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Businesses The Almighty Buck Google

The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer 173

jfruh writes "Recently Business Insider caused a minor stir among developers with dreams of riches with a story about a nameless Google engineer who's making $3 million a year. Who is this person, and how unusual are pay scales like this inside the Googleplex? Phil Johnson uses public information to try to figure out the answer. His conclusion: the $3 million engineer may exist, but is a rare bird indeed if so."
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The Mystery/Myth of the $3 Million Google Engineer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:21AM (#45961973)
    You'd be surprised. I worked for a perpetual startup once, and they seemed to be able to pay above-average engineering salaries with no real sales (or products!) for years. It's a bit baffling, but I'm in Quebec, everything is baffling here.
  • by rockout ( 1039072 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:39AM (#45962059)

    The working people, including Engineers and Attorneys top out around $120k/yr.

    That's one of the most ridiculous numbers I've ever seen pulled out of any asshole. Maybe where you live it's true, but at least in NYC (and I'd bet in a few other cities as well), there's plenty of regular job-type-jobs when people can, and do, make well above that - yes, on their W-2. You just have to be really good at what you do and be worth that much to the company that hired you away from the previous company that was paying you less. Mobility is part of the key here.

  • by tjb ( 226873 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:42AM (#45962069)

    That's a really low number. $120K (base) is in the neighborhood of what most tier 1 tech companies pay good engineers with about 5-8 years experience. Add in stock/bonus/fringe, and total compensation is usually somewhat higher than that.

    The eventual top-out for most folks is likely much closer to $220K (total compensation) than it is to $120K. Outside of silicon valley, YMMV, though.

  • by jmcbain ( 1233044 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @01:50AM (#45962107)

    I believe the article is accurate. Back in 2010, a senior staff engineer received a pre-IPO offer from Facebook, but Google gave him $3.5M to keep him []. I strongly suspect that person from 2010 and this person from this current article are the same, and it's probably Jeff Dean, one of the engineers who created Map-Reduce (which led to Hadoop and all that jazz) and other engineering feats.

    In Silicon Valley the salary for principal engineers is well in excess of $170k, and if you're at a company with a healthy stock price, an additional $100K in vesting RSUs per year is definitely not out of the question.

  • by PC_THE_GREAT ( 893738 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @08:22AM (#45963703)
    I travel a lot, and i have seen really awesome software engineers earning $8000 yearly. Sometimes many do not understand that your paygrade may not reflect how good you are worldwide. The industry forces to hide such people so as they can't leave to get a better salary, I know the tricks employed to make developpers feel so bad that they do not deserve better, yet still make them milk cows while paying them a miser :p. It is all a matter of how good you are with making people feel bad.

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