For a software engineer, landing an entry-level job with the likes of Google or Apple may seem like a dream come true: working in the heart of Silicon Valley for some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. However, even with the prestige that comes along with working at one of these companies, and the high salaries that accompany that prestige, the absurdly high cost of living in Silicon Valley and its surrounding areas can quickly turn the dream into a nightmare.
Entry-level software engineers at two of the largest firms in Silicon Valley can expect to spend half of their after-tax earnings to afford a typical home in their communities, Zillow reports. And, despite home prices in tech satellite cities like Seattle still being considerably higher than the national average and the salaries for entry-level software engineers being lower than in Silicon Valley, housing is much more affordable and monthly disposable income is much higher.
The salaries for entry-level software engineers working in Apple and Google’s California offices was $120,000 and $115,000 respectively. While that is higher than the $110,000 starting salary for software engineers for the two companies’ Seattle-area offices, the higher California incomes do not completely compensate for the higher cost of living in Silicon Valley.
Whether they are renting or buying, a single, entry-level software engineer can expect to spend half of their after-tax income on housing costs for the median home in the communities where their colleagues typically live. For a Seattle area software engineer, the share of income needed to rent or buy a typical home in neighborhoods where their colleagues typically live is right around 30 percent, which has historically been the share renters and buyers should try not to exceed.
For Zillow’s full comparison of the cost of living for tech employees in Silicon Valley and Seattle, follow the link below.