With companies like Facebook and Google paying lucrative salaries and more perks to software engineers these days, the question arises if investment banking is still a better career option? Which career path would offer a more luxurious lifestyle and a fatter paycheck? While most professionals securing professional success before the age of 25 are investment bankers, most engineers work in a more relaxed environment with foosball tables at work to cool off, when the stress gets out of hand. Still can’t make up your mind if you should opt for that investment banking course instead?
Here is a comparison of the life and salary of a software engineer with that of an investment banker-
Education– For starters, to kick off a career in software engineering, you only need a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field. However, as an investment banker to even get into an entry level position, you have to go through a series of routes that are often tough, lengthy and hectic. A journey that starts with an undergraduate degree also requires a GPA of above 3.5 from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 B-school or an eminent university; not to consider how difficult it is to get into the top business schools in the country. That’s not all; once the education is over, considering that a student has passed with flying colours, to become an investment banker, he has to spend the next couple of years in his life gathering field experience from a reputed financial firm, as a financial analyst. Before that, comes the step of applying to various eminent firms, and getting placed with the very best.
Salary– In terms of who takes the fatter paycheck home, an investment banker’s salary is higher than that of a software engineer unless you bag a job at Facebook or Google of course. While the guy starting out at an IT firm may start with a more attractive package, an investment banker makes a good deal on his way up the career. Add incentives on behalf of the company, sometimes on cracking a good deal, or add bonuses to the oaycheck, and you will know why the salary of an investment banker is so much more enticing than that of a software engineer.
Lifestyle– As glorious as it may sound, the lifestyle of an investment banker is challenging in comparison to that of a software engineer. An investment banker works long hours in a day, often on weekends as well. Be prepared to slog on holidays, often not fulfill your regular quota of sleep, work round the clock and under stressful situations. However, the golden lining here is that, the paycheck you are rewarded with, makes up for all of this. Within a couple of years, you could be living a life dream-worthy, with expensive luncheons, Swiss holidays, luxury cruises and fancy art house exhibitions. For a software engineer to get to this lifestyle in just a couple of years after he starts working is close to impossible, unless he establishes a start-up of his own or works on a patented technology.
Status- An investment banker’s job and designation are always held in high regard. In this profession, you will be considered a successful person and your opinions on finance would always be considered. In fact, be prepared to have all your acquaintances come to you to discuss their financial investments, loans or mortgages.
Overall happiness quotient- Each job has it’s own ups and downs, and comes with its own set of deliverables or responsibilitez. While investment banking pays a higher salary as compared to a software engineer, the life of an investment banker is so much more stressful. Deadlines, fluctuating capital markets, a massive work pressure, sudden phone calls in the dead of the night, and no leniency for mistakes add all the more to the already increasing stress factor. While software engineering doesn’t come easy as well, with sinking jobs, too much competition and a moderate paycheck, it is you who has to make the call regarding which of the two would be a good career path for you, and whether you should opt for an investment banking course or go for engineering.