A mechanical engineer who changed his career to Java/JEE in 1999. Maintains a Java/JEE career website at http://java-success.blogspot.com. Published 2 books on Java/JEE entitled: 1. Java/J2EE Job Interview Companion. 2. Core Java Career Essentials The above books are available via Amazon.com. Arul has posted 15 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Salaries for Number of Years of Experience

02.14.2011
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I keep seeing people asking about salary ranges for number of years of experience, and the type of questions that get asked, in job discussion forums and as comments to online articles on job interview questions. For example,

  • Salary for 3 year Java/JEE experience?
  • Salary for 10 year Java/JEE experince with Spring, Struts, and Hibernate?
  • Please send me interview questions to 1+ year experience?

For a beginner with one or two years experience, this question might make sense. But for someone with 3+ years of experience, the answer is very subjective, and it depends really on the individual. As a guide, people can go to websites like http://www.payscale.com/ or by checking the local advertisements to get a rough indication as to how much they are worth. This will only be a guide. The real value depends on

  •  How well you can contribute to your prospective employers.
  • Your past accomplishments and experience well presented in your resume/CV to get more job interviews.
  • Your performance at the job interviews to convince your propsective employer(s) that you can get the job done.
  • The number of job offers you get and your ability to negotiate, pick , and chooose the job that is conducive to accomplishing your career aspirations as opposed to settling with the first offer.
  • Your ability to network and look for jobs through non-traditional channels (e.g. through your contacts, by building your online persona, ringing up your past employers, etc).
  • Your ability to get out of your comfort zone and look for new job or exapnd your skills and knowledge through self-taught and open-source projects.
  • Your ability to find a niche field in addition Java experience -- For example Java/JEE + web Methods or Java/JEE + Oracle Service Bus, or Java/JEE + investment bank domain knowledge/Insurance domain knowledge, etc. This will enable you to standout from the rest.

This is very subjective question, and cannot be easily categorized by just number of years of experience alone. Some people have just the same year's experience repeated 3 times, whilst others have real 3 year experience by working on a wide varieties of projects. Some are more pro-active in learning things compared to others. So, you hold the key to market yourself and to a larger extent determine what you are worth now, and what will be your value in 2 years from now, 3 years from now, and so on. Someone with a 5 year experience can sell himself or herself much better than someone with 10 year experience by bringing out his/her achievements, experience, soft-skills, etc in a better light. Next time ask yourself different questions. Very often the interview questions are based on your resume and the answer you provide to the "Tell me about yourself?" question.

  • What are my selling points?
  • What niche fields/technologies/domain knowledge do I have?
  • What did I accomplish in my past projects, what did I learn from them, and what tools/architecture/technolgies/frameworks did I use to get them done? 
  • Who all can I contact for possible openings?
  • How can I get multiple job interviews and job offers?

Very often, asking different questions can make you standout from the pack and succeed in your career. When you ask these questions, you can identify gaps in your skills and pro-actively fill those gaps. For example, recently I realized that whether I like it or not, I will have to expand my skills & knowledge in JavaScript, and its relevant frameworks like JQuery as it is used very prevalantly now a days. Also, it is equally important to learn client side debugging tools like FireBug and Fiddler.

Maintain a journal or blog your findings as they will become handy in your job interviews, team meetings, code review sessions, performance appraisal sessions, and team meetings. They may be also be useful to others.

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