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Discussion on: Is making 100k USD a big deal from India?

bradtaniguchi profile image

I personally have met and worked with a few offshore developers, and IT personnel for a global company. This company off-shored a good amount of IT work, and thus worked with a lot of teams in India. They primarily did this to cheapen the cost of their IT.

I knew of only 1 person who potentially saw 6 figures who worked "in India" during my time, and 80% of the time they were physically "on-shore" as a project manager. I believe any management-level IT position, or project manager, or similar would see 100k+ paychecks.

I don't see many developers commanding 6 figures unless they are very good at what they do, and sell themselves as such, or they live in an expensive market.

Currently India is seen as a "cheap" out-source target for companies that need "cheap" tech, developers, and IT services. If your asking for 100k+, you get into the realm of "on-shore" tech, developers and services. Even developers in parts of the US don't see that much pay. So if your plan is being paid 100k+ I see a few potential options:

  1. Get very very good, enough to be a "specialist" where a US company is willing to shell out "on-shore prices" to an "off-shore" developer. If you have the skills, you really need to market yourself to justify issues with time-zones compared to an on-shore developer.

  2. Get into project management and command a team of lesser-paid developers, and manage large, complex, and expensive projects. High-risk, high-stress, but high reward.

  3. Become an on-shore developer. (this might not even be an option)

Regardless of which option you take (or take a route not mentioned) you must have excellent communication skills. Key factors going against off-shoring is primarily language barriers, time-zone issues and quality of work in some cases.
Anytime you distance the developer from the end-user, the overall product quality will degrade, and I don't mean physical distance, I mean from feature request to code release. If a developer is getting requirements who have been passed through 3 different "middle-managers", AND translated to a different language maybe even multiple times, the end result will be different from the original.

Finally I want to point out 100k is more or less the middle for the average developer in the US according to SO latest developer poll (This should be tilted higher than average, due to SO's target audience being). So the idea of "100k is not good enough" isn't true for an on-shore developer, so you will need to overcome that notion.

PS. I would make more than 20k USD if I worked a minimum wage job part-time, but would probably end up homeless. The cost of living sounds vastly different between where you live and I live, and 100k is an excellent income for where I live. If you can live on 20k and still pay the bills, reaching for 100k sounds like a pretty aggressive wage increase. I applaud your goal of getting paid as much as a US developers, but question the need for such a large increase. I've heard of some US companies that pay some remote developers less than non-remote simply because they live in cheaper markets. All dollars are not made equal, no matter what we think about globalization. This is why developers in San Francisco are paid 150k+ and consider themselves "middle-class".

knbrktl profile image
Kaan Bereketli

Thanks for your informative comment.

gvpmahesh profile image
vamsi pavan mahesh gunturu Author • Edited on

Thanks for taking the time to write your views and inputs. It was helpful. I thought India is not seen anymore as a source for cheap tech talent, because if you see, there are so many Unicorns/Product companies are coming from India.

I have architected and implemented systems that handles millions of requests, I thought a developer with a similar experience of working at scale would be easily able to cross 100k mark in US. I know of two friends, who studied undergrad with me in India, and then went to grad school in US and are doing full-time jobs in the tech industry. One is making 140 k and the other is making 160 k, both in non silicon valley area. And when I compare the level of knowledge/skills they are having on phone conversations, sometimes I feel .. I am on the cutting edge. Maybe I might be wrong, I need to talk to more people I guess.

I could see myself making 40-50k in India itself, provided I concentrate on whiteboarding for the next 6 months. Amazon SDE2 pays 50k in India. But then I fear I would be stuck in a rat race working for corporates like that.

cristinaruth profile image
Cristina Ruth

I used to compare myself in terms of skills and accomplishments to other "higher-level" devs but over time, I've come to realize that it's not their technical skills that has them in the higher position -- it's their communication and project management skills and their ability to deliver and keeping customers and coworkers happy and productive.

You may have implemented systems that scale well, but if you're lacking in the areas above, it won't be easy to get the higher paying positions.

Disclaimer: I speak only from my experience and knowledge of working within a large company so I have no perspective on how other companies work and may be wrong.