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Salary Expectations

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Hi, I recently applied for a position as a junior programmer at a small company, where I would not need to relocate, and would be allowed to work to my own schedule. I was asked what my cost would be for a 3 month project. I am a recent graduate from university, with a Bachelors degree in Information Technology, specializing in Game Development. I was hoping that I could get a general idea of what I should be asking for, as I do not want to ask for too much, or too little. I would really like to have this opportunity, and would be willing to accept a little less pay for the experience. Any help regarding this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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First, a nitpick. You're not asking about salaries. Salaries are paid to fulltime employees, not contractors. If this is a 3-month contract, then that's not a full-time job -- you'd be a contractor.
But it is useful for you to look at salaries. The newest salary survey of the game industry is out right now in the April 2010 issue of Game Developer magazine -- it probably won't be online for a month or two, but it's not hugely different from the 2009 survey.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/27938/2009_Game_Developer_Salary_Survey_Sees_US_Average_Dip_4_Percent.php

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Yes, after researching more, I realized that it was not a salary I am asking about. Thanks for the correction.

I actually have the April 2010 issue of Game Developer magazine and see that the average salary for a programmer with less than three years of experience was $54k.

I was thinking of setting my cost at $21/hr, for a 40 hour work week. This would equate to $840/week, and multiplying by 13 weeks, the total would come to $10,920.

Does this sound reasonable, or should I be looking for more/less?

Thanks

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Since you are not an employee, they won't be withholding taxes. So you have to figure out how much your time is worth, and add self-employment tax. And since you are not an employee, they won't be covering your health insurance. So add your health insurance cost too. And if you're working at home, on your own equipment, add some for that. And on top of that, you need to pay off your student loan.
Of course, you have to find the right balance between too much and too little -- above I talk about how to make sure you don't charge too little. But if you charge too much, they might give the job to somebody cheaper.

Looking at it another way, you're asking for $44,000 ($11K times 4 = yearly amount). Normally, if you were an employee, they'd have to also pay benefits and withhold tax (which entails accounting costs). Compare that to the cost of a tester, $25K. Health insurance can cost around $10K/year (cheaper if you go with IGDA group).
Hmm... you might not be as cheap as they're hoping to get.

Sorry it ain't simple...

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Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Since you are not an employee, they won't be withholding taxes. So you have to figure out how much your time is worth, and add self-employment tax. And since you are not an employee, they won't be covering your health insurance. So add your health insurance cost too. And if you're working at home, on your own equipment, add some for that. And on top of that, you need to pay off your student loan.
Of course, you have to find the right balance between too much and too little -- above I talk about how to make sure you don't charge too little. But if you charge too much, they might give the job to somebody cheaper.

Looking at it another way, you're asking for $44,000 ($11K times 4 = yearly amount). Normally, if you were an employee, they'd have to also pay benefits and withhold tax (which entails accounting costs). Compare that to the cost of a tester, $25K. Health insurance can cost around $10K/year (cheaper if you go with IGDA group).
Hmm... you might not be as cheap as they're hoping to get.

Sorry it ain't simple...


In Canada the tax people can be very picky about this. If you are an outside consultant working then yeah it is handle the tax stuff yourself, but if you are an employee on contract they are supposed to do the proper income tax, ccp, etc deductions.

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