Fresher Salaries

Every year, I see countless posts comparing fresher salaries in the tech industry to incomes from blue-collar jobs.  These comparisons often paint a bleak picture for new grads, making them question the value of their hard-earned degrees.

Are we really looking at the full picture here? Is this apples-to-oranges comparison even valid?

I’ve seen firsthand how gruelling the path to a US education can be. Just securing a student visa is an ordeal in itself– complex applications, stringent criteria, and months of waiting.

Yet, the allure of a brighter future propels thousands forward. Take 2023, for instance: over a million international students were enrolled in US institutions, many pursuing STEM fields.

Now, let’s talk about fresh graduates starting their corporate careers. Sure, those initial paychecks might not seem like a king’s ransom, especially when you stack them up against the earnings of, say, a truck driver or a plumber.

The average entry-level software engineer in the US pulls in around $85,000 annually – not chump change, but not exactly a goldmine compared to some skilled trades, where the median income can easily top $55,000. In the short run, some blue-collar gigs might even pay out more.

But here’s where that comparison falls flat: it completely ignores the potential for growth and development down the road.

Starting Small, Dreaming Big: The Reality of Initial Salaries

When you first start, it is quite demoralising to look at the numbers on your paycheck.  But here’s the truth: starting salaries for freshers are just that—starters. They are the prologue to a long career filled with learning, growth, and financial development.

Take my own journey, for example. My first foray into the tech world wasn’t exactly a windfall. But I wasn’t discouraged, because I saw the bigger picture. Those early years were about building a solid foundation, honing my skills, and most importantly, learning. That’s exactly what I advise all my students to focus on.

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Blue-Collar Stability: An Illusion?

Blue-collar employment is generally associated with the promise of quick employment. The income is simple, work your hours and get paid. It is an honest living and one that is needed in our economy today.

But here’s the catch: the growth path in many of these jobs is pretty flat. For example, in truck driving- there’s a cap on how much you can earn because there are only so many hours you can safely drive. Sure, there might be promotions, bonuses, or even a pay raise here and there, but the odds of a major salary jump are slim.

And let’s not forget the toll these jobs can take on your body – physical wear and tear, health issues, and the risks that come with the territory can all put a damper on long-term career prospects.

The Potential for Growth in the Tech Industry

Now, flip that coin over and look at tech careers. Sure, the starting point might be lower, but the growth curve? It’s a whole different ballgame.

As someone who’s trained countless software engineers, I can tell you that your early career isn’t about maximising income – it’s about maximising growth. 

Focus on your skills first. Every line of code you write, every system you understand, is an investment in yourself.

Sure, your starting salary might not be mind-blowing, but the growth potential is enormous. I’ve seen junior devs become CTOs in just a few years. Based on your skillsets, you can climb the ladder to higher positions, jump ship to a better company offering a juicier package, or even pivot into a different tech specialisation that sparks your interest.

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Don’t overlook things like employee stock options and performance bonuses either – they’re not just perks, they’re wealth-generating tools.

Therefore, in the long run, the students who prioritise skill-building over immediate payoffs are the ones who end up leading the industry.

Trust me, focus on your growth now, and the money will follow.

For instance, consider Mark Zuckerberg. He did not create Facebook for the first salary that he received. The vision was long-term. Of course, not everyone will become a tech billionaire, but the same principle applies.

Closing the Gap: How Education is Adapting to the Tech Industry

Now, I won’t deny that our education system needs a serious overhaul. There’s a glaring disconnect between the traditional degrees being churned out and what the job market actually needs.

But here’s the good news: the system is starting to adapt. More and more institutions are weaving practical skills into their curricula, coding boot camps are popping up left and right, and there’s a growing emphasis on lifelong learning.

At CodeQuotient, we aim to fill this gap by ensuring that all our courses are taught in an easily understandable way. All our programs, including our School of Technology’s 3-Year Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) + UG Program In Software Engineering, are aimed at preparing students with the skills that are highly demanded in the job market.

We focus on real-world case studies, constant feedback, and personalised development plans for each student. This hands-on approach ensures our graduates aren’t just employable, they’re primed for rapid growth.

To Sum It Up

So, to all the fresh graduates feeling disheartened by initial salary comparisons, I say this: It is also important to focus on something beyond the numbers.

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Understand the growth opportunities, in terms of both character and wealth, that a tech career provides. Your starting salary is only a starting point, and it should not be the end point of your negotiations. Build your skills, stay interested, and always understand that the main asset is the possibility to develop. As Steve Jobs once said,

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”


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