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Value of PowerHouse dev skills: $18/hour?

Miner Not many HP 3000 programmer positions come onto today's general job board listings, places like Dice.com or Monster.com. Even though these skills are in scarce supply, companies don't want to hire for a server which they A) Haven't spent any money on in years, or B) Believe is on its way out their doors. The latter, of course, often takes longer than a company plans.

But when a listing does surface in the world of IT jobs, it's notable. The latest one drew my attention because of the correlation between salary and skills. CareersUSA posted a job on Monster.com that offers $15-$18 an hour, in a temporary full-time job, as a PowerHouse programmer.

That's $36,000 a year, before taxes, to maintain programs probably written in the 90s or even farther back in time. It's better than nothing at all, but not even close to what's being paid by the migration services companies for legacy 3000 expertise. Although PowerHouse looks more legacy with every month, the software is not yet in the Cognos/IBM support category of "Vintage Support."

But "vintage" matches the pay scale for what CareersUSA describes as 2-5 years of experience enhancing and maintaining an ERP system written in PowerHouse. The development tool has been around long enough that pros were probably making $36K to work with it -- back in the early '80s.

Alas, the state of employment in 2010 grinds down experience to lowest possible compensation, unless you're working in HP's executive suites. Imagine, for a post that could evaporate at any time as a temp job, you could hire this required skill set:

  • Designing, constructing and implementing various business systems.​
  • Excellent testing skills.​ 
  • Network Administration for Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server.​
  • PC Help Desk support, responding to software and hardware issues.​
  • Knowledge of Oracle in support of Financial software.​  
The job is in the Philadelphia area, a spot where a company called Inolex was searching for 3000 help last month. We don't know if Inolex is the firm that expects to hire PowerHouse ERP experience at $18 an hour, temporary. But this kind of legacy expertise might be better sold to any migration company that's not located in India. Perhaps that's where the work will land, unless times are truly coal-miner hard in Pennsylvania.