How much do PHP developers in NYC get paid?
September 9, 2008 2:26 PM   Subscribe

What's the going rate for a PHP developer in NYC?

I'm not actually defreckled but am borrowing this account.

I work as a PHP developer in NYC with a couple of years experience. A contract agency wants to pay me $50/hour on a contract (1099) basis and my friends think I'm being ripped off. What is the going rate for developers in this area? How much do people get paid full time?
posted by defreckled to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depends how much experience you have, what kind of work you do, and what your domain knowledge is outside of just coding. If you want to make an insecure homebrew CMS prone to SQL injections but capable of running a 5-page website, then $50/hr is too much. If you are applying business rules for Sarbanes Oxley compliance on a high-end knowledge management and collaboration platform and happen to be doing so with an implementation in PHP, then $50 is way low.

Put another way, the answer is: It depends. The only thing that matters is if you feel you're being paid fairly, and perhaps whether your friends can actually provide you with that better-paying gig they're alluding to.
posted by anildash at 2:35 PM on September 9, 2008

Anildash said it better: a "PHP developer" is about the same as "someone who writes words in English", and could describe a very very wide variety of skillsets and positions.
posted by rokusan at 2:37 PM on September 9, 2008

Echoing Anil Dash (wow, what a fellow to follow) and rokusan, it highly depends on what you are doing. Simply by virtue of not knowing if $50/h is getting ripped off or not, and your choice of language, I would assume you are not a seasoned developer.

You need to share your job duties for a better determination -- and some examples of what your day to day job duties are.

But in general, $50/h is way low for a "competent" programmer in a bigcity(tm). PHP makes looking competent easy though -- so even that may not be a great measure.
posted by SirStan at 3:00 PM on September 9, 2008

I think it is low considering you are doing contact work in a big (and expensive) city. As a salaried position thats pretty good and equates to roughly 98k/year (with 2 week vacation, 1 week sick leave, and neglecting holidays). So I think that is decent for full time work, a little low for work that will come in chunks with some down time.

"PHP developers" are getting to be a dime-a-dozen. Do you have a degree? That might make a difference, because I doubt most people who claim to be PHP developers have a degree.

Anyway, my knowledge of the area and job market is very limited.
posted by nickerbocker at 3:19 PM on September 9, 2008

By the way, contract agencies typically charge a significant markup on your work - i.e.: if they're paying you $50/hr, they're charging the client $100/hr or more. That doesn't necessarily mean that you'd be able to get the same job by yourself for that rate though. It may be a ripoff, but if you don't have another project to replace it with, $50/hr for work is likely better for you than $0/hr for no work.

The only two things that matter in this equation are 1) do you feel like you're being treated fairly? and 2) do you have enough money to pay your bills?
posted by Caviar at 5:36 PM on September 9, 2008

As a salaried position thats pretty good and equates to roughly 98k/year

Kindof. Unless there's another arrangement with the employment agency, you'll take a self-employment/FICA tax hit, and of course you won't have subsidized health insurance, you'll probably be using more of your own budget on misc equipment or software or books, and they won't be giving you paid vacation.

I'd cut about 20% off any hourly contract figure before comparing it with a salary. So, that $50/hr looks more $80kish. Maybe not that bad, certainly not for a starting developer. Less so for a seasoned one.

my friends think I'm being ripped off.

If your friends are developers who probably have a decent feel for your skills, then I'd definitely listen to them.

If not.... personally, I think $50/hr is on the low side, and from a purely mercenary perspective, I might try to negotiate up. But I also wouldn't be insulted by the offer, especially if there's other offsetting factors (is the project interesting? Do you like the people? Are there other potential rewards available down the road?).
posted by weston at 7:21 PM on September 9, 2008

PHP? Everybody knows the big money is in Perl.
posted by destro at 7:42 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

Depends what you're doing. Are you downloading Wordpress and hacking it to create a brochure site for your client using copy-and-paste code? Or are you engineering the technical architecture of the next Facebook? PHP programmers include people within a wide range of experience, from nontechnical people who've picked it up while messing around with their blogs, to people with computer science degrees and years of experience. Tell us more about your background and the type of project you're working on. Without any additional information, I think $50/hr is low-end for NYC.
posted by lsemel at 12:54 PM on September 10, 2008

this is sort of off topic but how do you find a quality PHP developer.? I'm having a hard time finding a competent worker to work on some projects with me.
posted by Evroccck at 1:41 PM on September 22, 2008

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