- Business Insider analyzed the tech jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area that pay the highest salaries.
- The Bay Area is the hub of the tech industry, and it's where many of the world's most prominent tech companies, like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Netflix, were founded, creating an ultra-competitive market for tech talent.
- We analyzed the data for over 35,000 active foreign worker-visas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Companies seeking foreign workers must disclose salary data for particular jobs when they seek visas.
- For this list we focused on jobs paying above $240,000. Some of the tech industry salaries in the Bay Area went as high as $650,000.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The San Francisco Bay Area is the hub of the tech industry. It's where founders from all over the world come to start companies, and where some of the world's most prominent tech companies, like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Netflix, were founded.
That's created a competitive job environment, with companies willing to pay big bucks to attract top talent, with some salaries surpassing half a million dollars a year, according to a Business Insider analysis.
While tech companies generally don't reveal reveal employee salary and compensation, except for its very top executives where it's required by federal regulations, American companies have to disclose salary data when they apply for visas on behalf of current or prospective foreign workers. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification collects and processes those applications and publishes the salaries every year.
We analyzed the data for over 35,000 active foreign worker-visas in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the city of San Francisco, numerous cities in Silicon Valley, and surrounding cities, to find some of the highest paid jobs at technology companies in the area. For this list we focused on jobs paying above $240,000. (Notably, the data covers annual base salary not total compensation, which can include bonuses or stock awards). Of note, Google accounted for 13% of the active visas on the list.
It's not a comprehensive look at San Francisco Bay Area tech salaries because it only includes data for foreign workers, but it gives some rare insight into how much companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Cisco and others pay for top tech talent.
These are 21 of the highest-paid tech-industry positions in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Netflix, engineering manager: $650,000
Netflix had some of the highest paid salaries of all the tech companies Business Insider analyzed in the San Francisco Bay Area. The video streaming giant is headquartered in Los Gatos, which is the hub for its engineering, data science & analytics, design, and product teams, according to its job website.
Its highest paid hire was an engineering manager for $650,000. Two other engineering managers were paid $241,696 and $625,000 respectively.
Non-manager engineering roles started at $154,669.
For more Netflix salaries, check out our story here.
Google, vice president of engineering: $475,000
Google's headquarters are in Mountain View, CA, and it has large offices in San Francisco, Sunnyvale for Google Cloud, and San Bruno for YouTube. Google was founded by two engineers, so it's no surprise how important engineers are to the company. "Google is and always will be an engineering company that thinks big and takes risks," its jobs website says.
A sizeable number of Google's engineers are based in the Bay Area, and earn some of the highest salaries, including a vice president of engineering in Mountain View for $475,000. A hire one step down, a director of software and site reliability engineering, earned $389,000.
Given how many other engineering hires the data included, these are ranges for some of the most common roles:
Software engineer: $103,000 to $353,000
Hardware engineer: $110,000 to $243,000
Application engineer: $113,000 to $189000
Engineering manager: $182,000 to $272,000
For more Google salaries, check out our story here.
Apple, human interface designer director: $324,917
Apple was founded in 1976 in Los Altos, and is one of the companies that has helped make Silicon Valley into what it is today. Apple is now headquartered in Cupertino and has a sizeable number of employees based there, even as its widening its footprint beyond the Bay Area.
The highest paid hire in the data was a human interface designer director, with a salary of $324,917. Apple's human interface design team is responsible for conceptualizing, designing, and creating the user experience for all Apple products, services, and accessories. The focus is on making products that look nice but are also easy to use.
The salary for a non-director human interface designer range from $65,062 to $220,000
For more Apple salaries, check out our story here.
Facebook, VP, product design: $437,300
Facebook is headquartered in Menlo Park and has offices in many other cities across the Bay Area. It's one of the big tech companies that Silicon Valley is best known for. One of the highest paid jobs on the list was a VP of product design, with a salary of $437,300.
The role manages the design team responsible for Facebook's app and service, and aims to make it user friendly. Non-VP product designers make $100,000 to $194,215 and for managers, $176,341 to $230,000.
For more Facebook salaries, check out our story here.
Salesforce, VP software engineering: $241,696
Salesforce is the City of San Francisco's largest employer, with over 7,000 employees in the city. It's is headquartered in San Francisco, and recently completed construction of a new Salesforce Tower headquarters that sits in the heart of the city's financial district. CEO Marc Benioff is a SF native.
Its highest paid hire on the list was a VP of software engineering, with a salary of $241,696. Another hire with the same title on the list earned $194,251. A majority of its visas in San Francisco were for engineering hires, with non manager salaries starting at $85,821.
For more Salesforce salaries, check out our story here.
Workday, senior principal software development engineer in test: $205,200 to $307,800
Workday is headquartered in Pleasanton, a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. It also has Bay Area offices in San Mateo, Palo Alto, and San Francisco. It makes cloud based human resources and financial planning software. Like most other cloud software companies, software engineers play a key role in developing its products.
The highest paid hire on the list was a senior principal software development engineer in test, with a salary range of $205,200 to $307,800.
Regular software engineer roles start at $119,122.
Twitter, senior staff software engineer: $310,000
Twitter was founded in San Francisco and still has its headquarters there. However, it recently told employees they could work remotely even after the coronavirus pandemic ends, and are not required to come back to the office when it reopens.
Its highest paid hire listed was a senior staff software engineer in San Francisco, with a salary of $310,000. Other engineering roles started at $117,770.
Adobe: senior engineering manager UI: $241,696
Adobe makes design software, and is most well known for its photo editing tool Photoshop. It is headquartered in San Jose. Given that its tools focus on design, the user interface and user experience are central to the company's products. Adobe's highest paid hire on the list was for a senior engineering manager UI for $241,696.
Non manager engineering roles started at $92,560.
Uber, chief scientist: $330,000
Uber was founded in San Francisco and created a whole new market: ride-sharing. Its headquarters are in San Francisco but it also has an office in Palo Alto specifically for engineering.
Technologies like machine learning and AI are a big focus for the company, especially given its initiatives with self-driving cars. The company disclosed two chief scientist hires in Palo Alto, each with a salary of $330,000.
Regular data scientist and data analyst roles started at $73,923.
Lyft, director of product management: $305,000
Lyft was founded in San Francisco, and is now one of the most well known ride-sharing companies. The highest paid role on the list was for a director of product management, which Lyft listed two hires for, at a salary of $305,000.
Non-director product managers earned salaries of $197,300 to $222,349.
Dropbox, VP of product design: $297,500 to $402,500
Dropbox is based in San Francisco, and last year moved into a new corporate headquarters. It sells a file sharing and work management platform with both consumer and business users.
The company made two hires for a VP of product design and provided a salary range of $297,500 to $402,500 for each. Product designers are important because those are the people who make Dropbox easy to use. Non-VP product designers earn $107,100 to $227,700.
Airbnb, engineering manager: $303,250
Airbnb was one of the many tech unicorns founded in San Francisco, and in the 12 years it's been around, it has completely reshaped the travel and hospitality industry. Many of its visas were for engineers, and other technical roles.
Its highest paid role on the list was an engineering manager, with a salary of $303,250. There were multiple hires for engineering managers, and salaries started at $204,499.
Regular software engineer roles in the Bay Area started at $166,070
For more Airbnb salaries, check out our story here.
Palo Alto Networks, vice president next generation firewall: $310,000
Palo Alto Networks is a cybersecurity company that specializes in creating security systems for companies and organizations to prevent cyberattacks. It is headquartered in Santa Clara, its only office in California. It was previously named the best-paying company in a Glassdoor ranking last year.
Its highest paid hire in the SF Bay Area was a vice president of next generation firewall, for $310,000. The position manages the teams building next generation firewall software and firewalls for public and private clouds.
Cisco, AppD executive: $300,000
Cisco is headquartered in Silicon Valley, and it develops, manufactures and sells networking hardware, software, and telecommunications equipment. In the past few years it has had to adapt to the cloud, which led to a slump in demand for Cisco's flagship line of data center hardware. As part of that shift, it acquired AppDynamics, a company that monitors mobile apps and websites for bugs and fix them.
Two of Cisco's highest paid hires on the list were for AppD Executives, each paid $300,000.
For more Cisco salaries, check out our story here.
LinkedIn, director, site reliability: $241,696 to $370,000
LinkedIn was founded in Mountain View in 2003, and since 2016 has been part of Microsoft, though it still operates as its own company. Its highest paid role in the San Francisco Bay Area was a manager of site reliability, with a salary range of $$241,696 to $370,000.
Hires for managers of site reliability meanwhile, had salaries between $163,530 and $263,000.
PayPal, director, business analytics: $252,000
PayPal is a fintech company that manages online payments. It is headquartered in San Jose, and its list of founders includes notable names like Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk. Its two highest paid hires on the list were directors of business analytics, who both had a salary of $252,000.
The role manages teams who are collecting data about PayPal's products and applying it to its various businesses. Non manager financial analyst roles start at $95,000.
Apple, hardware development manager: $269,100
Apple is best known for the iPhone, and other hardware products like the iPad and Mac computers. So it's no surprise that one of its highest paid roles in the Bay Area was a hardware development manager for $269,100. There were multiple hires for a hardware development manager, and salaries started at $157,539.
Non-manager hardware development engineers and hardware systems engineers had salaries between $93,891 and $207,113.
Google, senior counsel: $303,000
Google has 5 hires for legal jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area. As the company faces more scrutiny from lawmakers about potential antitrust issues over its dominance in online advertising and search, it has been ramping up its legal team. It recently promoted legal exec Halimah DeLaine Prado to its general counsel role.
One of Google's highest paid hires in the data analyzed by Business Insider was for a senior counsel, at $303,000. Two corporate counsel hires made $265,000 to $290,000, and two associate corporate counsel hires made $220,000 to $240,000.
Cloudera, principal software engineer: $270,000
Cloudera is headquartered in Palo Alto, and makes software to process large amounts of data using a technology called Hadoop. Its highest paid role on the list was for a principal software engineer, for $270,000. There were a total of three hires for a principal software engineer, with salaries starting at $190,155.
Engineering roles made up a majority of the visas Cloudera applied for, which salaries starting at $111,121.
Pure Storage, chief information security officer: $300,000
Pure Storage sells products that companies use to store data. It is headquartered in Mountain View, and has sizeable offices around the world. Its highest paid hire in the data was a chief information security officer, for $300,000.
A CISO role is typically in the c-suite, and is responsible for a team that makes sure that information and technology within the company and products remain protected.
WeWork, engineering manager: $305,000
WeWork is not headquartered in the Bay Area, but its coworking spaces are widely used by startups across the region. In September 2019, following disclosures made in an S-1 filing and investigations from outlets like Business Insider, WeWork's cofounder Adam Neumann resigned.
WeWork didn't have many hires on the list, but one of the hires was one of the highest of the entire list, an engineering manager for $305,000.
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