anonymously share. Some folks may be uncomfortable sharing since if you dig into a username you may be able to find linked information to real life, real world people. And some don't want to have to admit their epeen is tiny

edit: red.. really? 

Edit 2: To many replies to my message that aren't relevant to the post. I'll be posting my information, I'm not concerned about others finding it I just thought in general an anonymous way to post this would probably benefit a few folks.  

rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 34

Location: NorCal, not bay area

Occupation: Data Analyst

Education: BA business/finance, cal state system

Years at Current Employer: 4.5

2015 Compensation: $105k base, 10% bonus

Future Salary Projection: Best guess would be standard 3-5% raises and 5-15% annual bonus unless something happens to propel me upward.

Benefits: 18 days pto going to 23 this year at 5 years. 11 holidays. Fairly flexible working arrangements (work from home if needed, come in late/leave early/long lunches if needed). Family medical for a reasonable price ($300 a month net after employer has contribution). 3% 401K match. An office with a door I can close (you don't realize how big this is till you have it)

How did you get the job? Was here for 2 years after 5 years in a similar position somewhere else (insurance ops, not data). Wasn't happy and found a job elsewhere, gave notice and the CEO pulled me aside and said he recognized he didn't want to lose me and I had some talents on both the business and tech side, asked if I would be interested in stepping into this position which they knew they needed but didn't exist before. I decided to go for it, 2.5 years later couldn't be happier.


What's the job like? At the beginning it was a lot of setting up recurring reports, getting an idea what my team I support needed and getting things into place. A lot of playing with and learning excel. Now a lot of that is on autopilot and it's much more fluid on a day to day basis. I pretty much am the go to for anything anyone needs on numbers and reports, so lately it's been budgets, next it will be end of year sales reporting, who knows after that. Also been stepping a little into the strategy/operational side of things to find deficiencies, avenues to growth,etc. Small company but pretty much at the beck and call of the entire c-suite and senior vp level mgmt for what they need to get a good picture of where things are going as well as supporting sales and ops staff. I'm a complete 1 man department so I'm responsible for anything anyone asks me for. Sometimes I have 6 plates in the air at once and sometimes just 1 or 2, so I have to adapt and use time wisely both when busy and when not.


Would you recommend the career to others? Yes as far as what my title is, I don't feel like the big data thing is going away any time soon and there are tons of tools coming out and being perfected that you can get into and learn to really impress the bosses. You can be a really intregal part of the organization because people will look to you at all times for the info they need to make decisions.

My only issue is with what I'm actually doing. I know I'm extremely valuable to my organization but struggle to see how I could leave here and step into such a Jack of all trades role and bring the same value, especially given that I'm not a manager and have no management experience. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my skillets in my downtime so hopefully if something happens here I can float toward something else.

rated:
Ma171aC said:   Is there a way to anonymously share. Some folks may be uncomfortable sharing since if you dig into a username you may be able to find linked information to real life, real world people. And some don't want to have to admit their epeen is tiny
  Alt ID?

rated:
caproperty said:   
Ma171aC said:   Is there a way to anonymously share. Some folks may be uncomfortable sharing since if you dig into a username you may be able to find linked information to real life, real world people. And some don't want to have to admit their epeen is tiny
  Alt ID?

  That generally works, but in some cases even a little bit of identifying info (i.e. combination of state, industry and company description) in the post can ID a specific person.

rated:
Ma171aC said:   Is there a way to anonymously share. Some folks may be uncomfortable sharing since if you dig into a username you may be able to find linked information to real life, real world people. And some don't want to have to admit their epeen is tiny

edit: red.. really? 

  
You could have made an alt. ID... but I don't see the point since we would know it's you now that you posted the question.

rated:
Ma171aC said:   Is there a way to anonymously share. Some folks may be uncomfortable sharing since if you dig into a username you may be able to find linked information to real life, real world people. And some don't want to have to admit their epeen is tiny

edit: red.. really? 

  If you don't want internet sleuths to figure out who you are on the internet, don't post here

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Gender: Male

Age: 52

Location: Midwest (Low cost of living area)

Occupation: Chief Engineer, Television station

Education: Military electronics schools, OJT.

Years at Current Employer: 2 (24 years in the industry)

2016 Compensation: $58K a year salary $1K bonus if the year was good

Future Salary Projection: 3% a year in good times

Benefits: Full medical,dental,life insurance and a company truck.
No retirement program of any type

How did you get the job?
Word of Mouth, broadcasting is a small community.
The position was advertised, but my reputation got me the job.

What's the job like?
On call 24/7/365 working outdoors and indoors.
Some days are very hi-tech,working with very expensive equipment, some days you are mowing grass.
In addition to the electronics dedicated for television, we are also responsible for the IT infrastructure and building and grounds maintenance.
We also take care of liquid cooling systems, security systems, and heating and air conditioning systems.
I often work with industrial power (480 3ph) and high voltages (35KV DC).
Some days I wear dress clothes, some days I dress like a farmer.
I often work alone, at night, in remote locations, at some of our sites, it's a good idea to be armed.


Would you recommend the career to others?
Absolutely!
The industry is in need of young blood.
Too many young engineers want to spend their days behind a keyboard.

rated:
Gender: Male

Age: 58

Location: Northeast

Occupation: Self employed independent contractor/home construction, remodeling, energy savings services

Education: 2 semesters college, no degree

Years at Current Employer: 22

2016 Compensation: Grossed $220k(after all expenses)

Future Salary Projection: nothing is certain in my business but I can earn considerably more money if I want to put in the time

Benefits: None, I pay for everything


How did you get the job?
Started out as a union carpenter many years ago, worked my way up the ladder, saved my money, started my own business.
What's the job like?
There is nothing that compares to being your own boss and doing things the way you want them done. I could never go back to working for a large company again. Lots of 50+ hour weeks, but also the opportunity to make considerably more money when business is good. Never in one place for very long, except doing paperwork in the office.


Would you recommend the career to others?
Yes, but with the following :
My business is all about production. You don't produce, you don't make squat. You could work an 80 hour week, screw up the job and make almost nothing. I would only recommend my business to the most experienced, motivated and self disciplined.

I posted a few years ago in this thread.

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Gender: Male
Age: 35
Location: Bay Area, California
Occupation: Software Test Engineer
Education: High school diploma, ~100 lower division university credits (didn't finish a Geology degree, thank God)
Years at Current Employer: 7 years
2016 Compensation: $240k base with no bonus, RSU, etc.
Future Salary Projection: Averaged a 12% yearly raise for the last 7 years
Benefits: 15k insurance stipend (keep up to 5k you don't use), 401(k) 3% match and mega backdoor compatible, 5% of salary as "free" vested stock options, "unlimited" vacation/sick/work from home, $10k charity match, free breakfast/lunch/snacks,

How did you get the job?
I lucked into the field through a friend 10 years ago, thanks to a strong technical background from personal interests. This particular job was a cold call from a technical recruiting agency, hiring W-2 "contractors" for a gig at this client. Client liked me and offered full-time after 6 months; found out the 1099 rate for the job was $80/hr, and I was getting $36 on W-2... ugh. Still, it was during the great recession, so I took what I could get. Starting full-time employee salary was $120k/year and has exploded from there, I assume mostly due to the company wanting to retain people they like, and RSU packages around the bay area being pretty beefy, as well as people wanting to roll the IPO dice. I love base pay over other sorts of compensation, so unlikely I'll leave until they get rid of me.

What's the job like?
High impact, but low stress. Relatively relaxed agile development where it's okay to make mistakes, just fix them fast and learn from them. Lower stress than actual software developers, since finding bugs in code is a breeze compared to writing it. I find I can mostly get the job done in the background of listening to music, web browsing, and so on. Rarely work more than 8 hours a day. Average 6 weeks of real vacation per year, which is pretty on-par with what most people take. Honestly, I assume this is probably one of the best job/employer combinations on the planet.

Would you recommend the career to others?
If you're highly technical, detail oriented, and easy to get along with, there's not a lot more to it. Depends on the company and team you're on, as to whether you'll find the software you have to test interesting and varied; could certainly be boring if you're stuck testing the same basic functionality on 100 flavors of Android phone every day for years. The hardest part is probably getting a foot in the door, since few companies will want to teach you the ropes.

rated:
holy crap lomic, 240k + all those bennies as a SDET? jelly

rated:
Almost didn't post, given how little I participate in FWF these days, but who am I to break a tradition.

2015 
2014 
2013 
2012 

Gender: Male
Age: 33
Location: SF Bay Area
Occupation: Software Development Manager
Education: BS in Computer Science/Engineering from top tier school
2015 Compensation: $560K (includes salary, bonus, and vested stock).

Future Salary Projection: Pretty much at the max for my current level, I expect a ~100K increase in total comp if I manage to get promoted. A decent chunk of comp is based on older grants, and new ones have grown to make up for the stock appreciation, but I'm somewhat sensitive to stock price fluctuations, so if the market tanks, that would also reduce my comp.

Benefits: The usual crazy fringe benefits you hear about for software companies in the bay: free snacks/food, drinks, paid cell phone, free home internet, etc. PPO health care with (relatively) small co-pay. 50% 401K match. 4 weeks vacation.

How did you get the job? Went to a top tier school, did well and landed a job at a top tier software company. Grew from a college level IC into a manager, before jumping into a senior role at another large top tier company.

What's the job like?

I own multiple features of multiple products and am responsible for setting direction and building an engineering team to build and maintain those features. My team is now 25-30 people, and I'm no longer doing much if any coding. I miss it a bit sometimes, but am overall pretty happy.

Would you recommend the career to others?

Yes, if you have a passion and skill-sets for software. The tech industry in SF Bay Area is extremely competitive at the moment, and well funded startups are fueling increased salaries and perks at most companies, as established employers are trying to retain talent. With that said, I've done well managing my career, as my compensation is on the top end for my experience and job.

rated:
tenken said:   holy crap lomic, 240k + all those bennies as a SDET? jelly
Do note I specifically listed the title as "software test engineer", because I don't quite have SDET level of responsibility. That is, I consider SDET to be a more code-level QA resource (automation and/or white-box), while my job up until last year was 100% grey-box. We've finally been asked to start writing automation, but it requires only fringe knowledge of coding, since another team has done most of the hard work of abstraction into high-level functions and framework creation. About 50% of my work going forward will be automation, and because of these new responsibilities my comp was bumped quite a bit for 2017. I just smiled and nodded.

I wholly expect moving to another company would result in a 50% pay decrease, so I hope to stick around and save heavily until I can reach FI/RE. Software testing is a young person's game, in my experience, so I don't want to rely on this as a career past my mid 40s.

The response just above mine here is also indicative of bay area software salaries. I expect developers on my team make in the mid 300s, and managers a bit above that. Overall, while I'm paid very well, it's modestly on-curve for the industry as a whole -- just greatly inflated due to bay area talent competition and COL.

rated:
Lomic said:   
tenken said:   holy crap lomic, 240k + all those bennies as a SDET? jelly
Do note I specifically listed the title as "software test engineer", because I don't quite have SDET level of responsibility. That is, I consider SDET to be a more code-level QA resource (automation and/or white-box), while my job up until last year was 100% grey-box. We've finally been asked to start writing automation, but it requires only fringe knowledge of coding, since another team has done most of the hard work of abstraction into high-level functions and framework creation. About 50% of my work going forward will be automation, and because of these new responsibilities my comp was bumped quite a bit for 2017. I just smiled and nodded.

I wholly expect moving to another company would result in a 50% pay decrease, so I hope to stick around and save heavily until I can reach FI/RE. Software testing is a young person's game, in my experience, so I don't want to rely on this as a career past my mid 40s.

The response just above mine here is also indicative of bay area software salaries. I expect developers on my team make in the mid 300s, and managers a bit above that. Overall, while I'm paid very well, it's modestly on-curve for the industry as a whole -- just greatly inflated due to bay area talent competition and COL.

   Curious to hear about compensation for comparable positions in NYC. 

rated:
2015 

Gender: Male
Age: 28
Location: Upstate NY
Occupation: Senior Engineer
Education: Bachelor's
Years at Current Employer: 6.5
2016 Compensation: 120k (105k salary, 13k bonus, 2k ESPP profit)
Future Salary Projection: I'm guessing ~140k total in 2017. Helps being in the 15% bonus tier when the company has a good year That and ~80 hours of OT in the Spring.

Benefits: 401k w/ standard 50% match up to 6%, 3% max profit sharing contribution to 401k, typical healthcare coverage for large fortune 500 company, ESPP w/ 10% discount (w/ ability to sell immediately). Somewhat flexible schedule, but that is probably more between my boss and I

How did you get the job?
Right out of college. From the area originally, so it helped that I wasn't adverse snow.

What's the job like?
It is what you make of it. When there is a chance to prove your worth to the company, you'd better seize the opportunity with both hands and shine. Otherwise, you might as well be another nameless face wandering around. Most days are routine, but once in a while it's a bit of an orchestrated chaos. While I'm a day job guy, I have been at work at all hours of the day to help solve the problem of the day (or night).

I'm on-duty one week per month, which basically means I'm the default go-to guy when things go awry. Usually that just means I'm a little on edge because I can't have a beer with dinner, but I have been called in on a few occasions and it's nice to be one of the guys who helped save the day.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Yes. The work force is getting older and there are plenty of opportunities for the younger generation to jump into.

rated:
Where is "upstate NY?" Can you give me a county or north/south hemisphere of the state? A lot of NYC people refer to "upstate" as anywhere north of the Bronx.

rated:
jaytrader said:   Where is "upstate NY?" Can you give me a county or north/south hemisphere of the state? A lot of NYC people refer to "upstate" as anywhere north of the Bronx.
 If I clarified it to "Finger Lakes region", would that help?

rated:
Gender: Male
Age: 38
Location: southeast US
Occupation: Senior IT Engineer/Programmer
Education: Bachelor's/master/MBA
Years at Current Employer: 10.5
2016 Compensation: 92k + 30-33% benefits(401k/healthcare/insurance/time off/free school and pension)


Future Salary Projection: 2-6% based on col/merit etc
How did you get the job? was contracter then got offered full time job
What's the job like? code , support IT systems and software . navigate politics in workplace
Would you recommend the career to others? may be if you like computer work otherwise nothing exciting . sometimes feels dead end

rated:
dbcooper300 said:   jaytrader said:   Where is "upstate NY?" Can you give me a county or north/south hemisphere of the state? A lot of NYC people refer to "upstate" as anywhere north of the Bronx.
 If I clarified it to "Finger Lakes region", would that help?

Yes! Thanks. I'm from the area but have since moved down near NYC.

rated:
dbcooper300 said:   jaytrader said:   Where is "upstate NY?" Can you give me a county or north/south hemisphere of the state? A lot of NYC people refer to "upstate" as anywhere north of the Bronx.
 If I clarified it to "Finger Lakes region", would that help?

Auburn?

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
dbcooper300 said:   
jaytrader said:   Where is "upstate NY?" Can you give me a county or north/south hemisphere of the state? A lot of NYC people refer to "upstate" as anywhere north of the Bronx.
 If I clarified it to "Finger Lakes region", would that help?

Auburn?

  Nope.

rated:
2015

Gender: Male
Age: 31
Location: Orange County, CA
Occupation: Director, Product Management
Education: BS + MBA (Top 25)
Years at Current Employer: >1 yr
2016 Compensation: 125k (+10k yoy)
Bonus: $3k (not part of offer)
Future Salary Projection: 130-135k
Benefits: Unlimited Vacation/Medical/DentalVision/401k 3% match

How did you get the job?
Got promoted from Product Manager to Director, Product Management earlier in the year and got a pay bump as well. Company shut down less than 2 months after. I was able to transfer to larger sister company and maintain new title and pay.

What's the job like?
I'm the first PM hire at this company so the first 6 months have been a learning experience for both sides. I've been leading initiatives to start new lines of business/products as well as implementing process and system changes at the IT and software development levels. I get to work with upper management, operations, IT, development team, and other stakeholders to put solutions into place. Working at a company 10x the size compared to a year ago has allowed me to not worry as much about having enough resources but I do have to play some politics games to move things forward.

Would you recommend the career to others?
Moving into management as a product manager gets you further away from getting your hands dirty. However you are able to make more things happen. It's pretty fulfilling overall and can be lots of fun. I would definitely recommend it to people who are more strategic and like to create and work in processes.

rated:
Would be more helpful if Net Worth was included in this thread. That would help in leveling geographic differences.

rated:
HumDoHamaraDo said:   Would be more helpful if Net Worth was included in this thread. That would help in leveling geographic differences.
  Net worth takes into account expenses/liabilities. If the person makes 500k, but they spend like a madman then their net worth would be low and vice versa. 

Skipping 53 Messages...
rated:
I could have.  but I didn't.  it would have also been a hassle to keep exercising as you vest.  my schedule, like many other schedules, has it vesting monthly after the first year's cliff vest.  

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