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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Salaries For Workers in Technology Roles, Including Software Engineers and Product Managers, Peak Around Age 45 (hired.com) 206

A report released on Thursday by the job marketplace Hired reveals that salaries for workers in technology roles, including software engineers, product managers, and data analysts, peak around age 45. After that, earnings level off or drop until retirement. According to the report, the average salary of US technology workers is about $135,000, with the highest pay in the San Francisco area.
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Salaries For Workers in Technology Roles, Including Software Engineers and Product Managers, Peak Around Age 45

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  • San Francisco pay more but in other areas half the average salary is good in SF it's shit

    • Tarzan say (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To live like here I need $400K San Fransisco money. Cheetah no like northern California. Stoners want sex with Cheetah. And Jane turn lesbian in SF. She no like Tarzan no more.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2018 @02:36PM (#56090561)

      This is a great point and Ill clarify.

      Tech salaries in San Francisco and Seattle are high but the cost of living is so high that even making 400K (which I do between salary+stock+wife income) that you are house poor (average house in decent school area 1.5-2M due to farcically low interest rates/money printing) or pay $5000+ in rent just to exist - thats 60K just to exist. And taxes here with AMT are around 50%, so 400K -> 200K (California charges more than 9% income and sales tax). 200K - 60K means 11K / mo. Now childcare, private schools, cost of living, etc. You would be shocked how just food, fuel, child costs, etc, all rack up here. Its insanity how fast 11K/mo turns into dust and at the end of the day you either have millions of debt in mortgage or are facing crushing rents.

      It would make sense to make 200K anywhere else and live like a relative king.

      The biggest sadness about San Francisco / bay area is the children of tech people are lost. Latchkey, parent-less, druggies, no very smart and no hope. Cost of living is hopeless for them and competition with all the H1B etc for them will be them vs the rest of the world. So extreme cost of living and horrific competition from the entire world.

      So Joe_Dragon is right. Salaries are high here. Cost of living is crushing along with abusive confiscatory taxation and the tech companies are ALWAYS trying to flood the market with H1B and scabs to lower your "rate"

      • The biggest sadness about San Francisco / bay area is the children of tech people are lost.

        The Bay Area is a great place for a kid to skateboard and smoke pot.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You are terrible at budgeting. Even if your rent is $5k you have 140k clear according to your own numbers and you feel hurt? Get over yourself and learn to manage your finances.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Wait, I thought California was the Left Wing Worker's Paradise that was going to secede from the rest of us naval gazing, redneck reprobates?

        You mean with all that liberal conscientiousness they've created a hellscape that only serves the rich and their impoverished server class?

        Say it aint so!! I'm shocked, shocked I say. This is the same disappointment I felt when I found out that the Fundamentalist Baptist preacher who sermon'd endlessly on sexuality was a cruising for twinks online.

      • Many metro areas in the Midwest feature a similar standard of living but with a MUCH better ratio of salary to cost of living. (Examples: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, arguably Chicago) They do suffer higher than average levels of poverty, crime, and corruption, but these are of limited relevance to ordinary people, who typically live in safe but affordable suburbs and have no reason to go to the more dangerous parts of town.
  • Damn, I need a raise.
    Vancouver Canada, almost as expensive as SF.
    • shut up you get free health care!

      • Not free.
        Damn cheap, but not free. I pay $75 a month. Also Americans could have decent healthcare if they would just stop being so stupid about it.
        • Ah, but if Americans stopped being stupid about it, the healthcare companies would lose their cash cow. And where do you think prices would rise to make up for this loss? Yep, you're it.
          So everyone with cheap good healthcare should really hope the US never gets its act together on this.

      • Yup, in Canada everyone gets all the healthcare they want for free. They just need to go out back and get some off of the healthcare tree. It's not like they pay taxes or anything like that.
        • no, it's more like the Canadian government uses the tax money it collects for that instead of blowing up people on other continents.
    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Its interesting to note that although they didn't include Vancouver, they did include Toronto, and the average in Toronto is 73K USD (92K CAD). Cost of living in Vancouver is only slightly higher than Toronto.

      It's also worth noting that we shouldn't put too much faith in this this data... it seems pretty low quality.

      I did some poking around and it suggests that the average salary for a network admin in Boston is 120K, in SF is 128K, and in New York City... 30K. Tell me that's anywhere close to right.

      Meanwhi

  • On the other hand, my benefits are way better than most of my IT friends working in the private sector, and the "feel" is different. For me, anyway, this is the best fit.

    • I'm not in academia, but similar situation. Plenty of vacation time, separate sick time that rolls over indefinitely, some pension, 401k matching, and reasonable health insurance. Salary is well below the summaries stated average, however the job isn't in silicon valley. Around here a nice home can be bought for two years salary, and three or four years salary will buy a mansion.

    • If you came up back in the days when you could get a PhD without $150,000 worth of debt, academia was the way to go. The heaviest teaching load I ever had was four classes, I got great benefits, a TIAA pension, I was surrounded by bright people and a lot of my students went on to do very well for themselves.

      If any of you out there are in school, and close to matriculating your masters or PhD, do NOT quit school for a job offer, no matter how lucrative. Get the PhD. People call you "doctor" and life is pr

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ranton ( 36917 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @02:16PM (#56090377)

    While it quite possible to have your salary bump 10% per year on average in your late 20's / early 30's, it's not like that could continue forever. Once you reach a Senior Architect / Manager / Director / VP role by your 40's there isn't much room to grow for most people. Sure a select few will become executives or successful entrepreneurs, but that is not possible for everyone.

    Having your salary peak at around $150k and then only keep up with inflation isn't that bad of a thing. Plenty of professions are worse off (actually nearly all professions).

    • They mention product managers but I would guess Director/VP are not included... that would keep the averages low.
      • FTFA: Note that in this report, the definition of “tech workers” refers to software engineers, designers, product managers, and data analytics roles.
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @02:26PM (#56090479)

      Sure a select few will become executives or successful entrepreneurs, but that is not possible for everyone.

      Also, anyone moving into executive management and/or self employment will no longer be included in this data set. The data only includes people hired thru hired.com for tech positions. That is likely the reason why they report salaries peaking at 45. How many good people over 45 are going to be looking for a job on a website, rather than using their professional network?

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @03:22PM (#56090841)
      vs statistical inflation. I find the cost of things I actually buy (food, shelter, transportation, my kid's college) goes up about 3.25-3.5% a year. The cost of things I don't really buy (vacations, electronics, cars in the $30k+ range, etc) go up 1.5-2.5%. There's a 'net' of about 2%. But I don't see that 2%, I see the 3.25-3.5%. Meanwhile my wages go up 2.5% a year if I'm very, very lucky. Most years it's 1.5-2%. And I'm doing better than most. Lots of folks I know haven't had a raise in years. For them the only way to get a raise is to get a new job.

      I saw a story about a woman who started at K-Mart in 1974 making $3/hour. When the store closed this year and she was laid off she made $10.50/hr. Thing is, $3 in 1974 was just shy of $16/hr today. She'd lost 1/3 of her pay in 44 years. Us tech workers don't have it as bad, but we're still feeling it. Everybody's losing ground. You just kind of hope you make it until your kid's are on their own and that you die before the layoffs in your 60s come.
    • The ROI for any salaried employee means that there's an upper limit for any individual contributor role. The difference in ROI between someone with 10+ years and 1-3 years experience is large, and their respective salaries reflect that. However, someone with 20 years experience doesn't necessarily generate 2x ROI over someone with ~10 years experience. From what I've seen in my industry, salaries for experienced engineers is about 2x what a junior engineer with 3-5 years experience make. Total compens
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The big point about this is the availability of opportunities shrinks the higher up the food chain you go. When starting out everyone is a developer and there are plenty of options to "move to the next level".

      If you don't want to go into management, you might hit architect but then you'll most likely stop going up from there. Few places have long term career paths for individual contributors.

      On the management side of the house:

      Once you hit manager your options are restricted as there's a smaller number of

    • I'm growing slowly I think, I'm 55ish and each year my salary keeps going up. Though there's a bit of a rocky past, with leaving work and going back to grad school and leaving with nothing in the bank in my early 30s, taking a lowballed job offer for a few years since I was hungry, and then the salaries started catching up. Only single income and in Silicon Valley, so while I have a bigger salary than the Vice President, I don't actually feel rich. If I was in my home town though with this salary, I'd be do

  • These studies always make me wonder whether they are taking into account that techies graduate into management and other higher paying jobs. It may be that the higher earners are getting sorted out of the studies by that age.

    • Isn't that true with most jobs, though? If we study what salary burger flippers stabilize at, I'm sure part of it is because they eventually become shift managers or graduate and get on to a high paying job.
      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Isn't that true with most jobs, though? If we study what salary burger flippers stabilize at, I'm sure part of it is because they eventually become shift managers or graduate and get on to a high paying job.

        It is true of most jobs, but we are talking about careers here. Your analogy is more like looking at when software developer intern salaries peak.

        But if you truly want to see where technology workers cap in salary, you need to look at the entire career progression. This includes Director of IT, CTO, entrepreneur, etc. The only thing this study shows is that you should have a career plan past senior developer / architect or your pay will stagnate in your 40's and beyond. Either that or be happy with $150k pe

    • There is no need to wonder. TFA states it tops out at product manager.
    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Of the students that graduated in my year, about a third moved into the financial industry (architects, consultants). Some moved abroad to places like Singapore or Europe. A few work on embedded software, and a the rest left the industry altogether to run their own businesses (retail, gardening).

      With the Agile/Scrum process, some people are expected to become scrum-masters, architects, team leaders and project managers. Some well-qualified entry-level software engineers can earn as much as a project manager

    • Some of us are very insistent on not going into management. My manager makes more than I do, and I have no problem with that, because I really don't want his job.

  • If I did that level at 30, that’s good?
  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @02:53PM (#56090671)

    Rising health care costs and a desire on corporations to avoid training workers (it costs money and corporations fear they'll leave) drive many IT workers from the field at about age 50.

    It spiked up after the supreme court gutted age discrimination protection in 2009.

    Likewise, younger workers have open said on slashdot that older workers "don't fit their culture".

    Which would be amazingly blunt if they said, "black workers don't fit our culture" or "female workers don't fit our culture".

    Google actually approached the same 41 year old female engineer 4 times because their automated software was selecting her was a highly qualified candidate and younger human managers repeatedly rejected her. I'm not sure how her lawsuit turned out. So 41 is too old for some managers at Google.

    Thing is .. everyone gets older every day. And I've known 64 year old java programmers who programmed the pants off younger workers with a few years experience.

    The best thing you can do is to save hard and take any training opportunities you can get. Then also self train in what little spare time you have after the historically longer than average IT work weeks. Eventually, unless you are lucky, all the training in the world won't help because some young managers won't care about your skill set and simply say you are "too old". That's when you retire early on your savings.

    • And I've known 64 year old java programmers who programmed the pants off younger workers with a few years experience.

      Is that how you get their pants off? Well, I never learned Java, so who knew?

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      Likewise, younger workers have open said on slashdot that older workers "don't fit their culture".

      The response to which is of course that if this is the case, your culture is effed, and you should probably work on that. Hiring an older worker or two would be a good start.

      FWIW: I'm pretty sure this happened to me a few years back when I was in my late 40's. I got through 2 rounds of technical interviews with no problem, and then got a really weird call from someone at Google HR that appeared to be designed to somehow trick me into saying I'm a manager and don't actually program any more. The problem is

      • FWIW: I'm pretty sure this happened to me a few years back when I was in my late 40's. I got through 2 rounds of technical interviews with no problem

        Two rounds of face to face interviews? If you had that, then the first round of interviewers must not have been able to make a definitive hire/no-hire decision.

        then got a really weird call from someone at Google HR that appeared to be designed to somehow trick me into saying I'm a manager and don't actually program any more

        A call from HR seems extremely unlikely. I suspect you were actually called by a recruiter, perhaps because the second round of interviews was also inconclusive and they were trying to decide whether it was worth trying a third time. If so, you might have been better off if you'd said you don't program any more, since it would indicate that there's a

        • Okay... here's some evidence. Now at least you can't say you've never heard or seen evidence of google senior managers making comments about employees being âoeobsoleteâ and âoetoo old to matter."

          http://www.evetahmincioglu.com... [evetahmincioglu.com]

          If you work at Google and one of the founding employees of the mega search engine company starts calling you âoeobsoleteâ and âoetoo old to matter,â your days may be numbered.

          Thatâ(TM)s what Brian Reid, Googleâ(TM)s vice-president of eng

          • Okay... here's some evidence. Now at least you can't say you've never heard or seen evidence of google senior managers making comments about employees being âoeobsoleteâ and âoetoo old to matter."

            "Evidence" is a strong word to use to describe the unsubstantiated claims of one former employee. I'm not saying it's not true -- I have no idea -- but I don't think it rises to the level of "evidence".

            In addition, there's little reason to expect that what happened in 2003, when Google was a much different company, is indicative of the situation today. It's worth pointing out, for example, that the executive named in the suit was 38 in 2003 which means he's now 53.

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

          Two rounds of face to face interviews?

          Nope, that isn't how they do it. You get a phone interview with a technical person, tied to a Google Doc. They give you a coding puzzle and you implement something (language of your choice, or even pseudo-code. Doesn't matter, since its not being compiled).

          I got two of those. IMHO, I knocked the first one out of the park. The second one was a bit tougher, but I think I came up with something useful. As near as I could tell really the main thing they were querying me for was knowledge of things like design

          • Two rounds of face to face interviews?

            Nope, that isn't how they do it. You get a phone interview with a technical person, tied to a Google Doc. They give you a coding puzzle and you implement something (language of your choice, or even pseudo-code. Doesn't matter, since its not being compiled).

            I got two of those.

            You got two phone screens? That's unusual. The normal process is one phone screen to decide whether or not you are brought in for on-site interviews. The on-site interviews are the actual interviews. If you got a second phone screen, that's because the engineer who did the first one couldn't decide whether you should be brought on-site.

            So, I think what happened was the first phone screen was so-so, and the interviewer couldn't make the call. Or maybe it was bad, but your resume was good enough that they t

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      I have been approached many times (maybe 7?) by Google. I am now over 50! I'm not interested. I had to nominally get G's legal dept involved to stop the unwanted contacts... Got SPAMmed one more time by accident along with (apprently) ~1000 others recently by fumble-fingered recruiter... %-P

      And aren't most people in white-collar jobs at peak earning potential in their 40s? I always assumed so. I have only worked a few weeks for anyone else in the last 30 years, but I always assumed something similar

    • For some reason experience seem to be of no value any longer. Sure the youngsters not knowing any better will happily work 100+ hour weeks. But the experienced worker will do the same work or better clocking in normal work days, because you know experience. And then go home and have a life. And it turns out that having a life outside of work, makes for happier and more productive people. Who would have thought?
      • by mikael ( 484 )

        There are so many different programming languages ( Java, C#, Python, Scala, C++, Javascript, Fortran), API's and frameworks that are changng every six months, that it is more important to have someone with experience in the latest technology in the last few years that it is to have experience over 10 years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2018 @02:59PM (#56090701)

    Unless you were lucky and smart enough to end up at Google, FB, Amazon, etc right out of high school, you definitely need to leave at least every 3 years in order to achieve maximum income by the time you are 45. I only have two years left, so I should really hurry up :)

  • I'm behind the trend. Mine peaked when I retired at 55.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Mine peaked at age 42, when I retired.

      It is 10 yrs later and I've seen the world, hiked on 6 continents, and my list-o-things-to-do is 50x longer than it was when I was working.

      People get stuck working far too long.

      The 5 yrs that my stock investments earned more than my salary made it clear that I was wasting too much time working.

      I'm not a billionaire. In fact, I'm in the low millions, but my lifestyle has contracted on spending to match.

      Oh - and I'm 20x healthier than I was the last 10 yrs working. Drop

  • I think there's a bunch of factors at work.
    - People working in Seattle, and SF/SV make tons of money because of that region's out-of-control housing market and other cost of living factors.
    - If this is recent data, don't forget that this is the Second Dotcom Bubble. Large Seattle/SF/SV employers heavily favor younger workers and hip startup types. So, on average the age of people reporting high salaries will be lower, while their salaries will be comparatively higher. Microsoft and Amazon are throwing money

  • You cannot conclude by looking at current salaries vs. age that the average person younger than the peak will peak at that point! The comparison across age is an apples and oranges one. The salary environment at the time you entered engineering has a long-term effect on your salary progress.

    With that in mind, it is possible that the peak indicates older engineers took a bigger hit in 2009 and that starting salaries and early career raises have been growing faster than the salaries of experienced engineers i

  • Or....you retire at 50-60, come back as a contractor, and pocket the whole rate (less income & self-employment taxes of course) because you've got benefits through your retirement or your spouse.
    At least that's what controls engineers seem to do.

  • I'm in my mid-50s. My own programming productivity peaked around age 45. Youthful fast-learning minds that don't tire quickly have an advantage. Aged minds with lots of knowledge and experience have an advantage. The two trade-off, with a peak (in my case) around age 45.
    • I'd put my peak somewhat later, but I'm definitely going downhill. My manager still considers me middle of the pack, and it's a darn good pack, so I'm happy with that. I'm in my mid-60s and intend to retire next year.

  • by internet-redstar ( 552612 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @04:04PM (#56091089) Homepage
    We who where in our early 20s when the Internet and Linux revolution arrived, are 45 years or less (I'm 41). So, it seems correct that this is where the peak is ;-) And the peak will move up as we grow older too ;-)
  • by Hasaf ( 3744357 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @04:54PM (#56091381)

    When it comes to the difference between the trades and college paths I am reminded of the story of three friends, of which I am one. We met in a community college trade program. All three of us were recently out of the military and drew together.

    We had a similar starting point; but ended in different places. One of us went directly into a trade, repairing office equipment. Another bounced around a bit between various county and state technical jobs until he started his own HVAC business.

    The friend who started his business was able to do it because his mother poured, quite literally, everything she had into his business to get him started. I remember delivering some of her personal jewelry to be sold in order to raise money for his business. He is now doing ok. We are all now in our 50s and he is pretty much completely broken down from the physical demand of his job. However, financially he is now stable (and has a lot of great guns, I love going out to his place just to see what he has added to his collection).

    The other friend tried to stay in Office equipment too long. As he got older his numbers declined and he was let go right about 50. For reasons not understood by me, he decided to take that “opportunity” to get his college degree in a field that doesn’t hire people over 35 unless they are entering with a tremendous amount of experience. He is now delivering pizzas and struggling to hold onto his house.

    Me, I saw the writing on the wall. Right around the time the company I was working for canceled the defined benefits pension program I looked around and realized that I saw no old guys. I went back to college and got my BA and eventually my MBA. I am not tall or good looking, I lack family connections and there was no way I could afford an expensive internship. I came from one of Americas poverty areas and, without question, it is part of who I am.
    I was able to get a job teaching and took the accreditation over a period of a couple of years of evening courses. I now work as a teacher in rural district that, due to the number of immigrants, has many very urban problems.

    What does this short biography have to do with the trades? Of the three of us one made it in the trades, mostly because his family had the resources to prop him up as long as it took to become stable. One just plain left, bounced around and left the trades. The other tried to stay until he was pushed out.
    Those promoting trades, look around. Do you see many old guys in that trade? How many 60 year olds? How many 70 year olds? As we push up the national retirement age who is going to hire that 70 year old?

    I do not think trades are wrong, what I think is wrong is how our society treats tradesmen. As long as people are nothing but disposable cogs to be discarded once they are worn I am concerned about the pure trades’ path. It can, and I think should, be part of a person’s life

    • by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday February 08, 2018 @06:41PM (#56092021)

      In my area, most of the trades guys are in their 50's. Home Depot is now teaching classes for the millenials on how to use a measuring tape and hammer because they've never been exposed to them before.

      The problem in the trades is that cheap labor gets the job every time. That means all those meth heads and ex-cons who can't find work elsewhere get picked up to swing a hammer for minimum wage. The quality of the work suffers but since everyone is hiring from the same bottom of the barrel that's what you get. The demand is high but they fill it with illegals rather than kids fresh out of school who 50 years ago would have been all over those jobs.

      Your story though can be said of any profession. Every person our age older not in a management role is in danger. People think "wow they are middle age, why aren't they managers, what's wrong with them?" I was a manager, a good one. But I hated it. I'll never do it again unless I start my own business and set my own terms.

  • I'm not sure what to make of some of the numbers from the article.

    Salaries peak around age 45 and then level off or drop. Looking at the last chart, I see that salaries start leveling off at around age 35. The averages don't come with any confidence intervals so I'm not sure if any real conclusions about the trends can be made. There are also distributions in the survey responses, so maybe the median might be a more representative statistic.

    The global average salary is hard to believe. All listed US cit

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