sebwiers wrote:Before my current job, I had zero paid tech experience. I was a self taught programmer who's only higher education was dropping out of art school. I did some web programming on a moderately complex level, making the normal first-timer blunders, learning a lot from them, and having the experience of creating a website that pulled in enough user-created content to run out of storage. I went to community college to pick up an AAS (2 year professional degree)
This is what is going to "hurt" you in the short term, as far as the ability to make money goes. If instead this had read:
4 year/Bachelors in CompSci/Software Engineering from a competitive engineering school.
You would probably feel much more comfortable with what you make (or would make the next time an offer came in).
vault.com is a pretty good resource. They have salaries for job titles, in specific cities, on bell curves. With your experience and education, don't be surprised if you're on the low end of the bell curve.
Keep doing what you're doing, the way out of making what you make now is to stock pile your references and experience.
Try to get put on projects that are directly tied to how your company makes revenue if you can (if your company trusts you with their livelihood, that speaks volumes, billing systems in particular). Also, I recommend trying to get some interviews at some larger companies when you get the chance. It's ok to move around for the first several years of your career. If you're working in the US, don't forget that the way to get the largest raise is to switch companies (note, this is not always the best way to get a raise, since you're rolling the dice on your new employer being worse than your current employer).
Also, be on the lookout for employers that will reimburse you for a degree. An associates doesn't really do anything for you in the eyes of most employers.