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Discussion on: Why I Quit a $500K Job at Amazon to Work for Myself

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lg543 profile image
lg543 • Edited

$500k?? How on earth is that possible?

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dvassallo profile image
Daniel Vassallo Author • Edited

Here’s my full income progression:

2009: $40K - My first full year as as programmer. Worked for a small company doing GPS vehicle tracking in Europe.
2010: $30K - Left my job in April, moved to Dublin, and joined Amazon in November, as an SDE-1 (entry level) in the AWS CloudWatch team.
2011: $75K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2012: $120K - Moved to Seattle with the same team. Promoted to SDE-2.
2013: $150K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2014: $185K - Promoted to SDE-3 (senior level), same team.
2015: $230K - Still at Amazon, same team.
2016: $390K - In April I got a competing offer from Oracle at $370K and Amazon matched it.
2017: $470K - Still at Amazon. I led the development of CloudWatch Logs Insights: aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-amazo.... Income increase over 2016 was mostly from AMZN stock growth.
2018: $511K - Helped the team launch CWL Insights at re:Invent in November. Income increase over 2016 was again mostly from AMZN stock growth.
2019: Left Amazon last February.

All figures are gross income as shown in my W2. My last 3 year-end (Dec) paystubs here for those curious: imgur.com/a/EgIVQln

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lg543 profile image
lg543

Thanks for the response.. What is R.S.U Vest? Does everyone get that at Amazon?

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dvassallo profile image
Daniel Vassallo Author

It's a payment in AMZN stock instead of cash. Amazon, like most public companies, has a cap on cash compensation, and pays the rest in stock. Public companies prefer to do this because stock compensation doesn't come out from the company's bank account, but comes out from diluting their total shares. But to the employee, these end up as cash in the bank account, just like regular cash compensation. They are taxed the same as well.

At Amazon the cash cap is $160K. Anything over that amount gets payed in stock (RSUs).

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kaisewilliams profile image
kaisewilliams

OMG that is really a great work, not everyone has the courage to give up their job to do something else.

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

Salaries for juniors (college grads) in Silicon Valley are around $100/120k.

He's clearly a senior and worked at a company whose revenue is 232 billion dollars and pays no federal taxes in the US.

500K a year, if you're really good, is not insane if you put in this perspective.

Still is a lot of money, that's true :D

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lg543 profile image
lg543

True. I've heard the same about devs in Silicon Valley. These pay figures are definitely not the same across the world. Many factors to consider there, of course, like cost of living.. In Nairobi, such salaries are reserved for those in management.

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

I don't think 500k is a normal salary even in SV but it's more likely to be reached in big companies than in startups.

It's a lot of money everywhere!

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