What should my total comp be? (on-site) req

I work for a defense contracting company, I have been working for them for 3 years now (remote) as an uncleared professional as a Cloud Engineer / Architect. I am a seasoned professional I have been in career for about 15 years now, and I have many industry certfications from Azure and AWS ect…

10 months ago my company sponsored me for a cleared opportunity with the understanding that I am willing to move to the DC area (as I can only work in person) once my TS/SCI + CI Poly clears. The title of my new job is “Infrastructure Engineer”

I have been advised just before the holiday’s that my clearance has been complete. They advised me they will be contacting me shortly to talk specific’s like start date and compensation.

I am just looking to arm myself with information in the salary negotiation / details are coming in the new year. I do get a 10k start bonus (I guess as long as I stay a year I dont have to pay any of that back). Looking at the job market there are job opportunities advertised in the DC area that advertise a salary range anywhere from 100k to 220k per year. Those jobs advertised fall in line with my ability.

What can I expect for an offer? What should I accept? Until this point any talk of relocation compensation has been (not palatable).

You would probably have more luck getting information for this type of question at Glassdoor.com.

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Ask what the pay band is? The company is being reimbursed by the government for you and they won’t pay you more than what they get? Look at other job positions similar to yours advertised on other companies websites and see what they offer as the pay range. Some states require that the pay range be posted in the position description. (Colorado) Do you have a bachelors? Masters? That can bump you up as well. Sometimes an offer from another company can give you leverage as well. Especially since you have a clearance now.

Not sure where you live now, but it might be worth looking into rents/housing prices/cost of living in the metro DC area. Obviously it’s less the further out from the city, but parts of Northern VA/MD are crazy expensive. (I lived there 20 years, have since moved thanks to the portability of my position)

That will give you an idea if its worth moving. Just a thought.

State income tax rates in VA are generally lower than MD. FYI

Have you tried the salary calculator on this site?

  1. Ask what they are budgeting for the position. They will usually tell you. Just try to let them put out the first number.

  2. $220k seems a little high for an engineer and maybe even for an architect. I’m sure there’s some companies that will offer it but assume the median $140-160k is probably what you should expect to get offered. But def ask for more than the first number they put out.

  3. What I would do (not saying you should): if I will be working on a niche technology (ex: splunk), or a critical system, or on a small team (they might be desperate), then I ask for premium . If all those factors are true, I ask for the max but let them know I’m willing to negotiate. Also if there are negatives to this job (relocating, no remote work, long commute, scif life, etc) you can point those out as high impact factors.

Good luck.

Glassdoor is actually not very helpful with respect to salaries for cleared jobs. They have some but you can’t filter for them so you have to sift through thousands of salaries to find appropriate comps. This site is better for that. I think Clearance Jobs actually publishes annual reports for cleared salaries.

If it’s any help, I’m in a HCOL with MSc in software engineering and architecture (cloud and devops are two areas I spend a lot of time in), starting my 7th year in that role, and I make under 130k salary. My current job only requires Secret, and I think the pay band maxes at 170k at this level. Next step up goes to maybe 190k max. Expect to land somewhere in the middle.

My tcomp is probably pretty high, though. Good insurance and 6% match with tuition reimbursement. I’ve never requested the numbers.

Generic advice I was given, ask for 10k above what you want. You have the right to ask them what they are offering first.