Author Topic: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator  (Read 5548 times)

sjc0816

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Another post prompted me to create this post.  We go back and forth about this and I would love to get some opinions from other IT folks. 

We are in a medium sized midwest metro area (MCOL).  Tech is growing here but not a ton of options in what my husband does specifically.  He is a 38 year old Senior Database Administrator with 15 years of experience. He is always ranked the highest in his performance reviews but his company doesn't give big raises. He has averaged around 3-5% per year.  His salary is 125,000 per year...no bonus. 

He is expert level IBM DB2 and also administers IBM Datastage and SQL Server.  He also does Data Warehousing and knows Informatica well.  He is a work horse and everyone comes to him.  The thing is, there is not a ton of upward mobility at his company and his job is pretty grueling.  He is crazy good at it so enjoys it in that regard but the hours (day/night/weekends) are stressful.  We're not convinced he is paid what he deserves (doesn't everyone) and are wondering if there is another direction that he would be better off pursuing.  We aren't opposed to moving. 

He has had some interviews (mostly phone) in the last few years and has been told several times that XYZ position can't pay a salary that he is requesting.  So that has made us wonder if he is capping out doing what he is doing?  His title is Senior but he is the LEAD technical administrator on his team...without the title. 

At this stage, we're just not sure which direction he should go.  Almost like he has possibly worked himself into a corner and his skills aren't as marketable for higher level positions? 

I'd love to have insight from some other IT folks. 

cmk

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 01:37:39 PM »
I think it sounds very fair.  My husband is 58 and is making 105,000 in a similar position and is one of the highest salaried DBA's in his company.  He also supports an older technology, for better and worse.   People who are skilled in the technology are retiring and younger people don't want to learn it.  Companies cannot afford to replace systems which are working well, so they'll keep them as long as they can find people to support them. We're in Ohio.

forummm

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2015, 01:46:22 PM »
That salary sounds reasonable. But another way of knowing would be to try to get a similar job offer in the area, or looking at Glassdoor or something similar. Salaries can vary so widely for similar sounding jobs.

RunHappy

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 02:09:03 PM »
It sounds like his salary is about right.  The problem with these high level tech jobs (speaking from experience) is not a lot of companies can afford them.  Most likely he will not make too much more than this without getting into management (lead doesn't mean much) or consulting/sales engineer work.

The reason I went the consulting route is because a few companies were willing to meet my salary requirements but I wanted to get out of oncall work. 

Edit:  If he can translate his title to "architect" that could possibly earn him more at other companies.

the_gastropod

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 02:16:29 PM »
Yea, that sounds like a reasonable salary to me as well. The ridiculous salaries in the tech world typically come from Silicon Valley, where everything is a bit inflated. Even in NYC, $125,000 is about right for a DBA.

Neustache

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 02:30:47 PM »
If he's not a true manager, then I think he's well-paid.  My hubby is in the middle of his salary scale for his DBA position, and he makes 90K (but will get a 15K retirement contribution as well).  The only way he could make your husband's pay is if he was in management.  We are also in the Midwest.

jeromedawg

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 02:38:22 PM »
I think that is a pretty good salary considering the area you live in and type of work he's doing. I do concur though that for any upward mobility, it sounds like he'll need to move to another company and likely into a management or "official" lead position in order to get the same pay or higher. Or yes, as RunHappy mentions, pursue the consultant or Architect routes.
Also the more databases he can pickup and be exposed to, the better - it shouldn't be too hard to pick one up vs another if you already know one or two very well... just a matter of syntax for the most part.

The other big thing is cloud - if he can get his feet wet in that it'll help a lot as far as mobility goes IMHO. A lot of companies are moving that direction.


sisto

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2015, 02:57:01 PM »
I would agree, it seems right for the area.

Fyction

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2015, 03:12:57 PM »
As someone who has been in tech in the midwest and on the west coast, I agree with the posters above. The pay seems reasonable and it sounds like you are capping out for midwest salary ranges (unless you find some really good opportunities). If you are trying to maximize this even further, I would suggest going to the Lead title on his team (if they won't/cant give you a big raise, they will usually give you a better title instead.) Then use that new title to boost your searches in the area or if money is more important, out on the west coast. (Be aware of higher property / cost of living increases as a tradeoff though).

Source: 10 years professional programming, Missouri -> Oregon

Good luck, it sounds like he is doing great!

aschmidt2930

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2015, 05:02:42 PM »
Sounds about right to me.

For that skill set, it depends on the company/industry.  The dirty little secret about IT jobs is that many companies consider it overhead, which puts a limit on your negotiating power. In the eyes of the company, a better Sales Director can bring the company X dollars they weren't making before, but does a better IT Director lead to X dollars?  Maybe, maybe not, it depends who you ask.

If he's an expert in Informatica he needs to get into consulting immediately.  Take a look at CloudSherpas, they're constantly looking for that skill set.

hdatontodo

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2015, 08:40:20 AM »
Could he go to work for a database company where there are multiple levels of jobs instead of being some company's only DB guy?

sjc0816

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2015, 10:13:02 AM »
Thank everyone so much for the advice.  He has been strongly considering trying to make a switch over to consulting or sales engineer for a few years.  He loves technology but would prefer to not be behind a desk forever and has strong interpersonal skills (I think he would do so well in something like consulting/sales).

With his lack of prior sales/consulting experience, what would be the best way to start networking into a career change like this?  Recruiter? 


RunHappy

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2015, 12:47:38 PM »
Thank everyone so much for the advice.  He has been strongly considering trying to make a switch over to consulting or sales engineer for a few years.  He loves technology but would prefer to not be behind a desk forever and has strong interpersonal skills (I think he would do so well in something like consulting/sales).

With his lack of prior sales/consulting experience, what would be the best way to start networking into a career change like this?  Recruiter?
Recruiter or other corporate job sites.  At this point in his career he should have quite a few contact, he should reach out to them.  Check IBM see if there are sales positions in his area. 

tbone

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2015, 07:50:43 PM »
I agree with the others on salary for this knowledge and location.

To get startup salaries (much more $) as a DBA you'd have to be an expert in products like mysql, postgresql, mongodb, and other newer tech.  I've worked in the industry 18 years and I've never touched/seen IBM DB2 or MS SQL Server.  If you know how to leverage these at scale with massive amounts of traffic you can easily make more than $125k remotely.

Daffy

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Re: Is my husband underpaid? High level Database Administrator
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 07:07:37 AM »
I've been in the software industry for 7+ years. Your husband's salary sounds quite good, in my opinion, considering what he does and the area. As others pointed out, even if you lived in NYC I think it is quite good!