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shameless money grubbing

This is a semi-follow up post to this:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=6694&ixReplies=0

I want to make $150/hr or more, preferably as an independent software developer. Is anyone on this message board making this much money, and if so, what type of programming are you doing, and in what part of the world are you doing it?

My current rate is $85/hr and I am reasonably competent in most forms of business-y software development. I have also written device drivers for windows 98, scores of massive e-commerce systems, and have passed 3 of the 5 oracle DBA tests. My problem is that I seem to be targeting totally cheapskate markets and don't have a good network of contacts who have inroads to clients with deep pockets.

This might sound just openly crass, and it sort of is. However I'm not saving up for a BMW. My goal is to kill myself for a couple years at a high rate, save up enough $$$ to buy a modest house or condo in a cheap university town, and then get a low key, low paying job and spend more time reading and riding my bicycle.

I suppose I could just look on "realrates.com" and conclude that I'd be making bank if I got my "cisco certified internetworking expert" certificate. but I thought I'd see what the deal was with people on this board...

arsdigitan
Saturday, April 20, 2002

Get to the end of the line pal.

Tony
Sunday, April 21, 2002

Dear greedy human,
Whatever your plan is for $150 hour, just do the same plan with your current 85/hr., and adjust accordingly.  You can choose whatever path you have in mind, dont let money be a false restrictction.  You can achieve your same goals at half your current rate, you'd just have  to think a little harder, adjust a littte more, etc

good luck with your noble plan
dont burn yourself out
do it now

Bella
Sunday, April 21, 2002

This is a reply to your original post, which poses an interesting question: will .NET increase your charge-out rate. In my view, no, it generally won't.

.NET is part of a trend to make development simpler, which lowers the entry barrier and thus the rates that people can charge. While companies are ramping up on .NET deployments, they might be prepared to pay high rates to get things going. But in the medium and long term, it will reduce rates.

Hugh Wells
Sunday, April 21, 2002

This is a reply to your question about how to make more money as a developer. A business school would phrase this more eloquently, but a couple of suggestions are:

1. Call yourself an accounting / IT consulting firm. Then increase your rates to $275 for mid level developers, $150 for new grads, $450 for partner-level. This reassures senior management at your client that they're getting Quality Professional Advice. Also, play golf with the MD. All of them.

2.  Develop something a business absolutely needs and then charge like a wounded bull. This is how the big guys work. If the client company is making a profit out of your work, it all gets down to a question of whether your share of that profit should be what you consider reasonable, or what the client Chief Financial Officer considers reasonable.

3. Hire someone else to do the negotiating. It's simpler when done in the abstract.

Hugh Wells
Sunday, April 21, 2002

I'm earning 6 figures; not $85/hour, but it is 2000hrs/yr, as a 'permanent' employee. I've been here 11 years... my salary was about $30K/yr to begin with, now it's 5 or more times that because there's been a chance to prove I'm worth that to them... and I was working for (reporting to) someone who had ability to negotiate my salary. They've let me do whatever over the years, device drivers, DBs, ... This isn't a "cheap university town" unfortunately (instead it's the town which has the most expensive real-estate in Canada), but I spend free time reading, and I own a bicycle not of a BMW. It is a "low-key" job, in that my manager is experienced... not as much fun, physically, as another job where you move around more (like a courier or a hospital porter), but there are some compensations. Currently I'm reading _There's a spiritual solution to every problem_ by Dyer, which I received as a gift for supporting PBS. Best of luck to you.

Christopher Wells
Sunday, April 21, 2002

You don't mention where you live. It's quite possible that the fastest way to raise your hourly rate is to simply move somewhere that the average rates are higher. Of course, the cost of living is higher in those places as well.

There's nothing magic about .NET. Some people will make good money doing .NET apps, others won't. Experience, talent, and luck will make more difference than the particular tool you're using to write code.

Mike Gunderloy
Sunday, April 21, 2002

BTW, IMHO, you'll never make this kind of money again.  Soon enough, $85/hr will be a distant memory for you, and many others.  The boom is over. 

Bella
Sunday, April 21, 2002

>>BTW, IMHO, you'll never make this kind of money again. Soon enough, $85/hr will be a distant memory for you, and many others. The boom is over.

I tend to agree. Even if this isn't the case, the last thing I want to be doing when I'm 40 is writing another "enterprise application." 

My sister's boyfriend is an auto mechanic. He lived at home until he could write out a check for a small house. (he lives outside of madison, WI). Now he is working part time and attending college for Botany (or something like that) because he likes to garden. This seemed very sensible and is what I am trying to replicate.

The reason why I'm aiming for $150/hr is because in 1 year my $85/hr skills could be worth $8.50 an hour, or nothing at all.

Thank you Hugh Wells for the sound business advice and for the information about .NET

arsdigitan
Sunday, April 21, 2002

Bella: you're insane. The current economic situation masks the fact that there is still a MASSIVE IT shortage. Give it a couple of months, or maybe a year. It'll be back, and stronger than ever.

Hell, I still charge $120 US per hour and have no problems getting business.

Tim

Tim Sullivan
Sunday, April 21, 2002

>>> ... The current economic situation masks the fact that there is still a MASSIVE IT shortage. Give it a couple of months, or maybe a year. It'll be back, and stronger than ever. <<<

There's a topic for endless discussion.  It would be interesting to know why you believe that.  How would you determine that?  You could say that any occupation that pays more than average wage has a shortage.  So there is some shortage of IT workers, but even bigger shortages of physicians, lawyers and, especially, CEOs.

As we so often discuss on this board, there may be a shortage of IT productivity, but a significant portion of that is due to poor management of existing resources (people).  Will there ever be enough pressure from the shortage of people to get management to adopt better practices?

mackinac
Sunday, April 21, 2002

Shortage or not, firms are finally going to get wiser on pissing trillions into failed IT endeavours.    In the boom, it didnt matter.  Now it does.  The shortage will wane as DEMAND slackens. 

As far as SUPPLY, IMHO, we're going to see a historic influx of new people trying to enter this field. 

Bella
Sunday, April 21, 2002

arsditian,

I wholeheartedly endorse your plan of frugal living and mortgage free life  by paying cash for a house.  Good luck with getting a higher rate. 

I have one tip:  Make a plan and HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY.  Or you may find yourself trying to overhoard and never actually execute your plan.  ie:  Ok, save enough to pay off the house, then scale back........Wait, first I need to have cars paid off.  Wait, first I need to have 2 kids college funds done., etc....

Two books you may enjoy are: 
Millionairre Next Door and
Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

You may also like this thread on fool.com
<a href=http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=100158>Living Below Your Means</a>

Bella
Sunday, April 21, 2002

thanks for the tips. I actually have an exit strategy, the car is paid off, I have no debt, some cash in the bank, many plans for what I want to do, etc. i'm really just trying to increase my hourly rate. ;-) 

I've also read rich dad, poor dad and the millionaire next door and those books are decent. The "your money or your life" book is also good. (As a tangential jab at the author of the rich dad books, didn't he make all his money by speculating on foreclosed property? While not as shady as most IT consulting, that's still pretty shady.)

Again, I'm mainly interested in increasing my rates. I know there are people out there who still charge huge fees. For instance the Geek Squad http://www.geeksquad.com charges $100 to remove a stuck CD from a CD Rom drive, and their business is better than ever. I feel that I am pretty good at what I do and should at least be able to charge what a PC repairman charges!  So I am really interested in hearing what sort of work programmers are doing in the $100+/hr range, and where they are doing it.

Thanks again

arsdigitan
Sunday, April 21, 2002

IMHO, Microsoft stuff is the first thing newbies learn, so keep that in mind for supply/demand.  Since Microsoft programmers are a dime a dozen, I would expect that .NET would not be the ideal place you're gonna get a $100+ contract.  I would not expect big money in that area, but of course, it's all how you sell yourself.  "VB/ASP coder" is gonna have a harder time getting the dollars a "enterprise architect" would. 

On another avenue, you may be more likely getting $100/hr doing some niche that no one knows anymore (CICS, as400, etc)

Bella
Sunday, April 21, 2002

A good example of how much fees can differ depending just on how the provider sets his fees is in recovering data from hard disks for law enforcement purposes.

I could image PC repair-type places doing this sort of thing for a few hundred dollars. However the big accounting firms have growing practices doing this at $275 per hour per person, with bills extending over several days. Obviously they provide more documentation than the PC repair shop, and more attention to detail, but not enough to explain the fee discrepancy on that basis alone.

Hugh Wells
Monday, April 22, 2002

Also lowering the cost of your current lifestyle is important. If you make $150/hr and live like you make $150/hr you can still be broke at the end of a year. If you make $85/hr and live like you make $40/hr you'll have some money at the end of the year, in fact you could take a year off.

I know increasing your income seems like the right answer, lowering your current cost of living is just as important. Probably moreso because that kind of discipline stays with you no matter what your income level.

Another investing book, more 'realistic' than Rich Dad is "The Only Guide to Investing You'll Ever Need" by Andrew Tobias. Millionaire Next Door would also back what I'm saying.

Kiyosaki strikes me as being insubstantial, a modern day Robert G. Allen. I like some of his concepts, but he seems to be really milking the little he offers now, and charging more and more money for very little 'information.'

One of the things I did like about Kiyosaki were his axioms - how rich you are is how long you could live without working.

MarkTAW
Monday, April 22, 2002

If you were worth $150 per hour, you would know the answer to the question you ask.

Like I do, but I'm keeping it to myself :-)

Tony
Monday, April 22, 2002

Hugh,  Just b/c an large accounting can bill people for $275/hr, do you think a guy off the street can charge the same?  Yea, technically, it's  the same person, but it's not.  They are selling an entire firm, an internal knowledge base, firmwide practices, reliability (If peson A dies, person B will step in the next day), etc ...

'The sum of the parts is greater than the whole"

Yes, I believe those firms are giant ripoffs or certain commodity services, but I'm just conveying that you can't just bill yourself out at big 6 rates, just b/c you can do the same work.  Doesn't work that way.

Bella
Monday, April 22, 2002

Hello thanks again for the tips.
Actually I'd like to reclarify what I'm trying to figure out.

I have read all the "simple living" books and indeed I am living about as simply as possible without moving into my parent's basement or squatting in a vacant building.  I fully realize that if I can maintain my current salary and state of living I could end up buying a house in about 5 years.  I could even charge probably $50/hr and do the same thing, depending on what part of town I want to live.

However I would like to try to accellerate the process, and it seems like the most logical way to do this is to make more money.

I don't think $150/hr actually is that exhorbitant, considering I have to pay for my own health insurance, taxes, legal fees, incorporation fees, computers, software, travel, training, etc. In fact charging less seems very risky. I know a number of people who do similar work to me who basically could not continue servicing their clients on the fees they were charging and went out of business.  I am in a lucky position right now where one of my contracts loves me and has deep pockets and doesn't care about my rate. However my other contract does not love me and is perpetually trying to figure out a way to get rid of me for someone cheaper.  I would like to replace this second contract with one that pays $150 an hour.

I totally agree with Hugh Wells about the IT services thing. However I also agree with Bella in that it is hard for a single guy to pretend he is IBM global services. In fact in college I worked for an IT services firm and was being paid $12/hr as the company billed me out for $175-$300/hr depending on what I was doing. I was bumped up to $25/hr when I found that out and threatened to quit, so I stayed on. ($25/hr is a lot for a college student in the midwest).

I have a couple friends who are network engineers and have high-level certifications from cisco. (CCIE, I think) These guys seem to have no problems whatsoever getting work at a $125-$175/hr rate, as independents. In fact when I am riding with them in their BMWs their cell phones are ringing off the hook with people asking them if they are available. That probably sounds like a total "make money fast" spam, but it is true. I actually looked into getting into their line of work, but it seems like I would have to put in about 2 years of $50K/yr low-end work before I would even be considered for doing what they do.


What I was looking for is if there is some form of pure programming work , in some industry, where I can say "$150/hr please" and the client will just agree, or even think they are getting a bargain.  Sort of like the programming equivalent of the CCIE thing I mentioned above.

thanks again and this seems to be a good discussion. i

arsdigitan
Monday, April 22, 2002

Bella, yes I agree that it's not easy for a small firm to charge the same rates as an accounting firm. My point was that those guys charge that amount for the same or even less capable work; that companies will pay that amount; so the goal for the small firm is to capture the same confidence level, and it can be done.

For example, I know of cases where a small firm was competing directly against an accounting firm. The accounting firm tried its trump card: "If anything goes wrong, you can sue us; you won't be able to sue them."

In this case the client was a lot smarter than the accounting firm thought he was. They gave the job to the small firm and got a beautiful system, hassle free.

Hugh Wells
Monday, April 22, 2002

The difference between $85/hour consultants and $150/hour consultants boils down to how independently they can work, how much management they provide, how much they are designing as opposed to merely implementing, and how much handholding they need. The big a IT firms charge $250 per hour because they will design and implement an entire project for you from beginning to end, and even though they will do a terrible job, there is always a conciliatory account manager available who is happy to be screamed at any time of day or night.

Basically, there are three ways to get paid more than the usual rates you see on realrates.com:

1) manage the entire project rather than just providing warm bodies

2) have a brand name

3) be highly skilled in a fairly advanced technology for which there is incredible demand and very low supply.  This explains all the HTML coders charging $200 in 1999.

Joel Spolsky
Monday, April 22, 2002

Other factors are that the companies that pay the high rates are typically large consumer marketers such as car companies, soft drink firms and insurance companies, and large government departments.

The people making buying decisions are not so much concerned about cost as about the impact on their career. That is, they can pay whatever they need to and the important thing is that, if anything does go wrong, no-one can point the finger at the buying decision.

At the end of the day, we all, as consumers, pay for these decisions.

Hugh Wells
Monday, April 22, 2002

Thanks for the replies. I have 1) and 3) that Joel mentions.
My last 2 major projects were ecommerce systems I designed and "architected". I also managed the whole process from getting creditcard authorization set up, walking the client through getting a merchant account, interviewing and hiring maintenance people, etc. The implementation involved hairy integration details with an AS/400. I'm very skilled with Oracle, C, Java, Unix networking, and all that other good stuff needed to make a real-time ecommerce system function smoothly.

I don't have a "Brand Name" but I do have a good reputation. I just don't have enough friends who have friends with deep pockets. ;-) And...I think I probably should have been charging $150 from the beginning.
I think I should probably just charge more money and see what happens. Too bad that 3 years ago I didn't start writing articles about how hyperlinks should always be blue, I could have been charging $35,000 a day right now. ;-)


However ultimately what I guess what I really want to know is if there is a "warm body" type skill right now where I could get $150/hr without having to be an entire "IT solutions provider" all wrapped up into one person. I.e. , what's the 2002 equivalent of the 1999 $200/hr HTML coder?  I think this type of work actually does exist, however I think it probably exists more in the DBA/Network Engineering/Sysadmin realm than it does in programming.

arsdigitan
Monday, April 22, 2002

I don't believe there is any warm body skill that automatically commands insane rates.  The boom is over.  There is a labor glut.  In fact, as I've said repeatedly, all the overhyped bleeding edge, silver bullet niches will, to turn the tide, not only no longer command crazy rates, but simply may be SHELVED.  In a time of cost cutting, it back to basics as investment in IT shrinks.  Vapor promise laden slick talk technologies are on hold until the "sine wave of life" repeats another cycle.  Learn COBOL.  Firms make money with it.

IMHO, knowing the latest and greatest isn't going to double your rate.  B/c AS WE ALL KNOW, the 'latest and greatest'  doesn't always push the envelope and necessarily allow you to do amazing things that other pogrammers CANT. 

For example, XML is my pet peeve.  XML is a file with data.  Yea, it's all neat and genericly parseable, but, it's a raw data flat file.  ANYTHING you can do with an XML file, can be done with a flat ASCII pipe delimited file.  We've had those for 50 years.  Yea, easier and better and more elegant, but CEO's could CARE LESS.  And now look, where is the XML hype now?  Where are all the XML/XSL/XSLT specialists now?  And when is "XML going to replace Microsoft"?  LOL, what an overhyped joke.  Classic case of TECHNOLOGISTS trying to drive the BUSINESS.  A disaster scenario that rarely works out.  Companies overspent on IT and most were burned and did not achieve anywhere their expected ROI's.  IMHO, they have learned (or will be forced to!)  to want systems that help them make money.  Period. 

IMHO, You will not command insane rates for any raw tech skill anymore.  I can't name one IT sector that has a massive severe shortage.  The mania is over, and as a result, IMHO, demand would slacken for all aspects of IT.

You can't make a blanket statement anymore.  Instead of focusing on a skill, focus on the business.  Find a firm with money to burn.  For example, find a client who desperately needs your services and is willing to pay a premium.  IMHO, this is a better avenue, in the current economic regression to reality, than to find some hotshot shortcut skill. 

Your "silver bullet skill" should be providing top notch services to a firm that needs it, and can afford it.

Bella
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

So far as I know some people still make a living in niches, for example in repairing corrupted Btrieve databases.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

By niche, I meant unproven, bleeding edge "promise" niches.  I don't think firms are going to pay for overhyped promises anymore. 

I agree.  CICS, COBOL, as400, JCL, Powerbuilder (heh heh)  ....All these have potential to pay big since no one else wants to (or knows how to) work on them. 

It's always a risk tradeoff, b/c you can do that for a few years, and find yourself UNmarketable once that gig is up.  (Of course, you can then conveniently blame age discrimination as a scapegoat for your outdated skills.)

Bella
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

I work for a company with money to burn, and there's a massive push on technology to lower costs. Of course, they also seem to be making some multi-million dollar decisions that I don't think are necessary, and someone has to get paid to do that work....

With an organization this size there's going to be some pocket somewhere with money, and someone making the decision to spend that money.

MarkTAW
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Pick a hard problem to solve and build your reputation on that. Here are a few ideas:

1. Persuade IBM, Microsoft and the other 99+ members of the Web Services Consortium to invite Sun to join as a full board member.

2. Successfully benchmark an Oracle instance that achieves over 1 million TPC-C/min for less than (say) $50/tpm-c/min.

3. Succeed where Beluzzo failed: build demand for a subscription model for consumer software.

4. Defeat the GPL in court.

Paul Sharples
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Thanks again for the replies.

In response to Paul Sharples, hopefully I don't have to succeed where Beluzzo failed or defeat the GPL in court just to increase my hourly rate by $65/hr. And if I did any of the things you suggest, I would hope that I could charge a lot more than $150/hr for my services!

As stated in the original message, I'm just trying to save up to buy a house, not fundamentally disrupt the IT economy...

I have a good idea of what I need to do, so I'm going to sign off of this forum. Thanks for the interesting discussion.

arsdigitan
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

In reply to
>>>>>>
I agree. CICS, COBOL, as400, JCL, Powerbuilder (heh heh) ....All these have potential to pay big since no one else wants to (or knows how to) work on them
>>>>>>

Ok.
I have to ask....how is it that everyone thinks that as400 (because no one wants to do it) will pay big bucks?

Let me give an example:

I graduated in Dec. 1998.
After graduating, I took the next 6 months off (ending that 6 months at disney world with girlfriend).

Ok, so now it's June 1999 and I'm looking for a job.
I apply at a couple of places (not many -- just a couple close to my house).

It comes down to Pitney Bowes and American Skandia.

I'm about to accept the Pitney Bowes offer, something nutty happens (won't get into it), offer gets taken away, I'm frustrated (confidence shattered), so I accept American Skandia doing AS400/Synon work (thinking...well...it might be a niche...I just wanted to work...didn't want to interview anymore).

First off, the pay sucked.  June 99 ... in CT (high cost of living) ... $37K/year + 10%bonus.

Second, I did mostly Synon....but it was so darn easy!
Booooring!
They put us (me and 5 other programmers) in a class for 3 months to learn as400/synon (hard to find synon programmers).
I was helping the other students...after about a week or two into it.
Easy.  Just plain Easy synon is (rpg is another story -- but that's not bad either -- i did some of that eventually too).

Third, once I got onto the "floor" (out of class)....90% of synon/as400/rpg people were consultants.
Don't know if that means anything...but I'll put it out there.
Oh...I know the reason why I mentioned it....most didn't live in CT.  So you end up chasing jobs all over the country because there are so few jobs.

Fourth, a lot of these consultants (a lot I knew) were taking Java classes...and were ready to not be synon/as400/rpg programmers anymore.
One guy I sat next to who was really smart with it...was taking the certifications.
No one wanted to stay with it permanently.

Fifth, there was these 2 permanent people I worked with that had been with the company "forever" (10 years)...they were rpg/synon/as400....they were the brains...they had a golden ticket punched....I can guarantee that they weren't making more than 100K/year (if that).
In fact, one of them wanted to start doing Java too.

Anyway,
After 6 months...I transferred over to another dept to do Java, servlets, ejb's, *buzzwords* on the I*NET team.

Let me tell you...when I was sniffing out other companies before moving over to the I*NET team....that as400/synon stuff meant nothing to anyone.
My resume was a joke...6 months into my career.

Getting away from that crap was the best thing I could do.

So, I ask again...as400???

William C
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Recall the original problem specification:  artdigata wanted money, not fun or recognition or marketability.  He also clearly mentioned the intention of leaving IT.  Goal was to pay off the house and potentially work part time, like his botanist brother in law friend

Sounds like your old firm lost a lot of people for just the reason I mentioned.  Why don't you call Skandia and ask them what hourly rate they'll pay for an as400 consultant?   

PS: your bitternedd exudes like a stench.  Doenst it suck to be the underpaid $40k staffer in a place crawling with overpaid consultants?    LOL ROTFLMAO

Bella
Tuesday, April 23, 2002

(Sigh). Yes... I know my limitations, and communication and diplomacy figure high on the list. It's a privilege to receive constructive criticism from an obvious luminary in the field.

And now, for some news. I'm not on $40k since I'm in England, as a glance at my email domain would confirm. Over here, the job market is in tatters. My favourite search engine returns 10% of the number of openings as this time last year (Oracle developer, before you ask with your overt tact). Even Java openings are scarce -- it's almost as if the industry is holding its breath, waiting for .NET to either displace Java or shrivel trying. When the collective opinion shifts one way or the other, IT shops will be recruiting like mad to make up for the lost momentum and liquidity will return to salary-land.

I don't feel too bad because I don't feel as if I'm missing out on some big goldrush. Oh, and I already have a house.

Paul Sharples
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Paul,
My note was obviously directed towards William C, not you. Please pay attention. 

Bella
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Ah. Mea Culpa. That's the problem with having the same initials as a timeless bit o' Latin.

Um, I guess I take it all back then. :-)

Paul Sharples
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Bella said:
>>>>>>>
Doenst it suck to be the underpaid $40k staffer in a place crawling with overpaid consultants?
>>>>>>>

Ummm....yes.  Wait no, HELL YES!!

Part of the reason that I left the I*NET team (Skandia), as well (with money being a big factor too!)

I remember there was this one consultant working on I*NET when I first got on the team.

One day we were discussing salaries...and he asked one of the permanent workers..."if I was to work here full time...how much would I make?".

The permanent worker said, "Probaly 80-90K".

The consultant said..."Knowing what I make now.  There's no way I can accept something like that".
Yikes!
And this guy was horrible.

Example: a week before it was his last day (a friday) he was going over (in a meeting) stuff he had done, what was left to do, etc. to all the permanent employees.

He mentioned that he was spending an awful lot of time on this javascript problem.
The problem was this:
you have an edit box and a combo box.
As you type in the edit box....
the combo box should search the list and
bring the relevant choices to the top.

In other words...
as I type "s"
all the items in the list beginning with s go to the
top.
then I type "t" (now "st")...
all the items in the list beginning with st go to the
top.

Like in Microsoft Help.

Ok...I'm overexplaining it....I know.

Anywho...I'm in the meeting thinking to myself...
"that can't be hard...why is he taking so long?"

So...on saturday night...while I'm watching a movie
with my girlfriend...I pull up my laptop....and by
the end of the movie I had it working
(in IE and netscape).

Monday morning...
I send him the code. :)

And they paid him big $$ for that kind of output?
It's a joke.

Bella said:
>>>>>>>>>>
artdigata wanted money, not fun or recognition or marketability.
>>>>>>>>>>

Yes.  I understand the original problem.

I thought that I made the point that the money sucked.
In fact, I made the point twice (my low pay...and the low pay of two "golden ticket" permanent employees).

I think part of the reason was that Skandia was cheap.
But I also think that the other part was that you aren't going to make $150/hr as an as400 programmer.

In fact,
I became very good friends with the consultant that came in for two months to teach us.
I know she wasn't making $150/hr.
This much I am certain (this is 1999 also -- more of an IT shortage).
I'd be surprised if she made $100/hr.
And she was good!

So, I did address his money concern.

I don't "get" your response in this instance.

Also, I think people are "speculating" that as400 consulting would bring $150/hr.

Well, I worked at a place that relied heavily on the as400.
And I feel it's not true.

So, as well as bringing up the money issues...I brought up all the issues.
Being that I don't think you can make $150/hr....*maybe* you can still make more than other technologies.
But if that *more* is only $10-$20/hr more than other technologies....is it worth it when:

you are going all over the country chasing limited jobs
(there has to be some expenses there).
No one is happy with it and wants to get out
(is your health and happiness worth $10-$20/hr more an hour?)

I don't know.
I thought I was adding some valuable insight.
Maybe not.
Who knows.

I do know this:
I've been gone from Skandia for a little more than a year....

a) I'm making almost double what I started at Skandia.
b) I'm working with great technologies/platforms (Win CE, Palm, C++, GPS, GIS)
c) I love my workplace (flex hours, work from home, self-managing).
d) Every day is a happy day for me.

Let's see...more money...better workplace...markatable...(very)happy....and it's not some obscure technology (although you might consider Palm,WinCE "niche").

Life is good. :)

PS.  I'm interested in this thread because I'm doing the same exact thing this guy is doing.

Saving tons of $ living at my parents (right now I'm thinking of paying off a condo/townhouse in cash -- houses in CT are ridiculously expensive).
Even my fiancee lives with me at my parents ... she's a registered nurse ... we are saving a lot.

Paid off all bills (I or my fiancee have NO debt).

Drive my 89 Honda Civic still.

Still use an old 19" tv when watching sportscenter
or the Osbournes.

I want to be that "millionare next door".
Living frugal.

Don't buy into the hype!
You don't need the latest SUV!
You don't need expensive tv's, stereo's!
:)

William C
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

William,

I wasn't questioning your move.  I applaud it.  Most first jobs have menial tasks and low pay.  Keep your contacts, and don't look back unless you have to!

Yes, I know as400 probably doesn't make $150/hr, but I was making a point that the latest sexiest stuff isn't the ONLY way to go. In fact, I feel it's the last place to go these days.  Every new technology will be flooded with newbies trying to get into IT.  ie: Newbies aren't learning as400. 

And my other point was that a firms as400 system is proably more crucial to them than a .NET promise.  In a time of caution, the money may not be where all the risk is.

Just curious, where in CT are you, and where do you want to buy a place?

Bella
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Bella said:
>>>>>>>>>>>>
Just curious, where in CT are you, and where do you want to buy a place?
>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, I live in Waterbury.
My workplace is currently Norwalk.

It's a 45 minute drive to Norwalk,
but I drive in only 3 days a week
(and I don't go in until noon)...
so I don't mind the drive at all.

So, imagine CT....
imagine Waterbury (intersection of 84/rt. 8)...
I would obviously like to get something close to
Norwalk (but no farther than Waterbury -- 45 minute drive).

Now...think about what I just said...
I am now priced out of every house.

Anything outside of Waterbury (west, southwest, south) you are STARTING
at around $250K. :)

3bed/2bath house (that's not a "handyman's
special ... or was built AFTER 1940)...

in Waterbury:
$150-$175K....
but with a 60 mil rate (not pretty).

3bed/2bath house in Norwalk:
starting at $400K

If you live in CT....you know what I'm talking
about (Fairfield, Stratford, Trumbull, Shelton,
etc.) all EXPENSIVE.

Even the cities closer to Waterbury
(Oxford, Seymour, Derby, Ansonia)...
you are looking at $250K to start.

That is a lot of money!! :)

Yes.  My fiancee and I could probably afford
a $250K house.
We could "afford" it...
but will we be saving any money? not likely.
Do I want to be weighed down with such a high mortgage -- living paycheck to paycheck? not likely. :)

CT real-estate is unbelievable!

Thus, I think I might try and find a condo/townhouse in Wtby for $60K-$70K....
pay for it in cash...
live there until I pop out two kiddes and they are about to start school...
continue to save in the meanwhile....
in 5/7 years....
finally buy the house or move out of CT! :)

William C
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

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