An American Millennial

Where are you and where are you going?
Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

It's a tough decision for her. The bootcamp though is $15k after securing a job in the first year. It is full-time in-person. The risk is relatively low, aside from opportunity cost. Also the master's is $20k over 2 years, I got the number wrong. She's a smart girl, though, and I know she will be fine whatever she decides.

I initially didn't really want to field any offers to leverage into a higher salary. But it is my boss' recommendation. It would be hard for me to get an offer I would actually consider taking, outside of a ridiculous salary. The perks at my current job are too good.

One downside to my current position is that, as a cyber security company, I am on the expense side of the business.

Scott 2
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

I'd want to be very confident the specific master's degree is a valuable credential. In the cursory discussion, it doesn't pass my smell tests. $20k sounds too inexpensive for marketable graduate education. Online seems iffy. Shouldn't a program for therapists have a heavy in person component? What does the intersection of people who need behavioral therapy and people who can afford to pay for it look like? What's the competition for the spots that pay?

My wife did her BA in psych, from a high quality private university. She graduated with honors, had minors, activities, etc. Nobody was buying. She ended up doing IT project management anyways, but at a lower rate, because she was a liberal arts person.

Her sister did a masters in speech therapy. She graduated with well over $100k in debt, from one of the best graduate schools in the field. Turns out the people who need her skills are largely poor. The work is hard to come by. Her exceptional degree means she gets a job, but it's often temporary positions. The pay isn't close to equitable for the time and money she invested.


I've never had a boss tell me to get another offer. That seems weird. There must be something he's hoping you learn from it.

Demand for cyber security is only increasing. You could do a lot worse in terms of experience, provided you enjoy the work.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I'm not 100% sure the requirements/potential for her career after the master's, it's more something for her to work towards, not something that I really consider too much. She's her person. I think though that the certification requires in-person hours, which she is already employed and accumulating with her current employer.

As for the fielding an offer recommendation, I think the idea is that he will use my offer to leverage a new salary, since it's not up to him. I mean he has to agree that a raise is warranted (which isn't an issue), but after that it is up to him to convince the founders. Which is the same thing that happened for my raise, but my ask of 5% was pretty modest and he was confident they wouldn't say no.

He also briefly mentioned about me going through our training and getting on the production side of the business. Cyber security is a great field, but pentesting is not an interesting career path to me. If you've heard of worker types, it is much more on the producer type of work, and I would quickly tire of it. So no on the enjoy the work. I have that option, I can get trained for free and transition into that with this company or another, but I'd rather be a dev for 4-5 years. I like the nature of my work now.

Developing for a cyber security company is nice, though, because I get my work pen-tested, and storing the vulnerabilities of fortune 500 companies means my work has to be secure. So I'm learning in that way...

Best case scenario for me, though, is increasing salary from 66k -> 130k over the next 4-5 years, then maybe contract work off and on, or downsizing and doing stuff abroad again, or some part-time work, or keep working, who knows. Too far in the future. For my financial goals right now, the need is $80k by 2021.

Scott 2
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

I spent a few years doing the vuln. scans and responding to client security audits at my firm. I can 100% understand why you wouldn't be interested in pen. testing as a career. I got out of the security work first chance I had.


Your boss knows his relationship with the founders. For what it's worth, a target of $80k by year end seems reasonable. Depending how quickly you grow, and if you are willing to move to a tier 1 city, low even.


I think it is more typical for a company to have an overall compensation strategy, than to ask employees to seek competing offers. Especially once the employer is big enough to consider discrimination in their employee pay. Many employers now even refuse to ask candidates their current compensation.

I've observed salary targets set from survey data like Robert Half (https://www.roberthalf.com/salary-guide), as well as candidate expectations communicated during the interview process. I think the bigger players are using Radford data, but I never found a good way to access it:

https://radford.aon.com/surveys

If this wired article can be believed, VC firms are using a database called Option Impact for startup salaries:

https://www.wired.com/story/silicon-val ... -database/
https://www.advanced-hr.com/

It's supposed to get at the issue of trailing data under-estimating comp., when looking at anecdotal numbers, like on Glassdoor.


I've found the Gitlab salary calculator an interesting reference point as well:

https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/peopl ... alculator/


It's hard to judge "fair" comp. Whatever someone will pay is the ultimate answer, I suppose.

Viktor K
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

I think it is more typical for a company to have an overall compensation strategy, than to ask employees to seek competing offers.
I agree, I thought it was little strange but I didn't press much. Of course, I don't hold my tongue (I'm not a jerk, I just express myself freely. Not in the offensive, annoying way, but lighthearted and honest) and I told him that I thought getting a job offer and using it was "scummy" lol. In good humor though.

Seems like you're right, though. From those websites, $80k is reasonable. Again the only hard part is that at this company, I'm on the expense side of the equation. He already confessed his own salary of $115k, and he's C-suite. There's another developer who told me he is a senior, but in the org chart, we have the same title now.

Funny tidbit from China: people ask you what you do, and immediately after, "How much do you make?" No cultural aversion to that sort of thing at all. But in the U.S., I think it is more taboo to talk about salaries. I want to ask the other dev his pay so badly :lol:. He's from Vietnam, maybe he's open with it as well, but I've never been to Vietnam so I don't know.

I got lucky starting with this company, though. Even in our interview, my boss asked me the usual, where do you see yourself a few years from now (outside of the getting to know you, the rest of the interview was very left-field as far as the interview questions). Me, candid as always, obviously expressed, as anyone would I think, unless working for their dream company, that a few years from now, who knows if it's this company or another. But, he beat me to the punch. "Of course, I don't expect you to say that you want to work for this company for the rest of your life."

So he is equally candid, and employee focused. Really great company...good perks and environment. For example, each person in our C-suite has been away for 2 weeks abroad, 1 week at a time, in the last 6 months. My boss took a 1 month vacation the year before I started. He also expressed how after a few years, that sort of thing is an option, even if the high, engineer salary might not be. Just want more pay! Lol. But the perks are huge, and they have to have some value as well.

But $80k or above through 2021 will work fine for me. So I'm hoping that's an option here.

Scott 2
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

He already confessed his own salary of $115k, and he's C-suite.
That number makes me wonder if there's more to his comp - equity, options, profit sharing, annual bonus, commission, etc. Chicago being a Tier 2 city, at his described level, I'd expect a total package of $200k plus.

I've never broached the salary conversation with my peers, especially at the same company. I can't see a path where it ends well. It's not like I'm going to say to my boss "since Sally gets X, I should too!" I'd be very concerned about hard feelings if there's a gap.

I have only observed one woman (already tactless and disliked) disclose. It made her even less popular.

Scott 2
Posts: 1435
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Re: An American Millennial

Post by Scott 2 »

This is another source I've looked at to gain perspective:

https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquesti ... =new&t=all

There are salary sharing threads most months. It looks like in Chicago, trading is the place to go, to get paid.

Viktor K
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 9:45 pm
Location: Chicago
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Re: An American Millennial

Post by Viktor K »

It will be interesting to see. She's enjoying JavaScript this week, prepping for an entrance test tonight.

Whenever I look at salary threads, I always conclude that I should learn some computer science, switch tech stacks, practice interviews, and apply for some FANG-level companies.

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