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The Almighty Buck News

How Much Money do Programmers Really Make? 909

Posted by Cliff
from the gross-and-net-worth dept.
bigman2003 asks: "ADTmag.com recently released a list of average salaries for IT workers. Usually when I see these lists, I find out that I am grossly below the average salary. But this time I was very surprised to see that I am actually above the average! This is partly because of a recent raise, but it is also because the numbers quoted in this survey are lower than what I've seen the past from other surveys. This report quotes about $56,000 for the average application developer. I am a web developer (sure, laugh all you want) and I wanted to know specifically: How much are other web developers were making? And- How many hours a week does it take you to make it?"
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How Much Money do Programmers Really Make?

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  • by truckaxle (883149) * on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:07PM (#13495042) Homepage
    How much money will a typical programmers make when the offshore/outsourcing trend levels out matures?
    • by dindi (78034) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:10PM (#13495541) Homepage
      outsourcing in costa rica:

      well people do not really have their programming needds done here .....

      but as a sysadmin (windows) you can make $1500 a month

      as unix/networking/firewalls I made around $2500 3 years ago ....

      i dunno about programming in general at companies, I did some smaller programming things (mostly php + SQL) on a $50/hour basis (that makes it 8*50*20*12 = $96.000) but I gues sitting in a cube and sometimes coding some crap for someone fro a few days is a different story ....

      besides in costa rica you can make a comfortable living on $1500 a month - including a maid so you do not sink in your own filth (I guess danger of IT workers's homes - at least sysadmins I know )
  • Not That Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guaigean (867316) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:07PM (#13495046)
    It's not that easy. Where you live, standard of living costs, specialized training and abilities, years of experience, etc, all influence and alter this. Averages give you an idea, but you have to go on your abilities and what you can find. If you like your job, it often means more than an extra 5-10k per year. I think the real issue here is that people like to know how they rank compared to others, and reality is way to gray for that black & white approach.
    • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:35PM (#13495290)
      If you quit and are begged/pleaded with to return and are offered a raise then you were being under-paid.

      If you quit and leave with a pat on the back then you were being over-paid.

      (... bottom line you are just a serf that will live a boring-unimportant-debt-filled life and most likely will welcome death after 30)
    • Re:Not That Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stupidfoo (836212) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:52PM (#13495404)
      The other problem is that a lot of tech workers don't exactly have set guidelines on what their job requires.

      Take my job for instance:
      Web CRM Developer/Maintainer (for in house use)
      Low-mid level IT Support
      Satellite network diagnostics and maintenance
      Field work (roughly one week every two months)
      Web development

      My job title: Jr. Software Engineer (note the lovely "Jr.")
      My pay: not enough - but how much should I make? The same as a CRM Developer/Maintainer (I wish), the same as a low level help desk employee (it'd be a raise)?
    • Re:Not That Easy (Score:5, Informative)

      by b4k3d b34nz (900066) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:49PM (#13495819)

      I found a cost of living calculator at Salary.com the other day, because I'm looking at moving within a year or two. I currently make a base salary of ~$55,000 as a web developer in Dallas, Texas. Here are some numbers of approximately what I would need to make in various cities across the U.S to be at the same level:

      • New York, NY—$103,000
      • San Francisco, CA—$97,000
      • Boston, MA—$72,000
      • Seattle, WA—$68,000
      • Philadelphia, PA—$64,000
      • Chicago, IL—$58,000
      • Atlanta, GA—$57,000
      • Miami, FL—$56,000
      • Phoenix, AZ—$54,000
      • Wichita, KS—$52,000
      • Baltimore, MD—$51,000
      • Pierre, SD—$47,000

      As expected, the cost of living is higher in the big cities, especially in California and New York State. Anyway, I hope this was helpful. The link is below if you want to try it yourself.

      http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/layoutscr ipts/coll_start.asp [salary.com]

    • Re:Not That Easy (Score:5, Informative)

      by op12 (830015) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:51PM (#13495834) Homepage
      I think the real issue here is that people like to know how they rank compared to others, and reality is way to gray for that black & white approach.

      While true, this reminds me of that study [washingtontimes.com] they did recently where they showed that peoples' happiness was more based on relative income than absolute income. Though it should be job satisfaction and the other things you mentioned that really count.
  • Engineer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:08PM (#13495054)
    Aerospace engineer. Spend 80% of my time programming simulations in C++. Fresh out of college make in excess of 50,000 plus much better than average benefits.
  • well (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I really wouldn't be surprised if it varies considerably. $56000 sounds high dollar to me but I live in the South where there is no money anyway...
  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:10PM (#13495075)
    If you live in Iowa and are making $70k per year, it's a good job. If you live in Manhattan and you're making $70k per year, you're at the poverty line.

    The only reason why publishing companies waste their time on such surveys is that people are so interested in the topic. The unfortunate thing is that the data is meaningless on a national scale. But, it sells advertising!
    • But my salary goes to 11!

    • by interiot (50685) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:25PM (#13495226) Homepage
      My Fortune-500 company has many offices around the country. They pay the same amount to almost everyone, with only a couple percent of places having higher pay because of local cost-of-living.

      I don't know if this is true of every company, but it wouldn't surprise me, since global companies make the same profit from your work, no matter where you live.

      So, as I see it, at least with my company, living in the heart of an urban area is something that comes straight out of employee's pockets, since it's primarily a benefit to the employee (we're a tech/manufacturing company, not a financial/investment firm or anything that might more reasonably REQUIRE you to live in the heart of a large city).

      • Naturally, there is at least one reciprocal benefit to the company -- it is easier to hire good people in a big city.
    • Good websites like salary.com [salary.com] will provide you with the median income in your area. Median is of course a better measure of central tendancy for salary than average, so you can get a reasonable idea of what someone in your area should be making, along with a range (i.e. you may not make exactly ___, but you will make within $20k of it).
  • by conner_bw (120497) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:11PM (#13495093) Homepage Journal
    I'm a web developer, doing fine, but I'm not really conformable divulging what I make on Slashdot. Would this not have been better as a poll?
    • You could just post as an Anonymous Coward.
    • by pla (258480) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:29PM (#13495257) Journal
      I'm a web developer, doing fine, but I'm not really conformable divulging what I make on Slashdot.


      I don't mean this as a personal slam, but that exact attitude keeps salaries low. Why NOT talk about your salary? If you don't talk about it, you can't know how you compare. And although you might not care how you compare in a rat-race sense, you damned well should care that your employer treats you "fairly"...



      Me, I make just a hair over $40k. Sound low, for someone with 10 years experience? In my area, I can afford a mortgage on that. And together with my SO, as a DINK couple, we do pretty damned well combined.


      TALK about your salary! Don't brag about it, that just sounds obnoxious, but chat. Make sure that neither you nor your friends have gotten royally screwed.


      I will never understand people who have this phobia of discussing how much they make. If you make something truly obscene (either minimum wage or seven figures), okay, you might have a reason to shy away from the topic - But within an order of magnitude of "average", help create a basis of comparison! It only hurts us, the workers, to remain tight-lipped about it.
  • I think of these as two very different categories. Even if the web developer does all the "back end" work along with all the "front end" web-facing interface stuff, there's often a completely different mindset when it comes to releasing/ patching/ updating to the customer. I'm not going to say there's a lack of discipline, but it is so much easier to tweak a production server than it is to make a change to a large native-compiled, retail-boxed, advertisements-printed application.
  • Bah (Score:3, Funny)

    by groman (535485) <slashdot@carrietech.com> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:11PM (#13495098) Homepage
    Well, let's separate developers from code monkeys. Now, code monkeys average about $45K. Developers average about $75K. Sure, I pulled that out of my ass, but it's a big ass, what else do you want me to do with it?
    • by zephc (225327)
      "Sure, I pulled that out of my ass, but it's a big ass, what else do you want me to do with it?"

      From the constant sitting and snacking, I presume?
  • Location ^3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by supabeast! (84658) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:12PM (#13495105)
    Keep in mind that if you're not living in one of a few areas of the country where plentiful IT jobs keep salaries high, you'll probably be making a lot less than the average. I've known plenty of senior sysadmins living in Middle America on ~50,000 USD. But it usually balances out, because the costs of living in high-salary areas are much higher.
  • by gothzilla (676407) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:12PM (#13495107)
    I'm the entire IT dept. at work. I do it all. Planning, repairs, security, network maint, application support, etc. We have 85 trucks around the nation all tied in with GPS and email. I manage and support the whole damn thing.

    I have 25 users and 1 server. When trying to figure out what my salary should be, they never have an entry called "dumbass who takes a job as the entire IT dept."

    Does anyone have any idea what someone like that should be making?
    • In Boston you would be making around 90K.
    • Whatever you can squeeze out of them!

      Remember, you've got the keys to the castle!

      Threaten to lock them out if they deny your raises and benefits (Free beer!)

      (+1, Funny, mods!)
    • Yeah, just calculate what it would cost to replace you.
    • by JanneM (7445) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:40PM (#13495322) Homepage
      You are making too much.

      You are responsible for the design and implementation of the entire system, and yet you allow a huge, honking unreliable single point of failure that can bring the entire operation to its knees - you. That doesn't smack of good systems design to me.

      • I've got news for you - the IT department often doesn't have control over its budget. They have to go through the bean counters.

        "Why do you need another server? You already have one"

        No, trying to explain it to them doesn't work. They care about the bottom line and won't change their tune until it bites them in the ass.

        To help put in into perspective, I've actually been called in as a consultant just to work up some figures and plans for expanding IT departments because it carried more weight with the bea
    • by dirc (254647) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:55PM (#13495426) Homepage
      The best way to find out what you should be making is to get some job offers from other employers. If you are underpaid, then you will probably not have too much difficulty getting a better offer. This will also give you the opportunity to negotiate, without fear, with your present employer.

      On the other hand, if you are better-paid than average, it will be hard to find a better paying job.

      One of the best bosses I ever had told me (among other people), "If you don't think you are being paid enough, look for another job that will pay you what you think you are worth. You will soon find out if you are right." I eventually took his advice, got another offer, and my employer countered.

      And don't be shy about asking prospective employers for what you think you are worth. They won't hesitate to tell you if your expectations are out of line. If they say "OK" too quickly, you know you set your price too low.
      • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swb (14022) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:40PM (#13495765)
        ...you're only worth what somebody else is willing to pay you.

        I've heard the same thing from my last employer and while it's hard to disagree with such hard-nosed economic logic, I think it breaks down for a lot of IT jobs because IT jobs tend to be pretty fluid -- they often flow around the rigid HR-type job descriptions. Developers admin systems, admins doing programming, DBAs doing admin tasks AND programming, guys (like the grandparent poster) doing it all. Immersively intellectually challenging work that involves taking calls once a week about spyware and why the Intraweb is down? Or repetitive tasks, but never suffering end-luzers?

        The "other job" that may pay me more may or may not include more job responsibilities, but I can almost guarandamtee you that the other job will not end up being the "same" job.

        And then there's the whole question of "pay". How much are some bennies worth? How much is it worth to have a job with a ton of flexibility with start-end times vs. one with real rigid work hours? And if the former is a 60 minute gauntlet of traffic and the other is a 10 minute walk?

        A boss who's a dick but makes sure to hire a lot of sharp people? A boss who's a saint but tolerates nincompoops? A closed door office vs. a low-wall cube in a farm? 8 days off you can take whenever vs. 3 weeks that requires D-Day logistics to be able to take a single day?

        All of these things jumble together to make the "someone who pays more" concept so untestable that it's hard to measure.

    • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:04PM (#13495495)
      Does anyone have any idea what someone like that should be making?

      A request to hire a second IT guy. You can't do everything reliably, even if you were paid to do everything.
    • by sysadmn (29788) <sysadmn.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:40PM (#13495766) Homepage
      After two to three years making it so complex only you understand it, you can pretty much name your price!
  • A bowl of rice or a few rupies?

  • Raises (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slax0r (787446)
    I was hired on at my current employer in February of 2004 and in the nearly 2 years I've been with them I have not received a raise. I lowballed my expected salary to 42,000 CAD when I was hired since I had no formal education but 4 years of experience. I managed to win an award from them in my first month of employment but still nada.

    I've since gone to school to get a piece of paper, while still working 1/2 time. I'm starting to feel a little underappreciated even though I'm usually given framework/syst
    • Get some other job offers in the 60K range. Then tell your boss that you're being courted and they've offered 60K. Tell him you'd love to stay, but you can't turn down that salary level.

      He'll either boost your salary to 60K or tell you "good luck with your new job". Either way, you get the 60K.

    • where do you live? What ios the cost of living? what is the demand for Jave programmers? Are you personable...seriously, be honest.

      those questions have to be answered before you can even begin to think you make 'too much' or 'too little' for your experience.

      In Portland, Or you should be able to make 70+K if you can network people. OTOH, in San francisoc 70+K is not even liveable w/o spend 4-6 hours a day on the road.
    • Quit. No, really. (Score:3, Informative)

      by TiggertheMad (556308)
      Am I being unreasonable to expect a raise even though I'm in school?

      Whoah, leave off that 'even though I'm in school' clause. As strange as it seems, the best deal these days is to quit and get a job somewhere else. Nobody seems to give raises anymore. (At least not worthy of note.)

      Want a raise or propmotion? Quit. I have never got a raise while I have worked in IT of more than a buck an hour, yet I have nearly doubled my salary twice by just getting a new job. You would think that a company would
  • Cost of Living (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Palidine (473353) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:21PM (#13495186)
    How much you make is pretty meaningless without normalizing by cost of living. $50k in Idaho is effectively 2x as much as $50k in San Francisco.

    -me
  • Its the age old question of Mean or Median. With a few earning millions, it will drag the mean up, but not the median.

    The median is generally accepted as being the more appropriate method to determine average income, but sometimes people use the mean to skew the figures for one reason or another.
  • By January 19, 2038, I hope to be comfortably retired. But for you younger folks programming, you may have a window of opportunity. Remember 1999? I was offered scads of money to reprogram some systems in a language I hadn't even learned yet, just so they could be assured of making it over the Y2K hump.
  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:31PM (#13495271) Homepage
    A salary survey is nigh useless to begin with, and this one seems to be worse than normal. "Average salary" - what's that? Median or mean? Where's the standard deviation? What does 'broad spectrum of organizations' mean? Is it geographically diverse?

    Here's another hint: a survey requires people who answer surveys. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that people making on the high end do not generally go out of their way to answer salary surveys, whereas people paid average or less than average might be a bit prone to worrying about their salary and therefore filling out surveys and looking them up.

    Want to make more money? Instead of asking what other people make, ask yourself:

    * What can I do that other people (or most other people) can't? What makes me good? What's my strength? How can I be better?
    * How much is what I'm doing worth? How can I use my skills to create a larger value for a company or client?
    * How can I leverage my work to produce more?
    * What have I done that has exceeded expectations, that could not have been predicted and is a boon for whoever pays me?

    If you have already come up with good answers for the questions above, you're probably making way more than the average already.

    Be in good financial shape. People living paycheck to paycheck hurt themselves because they end up afraid to take risks. Save up a large cushion of living expenses - while 4-6 months is a normal financial planner's estimate, make sure you can get an additional 12 month's worth by the time that 6 is up. With the 18 month cushion you can afford to try a lot of other things.

    Finally, if you don't like what you're making, consider doing something else. A friend of mine is making over $20/hr plus benefits reading gas meters. If I was getting paid a lousy $50k to program, I'd have taken a job at his place and spent my day walking around outside. If you find yourself on the low rung, maybe this is just not what you're meant to be doing.
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:33PM (#13495282) Journal
    To break into civil service, I took a pay cut from 60K (as a senior Java/Perl guy) to 43K (and had to start doing VB6 -- UGH). However, a few years later, I'm up to 52K with amazing benefits AND a pension, and I've passed a promotion test. So shortly I'm going to get boosted up over 55K, with the potential to hit 70K within five or six years. And the jobs I'm trying for are all Java jobs, so I'll escape all this VB silliness.

    If you guys try for a government job, you have to start at the bottom (the 40's) but you work your way up fast, you've got great job security, and one day, you'll have a pension.

    It's worth a little sacrifice, don't you think?

    • Of course the downside is that you're working for the government.

      I worked for the DoD as a summer job when I started college, and one of the consulting companies I worked for had a large number of government clients. I could never live with the amount of politics and beauracracy involved in a government job for any amount of money.

      You are right about the benefits, though. Can't beat government work for good benefits, except maybe by joining the military. The fact that you don't seem to have to know anyth
  • by fliplap (113705) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @07:46PM (#13495359) Homepage Journal
    I think the more important question here is:
    Whats the best way to ask for a raise? I know a good amount of people believe they are underpaid, and a decent number actually feel they are overpaid.

    That said, for those who have actually asked and recieved: What is the best way to approach your boss and ask for a raise?
  • Bay Area, CA (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrankyFool (680025) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:09PM (#13495537)
    Details:
        Company was tight-fisted financial services company;
        Job was developing apps in Python, either stand-alone or in Zope; Integration with various MS apps (this was a Windows-only shop);
        I was attractive because I've done 14 years of experience in all things IT and was a jack-of-all-trades;
        I got paid $75K to start, and was raised to $80K when I started managing three engineers and had my title changed from 'Software Engineer 2' to 'Senior Software Engineer'. I considered myself underpaid, and at my next job started at $93K. As both jobs came after about 4-6 months of unemployment, I didn't really negotiate salary too much :)
  • until you hit 50 (Score:5, Informative)

    by yagu (721525) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:11PM (#13495544) Journal

    I was promoted and promoted, given many salary raises above and beyond, and many bonuses for work above and beyond. While I never asked for my six-figure salary, it was nice to have cuz I didn't have to worry much about financial woes.

    Then a small company merged with ours, essentially swaggered in, a (allegedly) corrupt CEO (allegedly) cooked the books, or (allegedly) ordered them cooked, we went $35B in debt, our stock went from $54 to $2 (yes, 1/27th!), and the security unraveled.

    No problem, that salary would come in handy now... until some British chick came in, one week on a conference call told us all to get approval before ordering office supplies and in a month or so we would look at our financial "situation".

    Two weeks later 1/5 of us did the perp walk... Lost my job, lost the chance to finish the 3 years to full pension (after 21 years with this company). And, finally finding out not many companies want to interview someone that old, or making that much money... Doesn't matter what you've done, doesn't matter how good you are, if you can't even get the interview, salaries you made are only relevant in one way. Bitter? Yeah. Get over it? Yeah, but it's not easy.

    A blessing in disguise, I'm now a completely independent software developer and stand to make more than I ever did working for d'man. But a lesson learned. Don't consider your salary in and of itself. Consider the ethics and environment of the company that may screw you (my sense is there aren't many out there anymore that won't.)

  • by spooje (582773) <spoojeNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @08:54PM (#13495852) Homepage
    Well I know this is a national survey and all, but I'll give you a little perspective from Tokyo. Yes, that Tokyo, the once consistantly voted the most expensive place on Earth.

    I'm American so when I first got here I got a job teaching English. After 8 months of kids trying to stick their fingers up my ass (it's called "kancho") I decided to get back into design/lite programming/project management. Before I left the US in 2004 I was probably make about $50k/year living in the upper midwest. Pretty good dosh for the area and I was probably working an everage of 2-3 weeks a month.

    So getting back to Tokyo, having pretty rough Japanese skills made it tough to find a job, but I finally found my current gig. Basically I'm the technology guy. My title is Director of Internet Development and project management. Sweet huh? Basically I'm making a dynamic catalogue site using PHP and Flash as well as setting up a server and internal network.

    How much do I make? About the equivalent of $30,000 US. Basically I'm going into the local convient store at the end of the month with a bag full of 1¥ coins to buy some food. It sucks ass. This is pretty standard for my age, 28, in Japan though. It's assumed that since everyone lives with their parents they don't need to make as much money when they're younger. I got an interview next Monday though, so now that I can speak Japanese I expect to make a better salary.

  • by Continental Drift (262986) <slashdot@brighte ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @09:05PM (#13495933) Homepage

    I work for the government. Specifically, I work as a lead programmer writing Perl code for the federal courts case management software. I work in Washington, DC, and I have 13 years of professional experience. I make $117K, which is high compared to some of my coworkers, but not as high as a few. I think I'm worth it.

    Some of the lowest paid people in my office are the consultants. Oh, the government pays a ton for them, but the consulting company keeps more than half of it. The consulting company has an exclusive contract with us. It's a complete scam, as former executives get lucrative salaries from this consulting company after they leave the government, and thus current executives want to keep the cash cow milking. Or maybe it's true with all consulting companies, but it's still frustrating to see one of our best programmers make $50K when we pay over $100K for him.

  • by cpu_fusion (705735) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @10:21PM (#13496438)
    I saw my salary double between 1992 and 1997, and again between 1997 and 2001. Then the great tech implosion happened. My salary dropped to half in 2003, and right now I'm just coding "for free" letting the wife work as I watch the kids. Quite a rollercoaster ride, but honestly, I'm happier now than I have ever been. Here's why:

    When you work in tech for someone else, you are creatively constrained. You look for creative outlets any way you can, but ultimately, someone else is in control of your destiny. You can tell yourself; hey, the creative, fun stuff I'll do in my free time! Yeah, right; your free time should be with your family and friends, not sitting in front of a computer, just like at work. Or maybe you think: my creative outlet is at work! Yeah, right...

    Maybe you're the programmer; cool, someone else gets to decide the architecture. Maybe you are the architect; cool, someone else gets to decide your budget. Maybe you're the CIO, cool, someone else affects the architecture, and someone else actually build the sh*t, and if they do a sh*tty job, you're hosed. Yes, you can't do it all. You need to work on teams to tackle big things. But do you really get to decide, in any way, what those big things are? Or are you just being told to dig a ditch at a certain place, to a certain depth and width and breadth?

    If you want to be truly happy, let go of the need for the material crap and focus on taking control of your own creative direction. WORK FOR LESS MONEY but take a greater stake in what you are doing. Freelance. Work on a small team. Work part time and free up time to follow your creative bliss. Or just live off the spouse for awhile. It's ok; 50 years ago it was *normal* for someone to stay at home.

    Be proactive and choose who and what you rely on, keep things lean and mean, and INVENT; CREATE. Work hands-on at creating.

    Remember this: in 20 years, when you look back, will you think "gosh, I'm glad I had a house with 2 more bedrooms, that extra car, those weekends at the cabin. I'm glad I had that extra TV in the bedroom, and took that trip to Florida every year!" Or will you think, "I made some cool stuff. We lived OK. I followed my dream."

    If you're reading this, you're probably in tech. That means you're likely getting paid twice as much as everyone else anyways, simply because tech is still a valued commodity, no matter what the outsourcers or people stuck in dot-com-lala-land say. WORK HALF AS MUCH, and invest that extra time into an open source project that you care about... your karma will thank you.

  • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @10:42PM (#13496569)
    I guess I'm in a lucky situation. My dot-com went dot-bomb, but the Fotune 500 company that bought us out rolled us in with our existing salaries and still follow the corporate salary raise percentage, plus annual stock options. After seeing what my fellow I.T. people are making, I guess I shouldn't complain. And I only work 40 hours a week, plus only a couple of hours 1 or 2 weekends a month. I'm on call, but if I work in the middle of the night, I get to leave early. :-)
  • by sirgoran (221190) on Tuesday September 06, 2005 @11:11PM (#13496734) Homepage Journal
    I got "laid-off" (canned) in July of 2004 from my $45K job for a ad agency in Milwaukee where I worked as a web developer. I spent a couple months looking for work for another company before I hung out my shingle and started working for myself. Before I got paid about $20/hour, now I charge $80/hour and snap up the clients my former employer turns away because "they don't have the budget" that can afford their $120-160/hour.

    I should hit $100k this year, and I only have to work about 3hours a day to make it work. I spend tons of time with my son, wife, and get to do all the home improvement projects I want. Take it from me, break the chains and go work for yourself. Getting "laid-off" was the best promotion I ever got.

    -Goran
  • Surviving in Germany (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @03:35AM (#13497776)
    Germany in general is a mess. We've got 5 million unemployed, an advanced federal election coming up because of that and no relief in sight. The politicians just don't 'get it' and population is generally fed up of it.
    I choose to go freelance two years ago. As, amongst other things, a web developer, with a thourough focus on OSS. Which is a growing market and closing in on critical mass here in germany. Everybody (and I mean everybody ) and his brother is using Typo3, people consider Linux as an alternative and demand for OSS consulting is growing. My partners are in with pharmaceutical corporations - which, naturally, have licences to print money. I'm building myself a reputation and even have a small business contract with a small agency in Florida im doing CRM for.
    I'm flying under the radar, earning barely over minimum wage, making any comparion with those popular 'yellow press' salary lists utterly pointless. But I have liberties fulltime jobbers can only dream of and don't have to fuss around with superiours who don't take me for granted. I've learned to trust no one but myself (learned the hard way) and feel fairly safe even though I've currently got zero finacial backup and the german federal pension will be a joke when I'm old.
    IT is growing with 5% aprox. and OSS is growing a little faster. I can bill aprox. 60$ an hour and have 2-3 hours a day that I can bill. It just covers my expenses. The upside being that I can spend a notable portion of my time at my favourite lounge sipping Latte and studying O'Reillys. In a nice indian summer these days. Oh, and, btw, how was your work day, my fellow slashdotter? *wide grin*
    The downside being the tax Uber-paperwork, which is beyond insane in Germany.

    Bottom line: I don't earn very much, but I'm surviving on my own. Which means I can't complain. If I keep on track and gain in efficiency (my main focus at the time) I might even have a small company with a handfull of employees some day. Who knows...
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @05:10AM (#13498030)

    Here is the ad:
    http://denver.craigslist.org/eng/89900924.html [craigslist.org]

    Don't everybody apply at once.
  • by ayjay29 (144994) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @07:04AM (#13498449)
    The only time I have got a real raise in sallery is when I have changed jobs.

    Most of the jobs I have had have not allowed me to develop my skills, and have them recognised by the company with more cash. The job position is still "Developer", or "Programmer", and has a fairly fixes sallery for that postition.

    As I developed my skill set I had to go to another comnany and join as an "Architect", or "Systems Programmer", each time getting a nice raise.

    Some companies will allow you to progress quickly, stay with hands-on fun stuff, and get rewarded for it. Some just want 5 "Programmers", and if you leave, they get another. If they give you the extra 5k you diserve, the other 4 guys will start bitching, why would they want to do that?

    End of the day, it's supply and demand, if you want to make more money, build up your skill set, talk to your boss, if you dont get what you want, get another job.

    The worst thing you can do is sit on your butt reading slashdot, complaining, getting demotivated, and not focussing on developing your skill set.

  • by malachid69 (306291) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:09AM (#13499311) Homepage
    If you count your 'official' wage, based on 1-year of work before taxes -- then I would say that the numbers are slightly low.

    If you take into account how often people in the tech industry get laid off, spend a couple months in transition getting unemployment before their new jobs -- then maybe the numbers more correctly line up.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @09:24AM (#13499444) Homepage Journal
    Where can you look to get a list of standardized job titles and descriptions? I don't know whether I'm a senior programmer, a junior systems architect, or just "guy in dark room with computer". I tried a (cursory) search at the ACM's web site, but didn't turn anything up.
  • 36K for IT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greywire (78262) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @11:00AM (#13500542) Homepage
    After the dot com bomb, I lost my cushy job (html, php, mysql) with catered lunches and had to work at a book store for a while.

    Eventualy, I got myself in at a mortgage company in orange county, ca. Officialy, I'm "the IT guy" but I'm also developing a web based software (PHP - MySql) which they use (but I have the rights to it). For this they pay me just $36K. I know I could probably get a straight programming job elsewhere for more $ (after years, not since the dot com boom, I am getting calls for job offers).

    But, I stay, because my boss is flexible with my hours. I can take wednesday mornings off with my new baby, leave early whenever I need to, etc.

    And I can work on my web based software which I am leasing to other mortgage companies (so far, this is netting me another $9k/yr, and that's just one client leasing monthly).

    There's something to be said for making less $ but getting flexibility to work on other things. With any luck, in a year, I will be making 10x what I make now..

    PS. anybody with some knowledge of the mortgage business and who is a good salesman, in the orange county ca area who wants to make a monthly residual on a software lease, feel free to contact me. We need salesmen and trainers for our software. Or if you are a mortgage company, check out our lead management software. Shameless plug! http://www.imlts.com/ [imlts.com]
  • by heroine (1220) on Wednesday September 07, 2005 @01:31PM (#13501934) Homepage
    Counting unemployment which equals employment in this business, you should expect only $40,000.

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