Speech pathologist modified careers to tech and earns $93,000 in Austin


Welcome to Paycheck to Paycheck, the place employees with the identical job throughout the U.S. share how a lot they earn, how they received to their wage and their greatest negotiating ideas. Prepared to affix the wage transparency dialog? Apply to be part of the collection right here.

On this installment, a 27-year-old shares how she makes $93,000 working as a software program engineer in Austin. Learn how her wage stacks as much as different software program engineers across the U.S.

At 27 years outdated, Sarah has already reached a wage milestone she did not anticipate to hit for one more few many years.

She at present works as a software program engineer for a start-up in Austin, the place she joined the corporate at a base wage of $80,000. It was her first job in tech after working as a speech pathologist for 2 years, and the pay was far above what she thought she’d be incomes at her age.

“Had I continued as a speech pathologist, I might be fortunate to make $80,000 a 12 months after 20 years of working at one location,” she tells CNBC Make It.

After the start-up closed an enormous deal on the finish of 2020, Sarah was awarded a $13,000 pay increase, bringing her annual wage to $93,000 a 12 months.

This is how Sarah advocated for her pay in recent times, and why she believes it is essential for her to share her earnings as a lady working in a male-dominated area.

Altering careers

Sarah, who requested to be recognized by her first identify solely to talk freely about her pay, went to school and grad college to change into a speech pathologist. After commencement, she had bother discovering regular work that paid her a full-time wage.

She made it work by taking two part-time jobs, one at a nursing facility that paid $26 an hour, and a weekend job at a hospital that paid $34 an hour. “It was exhausting work and lengthy hours,” she says. “On the finish of the day, I did not benefit from the work and wanted a distinct path.”

Someday, Sarah confided in a feminine buddy who works as a software program engineer, who sat her down and defined what her day-to-day seemed like. For the primary time, Sarah may image herself working in tech.

“I by no means noticed myself as minimize out to be a software program engineer,” Sarah says. “I do not know if that is as a result of I am a lady or another purpose. The second she gave me these particulars, I used to be like, ‘I can completely see myself doing that. Why am I not already doing that?'”

Sarah seemed into methods to transition into tech. She discovered free and low-cost on-line programs and taught herself to code after work. She added her expertise to her LinkedIn web page, and a recruiter with an Austin-based start-up invited her to use for a six-month software program engineering internship.

After Sarah accomplished the internship, she was employed on as a full-time worker. She now has nearly two years of expertise working as a software program engineer.

Studying to barter: ‘What does my brother have that I do not?’

Sarah did not negotiate the speed of her paid internship — she was shocked to be employed in any respect.

“On the time, I used to be simply thrilled that somebody was going to pay me,” she says. The internship posting listed a pay vary of $16 to $24 an hour, and the corporate supplied Sarah $24 an hour proper off the bat. “Possibly it was strategic on their half, however in my thoughts I felt I used to be already getting the higher vary,” she says.

When her internship ended, nevertheless, she got here ready to barter her full-time wage. The corporate supplied her a base wage of $72,000 a 12 months.

However primarily based on her analysis utilizing on-line wage databases, focusing in on her degree of expertise and the Austin market, Sarah thought she ought to be making extra.

Across the similar time, Sarah’s youthful brother was beginning his first software program engineering job and secured a job that paid $100,000 straight out of school. “It was an even bigger firm in a distinct market, so you’ll be able to’t immediately examine the 2,” Sarah says. Nonetheless, “I felt like I deserved greater than that $72,000. I imply, what does my brother have that I do not?”

Realizing that her pay may go a lot increased, Sarah introduced the pay charges she discovered on-line to barter. HR raised her provide to $80,000, which she accepted.

“At $80,000 I used to be happy however nonetheless formidable to get extra,” Sarah says.

After a couple of months of exhausting work, her perseverance paid off. Her firm closed a big deal on the finish of 2020 and rewarded all workers with raises. Sarah’s new wage now comes out to $93,000 a 12 months. She additionally lately earned a $2,500 efficiency bonus.

“Now at round $95,000 with my bonus, I am actually proud to be making what I make,” Sarah says.

Transferring ahead, Sarah is aware of to at all times negotiate for extra, “even in case you assume you bought the higher vary of what is obtainable. Another person will at all times negotiate, probably a person, so that you should not miss that chance.”

Transparency and fairness in tech

Tech jobs are recognized for commanding excessive pay, because of an exploding want for folks to construct the services and products we depend on on daily basis, and a scarcity of employees with the best skillsets to maintain tempo. The common software program engineer earned roughly $153,000 in 2020, based on a report from Employed, a market for tech jobs.

However for such a fast-growing and socially impactful trade, tech is extensively recognized for its lack of racial and gender variety. Like many industries, white males are constantly paid greater than friends who’re Black, Hispanic and girls — making discussions of wage transparency and pay fairness all of the extra essential.

As a white lady, Sarah is totally conscious of those gaps and tries to be as open about her pay as doable. “Transparency is essential to be paid pretty,” she says. “Had I not had entry to information on-line, I most likely would have accepted what I used to be supplied after I deserved to be paid extra.”

She desires her personal wage story to assist different folks new to tech, particularly ladies and younger women considering of getting into the sector.

“Within the greater image, there aren’t sufficient position fashions of ladies in tech being clear about their work and what they make, which may assist younger women aspire to do this,” Sarah says. “Plenty of women consider tech as a area that they do not belong in — I do know I felt that means.”

Take a look at:

From $70,000 to $120,000: Right here’s how a lot 3 software program engineers earn across the U.S.

This 26-year-old doubled his pay by switching to laptop science—and utilizing a key negotiating trick

15 of the highest firms for girls working in tech

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