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ITGround >> Close to topped out - How to get more money?


11/12/12 4:25 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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I figured this may be a nice discussion to have on here.  While I know we are all geeks and somewhat enjoy what we do for a living from the day to day as well as our career I wanted to talk money for once on here.

Of course, I am not asking for anyone salary information but what I think would be beneficial to every is, how do you  get and make more money?

It seems, at least, in my field network eng as well as the systems guy that there is almost a top point in salary that you can't pass.

In a large city, it seems close to 160k and in smaller cities 130k.

What I'd like to ask is?  How in the world do you bypass and keep on increasing past those salary amounts?  I've been used to a very good vertical climb in raises from both changing jobs as well as asking.  I'm afraid I am at the point where it is going to prove to be much harder to do so.

For myself, the only way I could possibly get past this is either working overseas in a harsher climate or overseas in general or by starting your own global IT sourcing and/or DoD/Federal contracting.  For me and due to my status as a disabled vet, the DoD/Fed contracting route may be the only way to go if I expect to ever pass 150k no matter if I have 3-CCIE's to my name and 20 years of experience.

It isn't about the money, I do live pretty cheap but it is more of the challenge of getting past those amounts.  I rarely meet anyone in IT that isn't past a VP level that makes over the stated amounts.

Anyone have any secrets?  Which ways have people gone to bypass those amounts? Anything would help, I am feeling stagnent with the contract I have been on and feel like I should be doing more.

11/20/12 11:38 AM
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psenior
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Edited: 11/20/12 11:48 AM
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One way that I am currently trying is by working at a startup. If all goes well, my employer will continue to grow rapidly and either IPO or get bought out for a huge amount of cash, like Meraki was bought out yesterday by Cisco for 1.2 billion dollars. In either case, my vested stock options will increase in value dramatically.

Maybe you should start your own consulting company. I read a good article yesterday about how to bill your time to increase your income tremendously. Here's the link: https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/consulting_1
It's more for software developers but the concepts can be adapted to other fields.
11/20/12 2:28 PM
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OneScoup
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I made nearly this identical thread many years ago.

The main ways I see to rise above the ceiling are:

1. Go to a company that gives stock you can regularly cash in.

2. Get a lofty title, Director or VP level, or go to a company that has special designations like a Technical Fellow, etc.

3. Work as a consultant for high hourly rates.

4. Start up.

5. Side income, like mobile apps, etc.
11/21/12 11:22 PM
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rfquinn
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Great thread!

11/22/12 4:35 PM
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HEMAN
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My current IT MANAGER was the owner and teacher for an IT boot camp school. He still owns the business but will be selling it shortly. He currently makes 150k. He plans to teach on the side via remote poly-com type teaching to make extra $$$.
11/23/12 11:06 AM
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Tidbits
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I don't know of any guys still doing actual hands on technical work who get about the 150-200K mark. The only ways I can think of or have seen to break that ceiling would be to:

1. Become a private consultant (basically start your own business)
2. Move into management
11/24/12 10:51 AM
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big_slacker
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Most of the people I work with are CCIE or upper level techies. Not sure if you talked salary with them when you interviewed but it's close to the ceiling. This is something that obviously on my mind as well, because really what is the next step?

About the training company thing, think about the $ because I have. Run a CCNA class at $2k, average 6 people and thats 12k gross. But probably 7-8k net for a 5 day class. So you're gonna need 2 per month consistently to make it worth it vs. a mid 6 fig job. But you're gonna be working a *LOT* getting it popular enough to do that. So it might be a better idea to do a consulting gig 1 week a month and the training thing on the side till it takes off.

Or move up to management. My boss just moved from manager to director and I'm guessing he's now broken 200k.
11/24/12 12:10 PM
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Tidbits
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Re-reading my post what i meant to say was that all the technical hands on guys top out around 150-200, anything above that is management or a private consulting gig doing full on project planning, design, management and implementation work.
11/24/12 2:05 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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big_slacker - Most of the people I work with are CCIE or upper level techies. Not sure if you talked salary with them when you interviewed but it's close to the ceiling. This is something that obviously on my mind as well, because really what is the next step?

About the training company thing, think about the $ because I have. Run a CCNA class at $2k, average 6 people and thats 12k gross. But probably 7-8k net for a 5 day class. So you're gonna need 2 per month consistently to make it worth it vs. a mid 6 fig job. But you're gonna be working a *LOT* getting it popular enough to do that. So it might be a better idea to do a consulting gig 1 week a month and the training thing on the side till it takes off.

Or move up to management. My boss just moved from manager to director and I'm guessing he's now broken 200k.

I got to figure something out with that, I was recently contacted and I'm pretty sure it is over there BUT - they had a few locations to move and one of them being Tempe, AZ.  I think I'm gonna go full force with it, the amount offered would 100% be the top for me but - my brother lives out here and I've been itching to move for awhile.

 

 

11/24/12 9:34 PM
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big_slacker
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They're hiring up in HI as well, that same wireless spot is still open. ;)
12/2/12 6:39 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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Edited: 12/02/12 6:40 PM
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Lordy, my energy works.  Got contacted by a DoD contractor that has a hard-on for me and the paychecks to top me out.  Wondering what kind of time off they'll give.

 

Can't disclose where but I'll have to move somewhere in the US where the closest major city is 1.5 hours away.

12/2/12 8:18 PM
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big_slacker
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Edited: 12/03/12 1:24 PM
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Area 51? Hahah!

I personally look for life as well as pay. It's gonna take a REALLY good situation for me to jump ship.
12/7/12 10:28 PM
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OneScoup
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Edited: 12/07/12 10:29 PM
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When I made this thread years ago I was making about $110k. Since then I moved into management (with a raise), and now get about 30% of my income in cash bonuses and the selling of (vested) restricted stock. I'm consistently doing about $170k annually, which ain't bad. I'm in software R&D and barely write code anymore, though I have a much bigger impact in architecture and product/feature level design.

I'd still like to get over $200k, but I'll probably have to make Sr Director or VP. The higher you try to rise, the more competitive, and at a certain point seniority heavily weighs into promotions. I might work at it for 15 years and never make VP. I'm thinking about a next step of doing some writing or speaking and attempting to make a name for myself across my segment of the industry.
12/8/12 11:18 AM
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big_slacker
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Edited: 12/08/12 11:18 AM
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^^ That's the thing, getting to manager isn't that tough. Getting to director there is a little luck and politics. VP you need some juice. Getting your name out there in the industry isn't a bad thing. I did some teaching (including cisco employees), wrote some books and presented at cisco live. That stuff really helped even though I'm not a 'name' in the industry. The contacts and word of mouth really helped.

About the wages though, you've got to ask yourself at some point if you can be at 160k as a techie with clearly defined goals and the ability to jump to a new spot at will if you hate your boss is it worth it to play politics, be on the hook for stuff, sweating making your number/MBO, etc...? for 10-40k?

I'd rather just have my wife go to work and make 50k, lol! Hurry up and grow you little rugrats!
12/12/12 12:20 PM
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Kage
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US salaries for techies (engineers, sw devs...) is really that high? 160k? How about averages?
12/12/12 12:32 PM
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Road Warrior Fin
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Edited: 12/12/12 12:33 PM
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Kage - US salaries for techies (engineers, sw devs...) is really that high? 160k? How about averages?

Kage - what is your location?  I'm pretty versed in knowing salary ranges for int'l jobs, overseas, etc., so I am curious.

 

I'll speak for software (vm, microsoft, datacenter) and hardware (cisco, networking, firewall admin, voice)

 

5 years and  under junior admin/net/systems admin/help desk manager  35-60k

5-10 years net eng, sys eng, sec auditor, non VP level management\mid-level, project man 55k-115k

10+ expert, sme, ccie, architect - 85k - 160k

Executive level (VP, CTO, etc.,) - 100k- 400k+ depending on company size.

12/12/12 12:59 PM
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Kage
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I live in Finland in a fairly small city. Salaries are somewhat lower here since there isnt a big job market for JEE stuff (larger cities have better salaries and more opportunities ofc).

Finnish salaries are about 5k lower so the disparity isnt that much after all. Its just that the talk about hitting the ceiling easily threw me off.
12/14/12 3:28 PM
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big_slacker
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Kage, yeah I wouldn't say the approaching that ceiling is an indicator of how easy it is to get there. I've been doing IT off and on for 15+ years and strictly network engineering for 8 of those, I probably did 2500 hours of study towards my CCIE and spent $7k on testing. Despite that I sometimes feel like the salary is a little crazy but I'm not gonna argue... ;)
1/20/13 12:05 AM
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OneScoup
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Road Warrior Fin - 
Kage - US salaries for techies (engineers, sw devs...) is really that high? 160k? How about averages?

Kage - what is your location?  I'm pretty versed in knowing salary ranges for int'l jobs, overseas, etc., so I am curious.

 

I'll speak for software (vm, microsoft, datacenter) and hardware (cisco, networking, firewall admin, voice)

 

5 years and  under junior admin/net/systems admin/help desk manager  35-60k

5-10 years net eng, sys eng, sec auditor, non VP level management\mid-level, project man 55k-115k

10+ expert, sme, ccie, architect - 85k - 160k

Executive level (VP, CTO, etc.,) - 100k- 400k+ depending on company size.


That's a pretty accurate assessment IMO.
1/20/13 12:09 AM
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OneScoup
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big_slacker - ^^ That's the thing, getting to manager isn't that tough. Getting to director there is a little luck and politics. VP you need some juice. Getting your name out there in the industry isn't a bad thing. I did some teaching (including cisco employees), wrote some books and presented at cisco live. That stuff really helped even though I'm not a 'name' in the industry. The contacts and word of mouth really helped.

About the wages though, you've got to ask yourself at some point if you can be at 160k as a techie with clearly defined goals and the ability to jump to a new spot at will if you hate your boss is it worth it to play politics, be on the hook for stuff, sweating making your number/MBO, etc...? for 10-40k?

I'd rather just have my wife go to work and make 50k, lol! Hurry up and grow you little rugrats!

That's a good point. Though another aspect is age discrimination. It works against you as a Sr Developer, but not as much as a Dir/VP. They expect executives to be older.

If you can get to VP level in a good sized company, you're getting a contract. Even getting fired includes a golden parachute. If you've been at that level for even only a few years you'd have to work hard to screw up retiring comfortably.
1/24/13 2:15 AM
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Juijitsuboxer
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I am an associate network engineer in Chicago. 2 years engineering exp. 1 year network engineering exp. CCT: R&S, CCENT, CCNA: R&S.

I make more than 60k less than 70k. 9 years exp. with my company (and industry). Started out as a customer service rep.

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