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How to Get a 500K Job in Tech — Finding the Right Company

Posted on 
October 11, 2021
Swaminathan Iyer

Irrespective of what field we’re in, we’re all in the pursuit of a better job that offers better opportunities, perks, and of course, better compensation. The same is the case in the tech space. If you’re a software engineer on the lookout for jobs that pay over 500k per year, one of the things you must zero in on is which companies you must target during your job hunt.

This is crucial because it will allow you to strategize and plan your interview preparation as per the requirements of those companies. 

If you are wondering how to prepare for your tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Best Companies to Work for as a Software Engineer and Best Tech Companies to Work in 2021 to learn about the most coveted tech companies.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, we will cover some key considerations to help you identify the right company to achieve your compensation goals:

  • Affordability
  • Brand Value
  • Projects


Regardless of the prevalent demand-supply dynamics of the talent market, not all companies compensate talent competitively. 

Key reasons for this are a company’s:

  • Inability to afford top talent
  • Inability to effectively identify and recruit top talent

If you’re competitively placed in the talent pool, and you’re targeting a job that pays over 500k per year, choose companies that can make you an offer in line with your market value and salary goals.

The FAANG Advantage

FAANG and other Tier-1 tech companies are considered ‘dream companies’ by most tech professionals. This is because these companies:

  • Offer very competitive and attractive compensations (the #1 reason); they’re more likely to offer you a $500k salary early in your career.
  • Focus on innovation and capitalize on new business opportunities, presenting engineers with career-changing opportunities. 
  • Maintain a strong competitive edge, which is why they invest heavily in talent. 

FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies offer compensation packages largely unaffordable by most other companies. This enables them to attract and retain top tech talent for all roles at all levels.

Recommended Reading: What Is the Highest Salary for Software Engineers at FAANG Companies?

FAANG vs. Startups

A dilemma that tech professionals often face is whether they should pursue a career at a large, established tech company or a small, growing startup. 

Earlier, compensation set the two apart, with most startups unable to offer attractive compensations. 

However, a growing number of startups are now able to compete with tech giants for top talent. At least 150 non-FAANG companies have the capacity to outbid FAANG offers in offering 500k salary jobs. (This is what we’ve observed while helping candidates negotiate offers at various top tech companies and startups).

If compensation is the deciding factor between joining a FAANG company or a startup, a careful consideration of the compensation structures will help you decide which one can help you reach your compensation goals.

  • Cash: FAANG companies offer top-of-the-industry salaries, as well as perks and benefits that few other companies can match. FAANG companies are also perfectly poised, financially, to offer attractive salary premiums to outbid other companies for top talent that is in short supply. 
  • Equity: FAANG companies offer equity of considerable value, including refresher grants, to create highly lucrative compensation packages. 

Not many companies possess the liquidity to compete with the cash compensation offered by FAANG companies. Offering FAANG-level salaries increases the funding requirements for startups, which poses a huge challenge. 

Instead, a number of startups match FAANG offers by increasing the equity component of the total compensation offered to make up for lower salaries (cash component). The draw of startup equity is the chance of a higher payout in the long term if the company performs well. 

However, startup equity is usually non-tradable for a long period. Added to this is the risk of uncertainty in startup equity values. How a startup performs is usually unpredictable. 

FAANG companies, on the other hand, are among the most profitable, publicly-traded organizations in the world. Equity offered by FAANG companies is highly tradable. Also, considering their market leadership statuses and excellent performance statistics, the value of FAANG equity compounds quickly, which can boost your overall earnings considerably within a short period. 

In the long run, FAANG compensations tend to be more lucrative in terms of cash and equity, even when compared to a fairly successful startup. 

Recommended Reading: FAANG vs. Startups: Which Is Better for Software Engineers?

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Brand Value

FAANG companies have a global reputation as market leaders and tech innovators. Landing a job at a FAANG company increases your marketability considerably. 

As a FAANG employee, you’re more likely to be considered for roles at other FAANG companies and receive lucrative offers, which is how you can make way over 500k per year. You can also command a premium for having worked at a FAANG company if you pursue a career at a non-FAANG company in the future. 

Recommended Reading: What NOT to Do During Salary Negotiation


FAANG and other top tech companies usually work on multiple projects and products at a time. They are also early adopters of the latest technologies and are leading innovators in the tech industry. 

The scale and complexity of projects undertaken at FAANG companies provide engineers unique opportunities to deepen and broaden their skills. This enables greater and faster career growth and progression opportunities. 

Startups may offer a great idea or product or people to work with but are limited in the opportunities they can offer to broaden skills. This can constrain career growth and, in turn, earning prospects.

Uplevel Your Career!

“How to make $500k per year” is a pressing question for many software engineers. In this article, we outlined some of the factors you should consider while choosing a company to grow your career and land a $500k salary job.

This article is an excerpt from The Ultimate Guide on How to Land a $500k Tech Job, an ebook where we’ve covered everything you need to know to plan your prep and bag that $500k job:

  • Discover the most effective ways to land a $500k tech job
  • Learn about the skills and attributes needed for a $500k tech job
  • Uplevel to a $500k tech job with proven tech interview prep techniques

You can download the FREE ebook here!

Whether you choose FAANG, tier-1 tech companies, or high-paying start-ups, the interview process is going to be challenging. If you need guidance and help with getting your prep started, sign up for our free webinar. As pioneers in the field of technical interview preparation, we have trained thousands of software engineers to crack the toughest coding interviews and land jobs at their dream companies, such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and more!

Sign up now!

Last updated on: 
August 8, 2023

Swaminathan Iyer

Product @ Interview Kickstart | Ex | Business Management - XLRI Jamshedpur. Loves building things and burning pizzas!

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