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I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme
11

I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

(OP)
I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programmer. What I am to program, I still don't know, but that is what I was hired as. What I do here is as follows:

I have designed and am responsible for our Companies MS Access DB. Currently used by only a dozen or so employees, our main db is housed on a AS/400 using Infinium.
I managed to set up a pretty decent structure in MS Access, and blew Showcase Strategy outta the water.

I have designed and am responsible for the update of our current corporate homepage, which is composed of a basic outline of the company, a more in-depth "what we do" thing, a contact form, a location page, that shows our location with a map, etc. and a feedback page. I think I did an excellent job, as well. In the same vein I have just finished our corporate intranet, complete with 15 message boards, chat rooms, Help Desk, Employee news, etc.

I am also responisble for helping our "normal" users with any PC problems, such as program errors, network problems, can't figure out how to log on, etc. etc. ad nausium

In other words, I am never NOT busy. And that is fine with me, I really don't mind working my butt off. BUT, I think I am really really REALLY underpaid. I am salaried at $27,000 a year, and am barely making ends meet.
When I was first hired here, I was "fresh meat" so to speak, as I hadn't had any corporate computer experience, though I do have over 20 years expereience programming, and working with computers. I have been here for a year now (February will be one year) and am seriously thinking about looking for something else... problem is, I an NOT willing to relocate, and I am nervous about working for someone else.

What I am wanting to really know is, does anyone think I should stay with this company and get a little more experience under my belt, or should I start looing for something with a bit more pay? Also, does anyone think it would be unwise to demand a raise at this point?

John Vogel
johnvogel@homepage.com
My HomePage
WebMaster - DataBase Administrator - Programmer

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

3
I think you're definitely underpaid. Make a list of pros and cons (What else don't you like about the position? What do you like that you think you might lose by changing?) Weigh the decision to leave based on your own personal situation.

Asking for a raise can't hurt if it's done respectfully and mgmt knows it's not an ultimatum. (If an employer gets rid of you just for asking, it's not a place worth being at in the first place.) Back up your request with real world evidence. Go to a search engine and look up "salary survey". Either look for the closest position description or point out that you actually covers parts of many different areas (WebMaster, DBA, Programmer, PC Systems Helpdesk, etc.) Each of the last 3 years I've passed on a 1/2 inch stack of paper (surevys, articles, etc.) along with my performance review (we have to review ourselves before being reviewed). It hasn't helped as much as I'd like, but it has helped. If your mgmt at all cares about employee retention, it can't hurt.

Some sites for 1999 salary surveys:

www.networkcomputing.com
www.computerworld.com
www.pcweek.com
www.sans.org
www.infoworld.com
www.jdapsi.com
www.esp.com
www.psrinc.com
www.datamasters.com
www.experienceondemand.com


Keep in mind that some of these are "botique" surveys run by consulting firms that report jacked up ranges, so the can place people at higher pay and get higher commisions. Adjusting for that on some of them I think you'll still find this an eye-opener. Hopefully your employer will too. (At the same time - be careful. I don't know your situation. Some employees prefer their employees ignorant. Real world knowledge of compensation may not be something they want to deal with.) Good Luck!

Jeff
masterracker@hotmail.com

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

(OP)
Thank you so very very much MasterRacker. I looked up a few of those links you posted, and just as you said, it was definitly an eye-popper.
I also appreciate the advice, as far as asking for a raise. I am just nervous, because, as I said, I haven't actually worked FOR anyone besides my present company, so I really don't know what would be in store for me at another company. Or even if I am hirable at this point (Having only 1 year REAL WORLD experience) Also, those payscales are biased, I think, for people who have a degree, or years of experience, I am not really sure if they apply to myself.

John Vogel
johnvogel@homepage.com
My HomePage
WebMaster - DataBase Administrator - Programmer

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

I've been wrestling with some of the same questions lately. Don't sell yourself short. It's a skills based market. 1 year experience is brief, but you've completed some successful projects. Make up a skills/project oriented resume and see how good you can get it to look. This may or may not add to your comfort level.

Computerworld, PC Week and Infoworld are pretty down to earth surveys, I think. Actually you would qualify for free subscriptions to each. Sign up. Noone can read them all cover to cover each week but power skimming them is good way to keep in touch.

Jeff
masterracker@hotmail.com

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

John,

I am gobsmacked at that figure - I have seen some brief glimpses into your knowledge on this site and your homepage and they are impressive in terms of physical achievement and attention to detail which is one of the problems with some IT staff.

I agree with Jeff, you are massively underpaid for the fingers you have in various pies. BUT. And there is always a but. If you are in a job that you enjoy and is challenging, particularly one where you are learning lots, it is difficult to try to change the status quo. Rocking the boat in terms of asking for a pay rise is a tricky issue. The company is not necessarily the problem. If you boss understands what you do and the hard work you put in then you should be ok.

My suggestion would be to follow the above advice and get evidence together that shows you are undervalued. Add to that the fact that you are doing far more than "just" being a programmer. You are a developer and project manager too.

I'm in the same boat as you. I'm being paid 20% less than the previous person. They were sacked for theft, porn, doing no work and so on. But still they do not value me. Start getting some qualifications, demonstrate to them what you have achieved and the resources you have had (i.e. the money they have spent). You are not going in demanding a 100% rise or you will leave, but something to show that you are a valuable member of staff.

Hope this helps.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

It sounds like we have all had similar experiences but I especially empathize with John's since I was transferred in the dead of the night with only the knowledge of three people (including myself). Nobody knew I was leaving and nobody knew I was coming. My new assignment was to "rewrite all of the software in Visual Basic, make everything work together and make everybody happy". I was supposed to have everything in order in about a week.
Okay. It's hard to rewrite COBOL, Paradox, Excel, Quattro Pro, Word, WordPerfect and dozens of specialized applications in a week, a month or a millennia. It took developers nearly TWO months to create those applications.
Ha....
My job description is "programmer". I work in accounting under a man whose greatest achievment has been to sum the contents of a cell range. I don't work for the IT manager but I work with him to solve problems (he replaced a man who asked for a raise and was asked to leave without his personal possessions - IT happens and IT sets the tone for all future tasks).
I have had four major software projects canceled, restarted and cancelled again in the last year (management's compass seems to be broken). I took a $17,000 cut in pay to put up with the nonsense (talk about ends meeting...). I'm sorry, John, if I couldn't provide a clearer picture. My only realistic, long-term option seems to be a breakaway.
I'm going out on my own.
I'll work at my day job (until someone wakes up and realizes that I'm a liability because I haven't been able to "finish" a single project in nearly a year). My fall-back lies in the hours I've spent programming on my home system.
John, your situation has to be different. Your management has to be more reasonable. Your prospects for pay increase have to be better. Your future has to be brighter.

My hesitant advice is to work hard for a year (or until they get your goat), make sure that you are indispensible to management (while keeping an eye out for attractive positions with other firms), make sure you have become the cornerstone of all future projects (while never forgetting WHO YOU ARE). Then count your fingers and toes. If you are missing any, do what I am about to do.

Start your own company.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Alt,

What are you going to do, and where are you going to be based? Give us a skillset of things you'll be doing - someone here may have a project you can do. YOU are not job hunting. I'm just proposing your possible availability.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

I'm based in the Akron Ohio USA area. Not meaning to diminish your question about availability but it will be a hot day in Ohio when I abandon my current project. A round Table member and the IT manager at my day job have thrown in their hats and we are pretty committed to making the thing fly.

It's a ruthless but "user-friendly" solution to a plethora of user-related problems. Sound like a plethora of expensive, half-hearted solutions that are already on the market? Don't worry. Every hole will be plugged before the ware is released.

This might sound like an ad for a non-existent product as an answer to recruitment for a non-existent job.... But thanks for asking.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

If anyone wants a UK slant on this, take a look at the NCC's Salary Compass:

http://www2.vnu.co.uk/vnu-tools/compass.pl

Don't settle for one job description as some overlap.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

John:

I feel for you. I recently accepted an offer which bumped my salary from making only slightly more than you, to approximately twice that amount.

I do have several questions, and conditional advice for you.

1. I see you've had a year's worth of experience - is this all at your present position, or was it prior to your current job? If it's all been at your current job, and you haven't had a performance evaluation, wait it out. Come evaluation time, follow the advice of several of the others - have salary surveys prepared, have concrete examples of what you've done and why you're valuable, but be prepared to have them shot down.

2. Do you have experience in other areas? I'm not trying to be rude, but if you've only just freshly graduated from High School or University, many employers will be leery of offering you a higher salary simply because you're new to the 'workforce'. This relates to my current situation, because as a programmer with prior experience, I was underpaid from the start - the position I'll be moving into will pay me roughly the industry average. If you don't have work experience (any; not just IS-related) outside of your current position, odds are good that you won't get any massive raises in the near future.

3. Train, Train, Train. It can't hurt, because you'll either use the skill in your current position, or it will lend weight to your value with another employer. Do you have any certifications? Believe it or not, there are companies out there who'll hire you at a higher salary simply because you can put 'MCSE', 'CNE', or something related after your name. A lot of people will scorn it, too, but a degree is nothing to sneeze at - And at the same time, not all B.Sc's are created equal. I hold a B.Sc from an accredited university, but it's worth considerably more than one from other universities, because of the course material contained (DB analysis, design, programming, accounting, and the capstone course was an actual project for which my project team was given to a local corporation to get actual job experience!)

Okay, I need to get off this soap-box. To whit: I've gone through your situation, and feel for you - but there are both some things which you can fix, as well as other things that you simply won't be able to change no matter how hard you try. e-mail me if you'd like to discuss this further; I have some other advice (Names and phone numbers) which I believe are not permitted in here.

Cheers!

Darryl Hadfield
hadfield@mail.com

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

2
I applogize in advance, this post is kind of long, and somewhat disorganized.

1. Find two I/T placement firms (that place people with your level of experience, and to the type of place youd like to work at). Agencies are very effective; they can assit you with your resume and cover letter (never underestimate the impact of a resume and coverletter. I know from experience that if you submit a poor resume or coverletter that you may never get considered. I've seen many applications thrown away by employers just because they didn't like the resume and or cover letter. Also, consider that the agency is paid by the employer, the agency does the leg work, and might even negotiate salary. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF AN AGENCY. ALSO DON'T FORGET THAT THE AGENCY REPRESENTS THE EMPLOYER, NOT THE EMPLOYEE. BUT THE AGENCY NEEDS QUALIFIED CANDIDATES TO SELL.

2. Continue to job search through other means, such as the internet, word of mouth, and sending resumes cold. MOST JOB OPENING ARE NOT ADVERTISED. Make a list of all the companies that you think that you would like to work for, and send resumes with coverletter (always with a coverletter).

3. Make a list of every concievable job skill that you have; don't worry if it is a technical or administrative skill. This is very useful, especially when drafting your resume and coverletter, as-well-as for any interviews that you may obtain.

4. Be prepared for an interview. Especially, be understand and be able to articulate why you are seeking a new position. THIS COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION THAT IS ASKED DURING AN INTERVIEW. Try to have an indepth understanding of your job skills and the market. Do research. EFFECTIVE JOB SEARCHING IS A FULL TIME JOB.

5. Find a job that will provide the ability to learn more than you already know.

6. I would definately either ask for a raise from your current employer, or wait until review time and see if the raise you receive is worthwhile. You may want to wait until your job search is producing interviews before asking for a raise, but that's your call.

7. Be prepared. Know the market for your skills. Try to understand the difference working for different type of employers (large coporation v. small; tech company v. non-tech, etc.) There are major differences between employers. Talk to people.

8. Resume tips: Be consise. Don't tell the employers that you're hardworking, that you will benefit the company, that your looking for a challenging new position. DON'T include an objective on your resumen unless you have some special or diverse talent that you want to highlight. For ex: Don't say that you're looking for a challenging new postion as a programmer where I can use my skills, blah, blah, blah. On the other hand if you have programming skills and administrative or project leader experience that you'd like to combine, that might be worth mentioning. DON'T include references in your resume or coverletter. References are supplied upon request. DON'T include hobby or other interests that are not related to the position for which you are applying. You should include professional associations, not personal affiliations.

9. Tailor your resume and coverletter to the job you are applying for. If you're applying for positions that require different skills, then you tailor your resume, and more importantly, your coverletter accordingly.

10. Very important. Make sure that after you write your resume and coverletter, please allow others to read it before you send it.(try to find people who understand what a coverletter and resume should contain, plus ask people to review these docs for spelling, grammer, etc.)

11. Make sure that your resume (especially) and coverletter are printed on white paper (no color - ever) with bold black print. The reason for this is that many companies scan resumes. If the resume is on color paper or fancy small type it won't scan clean and you're out of luck. (Assuming of course that you're not responding by e-mail.)

12. Do not bring up the salary or benefits during an interview, unless brought up by the interviewer, or requested by an ad. (This is bad form, and can be counteproductive. Employers want to know that you're interested in the job.)

Good luck!

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Excellent advice, Gary. Advice I will follow closely since I was laid off today (four hours and 58 minutes in advance of my predictions). I received a generous severence package and an outstanding letter of recommendation.
The CFO and I sat and laughed about the Y2k problem and how so many bad things could have happened but didn't....
And then he asked me if I would be available for consultation.

"Certainly," I replied. "For the standard ($250 an hour) fee. Just give me a call (some day when monkeys fly out of my butt)."

Sorry about the color. This has to be the best day of my life. The real challenge has just begun for this 45-year-old programmer.


RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

A blessing in disguise?

One of the benefits of working in I/T is that age is not a barrier (I'm also 45 and somewhat new to the I/T field), and there are tons of openings.

Consulting is an option at a commensurate hourly rate.

Feel free to e-mail me drafts of your resume and coverletter if you want, and I'll be happy to review it for you (I have experience) (garykim704@aol.com).

Don't forget to contact some employment agencies that specialize in I/T placements.

Good luck. (Although I don't think your unemployment will be shortlived.)

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

I forgot to suggest that you should make a list of all your (on the job)accomplishments. Large projects that you might have been in charge of, or suggestions that were implemented, etc.

Check your local video store for job searching videos to look at. These will give you insights.

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Thanks, Gary. You're right about everything you've posted so far. It's a blessing in a transparent disguise and good deeds do NOT go unrewarded.
My first objective is to go where only two programmers have gone (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs).
If #1 fails to produce the desired results I have a backup plan:
Do whatever it takes to 1) Keep my wife happy and 2) Keep the kids in school. Every other issue is tertiary to #1 and #2.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Alt - I have been wondering about this myself. Now that y2k has arrived, the world has not ended, my systems are still working - Hmmmmm

No bolts from the sky as yet - but the year is young and my CV (that's a resume to the yanks) is up-to-date and pretty damned hot! (I am given to understand that the previous sentence is an example of American slang and should be familar to y'all)

Mike

Mike Lacey
Mike_Lacey@Cargill.Com
Cargill's Corporate Web Site

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Mike, maybe it was my shoddy, less-than-pretty programming (who wants "IT WORKS! when they can have "IT'S CUTE AND IT MIGHT MIGHT WORK SOME DAY!")
Ahhhh... so much for retrospect. It's time to move on with life and the task at hand.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

"Demanding" anything is uncalled for. If you accepted your current job without even ensuring they have an annual review/raise policy, you flubbed the interview. You need to learn how to play the game if you want to raise the stakes. Most IS/IT people are introverts, and not especially good at seeing themselves from their employer's point of view, but it's what your employer thinks is what determines your pay and your opportunities for the interesting assignments.

Recruiters can be a great resource, but they're generally fishing for the ones who've already figured out how to market themselves. If you are really serious about "self-improvement" and good money, here's a painful exercise: ask people for feedback on your presentation. I mean appearance, grooming, clothing, poise, posture, use of language, body language, conversational skills. Almost nobody is a natural at this. A local library or community college may have an inteviewing skills class. Some even will videotape you!

They say it takes years for a man to appear comfortable wearing finely-tailored clothes. (It takes even longer for a woman because of high heels! ). It's the same thing with an interview situation. Practice, practice, practice until it feels familiar and comfortable. You'll get more exposure, learn what's expected and build up your confidence. Try doing throwaway interviews at lunch. Sure it's a ton of extra work, but it pays better than all those extra hours you'll otherwise spend doing routine tasks for free. Odds are you won't be working for your NEXT employer for 20 years either, so this is a long-term effort. Once you are comfortable personally, you will be able to communicate your technical skills.

Oh, and take a look at a few books like "Aceing the Technical Interview" (is that spelled right?) to set your expectations.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Hi John,

From reading your posts and also looking at you web site - I think that you are definitely underpaid. If you feel that the years experience is not enough, would you think about offering services in you local area to small business. Many people are afraid of technology and there is a market for sole contractors to make a few £££ in part time.

I recently put an add in a few local community papers (for almost nothing) offering IT services. I was surprised at the number of calls I got. Some small business want some kind of customer database (easy enough in access), others wanted to know how to tconnect to the internet and get a fledgling site going. I did a few jobs part-time and got the extra money I needed, I never gave up the day job and after 6 months I left my current job with a much stronger hand.

One other thing to remember is that a year is a LONG time in IT. If you have 20 year work experience as well it will count. Working with people is a skill in itself and one that employers highly regard (hence their painfully transparent questions in interviews like 'Do you play team sports??' - like I going to say NO!

Cal

PS NEVER forget that when times are lean you emplyer will drop you like a hot rock. Therefore when the employee has the power don't be afraid to use it. DON'T PITY YOUR EMPLOYER.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Acckkk! The SOBs brought me back from layoff and changed my title from "programmer" to "process engineer". Does anybody know any good software for document management? (Or should I write my own?)



another temporary Vorpalcom home page
Send me suggestions or comments on my current software project.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Would you clarify "document management"?

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

I have had only a little experience with Lotus Notes but found it useful.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Elizabeth,

Lotus Notes is a terriffic product, but it's high maintenance. How are you thinking of using Notes for document management? I might be able to offer design assistance.

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

akbreyer, maybe this got a little mixed up. It's alt255 who is looking for suggestions on document management. I just mentioned Notes as a document-management product I have used in the past.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Sorry I caused the confusion. This is undoubtedly the wrong thread... I guess I was lazy and continued the discussion from a previous post.

But, since we're all here, I was looking for software to control and track changes to AutoCAD drawings (primarily) and Word documents. The company is involved in large-scale manufacturing and there is little consolidation of resources and information among the Engineering, Quality and Manufacturing departments.

I'm trying to establish a trail of accountability here (I'm probably dreaming).

John Vogel, will understand, the feeling of uncertainty struck him, prompting him to start this thread. That feeling has struck me twice in not much more than a year. Now I am on totally unfamiliar ground. I'm a programmer, not an engineer.


InterruptX@excite.com
Retrofit Contingency Implementation
Send me suggestions or comments on my current software project.

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Alt,

I looked into document management a few years ago and we used an old version of PVCS to manage some C development.  I would almost say to look at the current companies out there and try to figure out who will be around the longest and buy their product, rather than actually evaluating the product itself.

The reason I say this is because all the products I've seen basically embed your documents inside themselves in some proprietary format.    They have to do this to force you to check a file out for modification, thereby enforcing change tracking.  The downside to this is that your files are no longer accessible to you except through that package, meaning that your company's data is tied to this package for life.  (on top of that, you will probably also get locked into an upgrade cycle to maintain support for your package.)

Imagine a situation 10 years from now when your server has crashed, the install media for your version control package are not findable, the manufacturer is out of business, your server backup is not restoring the software correctly, etc. - you have no way to get at your data. (As we all know, this is not as farfetched as it sounds.)  

My opinion could be based on old technology and/or I could be overly pessimistic, but I think you should maybe try to start with highly detailed procedures/policies that have mgmt. buy-in before taking the doc. mgmt. plunge.

Jeff
masterracker@hotmail.com

Of all the things I've lost in life, I miss my mind the most ...

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

If you're looking to track changes/revisions to Word documents, how about Word's version control, and revisions tracking. I don't anything about autocad.

I've seen shareware and/or freeware, that tracks document changes. It might be worth the effort to look at that type of product.

Going in another direction Rational's project tracking tools might be worth some research.

It might be worth making a separate thread for this issue, in this category, or the software reuse category.

Gary (akbryer)
Gary_Bryer@Vanguard.com



Good deeds do not go unrewarded!

RE: I was hired at my present employers place of employment as a programme

Guys maybe you should take this conversation to another forum/thread. That way other people interested in document management can read it - it has nothing to do with the forum....

Cal


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