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>I can only imagine the fat paycheck a 20-year old mainframe programmer would get though, because your age in this case would be invaluable.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not the case. Companies that want top talent and are willing to pay for it are not shy about that fact. Seeing a legit job posting for a position that pays double your current salary is a solid incentive to apply.

I'm guessing that the subject of this interview probably makes a less-than-competitive salary. Programmer pay has handily out-paced inflation for decades now. She probably started at around $30,000/yr in 1991, if she managed to get a 3% raise every year, that would only bring her to like $63,000/yr.

Naturally, I'd love to be wrong about this. This woman has a demanding and important job and deserves a generous salary for it.




Also, I guess that really when they say COBOL they mean 'our decades old spaghetti mess of COBOL', not COBOL itself. I doubt anyone would struggle to 'learn' COBOL, but it would take years to figure out exactly how these systems work.

Therefore there's not much chance you can go to another bank and do the same stuff, surely? Therefore less pay.


Exactly. The complexity here is not in learning Cobol, it's understanding a complex, mission-critical legacy system with no documentation, no support and implemented using little to no methodology or best practices.


A $63,000 salary does not seem too bad for being in Sweden. Sure, it's not as ridiculously high as some salaries are, but the general public would consider it a high compensation.


Yeah you're probably right, that was just me asking the question to myself more or less.

I've been raised to not ask what people make, that it's considered rude - so I have no clue what she makes.


> I've been raised to not ask what people make, that it's considered rude - so I have no clue what she makes.

Sure, but within the same family? While I was a kid this was vital to get some idea of the family budget. :P

Of course, it's simple enough to look up at Skatteverket...


You're not wrong. COBOL programmers aren't paid well AT ALL.


I made a decent salary as a COBOL developer (more like maintainer since nothing new was written). I was a first-year graduate making $80k+ in a Midwestern town. Senior salaries are probably hard to come by, I imagine, though...


I've got a uncle whose a COBOL solutions architect at a large company and he makes less than 125K. It's a decent living but he doesnt really have the ability to make a move like many of his .net based colleagues.


> It's a decent living

It's over double the average family income in the USA.


So?

Developers straight out of college can sometimes make triple the average household income.


The point is to compare yourself to the entirety of society, and not just 'keep up with the joneses' in your own special bubble.


Sure. I feel quite lucky that my particular skillset is richly rewarded.

That doesn't mean there aren't underpaid software engineers. Even when their lowball salary is higher than the average household income.


"Decent living" doesn't mean that you're under or overpaid for your skill set, position and responsibilities. It usually means based on your geographic area as a whole (or objectively whether or not you can sustain yourself).

The median household income in the US is a "decent living" in almost the entire country, even some urban centers. Saying that 2x+ is a "decent living" is completely tone deaf.


Depends on where you live. In SV, sure, but they have the highest cost of living in the world.

In Dallas, a fresh out of college CS grad can probably expect a salary in the lower 40s. And the cost of living is cheap enough you can afford a house on that.


Really? That seems weirdly low, even with a lower COL taken into a account. In Southeast Michigan a new grad would expect to start somewhere around 60, and that's enough to buy a decent to huge house depending on where you end up living.


That's a sad salary. Especially when moving a few hours away to San Antonio will yield a 20k+/yr salary increase. Even if housing in Dallas were free, it's still better to move from a financial perspective.


Where in DFW can you purchase a nice home on 40k?


I'm talking about renting, not purchasing.


Well over double (halfway to triple).


For every one of your uncle, there are 10 bodyshop guys billing out at $40-60/hr.


> I have a sneaking suspicion that this is not the case.

I would agree. Between the fact that new companies aren't generally standing up mainframes, and that existing companies are finally getting off them (I know one bank locally that's migrated critical parts of its payments processing to commodity hardware & languages, and the most critical government payments processing system) I suspect it will be a shrinking market. I certainly wouldn't bet on an uninterrupted career out of it, put it that way.


She probably would have gotten a big pay bump -- if temporary -- around 1999...




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