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Thread: Salary?

  1. #1
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Salary?

    Hello everyone,

    I was recently hired as a front end developer under a 1099 sub-contracting agreement to work 20 hours /week at $10 / hour. Recently, my boss has been discussing brining me on full-time, salary based.

    When I took this job, I realized I was being slightly underpaid, but I agreed due to my experience and because of the opportunities described by the company of a future of advancement within. Well, now I am seeing that advancement come to light, and I'm wondering...

    If they offer me salary, what type of pay should I try to get?

    I have no real education. A lacking portfolio. 6-7 years experience, though. I have proven my worth quickly to them, though.

    I've never had a full-time or part-time job in web development, or even professionally, before this. I'm 18 years old.

    What type of salary should I be shooting for?

    I'm only currently providing advanced XHTML/CSS to them.

    This is for a web-based company and developers are one of, if not the most important part of the company.

    -Alex
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    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    What region are you in? What benefits are they offering?

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    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Benefits have not been discussed, but I work from home in a different state than the company is based. I live/work in Toledo, Ohio. I somehow doubt they will offer too much in the way of benefits, but I could be wrong.

    Note: The company is based in New York City, and so are most of it's employees, so they may be used to paying that areas rates. I believe only 1 other developer is out-of-area.
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    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    It's hard to say but I've seen salaries as low as 30k for entry level jobs. The NYC is all over the place - there are lots of high-earners and lots of juniors working for peanuts.

    Normally you'd expect to make a bit less on salary than you would based on an hourly rate (using the standard 'rate x 2000' estimation), but $10/hr is such a low rate that you are way below market and should definitely earn more as opposed to less.

    If I had a good designer working for 10 bucks an hour, I want to take them on full-time, too! Why not see if you can negotiate some benefits and maybe a salary negotiation after 6 months - if you are doing good work you should be earning more. But, as an 18 year old you are pretty green so you'll need to work your way up. Sounds like a promising situation!

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    You will be spending around 1-2 hours just getting to work.. 1-2 hours just getting home from work.

    You will have to work about 2 hours a day just to pay for lunch/breakfast.

    Have you really thought about this?(at $10/hr)

    Anyway send me a PM with some of your information. I may have some work for you.

  6. #6
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    This is entry level for me, though I have proven my worth to the company as a highly skilled and reliable front end developer. I work at 8 AM 5 days a week, and the past 2 weekend (including this one) I'm working Saturday/Sunday as well. I do not travel to/from work as it work from home, and I do I eat here at home without paying restaurant prices. Since I had no previous steady income, it's been nice to have this.

    I will shoot for benefits, if it's possible.

    I was thinking of trying to request a compensation increase to the $14-$16 / hour area when promoted. What are the thoughts on that?
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
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    Make sure they are paying your taxes!

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    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    This is entry level for me, though I have proven my worth to the company as a highly skilled and reliable front end developer. I work at 8 AM 5 days a week, and the past 2 weekend (including this one) I'm working Saturday/Sunday as well. I do not travel to/from work as it work from home, and I do I eat here at home without paying restaurant prices. Since I had no previous steady income, it's been nice to have this.

    I will shoot for benefits, if it's possible.

    I was thinking of trying to request a compensation increase to the $14-$16 / hour area when promoted. What are the thoughts on that?
    Only you can determine your real worth. Just keep in mind that your age and lack of professional experience will drive your rate down BUT your current rate is very much below market! But, if you are happy with the work and feeling good about it, it sounds ok to me. Market aside, it's a 50%+ raise for you so at least you're moving in the right direction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Collins View Post
    Make sure they are paying your taxes!
    Your employer doesn't pay your taxes! They simply withhold taxes for you and hand them over to the Fed/State. This brings up an important issue, though - will this employer be withholding taxes for the state of NY? They have VERY high taxes there and you aren't a resident of NY and won't be physically there - this could get complicated if they do report/withhold to NY. As the employer how taxes are to be handled - this can really bite you!

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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    I can honestly say that anything you believe you're worth is worth it to them. I was hired onto a company known for student loan disbursement. It's number 1 in the country for this (I'm sure you can guess what it is here in the States). I had absolutely NO experience in COBOL 2, etc, and while this is a completely different field in IT, it IS along the same lines of scenario you speak of due to entry.

    Well, I only lasted for a year. The company is desperate for these developers because COBOL 2 programmers are all going through retirement and such. I hated it with a passion that Jesus wouldn't even know, so I'm happy I was let go. Regardless, they hired me with a starting salary above 44k a year.

    [Admins who see this post - I'm not discussing anything beyond means here...]

    Anyhoo, always shoot for what you believe you're good for. If this guy who is pitching to you believes you're valuable, then take him for all he's worth. In real life, nobody will fight for you, so you need to fight for yourself.

    Best of luck.

  10. #10
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_22 View Post
    I can honestly say that anything you believe you're worth is worth it to them.
    That's really an odd claim - can you really say that anything you 'believe you're worth' is a realistic way of valuing yourself? In the real job market, you are subject to actual value of an employee based on the demand and supply of those skills. Of course, in negotiation you are wise to shoot high but that doesn't mean you can just set your rate and expect to get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_22 View Post
    Anyhoo, always shoot for what you believe you're good for. If this guy who is pitching to you believes you're valuable, then take him for all he's worth. In real life, nobody will fight for you, so you need to fight for yourself.
    Taking someone for all they are worth isn't much of a strategy. Ultimately, you'll cause your employer to have no worth and then guess what, your job is worthless, too. There is no need to 'fight' anyone.

    If you want to succeed in a job market, evaluate the market carefully and learn what skills are 'hot' and in demand. Learning those skills will raise your compensation. Developing a reputation and solid background will increase your value to any employer, and differentiating yourself by developing a specialty will increase it even more.

    Instead of fighting anyone, I would recommend developing good relationships within the business and improving your skills all the time. Improve your REAL value (not your 'what you think you are worth') value and the money will come.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    That's really an odd claim - can you really say that anything you 'believe you're worth' is a realistic way of valuing yourself? In the real job market, you are subject to actual value of an employee based on the demand and supply of those skills. Of course, in negotiation you are wise to shoot high but that doesn't mean you can just set your rate and expect to get it.



    Taking someone for all they are worth isn't much of a strategy. Ultimately, you'll cause your employer to have no worth and then guess what, your job is worthless, too. There is no need to 'fight' anyone.

    If you want to succeed in a job market, evaluate the market carefully and learn what skills are 'hot' and in demand. Learning those skills will raise your compensation. Developing a reputation and solid background will increase your value to any employer, and differentiating yourself by developing a specialty will increase it even more.

    Instead of fighting anyone, I would recommend developing good relationships within the business and improving your skills all the time. Improve your REAL value (not your 'what you think you are worth') value and the money will come.
    Gawd, and I thought I was negative... You're coming from the perspective that all I said was meant to disable and suck the juices out of everyone you're to come into contact with. Not everyone speaks from a literal POV.

    First of all, in the end, all we have is ourselves. If you're going to do something you wish to do at the end of the rainbow, you need to depend on yourself to achieve your dreams. I said the things I said to boost the guy's confidence and make him realize he can charge whatever he wishes to (he'll learn the rest on his own, and not from some forum deity). Only he knows what he's worth, or will know... It's not like he's going to be an idiot and say to his boss "yeah, I demand that you give me a starting salary of 100,000 a year".

    Second of all, you're right - it's a great idea to parlay.

  12. #12
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Sagewing: My real worth is one thing, but the important thing to know, in my opinion, is my worth to my boss and/or company.

    Wolf: I understand your point as well as Sage's. I appreciate the boost and you have given me the power to argue my worth with myself, if nothing else.

    As for taxes, I'm currently 1099 and I do my own taxes at the end of the year.

    Anyway, can someone please tell me what the average is for my position at my level with as much accuracy as possible? The best we can come up with is all I need.

    Is $15 /hour that far below what is commonly paid for a entry level front end developer, working from home?

    -Alex
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    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    It's going to be really hard for anyone to give you an average like that. There are so many factors, and hardly anyone works remotely at age 18 with a history of $10/hr work! Even at $15/hr you are below market, but then again most people would dream of an entry level job that allows them to work at home!

    Go with your gut feeling and build from there - there really isn't a standard for this situation. Your pay will be going UP and that's a good thing (better the reverse!) so go with it and make the most of the situation...

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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    It's going to be really hard for anyone to give you an average like that. There are so many factors, and hardly anyone works remotely at age 18 with a history of $10/hr work! Even at $15/hr you are below market, but then again most people would dream of an entry level job that allows them to work at home!

    Go with your gut feeling and build from there - there really isn't a standard for this situation. Your pay will be going UP and that's a good thing (better the reverse!) so go with it and make the most of the situation...
    Ditto.

  15. #15
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Most everyone I've discussed this with has come to the same conculusion mentioned by Sagewing.

    I'm pretty sure they would pay more, but I'd rather have $10 than nothing, I know that.
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
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    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I'm beyond unexperienced at all of this and some things discussed have made more questions come up.

    Sagewing: You seem to consider my situation very "odd" - why is that?

    Another thing that should be noted is that this job was being advertised online for $10/ hour and they had people "with more experience" interviewing. It was advertised as a summer internship at 20 hours / week for $10 / hour.

    Sagewing, or anyone: If this situation is odd for someone like me to be in, then let's talk theoretically. If I got fired tomorrow, where does someone in my situation belong? What should I be doing?
    What is the normal route for someone in my situation?

    The way I landed this job was odd. It was because I couldn't land a job anywhere else as a business school dropout with huge aspirations in IT/Business but no work experience/portfolio (barely). All I had was the ability to answer any question he asked me in regards to XHTML/CSS and I had the right attitude. That set won't take you far usually, and does not make up much of a resume/CV - I'm telling you from hard experience. Another helping factor was that most of my special interest is in usability/accessibility and the project is web 2.0, CSS, social-networking on a large scale and they only needed XHTML/CSS. It just happened that my absolute strongest skill set fell perfectly into what they needed, but my skill set could be considered a niche since the majority of sites still don't need advanced CSS based front end development focused on usability/functionality/optimization. I've invested my time in that area because I believe in the future it will be more important and just become more and more in demand.
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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    I'm sorry, but I'm beyond unexperienced at all of this and some things discussed have made more questions come up.

    Sagewing: You seem to...
    I can't speak for Sagewing or anyone else, but there just so happens to be a 16 year-old lurking around here somewhere that is probably self-employed with his own mansion and Shelby GT 500. If he can do it and an ex-Russian friend of mine can do it, then surely to gawd you can.

    If you got fired, then you should probably be in college. Get a degree, then get a good paying job doing something like entry-level .NET. If you're into JUST design, though, then go get a GA degree and start compiling an online portfolio because this is what ALL employers want nowadays.

    Big companies / security = .NET and all that crap.
    Small to Med. niches = PHP/MySQL.
    Lawsuit prevention and usable websites = CSS and (X)HTML
    Reputation = FLASH / AJAX

    Hehe. I say go for it myself, but whatever. If it were me, I would try to get a few more greenbacks outta the man!

  18. #18
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_22 View Post
    I can't speak for Sagewing or anyone else, but there just so happens to be a 16 year-old lurking around here somewhere that is probably self-employed with his own mansion and Shelby GT 500. If he can do it and an ex-Russian friend of mine can do it, then surely to gawd you can.

    If you got fired, then you should probably be in college. Get a degree, then get a good paying job doing something like entry-level .NET. If you're into JUST design, though, then go get a GA degree and start compiling an online portfolio because this is what ALL employers want nowadays.

    Big companies / security = .NET and all that crap.
    Small to Med. niches = PHP/MySQL.
    Lawsuit prevention and usable websites = CSS and (X)HTML
    Reputation = FLASH / AJAX

    Hehe. I say go for it myself, but whatever. If it were me, I would try to get a few more greenbacks outta the man!
    I plan to learn more.

    Currently I only do XHTML/CSS - not design. I do not do design at all, I'm not very creative in that area.

    I should learn Ajax and PHP/MySQL.

    Alex
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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_22 View Post
    I can't speak for Sagewing or anyone else, but there just so happens to...ites = CSS and (X)HTML
    Reputation = FLASH / AJAX

    Hehe. I say go for it myself, but whatever. If it were me, I would try to get a few more greenbacks outta the man!
    One last thing... I found out that EVERY company out there will only hire you if they need you for something. Take me for example - I got hired on as a damn COBOL developer (which I hated more than anything I have ever experienced). I tried to get into web design by nagging about it. In the end, they simply let me go because they needed COBOL developers and not web designers. In the end, I knew this and honestly wanted to get terminated because I hated it that much, but by golly, I wasn't going without a fight! Besides, their initial pitch to all of us was that there were plenty of opportunities within the company if you decide you don't like what you're doing.

    Anyway, if I were you, I would go to school for CS because nobody will hire you unless you know the backend crap (unless you get something out of the ordinary like you seem to have stumbled upon). I'm new to the game, too, so take my words with a grain of salt if you will.

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    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_22 View Post
    One last thing... I found out that EVERY company out there will only hire you if they need you for something. Take me for example - I got hired on as a damn COBOL developer (which I hated more than anything I have ever experienced). I tried to get into web design by nagging about it. In the end, they simply let me go because they needed COBOL developers and not web designers. In the end, I knew this and honestly wanted to get terminated because I hated it that much, but by golly, I wasn't going without a fight! Besides, their initial pitch to all of us was that there were plenty of opportunities within the company if you decide you don't like what you're doing.

    Anyway, if I were you, I would go to school for CS because nobody will hire you unless you know the backend crap (unless you get something out of the ordinary like you seem to have stumbled upon). I'm new to the game, too, so take my words with a grain of salt if you will.
    What is CS?

    What is the most profitable programming career? XHTML, CSS, PHP, Ajax... I don't care. I love programming altogether, and as long as the language is decent and booming, I'll love it.

    What degree should I try to get in college? How many years?

    What type of college? www.utoledo.edu is walking distance.
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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    What is CS?

    What is the most profitable programming career? XHTML, CSS, PHP, Ajax... I don't care. I love programming altogether, and as long as the language is decent and booming, I'll love it.

    What degree should I try to get in college? How many years?

    What type of college? www.utoledo.edu is walking distance.
    CS = Computer Science, IT = Information Technology, MIS = Management Information Systems, GA = Graphics Design...

    Personally, I can see a sharp freelancer who's good at Flash and AJAX as being the most PROFITABLE, but from what little I have seen, most big shops are in need of .NET and or JAVA / C# (which all of those basically go hand-n-hand). If you want freedom, though and want something that's easy to learn, then go with PHP. Keep in mind that PHP has a lot of oddities to it that other languages neglect to have (such as Python, C#, etc.), but I don't want to get into that because A.) I'm pretty new to the game, and B.) The hammer is only as good as it's carpenter.

    PHP / MySQL = small to medium sized business, freelancing and "make your own hours" sort of self-employment on most occasions. I'm sure there's .NET freelancers and whatnot as well, but most of these stem from big company backgrounds where they get their experience. If you're serious about this stuff, then you might want to go and get a CS degree and possibly minor in something like IT or GA. Whatever you do, MAKE DERN SURE you get an online portfolio developed. I cannot stress this enough. Whether it's freelancing or full-time, they also start salivating over an online portfolio. Try to make your websites have functionality, too, because the days of static pages are in the past...

    Always go for the full 4 years. It's easy to learn a programming language, but to learn how to teach yourself a given language is what true education is about (which is what 4 year universities shoot for).

    Technical schools will be there when you're employer wants you to go take some classes on JAVA or whatever...

  22. #22
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    Sagewing: You seem to consider my situation very "odd" - why is that?
    It's not really 'odd' just unusual when looking at the whole job market.

    - 18 is below the average age that people are looking for an entry-level job

    - $10/hr is the lowest hourly rate I've heard of in quite some time for any kind of tech work

    - working remotely for an employer in NYC as your first job, at age 18, with a history of $10/hr work - that's an unusual combination

    As for the most profitable programming languages, I would skip all the webby languages entirely and go right to Java if you want to make serious money. Just look at the job boards (i.e. Dice.com) and you'll see where the money is. Nobody is offering huge money for css/php/ajax/etc type of skills - the big money is in BIG systems, but software jobs are pretty different from web development jobs.

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    SitePoint Wizard Wolf_22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing View Post
    It's not really 'odd' just unusual when looking at the whole job market.

    - 18 is below the average age that people are looking for an entry-level job

    - $10/hr is the lowest hourly rate I've heard of in quite some time for any kind of tech work

    - working remotely for an employer in NYC as your first job, at age 18, with a history of $10/hr work - that's an unusual combination

    As for the most profitable programming languages, I would skip all the webby languages entirely and go right to Java if you want to make serious money. Just look at the job boards (i.e. Dice.com) and you'll see where the money is. Nobody is offering huge money for css/php/ajax/etc type of skills - the big money is in BIG systems, but software jobs are pretty different from web development jobs.
    Yep. They were always wanting to know about JAVA and .NET stuff where I was let go from. The economy could be somewhat responsible for the OP's situation. If you have an old man, for example, who knows nothing about web stuff but is responsible for implementing his agency's website, then he might be hiring cheap labor. Not to sound like a downer or anything...

  24. #24
    @alexstanford Alex's Avatar
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    I this this is my final related question:

    What should I do while I'm employed here? Obviously I can't do this and attend college, so should I self-study?

    I've been thinking of learning PHP. I'm absolutely ready to learn it, just need the time and a good learning resource. (I'm not so good with learning from books...)
    Alex Stanford @alexstanford tumblog about.me in fb G+ K
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  25. #25
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Ideally, you'd pick a career out BEFORE you start making job decisions. If you want to go into large-scale software efforts you'd be wise to skip php altogether, for example. If you are more interested in web/light applications php might be the way to go.

    It really depends on what your long term goals are. In the current job market, you can become employable with going to college, but as you go up the ladder into more lucrative and more corporate-style jobs you'll benefit more and more from a degree.

    Don't assume you can just work your way up through any channels - there are many different paths and many of them don't cross. I am always happier to see people stay in school and get a degree before starting a career, since there are so many benefits (besides career opportunities) to be had from school. But, it's not for everyone.


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