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Contract hourly rate for java architect in US?

Karthik K Venkatesan
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 22, 2011
Posts: 21
All,

I am in west coast. Here the hourly rates are from 75$ to 90$(Occassionaly 100$+ for senior architects) for a Java/Application Architect as far as I know. I am curious to know, how much are the hourly rates in other parts or even in west coast. I would appreciate if any of you contract architects or anyone who knows about the rates could reply.

- Karthik
Sharma Ashutosh
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2001
Posts: 346
I was working as Contract Senior Architect last year for very big global bank at the billing rate of $120 per hour. But now i am no longer on contract assignments - permanent employee.
Contract rates for Architects varies like anything here in East Coast. Most of the financial, media, telecom, insurance and healthcare companies pays from $70 to $120 per hour. The higher the billing rate - shorter the project duration. Most of the folks are looking for NOT just Java/JEE Architects but somebody who is also Data Modeller, Some other package experience, System Admin etc...

Some of the projects where it requires M-T travel - they can pay even higher.

Here the boundaries are very loosely defined-Technical Leader/Application Architect/Architect/Solutions Architect are being used to sometimes mean one and the same thing.

Most important fact is that every one is looking for Architects who are still hands on - NOT just some abstract or very higher level architect.

Here are the rates are somewhat in this range:
Developer $60-$65
Sr. Developer $65-$75
Tech Lead $70-$80
Architect $75 to $95
Sr. Architect $85 to $110+
Enterprise Arch $100-$120+


Ashutosh Sharma
SCJP 1.2, SCEA 5, Brainbench certified J2EE Developer, Documentum Certified Professional
Blog : http://scea5-passingpart2and3.blogspot.com/
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Those rates above are extremely low. A more realistic average would be technical lead developers at $100 per hour increasing towards a range of $150-200 per hour for senior enterprise architect. These are Corporation-to-Corporation rates not W2-based employee rates.
Karthik K Venkatesan
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 22, 2011
Posts: 21
Sharma/Jimmy,

Thanks for the reply. When do you say someone as Senior architect? 5 or 10+ years architecture experience?

Jimmy,

The rates you have mentioned are very tempting to me Are you in east coast? Then, are you talking about the hourly rates that client pays or the hourly rates we get? The reason I ask is, most of the companies I was interviewed, doesn't want work with independent consultants or who has H1b visa, they have their big vendors. So often we end up going through these vendors, who eat big chunk of the money that client pays them.


Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
A senior software architect, aka enterprise architect, typically has more than 10+ years IT experience which should include architecture experience, programming experience, mentoring and training experience and lead/management experience. Having this level of experience with only 10 years is rare and leans towards 15+ years.

As I stated, the rates that I mentioned are Corporation-to-Corporation rates not W2-based employee rates. If you are a contractor then these are the rates that you charge for your services period. This can be to a prime contractor or a clent directly.

A consultant working for a consulting company as a employee being paid an hourly wage is not a "contractor" and is typically not considered an "independent consultant."

An "independent consultant" is an individual that is financially "independent", and an "independent" legal entity. Here you sign contracts for services you provide, not an employment contract.


Sharma Ashutosh
Bartender

Joined: Apr 06, 2001
Posts: 346
Karthik,
You are right - i worked for a big big vendor company(offshore/onsite model) for around 5+ yrs. My rates has been varied from $200/hr to $68/hr depending upon what role is being offered by the client organization(NOT vendor organization). But this vendor company had a lot of overheads-Non Working managers(Assistant Engagement Managers, Engagement Managers, Group Project Managers, Delivery Managers and above) and a huge bench strength(ranging from 10%-30%). So they used to have a very good cut(margin) over my billing rates and i was getting fixed salary. There margins at some of the times were in the range of almost 65%-70% also but one thing was good with my big consulting company that when i was on bench-i don't have to worry about the job(recession free career). So my job has pros and cons both. In fact during the bench time - i can do some self learning to help myself in future projects/career.

I am seeing since 2004/2005 - Independent contractors and vendors having no offshore component are facing tough time to get very good billing rates. On the contrary it's hard to get very good billing rates in USA(for private sector contracts) if you are not having EAD/Green Card or Citizenship. Though for public sector projects - local american based companies can get very good billing rates.

For independent contractors or employees(H1, L1 etc...) from very small companies - the billing rates i am talking about are almost 25%-30% lower than what i mentioned.

In a nutshell - i never negotiated my billing rates ever - it's how much my company made the client pay for myself. For the higher billing rates projects - hourly rates of $150 or more - it was too much pressure to deliver(plus weekly travel) while anything in the range of $80-$120 - it was reasonable project. As and when my billing rates were lower than $80/hr - i can make out my employer is falsely trying to convince me that it's an architect role(it was Tech Leader or Sr. Developer role). During entire 5+ yrs - 15% time client was paying $150 or more, 45% time client paying $80-$120, 35% time $80 or lower while 5% time i was on bench. Moreover all the $150+ billing rate projects were very short in nature - around 2 to 7 months. I believe this can give you a very good indication of the billing rates for the last 5 yrs.
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Jimmy Clark wrote:A senior software architect, aka enterprise architect, typically has more than 10+ years IT experience which should include architecture experience, programming experience, mentoring and training experience and lead/management experience. Having this level of experience with only 10 years is rare and leans towards 15+ years.


I'm curious why you focus so much on quantitative years of experience. To me the biggest factor in evaluating a senior software architect is the size and significance of the systems worked on. 20 years of experience on insignificant systems does not a senior architect make.

Cheers!

Luke
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
10+ years IT experience which should include architecture experience, programming experience, mentoring and training experience and lead/management experience



Luke, I'm not sure if you are reading my statements properly. In each case above, there are "two" aspects which are considered, not one. The first aspect is the number of years and this is the quantitative aspect. The second aspect is what the experience is in, this is the qualitative aspect. The synergy of these two apsects is what is judged in evalutation.
Luke Kolin
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 04, 2002
Posts: 336
Jimmy Clark wrote:The second aspect is what the experience is in, this is the qualitative aspect. The synergy of these two apsects is what is judged in evalutation.


I understand, but as you wrote it the second aspect is merely a variety of job duties. I agree that this range of experience is important, but the nature of the systems is critical as well. This is often overlooked, but in my experience is the most important compared to years of experience or variety of job duties.

Cheers!

Luke
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
"Experience" and job duties are not the same thing
Jim Effinger
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 05, 2012
Posts: 1
Not sure about "Architect" but here's what I know about "Senior" or "Lead" developers...
As a manager, I have paid out (in Colorado) $85 to $100 per hour for services.
As a W-2 contractor, I happen to know I was billed out at $105 per hour on a short-term and $84 per hour on a long-term engagement.
As an independent contractor, I am asking for $75 to $85, but I know I could get more... just being as competitive as possible.
Nitu Kumari
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 03, 2012
Posts: 3
Hi,

I want to work as a software contractor in US. Can anyone please give me names of some contracting agencies?

Nitu
 
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