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  1. #1
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    Question Salary Question - The Good News (And the Bad)

    I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place, so MODs, please move this if necessary.

    I've found myself in a rather unique situation, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some input from their own experiences.

    In 2004 I worked for a very well-known company as an intern doing web design, graphic design, content production, etc.-- essentially running their website and creating all the content for it as well. This was while I was going to school for journalism, and although things in the journalism field never worked out for me I continued to pick up web skills on my own as I designed and implemented new websites for various clients over the years.

    Fast forward to 2009. Freelancing didn't work out as a career for me, nor did journalism. I decided to hook up with a company my father worked for (a major US fashion retailer who shall remain nameless) to make ends meet. My first job there was working on the phones as a call center associate. Over time, I was promoted from the entry-level position to a senior, then a lead, then a trainer.

    A couple of months ago, a position opened up for what's called a "Learning Design Administrator." The job essentially entails, among other things, maintaining the company's online internal procedural manuals (terrible design that was done on a shoestring budget using Frontpage and nothing else back in the late 90's).

    When, I realized how outdated and under-powered these procedural manuals were. Shortly after I started working for the company, I began working on my own solution to a lot of the issues presented by the site. About two and a half years ago, I presented the idea to my supervisor. She loved it, and my team at work started to use a version of it before IT shut us down because we didn't have their input.

    The idea would have died there, had I just let it go. I didn't. I continued to use the solution I had created for my own purposes (one of the reasons why I was constantly promoted was my efficiency).

    I became very much an expert in our systems, and one day about a year and a half ago, out of the blue, our VP sat with me to learn our fraud prevention system in preparation for a meeting with our vendors. I showed her the solution that I had created and she was shocked.

    "Why aren't we doing this?" she asked.

    I told her about what happened when I tried to present the idea. She understood, but from then on she's always seen me as something of a genius and calls on me for tech-based ideas to problem solve current issues.

    Fast forward again to today. When I was promoted to Learning Design Administrator, I was finally in a position where I worked with technology and once again able to pitch the idea, this time with some credibility and the ear of the right people in the company to get the attention I needed.

    My boss got the go-ahead from her VP to write a business case justify funding for the project. What's more, they want me to build and maintain this project for use within my division, with possible expansion to the entire company down the road (I work in a support division encompassing about 1,200 employees). I may be able to hire someone to work with me on the project, so I may have some managerial duties as well.

    Essentially the project involves building a newer, updated version of our procedural manuals (currently on a very fragmented website with about 700 individual pages) with social media functionality and a web forum to boot. The great part of this all is that I will save the company literally millions of dollars in lost productivity and provide immeasurable improvements in issue tracking, training, team building and associate feedback. This will also pioneer the concept of social networking among employees working in our industry. It turns out that all those years of teaching myself coding are finally paying off, and they want me to lead the project.

    In other words, it's going to be a huge win for our company, and I couldn't be more honored to be leading the way.

    So here's the bad news: I have absolutely no idea what to ask for salary. None. Apart from my freelance work (which was never very steady and never for major websites) and my internship (which paid $1,000/month before taxes) I have never had a true, full-time job in this field. I'm not exactly sure what category this job would fall into, but my research says about $70,000/year seems to be a fair salary for the type of work I'd be doing.

    My question, then, are these-- what would you consider a fair salary for this type of job? Has anyone else here been in a similar situation and can give me suggestions on salary negotiations? What types of jobs should I bring up as comparable to the work I'm doing to support my salary requests?
    Last edited by superwookie; 08-06-2012 at 06:16 PM. Reason: grammar

  • #2
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    1. Where do you live? Location plays a huge role in how much is fair pay.

    2. Will you have direct reports or just be a team lead? The difference being if they are direct reports you would be responsible for doing their performance reviews and other manager type stuff.

    3. While not really related to your question, I'm curious, why would your internal procedure manual website need social media functionality? That just sounds like someone heard some buzz words and thought they should have it.
    OracleGuy

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    superwookie (08-13-2012)

  • #3
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    Thanks for the reply. I'm responding on my phone so I apologize for any typos.

    1. I'm in the Denver area.

    2. Not sure if I'll have any direct reports to start off with. Maybe one, at most, but more likely I'll be in a team lead situation.

    3. The social media functiinality is less about the manual and more about tracking where our associates are having issues as well as team building and training. Issue tracking in particular is a huge advantage of the project. Currently we don't really have any way of tracking where employees are running into problems. With our new system, we plan to track partially based on page hits in the manual as well ask by feedback and questions submitted via social networking and our web forums (moderated by our managers and supervisors). We have 1200 associates in three different states, so this is really the most efficient way of doing it.
    Last edited by superwookie; 08-06-2012 at 07:26 PM. Reason: expanded on point 3

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    *Bump* Any help? Anyone?

  • #5
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    I'm sure you've consulted salary.com to give you a pretty good idea of what an IT-type job pays in your area. I'm in Salt Lake which is approx. 10% lower (cost of living and wages) and I'd say 70k is probably your low range. If it's government then 70k is the high range. You have to also consider your experience level in the IT field, which is kind of messed up but that's how life works... I know guys who couldn't code their way out of a paper bag making way too much money just because they've managed to do just barely enough to not get fired for 30 years. And young guys sharp as tacks who really are the ones getting things done are at the low end of entry level positions. It's not fair... but it's reality.

    Will this salary also come with full benefits package I assume?

    Go Broncos, by the way.

    Congrats on your efforts, sounds like you've really grabbed opportunity when it came along! Have you considered a Wiki-based solution? I've implemented Dokuwiki for my team to document the systems we develop and support and it's been pretty great. We don't have any of that "fancy" social media though

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    superwookie (08-09-2012)

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    Thanks for the response! I really appreciate the help. One thing that makes salary research rather difficult in this situation is the job title, on which sites like salary.com base their information. I've been told that my title would be something along the lines of "Learning Design Architect" (it's kind of a long story, but the title reflects the department I'd be working under and the job that I'd be doing). Needless to say, that job title won't bring up any info on such sites.

    I'm already on-board with the company, so my benefits wouldn't change substantially (which is fine, they're already great -- matching 401k, employee stock purchase program, great health/dental/etc. insurance, FSA, etc., etc.)

    I have considered a Wiki, and that may be the route I ultimately go. I don't have any experience setting one up, so it would certainly be a new adventure. Most wiki software I've looked into seems pretty user friendly, however, so I don't think it'd be all that difficult (relatively speaking). I'll take a look into DokuWiki (thanks for the tip).
    Last edited by superwookie; 08-09-2012 at 08:50 PM. Reason: GO BRONCOS INDEED!

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    My current job is "weird" like that too, where my actual job isn't much programming at all (mostly implementing and maintaining highly specialized vendor software) but my title is "programmer analyst" anyway... I'd say what you'll be doing is akin to "programmer", "web programmer", "web developer", "application developer", that kind of title.

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    Those titles help quite a bit. Thanks a bunch (again).

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    If you're writing the requirements, working with development, and presenting to management and stake holders, you're role is closer to a "Business Analyst" or "Management Analyst". I would suggest starting at $120k. "Web Programmer" is more code-monkey work, and $60 - $90k is a reasonable salary for that type of position, but from what you describe, you have more responsibility and more input in the design / spec process, so you're more of an analyst which would put you in the $90k - $150k depending on the company.

    Also, never forget this, if you're saving the company literally millions per year, you're more than paying for your salary - don't be afraid to ask for what you deserve!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarl314 View Post
    If you're writing the requirements, working with development, and presenting to management and stake holders, you're role is closer to a "Business Analyst" or "Management Analyst". I would suggest starting at $120k. "Web Programmer" is more code-monkey work, and $60 - $90k is a reasonable salary for that type of position, but from what you describe, you have more responsibility and more input in the design / spec process, so you're more of an analyst which would put you in the $90k - $150k depending on the company.

    Also, never forget this, if you're saving the company literally millions per year, you're more than paying for your salary - don't be afraid to ask for what you deserve!
    At the same time they could hire someone with the proper degree to accomplish what he's going for if they wanted to pay that much.


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