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Tech People Making $100k a Year On the Rise, Again

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the it-is-all-about-the-wilson dept.

Stats 193

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Last month, a report suggested that Austin has the highest salaries for tech workers (after factoring in the cost of living), followed by Atlanta, Denver, Boston, and Silicon Valley. Now, a new report (yes, from Dice, because it gathers this sort of data from tech workers) suggests that more tech people are earning six figures a year than ever. Some 32 percent of full-time tech pros took home more than $100,000 in 2013, according to the findings, up from 30 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011. For contractors, the data is even better: In 2013, a staggering 54 percent of them earned more than $100,000 a year, up from 51 percent the previous year and 50 percent in 2011. How far that money goes depends on where you live, of course, but it does seem like a growing number of the world's tech workers are earning a significant amount of cash."

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$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (5, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | about 7 months ago | (#46816243)

Making $100k today is about the equivalent of making $80k in 2004 or $72k in 2000. A decent salary... but making "six figures" ain't what it used to be.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (4, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46816279)

What?!? According to the whitehouse, inflation's been at 0% since Jimmy Carter!

Pfft... The Whitehouse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817445)

You mean the same guys who are so detached from reality that they don't know how to drive or shop any more?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (3, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46816321)

Making $100k today is about the equivalent of making $80k in 2004 or $72k in 2000. A decent salary... but making "six figures" ain't what it used to be.

And it never will again... The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is working 24x7 making sure of that.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46816645)

You would prefer a fixed money supply?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816731)

Yes, absolutely..???

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46816733)

You would prefer a fixed money supply?

Not exactly, but certainly not the extremely loose monetary policy we now have. Perhaps just two shifts at the BPE and stop buying our own bonds with printed (or just made up digital equivalent) dollars? That might be nice...

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46816837)

Inflation since QE has not been outside historical levels [usinflatio...ulator.com] . QE started around late 2008.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817007)

Why are you trying to confuse the issue with facts? Can't you see that most people prefer to FEEL inflation rather than measure it? Especially if they are Republicans and the president is a Democrat?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46817043)

Well, to argue against myself, I don't necessarily disagree with the claim that QE may end up having negative long-term effects. But I do disagree with this statement: "Inflation has been abnormally high lately and it's largely because of QE."

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46817107)

Yes, but inflation will be the result of QE, like it or not.

I understand the hope is that we will return to growth by increasing the money supply, but there will be a down side to this eventually. I just hope the cure is less damaging than the disease. IMHO, QE is a short term tactical ploy with negative long term implications, but politics as they are, we are in a play now pay later game plan. It's all about the election coming up and not what really needs to be done, especially if it takes more than 10 words to explain because that doesn't fit in a sound bite.

But hey, I'm just a lowly software engineer.... What does it matter what I say or think?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 7 months ago | (#46817131)

Inflation since QE has not been outside historical levels [usinflatio...ulator.com] . QE started around late 2008.

A lot of that "consistency" is due to tweaks in the CPI in 1980 and 1990... Adjusting for those calculation tweaks [shadowstats.com] we see that inflation is actually quite high, nearing 9% on the historical record, not the claimed 2%.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46817515)

Using Shadowstat's own custom formula, inflation post-QE is not significantly different from inflation in the 2-4 years prior to QE starting.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817271)

Are you aware that the way inflation is calculated has been "tweaked" over the years?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817363)

That's because china & other corps are stuffing their dollars in mattresses rather than re-investing them. The liquidity isn't getting into the market.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (4, Informative)

bigpat (158134) | about 7 months ago | (#46817395)

Given the trillion dollar or more per year injections of new money into the economy, the fact that there isn't more inflation is a cause of concern. The money injections seem to be happening primarily at the top and only partly trickling down into the wider economy which is showing up as income inequality and growth starting at the very top rather than being spread around which would show up in consumer inflation. I think the real threat in the trickle down way the Federal Reserve and the US government are distributing new money is that it is getting concentrated even more at the top and that is further undermining and diluting democracy and freedom.

Certainly the new money does help to capitalize businesses and that has stabilized jobs, but the real long term sustainability of that "debt" will be premised on using Federal Reserve "profits" to balance the federal debt out over time rather than actually taking money out of the economy to pay it back later.

Bottom line is that with all this new money being concentrated at the top because of the actions of the Federal Reserve and the stimulus, then we are going to need a set of public policies to try and restore the political and economic power of the middle income earners that has been eroding steadily for decades. Which I am arguing has happened as a direct result from the way that new money creation is distributed by the Federal Reserve and US Government.

We need more ways to save income that are tax free combined with lower taxes on both the poor and middle class. And lower taxes or no taxes on job creating businesses. But higher taxes on very high individual incomes.

Deficits and new money creation to support economic reforms to broaden the middle class and strengthen our democracy and freedom are a worthwhile investment in the future.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46817077)

The amount of physical currency in circulation is of course totally irrelevant. It's a bad metaphor, since it only encourages the gold nuts. The money supply has fuck-all to do with physical currency.

We haven't seem inflation as a result of QE because it hasn't increased the money supply. We added $2 T by buying our own bonds, but at the same time bank reserves increased by about the same, at about the same rate.

The Fed's trying a new trick to hold bank reserves: they're paying interest rather than increasing reserve requirements (currently 0 for most accounts), but the result is the same.

Is this a wise approach? Time will tell. But they simply aren't heedlessly exploding the money supply.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46817293)

The amount of physical currency in circulation is of course totally irrelevant.

On that point you are correct, but the physical currency is being expanded. What IS relevant, is the expansion of the total money supply and the artificial lowering of interest rates caused by QE. Not all money is physical these days, much is electronic and only backed by physical currency when it hits the streets in your hands. IMHO Inflation will be the result of QE as it has increased the money supply, both physical and electronic. There is no way to avoid it because we have added more to the currency supply than to our GDP growth.

BTW, I'm not an advocate of buying gold as there are better things to invest in beyond something you cannot legally hold in your hand (unless it's in coin form) and have to pay somebody buy and store. Seems stupid to invest in something like that.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

axlash (960838) | about 7 months ago | (#46817403)

The Fed's trying a new trick to hold bank reserves...

I don't understand this. Did you mean to say that the Fed is trying a new trick to force the banks to release their reserves and spur a little inflation?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46817555)

No. The Fed has printed up a bunch of money, given it to the banks and is paying them interest to not release it into the wild. This allows them to lend out money at cheaper rates and supposedly helps the economy (in a "what could possibly go wrong?" kind-of way).

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

scorp1us (235526) | about 7 months ago | (#46816735)

He's got one. It's called bitcoin. How'st hat coming along?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46817577)

Doing good so far. Several events that would have destroyed other options and still rolling.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816783)

I would prefer rich assholes paying people what they are worth.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46816821)

If someone will do the job for $X and not leave for greener pastures then $X is what they're "worth".

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about 7 months ago | (#46817153)

At least blame the right faceless government agency. Inflation money hasn’t been actually printed on paper since perhaps before Jimmy Carter. The Federal Reserve just shifts the bits a couple of spots towards MSB on various too big to fail entities’ bank account records. Same effect, just less of that messy ink to deal with...

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46817401)

I will take your point... But The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is part of the Treasury Department is it not? And a Federal Reserve bank needs to be ready to cough up the physical cash should an account holder demand to make a withdraw.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46817603)

There's plenty of physical cash in vaults lying around.

The "nice" thing about paper money is that as inflation bites in, you just print bigger denominations on the paper. I mean, just take the ZImbabwe trillion dollar bills if you want an example.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816341)

Making $100k today is about the equivalent of making $80k in 2004 or $72k in 2000. A decent salary... but making "six figures" ain't what it used to be.

Done in one. Came here to see that, leaving satisfied.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816785)

Satisfied meaning "I tell myself this to make myself feel better about my own salary" ?

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46816359)

I'm sure anybody not currently making six figure salaries would still love to have one.

And since that includes an awful lot of people, I'm sure there isn't any collective sympathy that "six figures ain't what it used to be".

Because, really, neither is five figures.

$100K is not "living the life" (4, Informative)

schlachter (862210) | about 7 months ago | (#46816815)

Sure, agreed. But, I think the point is that 6-figures (as in $100K+/-) used to be associated with living the good life. Now it will buy you a nice modest home in a safe area with reasonably good schools while allowing you to afford health care and vacations and 401K contributions.

Similarly, 7-figures (as in $1M+/-) used to be associated with being super rich. Now it means you're very well off and well positioned in life, but you still have to work, and you still have to budget if you expect to keep growing that money for retirement.

Re:$100K is not "living the life" (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 7 months ago | (#46816985)

I had that at under 65k, I could do a lot at 100k+

Re:$100K is not "living the life" (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about 7 months ago | (#46817149)

Depends where you live, you taxation level, your debts, and many other factors. Personally, I would like to see China and India IT workers get 100K salaries as well. It would likely mean less off-shoring.

"Buy you a nice modest home" (2)

Nova Express (100383) | about 7 months ago | (#46817045)

Well, it will buy you a pretty nice home in Texas, anyway. California? Not so much. [battleswarmblog.com]

Especially with California's much higher tax rates [zerohedge.com] , including a rate of 9.3% that kicks for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year [tax-brackets.org] .

Re:$100K is not "living the life" (2)

Khoa (935586) | about 7 months ago | (#46817191)

you still have to budget if you expect to keep growing that money for retirement.

This never stopped being true. It's true at $20k a year and true at $1M a year.

Re:$100K is not "living the life" (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 7 months ago | (#46817251)

Yes, $100k used to mean you had made it... not just to the middle class, but to the upper middle class and maybe with some additional savings you could save up enough to start your own business. Now, especially in many of the more expensive metropolitan areas, $100k simply means you are in the middle of the middle class. $150k or even $200k is closer to the old $100k threshold in terms of a threshold to the upper middle class. And a lot depends on how much wealth you have already and which area you live in. Because $100k in salary if you have $500k in savings or a fully paid off house is like having a $2k to $3k per month increase in salary.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about 7 months ago | (#46817193)

I’m sure anybody not currently making six figure salaries would still love to have one.

Well... Except for those making seven or eight digit salaries, but they pretty much get what they want anyways.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46817623)

Don't worry, the way things are going, they'll get there soon enough.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816363)

Agreed. In 2000 I earned about 1/3rd of what I do now but it sure seems that that money went a lot further then than it does now.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816493)

seven figures is the new six figures.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816511)

Mod Parent Up.

SO TRUE.

Better metric (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 7 months ago | (#46816559)

How many of them are happy?

Re:Better metric (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816601)

According to the Dice survey, 3 of them are happy.

Re:Better metric (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816781)

Found the poor person (aka someone who makes under $100k)

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (5, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | about 7 months ago | (#46816709)

Oddly, I seem to exemplify this. I was on track up until the financial crisis then chaos ensued. But if we look at where I was in 2004 making ~$80k, then went higher, then back down at the crisis, and comparing my standard of living to now, it's completely the same. I have the same small house, paid-off car (but not the same paid off car) and the same or worse lifestyle. The only real difference is the economy is shakier and anyone can lose their job at any time. I know, it happened to me twice last year, despite stellar reviews. I spend way less money at the bar and I hardly eat out. The only positive is I am 10 years more into a mortgage. But I did get a dog.

Treading water, I'm doing it right.

This is all despite a very energetic attitude, high work ethic, and high work drive. I'm trying to get ahead. Even my dog has a higher work ethic than most people. But I'm still delightfully average. And even less secure than ever.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 7 months ago | (#46817013)

Well, now that you have the dog, at least you have someone to keep you company in the water as you paddle along.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46817117)

If you're single and have had a professional salary for 10 years, you should be halfway to retirement by now. Your wealth should be at the point where, while's there no way you could get by on it long term, there's simply no short-term financial stress in life.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817229)

If it's in a 401K, it's hard to get at. Plus, that money is earmarked for retirement, so having to dip into that or take out a home equity loan is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I have almost all my equity in my house and my 401K. That's already earmarked and if I were to lose my job for several months, I would have to dip into it.

I would be covered, but that's still falling backwards, and stressful.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817637)

I'm over 15 years into my job and most of my money is in retirement...I resent the fact that I won't be able to spend it all tax-free until I do retire though I understand rules are rules.

With even $50K freely to spend right now, I could go travel the world, climb, skydive, bike, run along the beach...

With $50K freely to spend when I'm 75...I could go travel the world in the airplane bathroom, climb into bed, dive into my oat bran, watch my grandson bike, and run to the doctor's office.

Re:$100k today the equivalent of $80k in 2004 (1)

AuralityKev (1356747) | about 7 months ago | (#46817241)

I think the operative word is *should.* I jumped into consulting when I was 24. I'm now 34 and SHOULD be halfway to retirement. Unfortunately they handed lots of cash to 24 year old me. 34 year old me would like to introduce that guy to financial discipline.

ha! (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46816265)

That's most likely due to "Tech" being considered more and more important in corporations and therefor leading clueless Directors and VPs to change their titles to include some tech sounding title to further their carers.

Geographical concentration of tech workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816289)

Tech workers live in places it is expensive to live as a natural consequence of their profession. Of course they're going to get paid more.

Illustrates the need for more H1B visas (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816347)

There obviously is a demand/supply imbalance here, if salaries are heading north this quickly. Dramatically increasing the number of H1B visas would help to rein in these runaway salaries and would be great for businesses that have to compete on a world stage.

Re:Illustrates the need for more H1B visas (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46816631)

The problem is that the H1B's are not sent home if the economy or IT crashes. When the econ crashes, H1B's will often work for desperate wages/hours so they won't be sent home while trying to find a better gig, clogging up the limited jobs for citizens.

Further, I doubt most H1B's are paid the higher salaries, for the very reason most companies use them is for cheaper labor that have no families and work long hours.

Re:Illustrates the need for more H1B visas (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about 7 months ago | (#46817311)

What exactly do you think paying non-citizens less to do the same work Americans could do accomplishes in terms of net positive?

I don’t dispute your assertion that allowing more H1B’s would drive down tech salaries, but as a tech worker NOT among the six-digit salary range myself, I can’t conceive of a possible way that’s a good thing.

That said, having interviewed a number of H1B candidates, I’m of the impression that adding more marginally skilled labor to the labor pool doesn’t help anything at all. Highly skilled people demand high salaries. At least for the H1B candidates who have come my way, they’re no better in aggregate than the “average” non-H1B candidate. Quite a few of them are significantly less skilled in the areas we’re looking for.

Opening the floodgates to throw more “resources” at the problem doesn’t help the fact that exceptionally skilled programmers are (well...) exceptional and generally difficult to find. Compensating them commensurate with their skill is good business sense since if you lose them, your odds of finding more are slim.

Re:Illustrates the need for more H1B visas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817313)

C'mon Mark Zuckerburg, don't post anonymously!

factor in contractors? Then... (4, Informative)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 7 months ago | (#46816349)

If you factor in contractors then you need to factor in all the extra benefits of salaried workers. Such as 401k matches, medical insurance premiums, the other half of social security, etc.

Contractor Vs. Employee (4, Informative)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#46816423)

As someone who has done a lot of contracting but has also done long stretches as a full-time employee, I would take less pay for a full-time position any day. As a contractor, insurance generally costs more and covers less. You also miss out on a lot of corporate perks. Further, contracts are usually defined as 3-months, 6-months, one-year with an unknown possibility of being hired on at the end of your contract. So as soon as you get cozy, poof! Then, if the contract does not specify a time limit, you never know when the ax will fall. There are misc. other downsides as well. So yes, I always made a lot more money as a contractor, but being a real employee is always better.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46816487)

As someone who has done a lot of contracting but has also done long stretches as a full-time employee, I would take less pay for a full-time position any day.

I'm in the middle ... I'm a consultant, which means I'm a full-time employee who is contracted out.

Which means the people who engage my services likely end up paying about 3x my salary to have me as a consultant.

Fortunately, I've been on the same contract for almost 4 years, which means I get the stability of being like an FTE.

I also work with people who are independent contractors. Judging by the number of times one of them has been to Vegas, Jamaica, and Hawaii since I've known him, he's doing pretty well. And, again, he's been around on the same contract for several years as well.

I guess if you get to be a contractor on what turns into a long-term gig, you can get the best of all possible outcomes. There are some markets where all of the companies are using consultants and contractors for most of the work, and those can be quite lucrative for the right people.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (1)

Matheus (586080) | about 7 months ago | (#46816789)

I have a different best of both... I'm a contractor who is a W2 employee of the consulting company I'm currently contracted through. I'm getting billed out at something like 2-2.5 of what I get paid but I'm still getting paid more like a contractor. Since I am W2 they are also covering my employment taxes just no bennies otherwise (PTO/Health/401K/etc)

When this contract is done there's no guarantee of anything beyond (from me or from them) but it's in their best interest to keep me feeding them money so I'm on the upper hand for next contract. Saves me the trouble of doing sales and in exchange I'm making less but honestly making nice $ so not concerned at the moment.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (1)

seigniory (89942) | about 7 months ago | (#46816849)

Which means the people who engage my services likely end up paying about 3x my salary to have me as a consultant.

So if assuming your normal yearly rate is a respectable $100k, and you're on a consulting gig where your annual is effectively 3x that, or $300k, your hourly rate comes out to roughly $144 /hr.

For a short-term engagement, that's not bad at all, but it's awfully high for a 4-year stint. I'd love to learn more about how you came into the position, what it entails, etc. Would you be willing to share here, or at least privately?

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46817161)

For a short-term engagement, that's not bad at all, but it's awfully high for a 4-year stint. I'd love to learn more about how you came into the position, what it entails, etc. Would you be willing to share here, or at least privately?

I can tell you in broad generalities ... there are some cities, especially ones with a large amount of companies who do oil and gas, where all of the companies mostly use consultants as the majority of their workforce. So almost all of the IT stuff is contracted out and overseen by employees.

The people who can sign contracts and who oversee things are generally employees. Everybody else is a contractor. There is no "us and them" mentality, since most people are in the same boat, so you tend to get treated with some respect. Everybody plays nicely, and if the company likes your work, there's a good chance they'll keep renewing your contract. It's not uncommon for a contractor/consultant to be in a position of recommending options and driving projects or to have been around for years.

It also has the benefit of being private sector and big money industries, which means when a decision is made, and the company accepts that the cost is necessary and beneficial, things actually get done.

Since it's a mobile, contractor work force, there's always opportunities, and sometimes you get a very strange sense of collegiality among companies as the people who are there have likely worked at several others and still have good ties, and periodically check in to see how the other guys are doing things. IT is there to enable to people who do the real work of the company, so you get a really good service/results oriented culture. If you're competent, play by the rules, and do your job well ... well, who doesn't like that?

In my case, due to a limited amount of people with experience with a specific piece of software, I actually live and work in a completely different city ... in fact, it's about a 4 hour flight. But, I've brought my expertise to the table, and people have responded well.

And since they've been happy with my work, I've gotten renewed several times and am one of the people who makes the technical decisions about the stuff we maintain.

But, everything from storage, to networking, to the sys-admins are contractor based workforce. And there's multiple companies all vying for the same workforce.

So, honest answer, do some looking, see if you can identify a large city with a lot of presence of the headquarters of oil and gas companies, and check if they have the same kind of mostly-contractor work force. There may be other industries which have similar effects on cities.

Maybe start looking in the Denver area. And, depending on your citizenship and mobility, maybe look a little North to something similar.

It's not true in all cities, but there are certainly a few where the consulting market is quite lucrative and stable.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817209)

Fortunately, I've been on the same contract for almost 4 years, which means I get the stability of being like an FTE.

If you've really been at the same "contract" position for 4 years in a row, the company hiring you is going to get reamed by the government if they ever get audited. Typically, you have 1 year before you either need to be a FTE or hit the road. There are laws to protect the "temps" of the world who get paid jack, and are never hired full-time. Unfortunately, it applies to contract positions as well, even if it has a negative effect in this case, but a positive effect in the "temp" case.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816739)

If you're at all competent at what you do, the contracting route is generally much better.

Group insurance plans aren't that much better than private anymore, and now many companies are charging their employees more and more for insurance. A typical company pays out about $12,000/year in health insurance, while the employee still contributes about $2500/year. Rates for private insurance for high-level "platinum" policies are generally less than that and afford the same coverage now -- even if not going through the ACA (Obamacare). So companies are actually getting screwed by insurance providers and ACA is actually a good deal relatively. Large companies will start dropping health insurance or compensating employees more to sign up for Obamacare in the coming years.

Then take into account the fact that many employee benefits you simply don't need (e.g. a man doesn't need maternity leave, you may not want long-term disability, etc.). You can pick and choose your own benefits as a contractor and not have to pay into the pool (via reduced compensation) of what everyone else wants.

So, even if you account for a large benefits package of about $20k/year, then take into account a little extra work on taxes, you can still easily come out ahead as a contractor vs. full-time employee.

If you're not good at what you do and can't get another job easily, living outside your means, not saving, don't enjoy vacation (time in between contracts is great!), have a family you can't afford, or other issues, then maybe the stability of full-time is better.

I prefer contracting by far.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817613)

"Then take into account the fact that many employee benefits you simply don't need (e.g. a man doesn't need maternity leave, you may not want long-term disability, etc.). You can pick and choose your own benefits as a contractor and not have to pay into the pool (via reduced compensation) of what everyone else wants."

Nope. Not anymore. Obamacare insures that you pay for the majority of benefit categories now (pediatric dental, maternity, substance abuse, etc.) regardless of need. Enjoy.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816933)

Once upon a time, you could recoup some of those costs (of being a private contractor) by founding your own corporation of which you were the only employee. That gave you several legal instruments by which you could significantly lower your tax burden.

In fact, in most industries that lend themselves to contract work, contractors do precisely that.

You can't do that in software development, however, because of a law passed in the 90's that specifically targets software developers, and disallows this.

Well...technically you still can...but the IRS can arbitrarily decide to enforce the law and use it to take away basically all of your money after you have earned it.

"Fostering innovation" my ass.

Re:Contractor Vs. Employee (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 months ago | (#46816949)

So as soon as you get cozy, poof!

If you're getting cozy at you're job, you're not progressing in skills, pay, or responsibility. Stay a "permanent" employee if you want to get "cozy". Those who want to quickly advance should contract. I went from phone jockey to database application developer in 8 years, during which time, most "permanent" employees I knew were still doing the same job the entire time.

Austin, great but not my kind of town... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46816427)

Y'all can have Austin. It's a beautiful place with lots of fun things to do, but not my kind of town. Parts of Austin are really great, but there are better places in Texas for me. If you are young looking to have lots of fun, Austin would be great. It's a little weird at times (too weird for me) but some folks like it.

So, if you can stand the weird (or even like it) give Austin a try. Don't let the fact that it's part of Texas fool you, if you like Cali, you will fit in well. Just please let me visit ever now and then, even though it's not my kind of place, there are some excellent places to eat, wonderful places to go and beautiful places to see and I have friends who still live there.

Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (2, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46816581)

If you are young looking to have lots of fun, Austin would be great. It's a little weird at times (too weird for me) but some folks like it.

LOL ... so, it's not unlike the rest of the world, but entirely unlike Texas?

I've never been to Texas, but this sounds like the rest of Texas is quite boring, and not someplace most of the rest of the world would enjoy.

Kind of like Deliverance or something.

Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (1, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 7 months ago | (#46816703)

If you are young looking to have lots of fun, Austin would be great. It's a little weird at times (too weird for me) but some folks like it.

LOL ... so, it's not unlike the rest of the world, but entirely unlike Texas?

Well, I've lived in Texas nearly 20 years in three different places, Austin was one of them. And to answer your question, yes, Austin is vastly different than just about any other place I've been in Texas. In fact, it reminds me more of the west coast (where I've lived too) than Texas. I'd warn you, that Austin has it's own special kind of weirdness, mostly because of the University that sits right next to the capital building, but some folks like it.

Austin has some really unique things in it, starting with the pinkish marble capital building all the way down to the people that wonder around on South Congress watching the bats and beyond. It's something to experience, to be sure, but it wasn't my cup of tea.

Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (1, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46816827)

I'd warn you, that Austin has it's own special kind of weirdness

LOL ... all these fancy city slickers with their fancy weird haircuts and their fancy weird rock and roll music driving their fancy weird imported cars. People had wires sticking out of their ears for some reason.

Why I saw guys not wearing plaid shirts, belt buckles or hats, and sipping on some kinda weird foamy coffee things ... and they was holdin' hands! Bubba was practically beside himself when he saw the girl with the blue hair and the safety pin through her nose.

I went into a Japanese bait shop, and the guy kept rolling it up with rice ... fish don't eat rice! I have no idea how I was supposed to catch a fish with two sticks.

Then I went to this Eye-talian place, and they kept grating something that smelled like my daddy's socks over my food.

I keed, I keed ... I know Texans usually carry guns.

Suddenly Austin sounds like an interesting place.

Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (-1, Troll)

Mullen (14656) | about 7 months ago | (#46816725)

What they are doing is using "code words" for what they don't want around them. They don't want it to be diverse; White's Only. They don't want ANY Gay people around. They don't want any "Femanazi's" around (*Gasp* asking for equal pay for equal work is like cutting off my penis!!!!!). They want Bible to be the main focus of education in their schools.

Don't be fooled with the polite code words, they want to go back to 1950's.

Re:Austin, great but not my kind of town... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816879)

Where do you get any of that? Austin is part of San Francisco relocated to Texas.

Contractors skew that number... (2)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 7 months ago | (#46816437)

If you look at the percentages, contractors are much higher than FTEs. They also have much higher costs and less stable working conditions, which the higher rate compensates for. Given the...uneven...quality of contractors I've seen who are nevertheless well compensated, I've often considered jumping into that lifestyle. After all, if idiot hustlers can bill $150+ an hour on a project and tank it, imagine what someone who knows what they're doing can do! Having a family really does make you stop and think about that though.

Advantages to contracting:
- Never the same job twice
- Absolutely every cent you spend on anything is a deductible business expense, so you pay much less in taxes
- Flexibility

Disadvantages:
- Constantly moving, never getting a chance to see something all the way through
- You're a one man/one woman sales force
- Future work never guaranteed

Re:Contractors skew that number... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 months ago | (#46816957)

Constantly moving, never getting a chance to see something all the way through - You're a one man/one woman sales force - Future work never guaranteed

- Moving is good. Staying the same place, career-wise, is generally considered to be bad.
- A contract IT person doesn't do sales and more than a "permanent" IT employee does sales. I think you're confused between contracting and consulting.
- Your future work is never guaranteed as a "permanent" employee, either. Contractors will generally have much better job prospects, though.

Re:Contractors skew that number... (1)

Singularitarian2048 (1068276) | about 7 months ago | (#46817481)

Can you get into contracting if your specialty is scientific computing?

Is it possible, as a contractor, to work only part of the year?

In 1970... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816497)

My father paid cash for a fully tricked out Mustang (approx 1 month salary) and got a new 3000+sqft home on a large lot (125x175) for a mortgage equal to 12 months of earnings.

Now, roughly equivalent cars cost* 3 month salary and similar homes are 5-10 years of my income - even well north of 100k.
* on-the-road price post taxes/fees etc

I'm doing OK, but I have MUCH less disposable income that he did AND I'm working 25% longer hours in a far higher stress environment.

Re:In 1970... (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 7 months ago | (#46817115)

My father paid cash for a fully tricked out Mustang (approx 1 month salary) and got a new 3000+sqft home on a large lot (125x175) for a mortgage equal to 12 months of earnings.

Your dad was doing pretty well for the time -- close to $40K, assuming something like $3200 for the car. (Not sure how "fully tricked out" you mean.) By this inflation calculator [bls.gov] , that equates to about $240K today.

Today, one month of an equivalent salary will get you a reasonably nice new car, and one year of an equivalent salary will get you a nice house, unless you live in Silicon Valley, DC, Boston, or another hyperdeveloped area. I'd say that the inflation calculator reflects what's going on with car prices; real-estate prices have outstripped it in many places, but not all. (If he bought a house in Detroit in 1970, you probably wouldn't be seeing a good return on that investment today.)

But, as the Fed inflation-metric apologists always point out, a 1970 car is not the same as a 2014 car. Compare fuel efficiency, safety equipment, reliability, and you can make the case that you get a lot more for the same money today. Real estate? Meh, a third of an acre in 1970 is about the same as a third of an acre today, and I'm not sure the superior insulation and wiring of a 2014 new house compensates for the generally inferior workmanship compared to 1970.

Whats the take home? (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | about 7 months ago | (#46816517)

After taxes, medical and 6% retirement, what about 55k (or more depending if you have state taxes, local taxes, house taxes, etc).. .

4.5K a month. Nice apartment close to work will cost 1500 bux, insurance/gas/car payment 500 bux, leave you 2500 a month, basic utils 500 bux.
2K a month. After food, eating out, pub, movies. Comfortable life but I wouldnt say rich.

And you'll need around 200K to live in the Bay area to make up for the Rent, state taxes, etc.

Go ahead and correct me, I just guestimated.

Re:Whats the take home? (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 7 months ago | (#46816803)

$100k, the minimum needed for one to be in the "six figures" bucket, is more than ~80% of U.S. households earn, many of which have two incomes. A household with two developers both earning $100k/year would be in the top 4% of all households [wikipedia.org] .

As for the cost-of-living adjustment for the Bay area, relative to Austin, I used a number of online calculators and $100k in Austin seems to be the equivalent of about $162k in San Jose.

and ur just doing a single person calc (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 7 months ago | (#46816855)

Add in a stay at home mom and a kid and you really have to be frugal to make ends meet at $100K (which is about $60K take home after taxes/deductions/insurance/etc).

I feel bad for the average American family who is making $55K/yr.

Re:Whats the take home? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46817223)

4.5K a month. Nice apartment close to work will cost 1500 bux, insurance/gas/car payment 500 bux, leave you 2500 a month, basic utils 500 bux.

I knew Texas was kind of more independent in the past, but not that they had their own currency...? What's the current exchange rate between bux and US dollars?

a total non-story (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 7 months ago | (#46816521)

Yes and the cost of living in each of these places is about triple so they're making $33,333 in my money which means I'm making more than them. This is such a non-story.

Re:a total non-story (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46816617)

Not really. Things you buy like cars, TVs, and groceries and the like don't triple, and they represent a good chunk of what you'll spend money on.

If you're spending more than half of your income on housing you're probably pretty screwed.

That $100K might be something you could have a similar standard of living as someone making $60K elsewhere, but I highly doubt it's ever something you can meet with $33K.

I think you're numbers are flawed.

Re:a total non-story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816639)

It's quite telling when you have an interview in NYC and realize "I'd have to get double my salary just to cover the added commute costs, quadruple it if I was actually going to live there." And then they offer you 4% more than your current and stock options.

Nope.

Bouble, Bouble, Toil and Trouble (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 7 months ago | (#46816571)

Save up guys, it smells like a bubble and quacks like a bubble. It may not be, but better to be safe than sorry. Those who don't learn from history live in the back of 1992 Honda Civics.

It happens since know-nothings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816583)

Paying payrolls aren't able to do actually DIFFICULT work that takes thought & skills + tech folks aren't stupid anymore, & wait out until the dolts at the top realize that. How they are "superiors" has always boggled my mind. How on earth can they be that, when they aren't able to do the job of their subordinates? Oh, "yes, yes - we make important decisions so we get paid more" well, you wouldn't be able to make those without techies assisting you. Especially coders who develop analysis tools for you. Everyday, EVERYONE MAKES DECISIONS THAT ARE IMPORTANT (you're not alone, know-nothing numbskulls). We wait "your kind" (leeches of the world, related to top shareholders or part of a clique, religious = Jews, or Masons, or you were part of the right 'frat' in college - THIS is how scumbags get those jobs in mgt. or on boards of directors, period). We wait you out, & then, WE get PAID commeasurate with the amount of skills, degrees, & experience the art & science of computing demands - that "execs" clearly, don't possess a shred of (especially coding - without which those exec dumbos and even network admins + techs cannot do their jobs without).

Its a TRAP! (0)

nimbius (983462) | about 7 months ago | (#46816723)

I mean sure man you get a six figure salary but i mean...TEXAS...you'd be living in a state that prays for rain and endorses creation science! its secession threats are so regular you could set your watch to them. And that doesnt even count the governor who compares gays to alcoholics. I mean its fine so long as you're cool with theocracy.

Re:Its a TRAP! (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 7 months ago | (#46816795)

Yes, you're absolutely right! Austin sucks! Please don't move here.

Re:Its a TRAP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817059)

It's horrible in Austin. All those stupid Texas stories, they're all TRUE!

(Austin is nothing like the rest of Texas. In fact, every time 'Texas' talks about secession, everyone in Austin reminds the Governor if the state can do it, so can Austin, and then he'd have to go find a new capitol. We just try to discourage others from moving here. It's not working so far, but we're hoping some day it will.)

The difference is Cost of Living (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 7 months ago | (#46816747)

I'd bet if you could look into those numbers, a lot of those higher earners are living in places where the Cost of Living is ridiculous. The prime example is Silicon Valley, which is gaining thousands of tech jobs a year, but there is simply no housing to be had for reasonable prices anywhere within an hour's commute. (And if you try living that hour away, you'll find locals picketing your horrible commute).

It would be interesting to see numbers "normalized" for cost of living differences.

Re:The difference is Cost of Living (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817103)

Atlanta and Austin have ridiculous costs of living?

Cost of Living? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46816773)

This needs to be weighted against the cost of living to be of any use. Making 6 figures as a tech worker in San Fran or New York isn't exactly living large. Making 6 figures as a tech worker in a small rural community is a big deal. The difference may be that more tech jobs are moving into big cities where the cost of living is significantly higher. Yes, the pay is higher, but the take-home isn't.

Re:Cost of Living? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817477)

"Cost of living" comes out of "take home",

salary - (taxes + deductions + benefits + etc.) = take home (your check or deposited funds)

cost of living = housing + utilities + food + transportation (i.e the necessities)

take home - cost of living = discretionary funds

Due to end of anti-poaching agreements? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 7 months ago | (#46816891)

Does this the crackdown on anti-poach agreements have something to do with it?

And of course it's VERY region-dependent...try making half that much outside of SF, NYC or Austin...all the places with sky-high real estate costs, what an odd coincidence.

Re:Due to end of anti-poaching agreements? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 7 months ago | (#46817021)

I'm based in Oklahoma, one of the least expensive places to live in the country, and I've been over $100K for many years. Location has something to do with it but your capabilities, experience, and reputation have a lot more to do with it.

Lived in OK for many years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817277)

I lived in Oklahoma for 25+ years, it's not worth it.

Re:Due to end of anti-poaching agreements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817399)

If I may ask, what do you do?

Re:Due to end of anti-poaching agreements? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46817419)

I didn't realize LDAP was so lucrative...

Sounds about right (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 7 months ago | (#46816907)

I have been doing IT for 15 years and broke the six figure mark two years ago. Last year after factoring in bonuses I made a little over $150k.

I had to move into management to make that salary.

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