I turned 22 just two months back and straight out of college, I was offered 5 packages that varied from Rs. 27 lakhs per annum to up to Rs. 42 lakhs per annum (all in cash and yes, I'm talking about only the offers that I got in India). I was also offered Rs. 47 lakhs (30 cash + 17 stocks) per year at a fast growing startup.
Below, I am mentioning some points that hold true largely from the point of Indian industrial ecosystem. Also, there are exceptions to everything. Here, I am only trying to mention some general trends. Please note that I am a software engineer and so, I have written from the point of the software engineering field.
- Software engineers are paid much higher as compared to other engineers. IT services is a fast-growing industry in India and you are likely to get a better job if you are from a Computer Science background.
- Companies in India are highly biased when it comes to college. Some companies do not care about college, but most do. Having a good institute name (IITs, NITs, etc) helps a lot. Not only do you get a brand name, but also you can take advantage of the alumni effect.
- Good software companies do not care about the number of years of experience you bring on the table. Most of them care about your ability to learn new things and move fast. You should be able to prove it by showcasing the latest skills. As an example, if you are a PHP developer, you are likely to get paid lesser as compared to a Python developer. Having Python on your resume shows that you care to pick up new skills. This is exactly the same reason due to which Machine Learning engineers make more money than simple web/Android developers.
- Resume quality talks a lot about you. Companies do not expect a software engineer to make the highest quality, most beautiful resume. However, if you are making typos in your resume, that clearly shows that you are careless. If you cannot spend 30 minutes to proof-check your resume, you sure will be careless at your job. Companies hate that. Unless you work at a company where the packages are absolutely fixed, your resume is surely going to be one of the factors that will decide your salary. Good resume implies a higher salary.
- Prepare for interviews. Anonymous has already highlighted this point in . I cannot agree more. You built an awesome large scale Machine Learning application. Awesome. But what do I do with it? How do I trust you that you made it and not your colleague? Also, the application may be amazing, but it has nothing to do with what my company does. So, I will surely evaluate you by conducting an interview. If you are unable to clear my interviews, I don’t care if you built the next Facebook. I need to hire someone to build my company. I am not hiring someone to build another Facebook for me and so, you will have to clear the hiring bar of my company.
- Skills that are not common in market pay a lot. Being even the best Android developer in India isn’t going to get you hired at Tower Research. Firstly, Android app development is not what they do; secondly, there is no dearth of good Android developers in the market. You need to be in the niche segment to get paid well. If your employer struggles to find a replacement for you, you surely can command your salary.
Overall, the summary is that you need to be in the niche segment that is fast growing in order to get paid well.