Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in early-stage startups at Madrona and write a weekly newsletter called the DL

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How much do people at tech companies make?

Last week, the Seattle Times reported that nearly half (48%) of households in Seattle earn over $100K per year, and the average income for the top 5% of Seattle households is $609K per year.


It shouldn’t be a surprise to readers of the DL that tech companies pay really well, but here’s a better look at exactly how well based on data from Levels.fyi. These two charts show total compensation ranges by level at Microsoft and Amazon and the average number of years of experience for each level.

If you have roughly six years of experience, you’re likely an L5 at Amazon making $175-250K in total comp or a 62 at Microsoft making $150-225K. One level up to L6 at Amazon would put you in the $250-375K range and a couple levels up to 64 at Microsoft would put you in the $200-300K range.

In case you’re wondering how this compares to other high-paying careers, here’s data from WallStreetOasis on compensation at investment banks. Six years in, most investment bankers will be associates earning an average of $225K about to become VPs earning an average of $365K.

And here is data from Charles Aris on compensation at strategy consulting firms. With six years of experience, consultants will earn ~$205-270K.

And here is data from Above the Law on compensation for lawyers. Six years in, associates at major law firms earn ~$330K.

Finally, some data on the highest and lowest paid physicians by specialty because why not - might as well compare!

Overall, techies don’t make quite as much as neurosurgeons in the first few years of work, but they definitely get compensated quite well compared to other high paying careers.


Of course, compensation is only one reason that people decide to take a job, so it’s great to see that tech jobs like recruiting, sales, product, marketing, and engineering are some of the jobs with the highest job satisfaction.


TL;DR: Tech pays a lot; top 5% household income in Seattle is $609K; expect to make $200K+ in tech with 6 years of experience; on par with other high-paying careers but with higher job satisfaction


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