no. Everything else, gas, electricity, dentists, drugs are cheaper. And who the hell _needs_ a BMW.
Around here 40K is good money, and yes if you're any good, you'll get bumped up fast, and if you have experience that's not where you'd start. That 40K is for someone with no experience. You know, someone fresh out of a diploma mill with no long term project management skills. How many people do you know who've come out of college thinking they're god's gift to programming yet can't function in a professional programming environment right off the bat. If you don't have any experience, you'd better have some humility. You may have been raised to believe that you're mommy's special little snow flake, but in the real world you're part of a team and a community and you need to ask some questions before you decide you have all of the answers. We're not going to do everything like you learned in class, because it could take to long to refactor 3 million lines of code in 5 different product lines.
I misspoke actually. All of our programming staff has degrees, but only half of them have it in CS, and some are just associates.
The rules are simple here. If you want to make more money write something that makes the company more money. We stay in business by writing software for courts who can't afford some million dollar software package. We have court's who have only two people on staff, one of which is an elected official. It's our job to help them as much as we can, without breaking the bank. Last I checked we charge 30K for our flagship, while our closest competitor charges 1.2 million. Should we charge more, no, none of our clients could afford it. We're into help out the folks who need help, not the people who can afford to through unlimited amounts of money at a problem. Our pricing model has always been based on how much time/money we save the courts from having to do it by hand. If we add a new feature that's going save them 30 seconds on each case that gets filed then we we charge them a percentage of their labor savings. This doesn't make us a ton of money, but we're about making sure our employees have jobs and homes, and a low stress work life, not making them or the company rich.
Why am I still arguing? Because I'm trying to have a dialog with people here so that I can understand their points of view and see if I need to adjust my own, which may very well be wrong.
I've never said that there is a shortage of people with the necessary skills out there. I think that's utter bullshit, there plenty of people out there with mad skills, who just need a little training. As opposed to meeting some company's crazy list of requirements. I do think there is a shortage of people who will come to work in our area.
As far as incentives go, we have them, but they're generally not money related, which means it's harder to find the people. There are other software companies around here who offer far more money, but less perks and still can't find people. I think they hire in large metro areas then give them the option of moving here. Not really sure.
And we do get all of our work done with just the people we have. That doesn't mean we're not always looking for more. As far as attracting talent to the area goes. That's hard. There are 4, maybe 5 software shops, and one hardware manufacturer around here, plus SIUC. So there's not a lot of opportunity to jump from job to job. If you've got real talent, and a penchant for jumping from job to job you can't really do it here. It's a catch-22, there aren't enough talented people here to really lure more talented people. We're sponsoring Hack Fests with SIU, and Conferences with local schools but that all takes time, because we effectively have to build up our talent from the local population, as opposed to being able to import them. And for the foreseeable future the pay nor the community is not going to be what it is out in the Valley. Doesn't mean we're not trying to change it.
We're most assuredly in the nice life less money category. Our policy actually requires that you do NOT dress up for work. It's a shoes optional kinda place. The hours are fairly flexible. You can roll in fairly late as long as you roll out fairly late, but the general consensus is that you try to be here when everyone else is aka 9:30 - 3. 2 weeks vacation starting + one week sick time (wellness days fall in here, aka it's the first day of spring, I'm calling in sick)+ all illinois court holidays. Additional day of vacation each year. We've got a couple of telecommuters but generally discourage it, unfortunately. Most people live within about 12 min from here. I live four min away on ten acres out in the woods.
As for the languages RPG, VB6, VB.NET, JAVA. We have 6 coders (3 of which hold CS degrees) and about 3 million lines of code, and we've been at this since 1986 and are currently in 80 of the 102 courts in illinois. It's a fun job where you get to have a impact on a lot of peoples lives, hopefully for the better. We're just a bunch of hippies out in the woods writing software. This is not a job posting btw. Not my area. But this job isn't about the money, it's about the quality of life. Everyone here owns their own home, and has a decent car/truck, and can pay their bills. The view out my window is nothing but forest, yet we're sitting on a nice new fiber backbone. It's a nice place, if you're into a peaceful family kind of life. STL is about 2 hours away, and Memphis is about 3. You can take a $50 air taxi and be there in 30 min, or hop the train to Chicago or New Orleans.
to address these:
1. People don't want to live in this area period, wages have a lot less to do with it.
2. I never said "top tier employees" all I said was more than a few homework assignments.
3. We'll gladly train people who can show some aptitude or energy.
We do offer paid internships, we do work with the local schools etc. But you'd be a fool, unless you're a family guy looking for stability at a young age, to work for us if you can get Google or Yahoo or whatever on your resume. Rural america is the end of the line as far as your career goes. What we are seeing are midlife people, who are tired of the rat race. And that's generally what we hire. We have one person in their 20's and everyone else is pushing 40 or over, out of 16.
The kind of experience most companies seem to be looking for is insane. We generally will take anyone with experience in writing or involved in decently large projects. If there in one of the main languages we use then that's great. But we always look for more than just a pile of completed homework assignments. With so much opportunity to write software out there in open source projects and what not, there is no reason for people to not have some experience. We don't require you know the problem space or any particular framework all we want are people who love to code and want to help people. In return, we'll help you. There's no one starving here, we're laid back and have a good time. No one is expected and it's discouraged for you to work more than 39 hours a week. So you actually want to spend time your family? Please do, this is a job, not your whole life. Take the afternoon off because it's the first day of spring. Point being, there is a lot to be said for low-key low-stress jobs where we pay people great wages for the area.
I said 40K starting. No Experience just a degree. At that point you are a monkey get over yourself. And the student loans suck. I think that's a very good point, you can't graduate from college with that much debt and take a job in rural America. Our clients (Courts) can't afford to pay more than they are. Hell they can't even pay their own staffs around here. It sucks from that point of view. What's happened around here, is that the cost of college has gotten so high because they have to pay competitively for professors to be willing to work here, while pricing the cost of tuition out of reach of the local people for whom the college was supposed to help. While at the same time, except for a few departments, the quality of teaching and the degree is so low that only big city kids who couldn't get into a decent school attend, and then leave after trashing the place. There will always be more opportunities in a large urban area than a rural area, and more on the coasts than the midwest. That just life, but as far a shortage of programmers go, we have one. All we can offer are cheap cost of living, safe schools, nice enviroment, lots of nature, wineries, and fiber to your house.
Not my company, and we manage to get by.
There is a 57.67% cost of living difference between here and the west coast. What people see is that we offer $40K starting where as the coast will offer $63K. Yet, they are the same amount as far as cost of living goes.
For one, this is the midwest. The pay isn't nearly as attractive as the coasts. And if you move away from the STL area it gets even worse. We have a very hard time down in Southern IL finding programmers. Everyone wants to go to the Valley, and make a fortune writing Games or Social apps. No one WANTS to come here and write court case management software. There's no glamour in it, and the pay is meh. We also want our applicants to have some programming experience when they show up; and NO, a quicksort algorithm you did in a CS class at the local university won't cut it. Plus we have to compete for hires with companies like Yahoo and Google for the decent folks coming out of school. In your mid 20's there are not a lot of kids looking to start families and live the quiet life around here. Local companies can't compete on Money, nor Ultra Urban lifestyles around here. So there's a shortage as far as we are concerned.
Alas, I have no mod points for you, but think highly of your post.
The Superbowl?! that's that thing I can't stream over the internet where all of the cool commercials are? Whatever the hell a commercial is anyway... I keep looking for that series on Netflix and the torrents to no avail.
In my new home, the Metal siding does just as good a job at keeping out the signals... Cell included
I think Redhat has been a very good influence on and partner in the OSS movement for a long time. If I trust any company to get involved with CentOS and not dick around, but try to actually make it better, it's RedHat. Generally nice folks trying to make money and the world a better place. And not necessarily in that order.
I too have done it and it really is that simple. We tend to do that when we're moving servers out of 'critical' production, and can no longer justify paying for support.