Three Paths to Earn Big in Tech
May 11, 2024

This blog explores three distinct paths that can lead to significant earnings in the tech industry. Whether you’re a fresh graduate or have a few years of software engineering experience, these long-term directions can help you achieve financial success in your tech career.

Table of Contents

Forbes Top Richest πŸ‘‘

Have you ever wondered who earns the most in the tech industry? Forbes’ list of the top 10 richest people in the world provides a clear insight into the individuals who have made a significant impact in the tech sector. Out of the top 10, six of them have a programming background, showcasing the immense potential for high earnings in this career path.

Top 6 Tech Tycoons

  • Elon Musk
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Larry Ellison
  • Bill Gates
  • Larry Page

What sets the tech sector apart is the scalability of earnings. For instance, the WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook for $19 billion with a team size of just 55 people demonstrates the unprecedented potential for wealth creation in tech, a feat nearly impossible in other fields due to the combination of minimal employee numbers and substantial revenues.

Path One – Founding/ Hired CTO

One of the primary paths to earn well in the tech industry is by holding a kind of equity and stocks in a big startup. This primarily exemplifies companies’ internal CTOs. In the case of the United States, there were around 26,000 CTOs in 2021, out of which 6,000 were founding CTOs who had also founded the company, while the rest were hired CTOs externally recruited by companies. When companies hire them, they are either in senior engineering positions at another company or already working as a CTO in the same or another form. This trend is also seen in Indian startups, where the number of registered startups has seen a boom in recent years, making India the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. Generally, startups have a CEO and senior engineers responsible for the products. According to a recent article by Economic Times, the number of CTOs being hired in India’s startups is increasing, and the compensations they receive range between 1.3 crores to 5 crores plus benefits. As the number of startups increases, the demand for CTOs and senior engineers also rises. With a lot of tech-oriented things happening in today’s date, companies need people to be responsible for that tech in the company. Generally, senior engineers and CTOs hold a kind of equity and stocks in the company, and these people usually earn well when the startup is acquired, such as in the case of WhatsApp or Paytm. The major challenge in this field is to recognize and identify the budding startups. In general, the startups they wish to target are those that they personally believe have the potential to become giants after 10 or 20 years.

Young CTOs rising πŸš€

With the tech industry witnessing a surge in startup ecosystems, there is a notable rise in the demand for young Chief Technology Officers (CTOs). This trend is particularly evident in countries like India, where the startup landscape has seen exponential growth in recent years, positioning it as the third-largest startup ecosystem globally.

The Emerging Role

  • CTOs in their late 20s and early 30s
  • Founding team members with prior software engineering experience
  • Leadership positions in startups

As the industry continues to evolve, the traditional image of a CTO being in their late 40s or early 50s is shifting, with more young professionals assuming leadership roles within tech startups. The increasing number of startups presents opportunities for individuals to either establish their own profitable ventures or take on leadership positions at a relatively young age.

Path Two – Earning abroad, spending here

Many tech professionals are considering the option of earning abroad and spending in their home country to maximize their financial potential. This approach presents a unique opportunity to leverage the high salaries offered in tech hubs like the USA while enjoying a lower cost of living in countries like India.

A Comparative Analysis

  • High salaries in tech hubs such as the USA
  • Lower cost of living in home countries like India
  • Maximizing savings and investments

By earning abroad and spending in their home country, tech professionals can make the most of their earnings, allowing for substantial savings and investments while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. This path offers a strategic financial advantage and is increasingly being explored by individuals seeking to secure their financial future.

Amazon Salaries India v/s USA πŸ’°

When it comes to tech salaries, Amazon is known for offering competitive compensation packages to its employees. The salary for positions in India typically ranges from around 60 lakhs for Software Development Engineers (SDE) 2 to approximately 90 lakhs for SDE 3. However, the base salary, as well as other bonuses and incentives, vary based on factors such as the role, work experience, previous salary, and qualifications. In the USA, the compensation is significantly higher, with SDE 2 packages averaging around 2.2 crores and SDE 3 packages around 3.3 crores. These figures are also influenced by location, with salaries in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad being higher in India due to the higher cost of living, and salaries in expensive states within the USA being comparatively higher. Additionally, the purchasing power parity and the vision of being frugal for a few years and then returning to India to earn and spend can also be a viable and financially advantageous option for tech professionals.

Get hired or promoted as a Director/ VP πŸ“ˆ

Securing a position as a Director or VP in a medium-sized company often involves transitioning directly from a small or medium-sized company to a larger corporation, particularly through acquisition. Founders of small startups are often offered senior-level positions within the acquiring companies. The compensation for senior-level positions varies significantly based on factors such as the individual’s role, the company they work for, their area of responsibility, and the department they lead. At this level, individuals can earn anywhere from $1 million to $10 million, with potential for further success depending on personal career progression. This route offers diverse opportunities for those seeking a successful career in the tech industry.

What should we do today? 🌟

As you navigate your tech career, it’s crucial to make strategic decisions that align with your long-term goals. Whether you’re just starting out in the tech industry or already have a few years of experience under your belt, it’s essential to consider the next steps that will lead to financial success and personal fulfillment.

Set a Five-Year Vision

Establishing a clear vision for your career is the first step towards achieving success in the tech industry. By setting ambitious yet achievable goals for the next five years, you can create a roadmap that guides your professional development and positions you for growth and advancement.

Pursue Continuous Learning and Skill Development

Investing in continuous learning and skill development is paramount for tech professionals. Whether it’s mastering new technologies, acquiring in-demand skills, or exploring innovative frameworks, dedicating time to expand your knowledge and expertise is essential for staying relevant and competitive in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Explore Diverse Opportunities

Embrace the multitude of opportunities available within the tech industry. Whether you aspire to lead a tech team, launch your own startup, or make a significant impact in a specialized area, exploring diverse career paths allows you to discover where your passion and talents truly lie.


Who earns the most in the tech industry? The top earners in the tech industry are often individuals who hold key leadership positions, such as Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Directors, and Vice Presidents, within established companies or successful startups. These roles typically offer substantial compensation packages and opportunities for equity and stock ownership, contributing to their high earnings.

What are the key factors contributing to high earnings in the tech industry?

  • Leadership Positions: Individuals in leadership roles, such as CTOs, Directors, and VPs, are among the highest earners in the tech industry, benefiting from competitive compensation packages and potential equity ownership.
  • Global Opportunities: Tech professionals who leverage the option of earning abroad while spending in their home country can maximize their financial potential by taking advantage of higher salaries in tech hubs and lower cost of living in their home countries.
  • Strategic Career Decisions: Making strategic career decisions, including pursuing continuous learning, skill development, and exploring diverse opportunities, can position tech professionals for long-term financial success.

How can one position themselves for high earnings in the tech industry? Tech professionals can position themselves for high earnings by aiming for leadership positions, staying abreast of global opportunities, and making strategic career decisions that align with their long-term goals and aspirations.


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