How I grew my salary by 31x in the last 17 years

Today I’ll tell you my story on how I grew my salary by 31x in the last 17 years. Sorry for the somewhat click-baity title but it is effectively the multiplier between my first yearly salary in 2003 and today!

Salary progression

Let’s best describe it with a picture:

I went thru the regular Swiss education system eventually starting an apprenticeship in IT in one of the biggest telcos in Switzerland and doing the professional matura at the same time during these 4 years. The salaries for apprentices were Swiss wide standardized and I started with some ~650 CHF/month (times 13) in the first year. In the second year I had 750 CHF/month. In the third year 1050 CHF/month and the fourth year a whopping 1250 CHF/month. Then after the apprenticeship I stayed in the same company and got 5460 CHF/month (basically for the same job I was doing before but that’s how the apprenticeship works in Switzerland) as a Systems Engineer (first Common IT systems and later only SAN Storage & Backup). After one year I started studying (from 2008 to 2012 part-time, working 80% of the time and studying 60% of the time, don’t ask it was tough) and therefore my salary got reduced to 4480 CHF/month. I did however get nice yearly raises with an internal switch of teams (to Multimedia-Systems Engineer, I was in charge of the SMS servers of the telco at that new team) in November 2011 bringing me 5120 CHF/month at 80%. There was another raise (iirc a promotion) in July 2012 to 5460 CHF/month and at the end of August 2012 I was done with my Bachelor in Computer Science and went back working 100% at 6830 CHF/month. Another yearly raise in 2013 to 6950 CHF/month and then I applied for that big tech company (as a Systems Administrator) for which I thought I would never have a chance in landing a job at.

Change of companies

Turns out I didn’t hear back from them for 3 months and with me being at the same telco company for 10 years at that time I thought it’s time to change anyway. So I ended up quitting and starting a Job as a Android/Xamarin Software developer at a friends startup. He paid a nice 7500 CHF/month (however a hourly wage w/o vacation days). Also one month before starting at his startup the recruiting process for the big tech company job started.

My dream job at my dream employer

Fast forward 3 months and 9 interviews I landed a job (as a Systems Administrator) paying a total of 9600 CHF/month (technically 7500 CHF/month because there are some stock and bonus components in the 125k CHF total comp, for easiness I break those stock and bonus payments down into the monthly payment). One year later I got a promo which bumped me to 11100 CHF/month and with showing generally good performance the increases kept flowing in. In 2016 I got 13230 CHF/month, in 2017 I got another promotion bringing my total comp to 16000 CHF/month and since I went to 17000 CHF/month in 2018 (Also my son was born and I changed teams internally and became a Security Engineer), 17770 CHF/month in 2019. This year I will have earned some 19000 CHF/month with a yearly total of 248k CHF. And that’s why I pay some 36k CHF in taxes (and probably closer to 40k for 2020) πŸ™

That’s my story how I went from 8k CHF a year to 248k CHF a year and it’s still progressing. 2021 should have some 256k CHF ready for me.
I recently came across a CTO position in some software dev company with a promised 800k USD total compensation which I found myself very tempted to try to apply, would be another crazy moon shoot like the upgrade from Swiss telco to international big tech corp. Turns out that was an opening for a Crossover for Work style scam.

We will see what the future brings.


Please be aware that my income levels are far beyond all my Swiss friends. Fellow Bachelor graduates made 85k CHF at graduation time and are sitting at around 105k-115k CHF today (8 years later w/o change of jobs). The next best earning friend of mine used to make 130k CHF as a Security Engineer in Zurich in 2018.

How about you? How did your salary multiply over the last 17 years? Leave a comment below!

10 Replies to “How I grew my salary by 31x in the last 17 years”

  1. That’s especially relevant considering the investment you made to pursue your bachelor while working. Well done keep going and nurture the passion of what you are doing this is the best investment for life you can make.

  2. Really impressive salary growth! In my first ‘real’ job I got after graduating with my Master’s degree (2017) back in Germany was getting ~2600 €/month. I was working in academia at that time having only a 65% contract (which meant 100% real work). Then I switched to industry and got slightly more but this time really for 100%. The big jump in salary occurred when I moved to Switzerland in late 2019. Suddenly I was making 9916 CHF/month (excl. annual bonus). That felt so unreal. Even though living expense are much more expensive in Switzerland that was an incredible salary increase. In the meantime it increased further to 10708 CHF/month. Let’s see if I can reach 13000 CHF/month before I turn 30. Still 3 years to go.
    Btw, I’m a fellow blogger. Feel free to have a look at my posts here:

    1. That’s one of the things I learned too. Part time work often means just less money for a 100% time job… And nice job with the salary negotiations. I had fellow German coworkers who kind of got pulled over the table and started with 98k incl. Bonus in Zurich.

  3. Great increase in your revenue, based on quality job as I can guess !

    Don’t complain about the taxes, it paid your Bachelor in the first place πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yeah I also have to consider that when I’m FIRE I will be able to spend ~35k CHF less on taxes πŸ™‚

  4. Hey Mr. Chesse,
    Nice increase in all this years!

    I’m now 25 years old. I started an apprenticeship in electronics technician without matura in 2012. After one year (in 2017) I started an higher technical school (german: HF) for 3,5 years. I worked 100% these 3.5 years and went to school on friday evening and whole saturday.
    In 2022 I will reach a salary of about 105k per year including annual bonus. I’m satiesfied without an matura or bachelor. Let’s see what I earn in 5-10 years. πŸ™‚

    By the way, nice blog! I have been reading passively for more than 6 months.


    1. Thanks for your comment and well done. 105k CHF is very respectable w/o any bachelor/master degree. I have friends from my bachelors which make around that amount almost 10 years after graduation.

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