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  1. #1
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    Question Web development salaries?

    Ok guys and girls, this is my first time posting here but I really need some advice.

    Heres the background info... I work for a small web consulting firm in New England (small, as in, right now I'm the only employee, everyone else is back at school). Usually I write asp or php for online stores (a coworker and I wrote the code from scratch and is now used on probably 10 or 15 sites). I also install networks for businesses including vpns and setup webservers with apache on nt and linux. I've been working for this company for nearly a year now in and out of college. I'm 19 years old, and make 15 dollars an hour.

    I was perfectly happy with my salary and doing what I do at my job until recently.

    Just today I was given the biggest project that I've seen. In short, I have to construct a web application for a company to use a centralized place to store sales leads and customer information that can have records added, modified, deleted etc.
    Doesn't sound that bad, the catch is that theres over 6000 customers already, and more every day. Each customer can be linked to multiple sales leads, and each lead has about 120 individual 'pieces' of data.

    For our ecommerce sites we usually just use MS Access databases and that works fine since the .mdb files are usually under a few megs. This database however, we estimate, will be approaching 2 gigs in size, so forget about Access. I've decided that I'll have learn MySql for the project.

    It's obviously a lot of work, and I think that any person out of college would think that $15 an hour for such a project is ridiculous. But since I only have 5 years of experience in computers (I started working for an ISP when I was 15) and can only work full time during my summer and winter breaks from school, I obviously can't demand as much pay as a full time, 'regular' worker.

    I feel bad asking for money for this project, but considering how I'm the only one working on it with no help or guidance with the technical aspects, I also feel I deserve a little more. I'm really stressing out over finishing this by the deadline (2 weeks). I also haven't had a raise for as long as I've been with the company.

    What do you guys think? What should I ask for from my boss? Or should I just be grateful that I don't have to work retail like all of my friends?

    Any feedback would be appreciated...

    Many thanks

    -Aaron

  2. #2
    Yugo full of anvils bronze trophy hillsy's Avatar
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    2 weeks?

    I can't help you re. pay as I have no idea what the going rate in your part of the world is. However there's no harm in trying to inject a bit of reality into the situation as long as you feel it's justified and you do it in a professional manner.

    So go have a discussion with your boss and outline your concerns - perhaps you might also want to mention what it would cost if they were to get a college grad to do your job.

    And if you have concerns about the 2-week timeframe (I sure would for a project like that) mention those too. The only thing worse than than delivering late is delivering late when the client doesn't know it's going to be late

    Remember - business is founded on good, clear communication. If you've got a problem, definitely take it up with your boss.
    that's me!
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast bgotty's Avatar
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    Here is what I have learned over the last five years. A while ago I worked as you did as single employee with many tasks and unreasonable deadlines. I used to stress out so bad that I was only paid in my opinion and low amount of $15 an hour.

    I'm going to say something that may tick allot of people off but I'm going to say it because it needs to be said.

    College kids are not being taught what they need to know in the real world. Reason: The teachers don't know themselves. Not all, but most.

    Here in Tampa we have a couple of schools that churn out kids with no experience about how things are done in the real world. So what happens is that they think that the industry pays tons of money for us developers. Not so. Your first year or two years out of college if your lucky you will be able to earn between 15 or 20 an hour. But most of the time because of the lack of experience is 10 or even less.

    Since colleges are churning out students with little knowledge of the working of professional development companies they think that they rule the world. So they go out and charge ridiculous sums of money for amateur development projects. And in the long run these projects fail and it gives the customer a bad taste in their mouth about all development companies.

    That is why this industry is so low and that is why your company and many others are only paying 15 an hour.

    I would not expect one to make more than 15, 20 or maybe 25 an hour until they have had real world experience for more than 3 years.

    About the MS Access stuff this tells me that your company is not very well versed in what they think they are. You can not use MS Access for projects that expect more than 10 users.

    You MUST learn SQL if you wish to expand your projects.

    Another thing one person can complete your task in 2 weeks IF that is the only project they are working on. But for the most part that is an unreasonable deadline that can not possibly be to the benefit of the customer in the long run.

    This also tells me that your company will either have to learn more real quick, or go belly up!

    Good luck to you, but I suggest that you learn as much as you can as quick as you can if you wish to be around another year.
    Bryan F. Hogan
    Director of Internet Development
    http://www.cfm-applications.com
    bryan.hogan@cfm-applications.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. By no means am I looking for a huge raise, but perhaps a few bucks an hour, 2 or 3, or a small percentage of the revenue of this particular project.

    And you're right about ms access. The sites that we develop are not high traffic by any means, they're sites which sell laundry equipment to people who own laundromats; certainly not the focal point of the web They are probably at less than 10 users at a time, as we've had no complaints as to the service not working.

    All of my knowledge regarding computers I have taught myself, with the exception of java which my university has forced uppon me. You're right, colleges are not preparing us for the real world, as I can plainly see. Nothing that I do at work has been spoken about in my computer science courses. I guess if I only wanted to be educated about future employment options, I would have gone to a tech school, but I wanted a more diversified education. All that I take are theory courses, essentially, until grad. school. Sure, theory is great, but will it help me put money in my pocket? Probalby not.

    Also, no, this is not my only project My boss will randomly give me tasks that vary in time from 5 minutes to 5 hours. I think if I just explain to him essentially what I've said in my posts on this board, he'll at least partially realize where I'm coming from. I think hes expecting me to finish the project from school, which I'm not totally excited to do.

    But again, thanks for the input, but in regards to:

    but I suggest that you learn as much as you can as quick as you can if you wish to be around another year
    I totally plan to be around this industry for another year, and many more after that
    Last edited by ajh; Jan 9, 2002 at 22:08.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    I wish you luck. You may have to be honest with your boss and tell him that the project cannot be completed in two weeks as MS Access is inadequate and you will need time to become versed in MySQL. How experienced are you with a Linux/Unix environment? You can learn the basics of MySQL in a few days if you are already proficient at working within a Linux/Unix environment.
    If not, it will take you longer to learn the ropes.

    You may want to ask him to hire a contractor for the project who is experienced with SQL and can work with you to complete the project in the two week timeframe.

    The reason I suggest this is:

    It shows your boss that you can handle the managerial aspects of your job (college doesn't teach this either) and that you are not afraid to ask for the necessary people to complete a project. This will give you the foundation to approach your boss for a raise (remember New England is in a recession right now so your boss may not be in a position to give you a salary increase).

    Good luck though.

  6. #6
    Back in Action Winged Spider's Avatar
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    I can relate.

    I'm stressed out making $15 an hour or even less an hour, huge projects that DEPEND on you showing up at the meetings because your the only one who knows anything. At least that's what I think..

    I agree with you both bgott and ajh

    College is not teaching me what I need to know giving me any experience in this industry. For example I took a class on Database Management, we studied the wizards in access the whole time. No SQL in the class at all. I'm 20 and in New England, things are working out for me but money is always an issue. I spend to much time meeting, talking, and backtracking that I can't compensate for with a raise.

    I'm at the 1.5 year mark right now so who's to complain? I've stopped being greedy and started to spend less time working for other's, and started working for myself on projects. It might not get you the cash for tommorrow, but at least give you something in the future. Whether it be a success or a failure, they both can teach you what nobody else can. The ups and downs of this craft.



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