Over the last two years, Tech in Motion’s proud supporters, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates, have worked with hundreds of thousands of engineers across the United States and Canada to find these tech professionals exciting positions. While the vast majority end up in positions that pay between $50,000 and $140,000, these agencies have also placed many engineers at the $200K-$300K+ range.
Many candidates wonder: “What qualifies an engineer for a $200K+ salary? And how can I get there?” Given the 27 years of experience that Jobspring and Workbridge have working within the technology industry, it is clear that there are some key factors that you should keep in mind before you go shooting for the stars. Here are the top four determinants that can help you map out your career as well as help you dream and achieve bigger:
1. Location, Location, Location
You can be the greatest developer with a Ph.D. in Engineering, but a $200K position may not exist in the geographic region you live in. Are you willing to relocate? Most of the job openings in the $200K range that Jobspring and Workbridge often deal with are located in San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles. If you’re not open to relocating to a place where the pay is higher, you may be limiting yourself.
*Based on Jobspring and Workbridge Placements.
Experience plays a critical role when it comes to salary negotiation. Over the last four years, there was only one person that these agencies placed at a just-under-$200K salary who had only two years of experience. (This person had some exceptional accomplishments and specialized in Front-End Development.) Most companies want to see at least seven years of experience before they even consider higher six-figure salaries. In fact, the majority of the agencies’ $200K placements were with candidates that had 11-28 years of experience.
3. Technology and Skills
Technology and skills are critical components to gaining a higher salary. Do you have the right skills? Do you need to learn a new programming language or move to a different field or niche? Your skills, and how you can sell yourself, are essential parts of getting the highest salary possible. Based on all of the placements done by Jobspring and Workbridge from 2013-2016, Java Developers were the leaders of the $200K club. Mobile, Network Security, Front End, Ruby on Rails, Product Management, and UI/UX were all among the top technologies when it came to highest salaries.
*Comparing Jobspring and Workbridge salaries by technology and experience with the average for Software Engineers.
4. Seniority and Leadership
The majority of people placed with a $200K+ salary are generally at a Senior Management or C-Level position working for a startup or Fortune 500 company. Often times, these people are placed with companies who were looking to hire “on the street” to fill their VP or C-Level positions. So if you think that a Ph.D. in Engineering and decades of experience will eventually guarantee you a big promotion to a Senior Executive level, think again. A lot of employers feel comfortable hiring experienced engineers working for other companies and don’t see the need to promote within the company.
As an engineer, you must prove that you are not only a talented coder, but also an effective manager who can lead others, take ownership, and make critical decisions. At the Senior Executive level, you need to demonstrate leadership acumen. An MBA (full-time, executive, online, or part-time) with a Master’s Degree in Engineering and a focus on Management, as well as courses and a certificate on Leadership, are all important aspects of becoming a candidate who can qualify for a higher six-figure compensation.
Start Your Future Today
Map out what experiences, technologies, stretch assignments, and leadership abilities you need to embody as you journey toward higher paying positions. An investment in yourself now is an investment in your future. Begin today and set yourself upon a course to earning your full potential.
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