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The 23 year old New York tech analysts paid $275k at banks

Starting out as an engineer in finance means you have a lot of different types of firm to choose from and, within those firms, many different functions to be a part of.  So where do you go if you want the best pay?

By and large, the answer is rather obviously the buy side, where hedge funds allocate famously lavish pay packages. However, a recent compensation guide from recruitment firm Selby Jennings suggests banks in New York can also pay their technology staff surprisingly well - particularly if they work in cyber security.

For three of the four functions in the chart above (software engineering, data science, cloud and infrastructure), hedge funds and trading firms pay far better than the sell side/fintech. The fourth -  cybersecurity - is an outlier that pays more. Banks pay their cybersecurity analysts $275k in total compensation (salary plus bonus). Analysts have 1–3 years' experience, so these are typically people in their 20s, at the start of their careers. 

Why are banks so generous when it comes to cybersecurity pay? Banks are significantly larger organizations than their buy side counterparts, meaning there's a lot more data to keep secure. There have been some costly data leaks in the past, making the need for cybersecurity all the more pressing. As for fintechs, particularly those in stealth mode, holding on to proprietary secrets is vital.

It's worth noting that once principal director level (10 years' experience) is reached, the buy-side, finally, overtakes since the very best people don't want to work for banks. If you're looking to maximize pay over your career, starting as a cybersecurity developer in a bank and moving after a decade seems the most effective option.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Reporter

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