SPUG: Greeetings, & wanting a little advice...

Jason Lamport jason at strangelight.com
Wed Jun 21 18:45:48 CDT 2000

Hello SPUGsters,

I've been lurking on this list for a while now, and I thought it time 
to introduce myself:

My name's Jason, I've been programming computers since I was 8 (and 
yes, I started with BASIC, but I turned into a damn good programmer 
anyway, despite what Dijkstra says... ;)  I've been programming with 
Perl for about 3 years now: mostly CGI and CGI/database applications. 
I don't think I have any particularly unusual talents when it comes 
to programming, except that I'm probably the northwest's foremost 
authority on Reinventing the Wheel :)

When I'm not writing code, I'm usually occupied with dancing (I mean 
professionally: with a dance company), writing plays, backpacking in 
the wilderness, creating Art, and other Bad Habits.

Anyone who's curious can find out a *little* more about me at 
http://www.strangelight.com/ (though some of it's out of date).

Now, I have a (possibly strange, perhaps even tactless) question to 
ask of you all:

What is the going rate for Perl programmers (and/or HTML designers/ 
JavaScript programmers) these days?  You see, up until now, all of my 
jobs and assignments have been for non-profits and other legitimately 
low-paying clients/employers, so I have absolutely no clue what's 
standard in the corporate, for-profit world.  I mean, I know I'm 
being underpaid right now, but I have no idea just *how* underpaid. 
I've recently begun interviewing for various positions in the 
corporate world, and I've come to suspect that I'm botching the 
interviews by making my salary requirements way too low, making the 
interviewers assume that I must really not know what I'm doing. 
(Which is true: I *don't* know what I'm doing, when it comes to 
salary negotiations -- but they're not hiring me to negotiate 
salaries, they're hiring me to write code, which is something I *do* 
know how to do...)

I've looked at some of those on-line salary surveys, but they're 
always organized by job titles, not job-descriptions, and the job 
titles are so hopelessly vague that I have no idea which job titles 
really fits what I do.

And there are so many other factors: like the fact that I *don't* 
have a CS degree -- my qualifications are almost all from work 
experience, not schooling -- which I assume lowers my earning 
potential a few notches.  I also assume that it makes a big 
difference exactly what sort of project I'm working on: I'd expect to 
get paid more per hour for setting up a complex, database-driven 
e-commerce site than for setting up a simple form-to-email script.

Anyway, any advice on setting fees for clients and/or salary 
requirements for prospective employers would be greatly appreciated. 
(If you don't think this discussion belongs on the SPUG list, just 
email me privy.)

Thanks!  And happy coding.


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