Within the world’s social media companies, big changes are underway. With Jack Dorsey stepping down as Twitter CEO, the social network could evolve in new directions in coming years. Facebook is revamping itself as “Meta” and pouring enormous resources into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Meanwhile, ByteDance (owner of TikTok) and Snap are trying to swallow up as much market-share as possible.
Given this unique inflection point, it’s worth taking a moment to examine the compensation for software engineers at the biggest companies in social media. The following breakdown is generated via levels.fyi, which crowdsources its compensation data. (While crowdsourcing isn’t always the most scientific way of determining things, we generally trust levels.fyi’s numbers because they align with the data presented by other sites such as Glassdoor.)
What can we conclude from this breakdown? Compensation is roughly the same for entry-level developers at all the major social media companies, although some companies tend to favor stock a bit more than bonuses. If you’re a technologist interested in working in social media, and you’re concerned about optimizing your compensation, this is good news, because you have your pick of companies all willing to pay well.
The big question is which company’s long-term strategy appeals to you the most. With Dorsey stepping down, it’s an open question how Twitter will adjust its focus under new CEO Parag Agrawal, who previously served as CTO. Agrawal has worked on a variety of projects within the company, including A.I. and machine learning initiatives. Given that, knowing A.I. and machine learning can only prove a benefit if you apply for any kind of position at Twitter.
At Facebook (er, Meta), the workforce will collectively focus its efforts on bringing CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “metaverse” to life. In light of that, a solid grasp of VR and AR skills could only help your prospects of landing a job. (Skills vital to VR development include Python, C++, the principles of project management and software development, and the documentation and SDK for Facebook’s Oculus platform.) Mastery of "metaverse"-related technologies will likely translate into substantial pay bumps, as well.
Snap also produces new AR products on a regular basis, for which it offers its own SDK. And if you’re interested in social, you can’t ignore how ByteDance’s TikTok might evolve in the coming years. Whatever route you choose, a career in social-media development can pay significant dividends—even if the usage of social media occasionally raises some serious moral dilemmas.