Engineering Salaries Grew in 2012, San Francisco-area Recruiter Finds

    Engineering salaries rose by 3.7 percent last year among clients of San Francisco-based executive search and technical recruiting firm Riviera Partners.

    The company, which deals primarily with startups, created an infographic detailing engineering salaries in 2012. The average salary grew from $114,600 in 2011 to $118,900.

    These were the highest-paying roles:

    • Database — $130,500
    • Back end —  $123,700
    • Generalist — $119,100
    • DevOps — $113,700
    • Front end — $109,200

    The graphic is interesting in that it breaks down salaries by maturity of the company and also by skill set and experience. That revealed some quirky things. For instance, the average salary in Java was $122,400, with junior developers bringing in $116,700, with midlevel developers (three to five years’ experience) making $125,000, while senior developers (four to six years) averaged $124,200 and lead/managers just $120,000.

    It explained that this way:

    After closer examination, we believe these scenarios reflected situations where more-experienced engineers took on larger roles at earlier-stage startups, resulting in a slight dip in salary, but greater equity share.

    And though Silicon Valley has a bias toward candidates from top-tier universities such as Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon and MIT, the graphic shows candidates with less than five years’ experience from other schools starting at higher salaries – possibly because they possess very hard-to-find skill sets. Those from top universities had the advantage, however, among those with more than five years’ experience.

    And not surprisingly, but still a distressing fact, 86 percent of engineering candidates placed were male.

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