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Salary question

Can I do a little survey here?

Guess a salary for me:

B.S. and Masters in CS from Cornell University

1 1/2 years experience in C/C++ coding at a video game company

some theoretical knowledge of audio/DSP that is relevant for the job I am considering

living/working in San Francisco, CA

Ricochet
Sunday, November 09, 2003

65000 - 75000 - depending on how well you negotiated:-)

Prakash S
Sunday, November 09, 2003

same guess as prakash.

ktm
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Is this base salary + bonus or just base salary?  Let's consider it with the "average/expected bonus" since every company is different in this respect.

Also the tricky thing is that my old company offered stock options while the new one does not.  They happened to be VERY VERY lucrative this year.  So I'm not sure how to figure that into the equation.  Iit is likely that I would be taking a pay CUT if you figure in the stock options.

Thank you for all your answers, I will post a summary at the end when I get some more responses.  : )

Ricochet
Sunday, November 09, 2003

I thought you said salary and not compensation! so my guess was annual salary (no bonus or stock options included)

Prakash S
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Is 1.5 yrs the sum total of paid programming experience you have?

What other languages are you adept at?

anon
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Be thankful for anything but "no hire because we can't afford you" (based on the MSCS)  :)

Philo

Philo
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Yes, 1.5 years, and some internships that don't really count.

The job is all C/C++, but I did Java some in school, had a couple internships doing Access DBs and VB, Matlab in one course, Assembly in another, Perl Python, etc.  With my background, hopefully they are not looking at specific language skills, but rather general aptitude.

Philo, what is overpriced?  Name a figure?

And this company is very "high-tech"... been around for 40 years, and they have tons of Ph.D's there in the research division.  They also have a coding branch, which is where I'm applying to.

Ricochet
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Ricochet, sounds like you should be okay.
Some companies won't even approach coders with advanced degrees, feeling they can't "offer what they're worth" (note: they don't give you a chance to turn it down, they just put you in the "no hire" stack).

I have a friend with an MSCS who found he got far more responses to his resume when he took the MSCS off.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, November 09, 2003

$65-75K

wormser
Sunday, November 09, 2003

OK then I guess 65-75 is OK for average skills and in that geographical area. The high end seems a bit high for just over a year of experience, but it depends on the person.

Depending on the actual person and what they can really do, the range could be $40-$90. So, someone who is helpless without a lot of handholding when told to create a new system from scratch, that's more like $40. If the person comes in with actual robust working apps they've written themselves that make use of DSP algorithms that they themselves have invented, then that starts at $90 for 2 yrs paid experience (+ an assumed many years unpaid) and rapidly advances with time. At 5 years, $120, for example. But those folks are rare.

anon
Sunday, November 09, 2003

>Be thankful for anything but "no hire because we can't afford you" (based on the MSCS)  :)

If you can survive 4 years on that rock, you'll probably be able to hack it at any fast pace best of breed IT company. If you came out with anything more than an unimpressionable grade you should be able to get into a tech firm in San Jose that pays enough for rent (65K+). Are there a lot of jobs in San Jose, for you there will be, but the job market isn't that great--but that's the same problem for anyone. Depends on what you want to do with your life, you might want to get an MBA.. or just start a company if you have enough work experience and you have friends and coworkers in the field who trust you enough and will work for you.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Is Dolby hiring?

pdq
Monday, November 10, 2003

It is hard to make more than $90K as a salaried developer doing anything, with any amount of experience, anywhere.

Once you hit the $100K mark, you have hit the "senior engineer plateau." There are a few places with bags of cash where you can make more than that (Microsoft) as an engineer, but most places, even great places to work, never pay engineers more than $100K.

If you want to stay technical and make more than $100K, your best bet is to become an independent consultant, or start your own company.

wormser
Monday, November 10, 2003

Of course, staring a company means you are no longer just technical. Likewise, being a (successful) consultant would mean, I think, having (and putting to use) strong interpersonal and bureaucratic skills, IMHO.  I think there's a limit to how much a cosultant who works alone can make.  You've got to be able to interface with the people at the company.


The biggest payoff is in solving PEOPLE'S  problems, NOT technology problems. 

Now, if you can create unique technology that solves people's problems, then the tech merely gives your competitor's a barrier to entry or makes it easier for you to solve that person's problem.

E.g., if a problem is purely technical (write an algorithm to compress this file x% or process this digitized signal) then that has little affect on people directly, and thus no one is going to pay you for that.


So, to make money, you need to bring value TO PEOPLE.  It might be a file compression program that appeals to PEOPLE, but interfacing with the customers involves a lot of non-technical skills.

So... WinZip, by itself didn't make the developer any money. He made money once he made it easy to use, marketed it effectively, etc.

Entrepreneur
Monday, November 10, 2003

Expert DSP skills , including the mathematical finesse to develop new algorithms, pays extremely well, despite what the last two posters said. There is a serious shortage of people who are truly talented in this area. It's not something you pick up in school either, it's a rare combination of creativity and mathematical genius.

anon
Monday, November 10, 2003

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