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ChrisBeach (Programmer) (OP)
13 Apr 08 21:17
Hey All,

I've been in the IT field for 3 years now (after graduating a 3 year Computer Programming Analysis program at college). Where I currently work now, they hired me on as a coop, then contract, then full time for a total of 3 years.

I now wear a couple hats at work, one being Network Adaministrator which entails:

Designing/implementing/maintaining (all linux and opensource software) gateways, dns, firewall, smtp server, linux wap's, spam filters, web filters, vpn servers, and failover/load balancing links over our wan which extends to 5 different locations, and many other network admin related tasks

EDI - Everything but the mapping of it, this also entails a fair amount of SAP work, helping out sales, finance, tracking down missed/lost/incorrect invoices etc...

Helpdesk - I also work in our helpdesk (with one other IT member who is solely helpdesk). We support around 140 users

I'm on call 24/7 since I'm the one who set most everything up in terms of the Network and EDI and am the only one who understands how it works, and I get called in a fair amount (network failure (our provider, not my equipment :D), terminated user, etc..)

I work in the GTA area (Near toronto, ontario, canada) and am currently making just over 50k/yr .. from what I've read online for the area I work in thats a fair amount below the average salary. I don't know anyone else personally that does the same type of work as me (although I know many exist), so I was just curious if I could get ideas on what they are making. I really enjoy my work and workplace, so I don't plan on looking elsewhere, but I have brought it to their attention that my salary is lower then average.
Bandenjamin (Programmer)
14 Apr 08 10:14
Salary calculators are generally full of it. They often also don't mention that they include "total" compensation. This includes your benefits, bonuses, and any other fringe benefits that you receive. For instance if you make $50,000 per year, and your benefits are worth $12,000 per year, and each year you get an $8,000 bonus you would show up on their little calculator as making $70,000 even though you only feel like you make 50k.

If you feel like your salary is still way below average then be prepared to offer a case for it. You'll need to take in to your employer everything that you do and justify every cent they give you. Be prepared to be disappointed. Often times you have to change companies to really get a big increase in pay.

Good luck smile

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

JCreamerII (MIS)
14 Apr 08 10:15
ChrisBeach,

No Chris, you just flat out underpaid, and over worked.  But in today's work environment?  Is the job market in your area tight?

Jim C.
 
RiverGuy (Programmer)
14 Apr 08 11:19
I don't know if you underpaid, because I don't know your market, the  salary ratio between US and Canada, or how much Network Administrators normally make.  However, I will say that this happens frequently.  You were hired with less skills and responsibility than you currently posses.  Many companies won't just give you a 50% raise because they suddenly realized you are worth more than when you hired on.

If you still formally have a title which does not reflect your job duties, you could try to "formally" lobby for a promotion and more pay.  If that doesn't work, then you might just have to look somewhere else where you get hired in at based on the skill level you are at.     
gbaughma (IS/IT--Management)
17 Apr 08 10:52
Let's face it.

EVERYBODY, pretty much in this industry, seems to be overworked and under-paid.

I program, do network administration, PC and printer repair, phone programming, security camera installation, write my budget, and fix pretty much anything electronic, including doors, the swimming pool monitor system, and anything else that has a wire in it.

I'm on call 24/7, I have a work-supplied blackberry that I think has grafted itself to my hip, and even when I go on vacation the boss asks me "Will you have your blackberry with you, in case we need you?"

For all of this, I make $42k.  Am I underpaid?  Probably.  But, like I said, aren't we all?

 

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

ArizonaGeek (IS/IT--Management)
17 Apr 08 12:20
I am in a similar situation as Greg. I've built cubes, fixed doors, moved desks all along with my other IT tasks. It seems that when it has to deal with "tools" the office folks seem to think that because we have them, we must know how to fix everything. I also make a similar salary.

I'd also agree with Dan, if you feel you need a raise you should be able to make a case for it. Obviously you don't want to make it sound threatening like "I'm gonna leave it if don't get it" but even if you don't ask for more money you could ask for more time off, bigger yearly bonus, or  another person to train to fill your spot while you are off.

My boss was in a situation where he was ALWAYS on call and always working. He hired me 4 years ago and now I've been trained to take over his tasks. He never took a vacation because he couldn't trust the last IT person with the workload. I think he was in tears when I told him to leave his pager at home while on vacation, for the first time.

I do work a lot of hours and as a salaried employee I didn't feel my quarterly bonus even came close to a fair compensation. I went to our VP and asked for time off or the ability to work from home a couple of times a month if I worked a lot of hours, I knew he wouldn't really approve me for a decent raise. He had no problem with it. My sanity is worth a lot more than an extra thousand or two a year. On top of all that my boss is pretty cool and I can pretty much come and go as I please. If I take an hour and a half lunch no big deal. If I come in an hour later than normal or leave an hour early no big deal. Because when it comes down to it, if I need to be here I am here working till the job is done. I am sure I could go make $5k or more someplace else but I like the environment I am in. I can do what I want when I want to do it. I am not stuck punching a time clock and I don't have anyone micro-managing me.

So compensation doesn't necessarily come in the form of money. If you feel you are being overworked and underpaid (like most of us, especially those of us who work for smaller companies and smaller budgets) ask for some time off a couple of times a month. Even if you get a phone call or two on your day off it is still nice not to be in the office.

Good luck!

Cheers
Rob

The answer is always "PEBKAC!"

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management)
21 Apr 08 12:24
Unfortunately, even though I am a "salary" person (exempt), I'm expected to work 8-4, 1/2 hour for lunch.

Now, granted, there are a couple of perks..... lunch is provided, which is nice, and saves me probably $50 a week.

But if I have to, say, go to a doctor's appointment, I'm either expected to take those hours as sick leave, or "comp" that time in the same period.  In other words, if I leave an hour early on Monday to go to the dentist, I have to make up that hour sometime before payroll ends.

While I'm not saying that isn't fair, because it is, I always thought that salary employees were supposed to be a little more "flexible", especially since I *am* on call 24/7....

 

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

Bandenjamin (Programmer)
21 Apr 08 14:15
Greg,

Quote:

But if I have to, say, go to a doctor's appointment, I'm either expected to take those hours as sick leave, or "comp" that time in the same period.  In other words, if I leave an hour early on Monday to go to the dentist, I have to make up that hour sometime before payroll ends.

While I'm not saying that isn't fair, because it is, I always thought that salary employees were supposed to be a little more "flexible", especially since I *am* on call 24/7....

I would love that option. I'm a clock puncher and have to use vacation or sick time. I cannot leave an hour early today and make it up a couple days later. Also being that you're oncall 24/7, if you get a call at 3 am and work on it for 3 or 4 hours, do they let you go home early?  

--Dan
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

gbaughma (IS/IT--Management)
22 Apr 08 9:26
If I tell the boss "Hey, I had to come in for 3 hours last night, so can I leave early today (or friday or whatever)?" Unless I have something else going on (such as training I have to perform, or meetings to attend) he is usually OK with that.

I try not to "push it" though.

 

Just my 2¢
-Cole's Law:  Shredded cabbage

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

TomMills (TechnicalUser)
30 Apr 08 15:29
I think this was the Key statement

> Because when it comes down to it, if I need to be here I am here working till the job is done.

I am in the same situation, and i think as long as your boss believes/knows that this is the case, and when it really comes down to it you will bust your A S S, then they tend to be more flexible with you

kmcferrin (MIS)
15 May 08 12:50
Riverguy, I think you nailed it on the head.  A lot of times you hire in at an entry level position and work your way up the pecking order, getting raises along the way.  Then someone else hires in doing the same work for 20% more than you were making.  The problem is that a lot of smaller companies offer raises that go with promotions/responsibilities based on what is a reasonable increase from what you were making, not based on what is the market rate for someone to do that job.  It ends up saving them money, at least until you leave for a better paycheck.

In larger companies they try to minimize this by having published pay scales and pay grades.  In this system you can look up your job title and see the range of salaries available to someone in that position.  The problem is, if you get promoted to a new pay grade you usually start at the bottom.

For example, say you're in a pay grade that ranges from $45k-$60k per year.  You're making $49k per year.  You get promoted to a new job where the pay scale goes from $55k-$75k per year.  They'll bump you to $55k and you get a $6k raise.  That's 12%, not bad.

But then they'll hire someone from outside who has the same job description and the same skills and pay them $65k per year.  They may have more experience than you, and they may not.  They certainly don't have your knowledge and experience navigating the processes and divisions of the company.  You may even have to train them before they become productive?  That hardly seems fair.

That's why there's so much turnover in the IT industry.  The best way to get the biggest raises is usually to switch employers, as long as you tell your prospective employers what your salary requirements are instead of what your current salary is.

Regarding salary calculators, take them with a grain of salt.  The best ones are usually more like the results of salary surveys, and they take into account the skillset, job duties, geographic area and the specific industry.  In those cases I've found them to be fairly accurate reflections of salary (rather than salary plus benefits), and haven't had any issues negotiating for salary using those as a baseline.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCSE:Security 2003
MCTS:Active Directory
MCTS:Network Infrastructure
MCTS:Applications Infrastructure  

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