More than a paycheck: Salary and Benefits


Technology has long been a sector that is paid well. With that though comes some pressure to perform and figure out some challenging problems. I would say each company is different in how they pay. Some companies just essentially have their salary where others offer stock options or other benefits. In a phrase, we could say, “it is complicated.”

Salary

Some of us just work for a straight salary. This is for most positions where you are a full-time employee. Overall your experience will have a major effect on this. There is also the factor of your skills and their demand. Certain types of developers can demand a higher salary and get it.

Stock Options

Technology people can do goofy things for stock options. For some, they see this as a possibility of a great financial windfall. Many startups will dangle this incentive to get people on board. The statistics tell us that startups rarely succeed. Established companies that give stock options don’t grow at an upward trajectory.

Benefits

Depending on the stage of life you are at benefits may excite you. Some give their employees food daily or few times a week. If you are focused on growing your retirement you may be interested in the 401k and other savings vehicles.

Team

If you are basketball fan you know that Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors last year. The team was already a great team. He was able to make it better. Professionally you might find a great team to join. Like Kevin Durant, you might take a lower salary to work with great people. It could be you want to join a company that is growing quickly. In that case, maybe you take a role or position that doesn’t suit you best. You need to decide the criteria that work for you.

Timing

I wish I could say I have learned patience as I have gotten older. Unfortunately, I have not. This has burned me on hiring decisions. Wanting to add someone to our team I hired a less than desirable candidate. This is the same when you are looking for a position. Make sure you don’t act too hastily. Ken is an old friend of mine who jumped ship too quickly. He left a bad position and found he went to a worse one.

Contracting

Contracting can have its appeal. There is safety in being a full-time employee, but a financial incentive to being a contractor. Usually, the bump is approximately 30% between the two. Of course, you need to understand the added risk as it is easier to be let go when you are contracting. Companies will more often than not let contractors go before laying off full-time employees. Contractors have to make sure their skills are marketable given the additional volatility.

Startups

We would all love to be like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Build something small and start a huge company. Unfortunately, many startups don’t end this way. Odds are against it becoming huge. Although it might payoff I would consider it for other reasons. If you have a new idea that most companies won’t touch or in a developing industry you can consider it. Make the decision without looking for a big payday. Too many people make bad decisions expecting a huge return.

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