What’s the Market?

I get this question all the time from our Austin clients – “What’s the market for a Ruby on Rails Developer?” or “What’s the market for a Data Scientist?”  Unfortunately, talented engineers aren’t commodities and there is no reliable place to find this data.  In Austin, the start-up market is so hot for strong individual contributor software talent that standard sources of data like salary.com or even reports from the likes of Culpepper don’t even come close to being accurate. In particular, specific technology skills are so valuable that they often throw off the curve. For example, we had a prospective client base their salary range for a mobile developer off of data they gathered on salary.com and they ended up over $20K too low.  The generalized data from salary.com isn’t able to capture that the mobile technology skills are incredibly in-demand in Austin and thus command a significant compensation premium.

So, I did some poking around different information sources and benchmarked them with the candidate salary and offer data we were seeing.  Here’s my cheat sheet for a more accurate reflection of market compensation in Austin:

1. Use Indeed’s salary search:


2. Search for job title AND the specific skills you are looking for, for example, say “iOS developer” or “Ruby developer”

3. Don’t put Austin, TX as the city, instead, put San Francisco, CA

4. Apply about a 10% discount to the results

This obviously won’t be correct all the time, but I think it will be much more consistent with reality than traditional sources.