Another question about how much programmers are worth



  • I'm wondering what an appropriate charge-out rate (per hour) would be for a part-time .net programmer in the Calgary area, with 6-8 years programming experience and a .net software development certificate (from the University of Calgary).   Thanks!



  • @Albatross said:

    I'm wondering what an appropriate charge-out rate (per hour) would be for a part-time .net programmer in the Calgary area, with 6-8 years programming experience and a .net software development certificate (from the University of Calgary).   Thanks!

    There are several WTFs in your question, which makes me think this is a bogus post.

    First of all, "part-time" .Net programmer? What, are you still in school? With 6-8 yrs. of experience? WTF?  Are you going to offer "part-time" solutions to the company you're going to work for? Or maybe "partial" solutions? The company won't like that.

    Secondly, a .NET "software development certificate"? What is that exactly? I never heard of it. Sounds fake.

    Nice try though. 



  • @CPound said:

    I never heard of it. Sounds fake.
     

    What, are you still in school? With 6-8 yrs. of experience?
    Because nobody in the history of education has every gone back to school...

    "part-time" .Net programmer?
    And they certainly never worked while they went to school...or just wanted to pick up a little extra cash.

    Are you going to offer "part-time" solutions to the company you're going to work for?
    And no company has ever wanted a part time employee...never.  I guess that part time work I did for professors and small companies while I went to school never happened...

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    Ahem...

    @Albatross said:
    I'm wondering what an appropriate charge-out rate (per hour) would be
    Do you have a gig already and you're just trying to figure out what to charge?  

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000, you get a not bad approximation of the hourly rate.   Payscale.com shows the median wage for a junior/intermediate dev in Calgary at about $55K.  That works out to about $28/hour...roughly...and it doesn't account for having to take care of your own taxes, if that's an issue, etc.

    Of course, it varies.  If you're with a good company, you could make a lot more; if you're coding for a professor at the university, it could be a fair bit less.  How much do you think your time is worth? :)

    -cw



  • I know of some friends that are around the 8 year experience level, and a BSc in Computer Science getting in the 40-50/hr as a contractor, but this is full time.  I haven't heard of too many part-time gigs in the Calgary area, but they do exist.  With a certain amount of experience, people tend to stop looking at education a bit (not completely though).

    If you get into the oil industry you can get good $$, but outside of it is closer to CodeWisperer's estimate.  You can make his number a little higher considering the huge inflation Calgary's had in the last 3 years.
     



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    While I don't deny that part-time positions do exist for .NET programmers, good luck finding one unless you are a college intern.

    Step outside your uber-developer mode for a moment and think like a business. What clear-thinking corporation is going to want to hire a part-timer programmer? You know what the programmer is going to do every day. Say their "shift" is 8am-12pm. They come in, spend 15-20 minutes getting coffee, wander back to their desk, check email, take a break, chit-chat at the water cooler for another 30 minutes, come back to their desk, take a brief look at code, and then poof! Lunch-time! And they're gone. You may have gotten a solid 10 minutes of programming time from that part-timer. It just isn't cost effective for a company.

    I know the arguments you are going to throw my way, but you're going to use the wrong ones. You're approaching it from the perspective of a computer "operator". Someone who can legitimately work in the contexts of different "shifts". Very little is required of them mentally (compared to a .NET programmer) so they can do their job and leave as part-timers and it actually is cost-effective for the company. But we're not talking about an "operator" position here. A .NET programmer (at least the kind I'm thinking of) has to be present during development meetings, on-the-spot brainstorms, and just be there for consultation throughout the day...for the benefit of the rest of the group! A part-timer will never conform to the ever-demanding needs of a fully-functioning software shop.

    Would it be nice to do part-time .NET development? Absolutely. I'm not denying that. But most companies simply won't go for it when there is work to be done and deadlines to be met.



  • @Albatross said:

    I'm wondering what an appropriate charge-out rate (per hour) would be for a part-time .net programmer in the Calgary area, with 6-8 years programming experience and a .net software development certificate (from the University of Calgary).

    Albatross: I checked out the education link CW provided and it looks legit. I apologize if I offended you. I stand corrected on this.



  • @CPound said:

    You're approaching it from the perspective of a computer "operator".

    No, I'm approaching it from the point of view of a small company that has, say $1200/month to spend on a developer to maintain a few internal apps.  Or of some entrepreneurial type who wants someone to work on a small app he has in mind.   Or a college prof who needs someone to code up a few ideas related to his research.  

    I had each one of those jobs while I was in college.

    -cw



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    No, I'm approaching it from the point of view of a small company that has, say $1200/month to spend on a developer to maintain a few internal apps.  Or of some entrepreneurial type who wants someone to work on a small app he has in mind.   Or a college prof who needs someone to code up a few ideas related to his research.

    Oh. 



  • @CPound said:

    @CodeWhisperer said:

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    While I don't deny that part-time positions do exist for .NET programmers, good luck finding one unless you are a college intern.

    Step outside your uber-developer mode for a moment and think like a business. What clear-thinking corporation is going to want to hire a part-timer programmer? You know what the programmer is going to do every day. Say their "shift" is 8am-12pm. They come in, spend 15-20 minutes getting coffee, wander back to their desk, check email, take a break, chit-chat at the water cooler for another 30 minutes, come back to their desk, take a brief look at code, and then poof! Lunch-time! And they're gone. You may have gotten a solid 10 minutes of programming time from that part-timer. It just isn't cost effective for a company.

    I know the arguments you are going to throw my way, but you're going to use the wrong ones. You're approaching it from the perspective of a computer "operator". Someone who can legitimately work in the contexts of different "shifts". Very little is required of them mentally (compared to a .NET programmer) so they can do their job and leave as part-timers and it actually is cost-effective for the company. But we're not talking about an "operator" position here. A .NET programmer (at least the kind I'm thinking of) has to be present during development meetings, on-the-spot brainstorms, and just be there for consultation throughout the day...for the benefit of the rest of the group! A part-timer will never conform to the ever-demanding needs of a fully-functioning software shop.

    Would it be nice to do part-time .NET development? Absolutely. I'm not denying that. But most companies simply won't go for it when there is work to be done and deadlines to be met.

     

    I agree, that working only a few hours a day wouldn't be effective, however you could also choose to simply work on monday, tuesday  and wednesday. And do school on thursday and friday.



  • @stratos said:

    I agree, that working only a few hours a day wouldn't be effective, however you could also choose to simply work on monday, tuesday  and wednesday. And do school on thursday and friday.

    We do it this way. 



  • Sorry I took so long to reply - I had to go out of town for a few
    days.  Yes, I have the .net developer certificate from the U of C, and
    I have 6-8 years of programming experience in general, not all of which
    is in .Net.  I'm hoping to work a day or two every week so I can
    continue my education, and I'm just wondering what an appropriate
    charge-out rate would be.  I'm sorry if I started a flamewar - I really
    didn't mean to. 


    Thanks for your replies - looks like $20-$30 an hour would be appropriate, so I guess I'll start there.



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.



  • @ammoQ said:

    @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.

    A full year ~contains: 

    5 * 8 * 52 = 2080 hours.

    Time off for Joe Payroll is paid (it is in the US, right? right?), so that's included, even if it's not work.
     

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @ammoQ said:
    @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.

    A full year ~contains: 

    5 * 8 * 52 = 2080 hours.

    Time off for Joe Payroll is paid (it is in the US, right? right?), so that's included, even if it's not work. 

    OK, but a contractor obviously must charge more than x/2000 (where x is the desired yearly income) per hour to get the same income.



  • @ammoQ said:

    @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.

    US IT workers typically do about 1.5 times as many hours as people in most other countries. 



  • @asuffield said:

    @ammoQ said:
    @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.

    US IT workers typically do about 1.5 times as many hours as people in most other countries. 

    The standard number I use (US) is 48 weeks x 40 hours = 1920 hours.  (two weeks public holiday + two weeks paid vacation is fairly standard).  In the UK (my company's HQ is in the UK) they have 37.5 hour weeks, so that's only 1800 hours for 48 weeks.

    What's really interesting is that a lot of European countries have shorter work weeks to try and help unemployment by requiring more people to work to get the same amount done, yet unemployment figures are typically still high.  I haven't figured that one out yet personally...Here in the US, unemployment is usually pretty steady at around 4% which is excellent (pretty close to the assumed "natural unemployment rate"), unless you live in a state that is bleeding jobs (Michigan) or a state where you can't even live there if you don't have a job (Hawaii). 



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    @asuffield said:
    @ammoQ said:
    @CodeWhisperer said:

    It's been a while since I lived in Alberta, but if you take the avg. yearly salary & divide by 2000,

    2000 working hours per year? Is this normal in the US? Here in Austria, it's rather ~1700h/year.

    US IT workers typically do about 1.5 times as many hours as people in most other countries. 

    The standard number I use (US) is 48 weeks x 40 hours = 1920 hours.  (two weeks public holiday + two weeks paid vacation is fairly standard).  In the UK (my company's HQ is in the UK) they have 37.5 hour weeks, so that's only 1800 hours for 48 weeks.

    The other 0.5 is the unpaid overtime which is expected from all US IT workers. 



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    What's really interesting is that a lot of European countries have shorter work weeks to try and help unemployment by requiring more people to work to get the same amount done, yet unemployment figures are typically still high.  I haven't figured that one out yet personally...Here in the US, unemployment is usually pretty steady at around 4% which is excellent (pretty close to the assumed "natural unemployment rate"), unless you live in a state that is bleeding jobs (Michigan) or a state where you can't even live there if you don't have a job (Hawaii). 

    Reducing hours/week didn't work out, so there is even a tendency to reverse that. Many people have to work overtime anyway. For many employers, flexibility is more important though. If there is a lot of work to do, people should work more; in slack periods, people work less.  



  • @Albatross said:

    Sorry I took so long to reply - I had to go out of town for a few
    days.  Yes, I have the .net developer certificate from the U of C, and
    I have 6-8 years of programming experience in general, not all of which
    is in .Net.  I'm hoping to work a day or two every week so I can
    continue my education, and I'm just wondering what an appropriate
    charge-out rate would be.  I'm sorry if I started a flamewar - I really
    didn't mean to. 


    Thanks for your replies - looks like $20-$30 an hour would be appropriate, so I guess I'll start there.

    (Getting to the thread a little late, but...) 

    Are you intending on working as a part-time employee, or as an independent contractor that charges on an hourly basis?  If the latter, I think you're undercharging.

    Either way, the appropriate "workable" hours per year is closer to 1880 -- that's 52 5-day weeks, minus 10 vacation days, 5 sick days, and 10 statutory holidays.

     

    If you're an independent contractor, you have to consider the following, some of which may not apply to your situation:

    • You have to pay employee *and* employer portions of CPP
    • You don't pay either portion of EI, but you don't get any benefits either -- you have to "self-insure" in whatever way you wish for your slow times
    • Pay 100% of your own health/dental instead of an employer (usually) paying at least some portion
    • You must collect and remit GST if your revenue is $30,000 or more per year.
    • You need to account for "pre-sales" time -- when you're actively "doing" work but not achieving any billable hours
    • Cost of tools (hardware, software) and other business costs

    Most of the above means you need to charge more if you hadn't considered it.

    Good luck :)
     


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