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I recently updated my resume on linkedin and dice and I am shocked by the response. I haven't actively searched for a new job for about 10 years so I didn't really know what to expect both in terms of available positions in my geographical area, Tampa, FL, and salary. In the last 3 weeks I've received 5-10 phone calls and/or emails per day from recruiters with salaries that are all over the board, but higher than my current salary. I have several years of .NET experience, but switched to ROR about a year and a half ago. 90% of the available positions I am contacted about are for .NET, which I don't really want to go back to. However, this makes me wonder if the wise career move would be to go back to .NET and just keep ROR as my side project language. Any advice for someone not living in a start-up or technology hub?

With that .NET experience, outside a startup hub to drive a lot of Rails demand, it seems like you will earn more with .NET than with Rails, doesn't it?

I've asked before: has anyone compiled a list of how various skillsets get paid in our world?

If I could get a job doing X or Y, and be happy at either, but X is $20,000 more than Y, I'd love to know that so I can work on those opportunities more.

With Pitchbox[1] we've seen full-stack engineers typically have the potential to earn the same in Ruby, .NET, or any language for that matter...compensation variation usually comes down to who they work for and the company's compensation ceiling more so then the language.

More narrowly focused skill-sets on the other hand will have variation...for example, developers that solely want to work on the front-end (e.g. backbone) are going to make 20K-40K+ less then their full-stack counterparts.

[1] https://trypitchbox.com/

developers that solely want to work on the front-end (e.g. backbone)

I had to read this sentence about 5 times before I realized that "backbone" was probably the name of a UI library.

I am in my first year of web dev after college. I started out doing PHP stuff when I was in school, and now I work using ASP.NET MVC4.

I can't help but wonder if I am sabotaging myself by spending time on ASP instead of PHP, and would love some hard numbers to help me make a more informed decision.

In my opinion, early on in your career the important thing isn't so much what language you are developing in, but who you are developing with. If you aren't in an environment where there are more experienced developers that you can learn from, find a different job. Over time you will probably move through several languages, but the core principles of programming apply to all of them, and learning how to think through problems from a developer's perspective is fundamentally important.

Another bit of advice would be to work in a position where you have your hand in all aspects of a project. That will help you decide if you want to focus on a particular subset of application development (i.e. back-end, front-end, UX), or if you want to move forward as more of a generalist. This decision will impact your future type of employment. Concentrating on one particular aspect of development will lead you towards larger companies and/or larger development teams. Being a generalist will lead you towards smaller companies or start-ups with smaller or no teams at all, as well as possibilities outside of normal technology companies (i.e. I am interviewing with a law-firm next week that needs a senior developer to create internal tools). I'm of course speaking only from my experience and making generalizations on that basis alone.

.NET MVC is a great first step on the corporate dev path. You'll mostly work in cost center departments (see article). It'll pay pretty well for a day job, but you'll have limited market leverage as a cost center. You'll have to go where the .NET jobs are, and that's mostly big companies that treat IT as a necessary evil.

PHP is a great first step on the indie dev path. You'll work in smaller shops, pay can fluctuate wildly, but at least you'll be a profit center. It takes a bit more hustle to manage your career but you'll be better positioned to hang out your own shingle later if you're interested in doing so.

A few years of enterprise work can be a fine starting point for transition into more indie dev, but you'll have to be honest with yourself about the trajectory you're on from one year to the next.

Entry level .NET (web) jobs may well be in IT departments, in a so called cost center, but I've have four web development jobs, all using .NET, and all of them have been for product companies, working on the core product, which was either sold on a SAAS model or DVD.

Yes, agreed. Well stated.

Anecdotally when I arrived in London I talked to a recruiter who claimed that PHP devs get payed less then .Net devs. One recruiter in one city so take with a pinch of salt.

My first job in the development industry was working as a PHP developer for a nine month internship.

Now that I'm graduating I received several job offers, most of them involved working with PHP again. However, I received two offers from two relatively large companies, one as an ASP.Net developer and the other as a Java EE developer. The salaries for these two jobs were quite a bit higher than the others and included great benefits too.

Again, I'm only a graduate so can't really give any solid answer as to whether you're sabotaging yourself by working with ASP.Net, though I doubt you are. Most decent employers will probably be more interested in ensuring you can program rather than focusing on what specific language you've been using recently. If they know you can program, they can probably assume you'll be able to apply that knowledge to a new language.

The .NET positions are typically higher in salary, but they also have a wider range. The ROR positions all seem to be within about $10,000 of each other.

The 'outside a startup hub' is probably the biggest factor, but I'm guessing the Rails experience is what accounts for the prices being quoted?

Being in Tampa, FL is definitely a limiting factor in my desire to continue working professionally with Rails. However, I really do not want to relocate at this time. I guess I've been lurking on HN too long, because the availability of .NET jobs and lack of ROR jobs in my area was still surprising.

When you were working with .NET before, I assume that means you were writing C# (or maybe VB.NET)? You might consider learning F# -- it's a fantastic language to work with and might even change your mind about working with .NET. (Plus, you'll already have a head start given your previous experience.)


Also, salaries for experienced F#/C# developers are somewhat higher than those of experienced C# developers. Do some research if you don't believe me.

Yes, my .NET experience has primarily been with C#. I'll checkout F#. Thanks!

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