Hot spots for AS/400 pros

by Mark Baard

The AS/400 hiring market is still strong and competitive. David Daku is the Las Vegas division director for Menlo Park, Calif.-based RHI Consulting, Inc. He specializes in placing AS/400 professionals in contract and full time positions throughout the desert southwest. spoke with him recently about hiring issues in the AS/400 arena.

Q: Which cities hold the most potential for ambitious AS/400 pros?

A: Any city with a high percentage of manufacturing, hospitality, and distribution, because most of the software developed for these industries is RPG/400-based. Las Vegas, Chicago, LA, Portland [Ore.], and New York are all prime markets for AS/400 specialists. Because the AS/400 provides a solid server system and rarely crashes, it's invaluable to those industries that can least afford downtime.

Q: How can programmers maximize their earning potential?

A: The AS/400 is currently being remarketed by IBM as a platform for Java development. So, adding Java to your toolkit is an excellent idea.

Q: What are AS/400 pros earning in Las Vegas and elsewhere?

A: Senior level RPG programmer/analysts in Las Vegas and Phoenix are averaging $60,000 to $65,000 annually. Junior level programmers earn $36,000 to $50,000. On a contract basis, programmers' rates can vary from $50 to $65 per hour, depending upon the length and difficulty of a project.

Now, in smaller markets, programmers can expect to draw 10% to 15% less. In larger markets, they will make 10% to 15% more. And based on the current supply and demand, there is the distinct possibility that rates will increase in the coming years. AS/400 operators, meanwhile, are earning in $30,000 to $40,000 range, and their salaries likely to remain constant.

Baard, a contributing editor based in Milton, Mass.

This was first published in April 2000

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