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Weighing your job options? Here are the companies in Austin paying top-dollar for tech workers

(Pexels)

Doctors and chief executives make the highest money on average in Texas but in Austin, the money is in tech.


With a tech scene that is growing every day, some of the city's highest-paid professionals work closely with technology. Software engineers and members on technical teams can make as much as $325,000 per year when all the benefits are wrapped together, according to a study done by workplace insight network Blind.

Using self-reported data posted to its site from the first week of October, anonymous professional social network Blind compiled the top nine compensation packages offered to Austinites at the start of the month.

Wayfair: $325,085 yearly

Offered for an associate director position at the online furniture and home store, Wayfair is paying the prettiest penny for this Austinite. The company offered $170,000 in base salary, a $34,000 bonus, $121,085 worth in stock and an additional $25,000 sign-on bonus after negotiation.

In April, Wayfair announced an expansion to the capital city that would offer over 1,000 positions, including infrastructure engineers, product managers, data scientists, analysts and experience designers.

Stripe: $286,500 yearly

Stripe, a digital payment company, raised $600 million in new capital earlier this year and is one of the most valuable privately held companies in the world. Fittingly, compensation for a remote software engineer at Stripe included: $155,000 base salary, $15,500 bonus, $116,000 in stock and an additional sign-on bonus of $28,600.

Google: $273,000 yearly

Employees on Google's Cloud Platform team stand to make more than a quarter-million per year—an offer for a strategy and operations role came with $170,000 in base salary, a $34,000 bonus, and $276,000 in stock over four years—$69,000 per year. Not only that, but the first two years should total around $295,000 with incentives.

Google has about 1,100 employees in Austin and is reaching the completion of the new Google tower in downtown Austin.

Apple: $242,500 yearly

With a billion-dollar campus opening in north Austin, Apple has deep pockets. An Austin-based software developer was offered $175,000 in base salary, $270,000 in stock over four years and a $20,000 sign-on bonus.

The tech giant currently has about 7,000 employees.

Apple: $200,000 yearly

Another new Apple employee was offered $155,000 in base salary, $180,000 in stock over four years and a sign-on bonus of $30,000 for a software engineer position at "level 3."

PayPal: $200,000 yearly

A software engineer with a master's degree, seven years of work experience and a "level 25" technical staff member was offered $140,000 in base salary and $60,000 in stock to work at PayPal's office on West Parmer Lane.

VMware: $180,270 yearly

VMWare, a cloud computing company with an office in River Place Centre, offers almost $200,000 for a senior software engineer role. One recent post said the business offered $146,000 in base, a $17,520 bonus and $67,000 in stock over four years. The "level 3" candidate was also offered a $40,000 sign-on bonus.

Amazon: $158,000 yearly

At Amazon, junior software development engineers were offered $158,000 per year. The "level 4" entry-level coder was offered a $137,000 base salary, $21,000 in stock and also reported a $40,000 sign-on bonus.

Amazon: $142,000 yearly

An entry-level, newly-graduated software engineer role at Amazon closes out the list, offering a lower base salary of $120,000 and $22,000 in stock. The sign-on bonuses are the best part of this offer: a $60,000 bonus doled out over two years and a $7,000 stipend to relocate to Austin.

It's never too late to learn how to code.

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‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”