The Hidden Cost of High Salaries in Tech

Giving chase sometimes ain’t worth it

Senior Brogrammer


Read an article about median tech salaries? Visited Levels FYI and compared high values of Microsoft and Amazon salaries for data engineers? Saw a blog on Medium about a $30k signing bonus? You get the idea. Tech employment is extremely lucrative, especially if you rise to the top. However, is it worth it?

Companies advertise friendly work environments, free food and generous benefits not commonly found. At first glance, this lifestyle looks like a dream, but it’s not. I’ll dive into some of the lowlights of being a tech worker at any level and company.

High Salaries and Great Benefits

Before I start, tech is extremely lucrative at any level, for most people. Unfortunately several examples exist of companies taking advantage of underpaid labor for tech work. I won’t dive any deeper on that topic other than saying, what you see about high salaries and excellent benefits is mostly true. Look at some numbers provided by various surveys below.

Average starting salary right out of college is around $50k, compared to average tech starting salary is around $70k. How many young adults are making nearly six figures straight out of college? If you’re passionate about computers, you’ve hit the lottery in terms of careers. While it’s a privilege to attain all of this, on the other hand it can be a detriment.

Let’s dive into common expectations at work and the corporate world today.

Expectations of You

Obviously expectations vary by roles/firms, but common themes are apparent across multiple organizations.

Let’s dive into a couple expectations that come with the “glory” of working tech.

  • Work to completion — Tech roles can tend to be intense in terms of deadlines and what a manager might expect out of you. Several firms still operate under due dates and apply the work methods to every single team, instead of spending resources figuring out individual needs. Whether it’s realistic or not, 8 hour work days might not be enough to finish projects. Slowly new firms are realizing that burning employees out doesn’t work, but don’t be shocked to see this today.