Star athlete or engineer? The Big Five in tech are paying like the Big Four in sports

I saw this tweet about your chances of making it into the NFL so I wanted to run a similar chart of stats to see what it’s like to make it into the top echelons of the software industry.

  • Total people in CS: 1,256,200
  • College CS majors: 55,000
  • % CS Grads who stick it out: 64%
  • CS grads per year: 35,329
  • % of CS grads to FAANG: 0.2%
  • People who make it into FAANG per year: 12,500
  • % of FAANG engineerins who make it to Staff level or greater: 15%
  • People who make it to Staff engineer at Google per year: 1,875
  • Average income of a Staff engineer at a FAANG: $506,000
  • Income after taxes: $292,400

Comparing this to professional sports starting salaries

  • NFL = $465,000
  • MLB = $507,500
  • NBA = $582,180
  • NHL = $650,000

This doesn’t account for the many non-rookies who spend years playing part-time or in the minor leagues, particularly in the MLB, NHL, and MLB. For example, there are a dozen or so NBA players making less than your average engineer in a major metro area like Silicon Valley or Boston.

What am I getting at? A staff engineer at Google or Facebook stands to make more than the rookies in the NFL and MLB. We are officially in an era where the top software engineers are being paid like the top sports players. What a time to be alive!

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