How do I get a package of 30 laks per annum?

How do I get a package of 30 laks per annum? by Anonymous

Answer by Anonymous:

This question seemed tailor made for me because this year I got my salary raised to 30 lpa & it took me 4 years to get there. Instead of saying what you have to do, I’m going to say how I ended up with 30lpa so that you can pick up a thing or two.

Year 2012: CTC 5lpa

I graduated from one of the top tier colleges in India but I am not from a Computer Science background, since I had interest in programming I joined a company as Software Engineering Trainee 4 years ago with a package of 5 lpa. To most it might seem very good as a fresher but coming from my institute where the average salary is like 8–9 lpa, this was quite low.

My relatives used to say to my parents while I was in college “All your financial problems would be solved, just wait for your son to graduate, he will easily earn 1 lakh per month given how talented he is”. Although my parents never said anything, they were hoping I’d graduate with a very good salary.

But I did not, with all the variable pay, I used to get a mere 30k per month with no benefits. I was away from home, was sending back home a mere 10k per month, it was definitely not what I planned when I joined that prestigious college. I felt pretty dejected by the fact that despite graduating from a top tier institute I was sending home mere 10k per month.

All this because, I was not from a Computer Science background. And it is true, I did not know anything beyond C & a bit of data structures, I deserved such pay for the skills I had. But I was highly ambitious like you, never say that earning 30 lpa is a unrealistic dream.

I knew one thing that I’m not so great at Computer Science, so I said I am going to fix this. I did dream of higher salaries but in my dreams higher salary was like 11 lpa, I was very modest back then. I was working as a full stack web developer, I was told to learn so many technologies both in frontend & backend. While all my office colleagues used to party during weekends, I used to confine myself to my room. I had read so many blogs about improving my programming skills & one thing fit into my mind so well.

You can only get good at programming by coding as much as you can aka practice.

Going through a DSA book & solving problems was not my forte. So, I started building my own personal web apps using the backend framework & frontend framework I was then working on. Whenever I used to stumble upon a issue I used to go through the documentation, stackoverflow & if none works, directly into the source code.

Every day right after office, I used to have dinner & start coding. On weekends I used to code the entire day. The fact that I lived alone helped me so much in this because no one used to ask me to come to that stupid mall for the Nth time & live the programmed life.

Year 2013: 6lpa

So, I kept doing this for almost a year. Now came the time for raise, my salary went from 5lpa to 6lpa. Although it felt great, it had nothing to do with the fact that my knowledge of the tech has improved!

As the time progressed, I even learnt about new upcoming frameworks, I got my hands dirty with them. I used to read blog articles, I used to try the new frameworks. And when I was in office, I used to incorporate few design patterns in our own projects based on what I learned from other frameworks. I even had an habit of going through the source code, I used to be very active on StackOverflow answering questions. During this whole time, I wasn’t even thinking about my salary, I was so involved in learning. I was like a child, if you had asked me what is that I want to learn I’d have said everything. To paint the picture I was learning Web design, Ruby on Rails, HTML5 & CSS3(new APIs were released back then), MongoDb, NodeJS & BackboneJS simultaneously. Although in my office I was working on a different tech stack.

Do not confine yourself to a single programming language or a single framework.

Going through the source code & trying different programming languages taught me various design patterns. They also taught me to write code that is readable & testable. I used to refactor the code in my company all the time because I didn’t like the code I’d written few months ago.

If you look at the code you’ve written in the past & think it is awful. Congratulations, you’re evolving as a programmer!

I was becoming the goto guy in the office eventually for all the difficult bugs or stories. But it was easier for me because, some of the problems I had solved in one of my side projects that I was working on during the weekends. Some bugs people had almost no clue of but I could say exactly what was going on in one shot because I happened to read about that in a blog post.

Year 2014: 6.5lpa to 9lpa

But I realised the company I was working for didn’t realise my contribution because it was evident from my next raise which was mere 6 lpa to 6.5lpa. So, I decided to switch, I moved to Bangalore as a Frontend Engineer. Without even negotiating I was offered 9 lpa. It was a huge moment for me, I was ridiculously happy! I was thinking of negotiating to like 7–7.5 but they didn’t even ask what I’m making, they liked my performance in the interview & offered 9lpa because everybody were being paid the same

If you feel you’re being underpaid, switch immediately.

With new raise, I was even more motivated. My lifestyle did not change, I kept building those side projects. This time for a change, I started contributing on Github, first I used to fix small bugs. And then one of my open source project got quite popular.

Eventually I started getting emails on linkedin & gmail about how companies want someone like me in their team. Although I rejected most of them because I didn’t want to switch just for the sake of higher salary, it felt quite good because you’re now on the other side where companies are looking for you rather than you looking for them. And all this happened because of the profile I had build over the 2 years on StackOverflow & Github.

Having a great Github/StackOverflow profile helps so much for you to the extent that companies would apply to you instead of you applying to them

Year 2015: 15lpa

One year later due to a family issue I had to move to my hometown. And since I didn’t find any high paying companies which are not MNCs, I decided to work from home. I applied to companies based in US hoping I’d get paid in dollars but I got an offer from one company which was willing to pay me 15lpa. It was huge boost almost 67% raise.

Not joining big companies during my early stages has been invaluable because I could learn so much in very less time & make huge impact. Do not worry about the social status that nobody has heard the name of your company, it doesn’t matter in a long run!

It was a small startup, since I had knowledge across multiple domains. Despite being a frontend engineer, I used to give valuable inputs in design, backend api design etc. I thought I would just be delivering features on the frontend but turns out I had to rewrite the whole frontend from scratch. I hadn’t architected any project before, so I went through various articles/blogs, their thinking process, their mistakes. Eventually I ended up doing quite better than what I had expected. I then bought some books about designing scalable applications & refactored code accordingly.

Sometimes you’d be presented with tasks which might ask you to punch above your weight. Accept them immediately, this is your moment of glory. Contrary to what our mind tricks us into believing, we’ll do just fine!

Meanwhile i had gotten emails from some US based firms about how they are willing to pay me USD 85k per annum for working remotely. I politely said no because as usual I didn’t want to switch just for the sake of higher pay & I was loving my job (Some might call this as a mistake but I didn’t find it right thing to do). But this increased my confidence too much that I felt my value is even higher than 15lpa

Year 2016: 30lpa

It was the time for raise, so I told them how I was contributing across various domains, So I’d want a salary of 30lpa and shares in the company. After a week of thought, they agreed to it! I couldn’t believe that moment, because in 4 years my salary literally became 6X.

I felt like a superstar, my parents had got tears of joy after listening to this!

If the work you do is valuable, companies won’t even bargain when you ask for a raise

All this happened because I did not waste my free time & used to improve my skills, this would be my one line advice for you

There are so many programmers but quality programmers are still a rare commodity & companies would be more than happy to pay you the amount you did not even dream of . Focus on improving your skills, salary will follow you like the Vodafone dog

Things I missed upon

To achieve all this I had to sacrifice many things but I don’t regret them at all

  1. I have had almost zero social life, made very few friends over the period of time.
  2. I didn’t watch so many movies because of this, I only watched very popular ones.
  3. No social life => I didn’t even have a girlfriend
  4. Did not watch a single episode of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad or House MD or House of Cards , you name it!
  5. I missed out on travelling
  6. My social media profile is not as exciting as my Github profile

I’m not saying one shouldn’t enjoy life or all of the above things are bad but I can do all of these now! TV Series can wait, relationships can wait, social life can wait. After all these years, I feel I am in a more settled position, so yes now I will start enjoying my weekends, I’ll focus on other aspects of my life finally!

All it took me was to sacrifice 1–2 years of my social life! Your time at this age is very precious because you’re high on energy better not waste them procrastinating.

P.S: I am not into Competitive programming, I do not have Hackerrank/Codechef or any such profile. I just want to say that it is still possible without these profiles if you become pro at the domain you work on

How do I get a package of 30 laks per annum?


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