Many years ago I wrote a program using Delphi (Pascal) that would do this sort of thing, but that was long gone. So, I started to create an Excel spreadsheet, which worked well. But, I thought that this would be better as a web based application. I had been toying around with the Google App Engine since it came out, but never really finished anything worth publishing, and I thought that this would be a perfect opportunity to finally dive into cloud computing.
Now, after a few weeks of work I have finally finished the Job Comparator. This AJAX enabled web application enables you to enter all the compensation related information for your job and sums up the benefits and expenses to give you a real annual wage. The calculator also factors in how many hours you dedicate towards work and how much fuel you burn getting there, so that the long commute to Cleveland shows through a lower hourly rate.
Once you get your current job entered you can add another job column for that prospective job, then click the two compare boxes. A recommendation will appear and the better job will be highlighted. If you would like to save a job you simply click the save button, then the next time you return it will be there. You must do that for each job. Entries can also be deleted from the database easily by selecting the delete button.
This application is not only useful for comparing different jobs, but also for comparing changes to your current situation. Once you have entered the data for you current job you can click the copy button to duplicate it. Then you can change different aspects of data to see how it impacts your bottom line. What if you get a new car that gets better fuel economy? How do increased fuel prices or medical expenses impact you take home pay? The job comparator makes it easy to test all these scenarios.
You may also notice on the top right side of the page there is a check box that says "Seasonal Salary Adjustment". If you check this box then the application will use Consumer Price Index (CPI) data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate the present value of a wage earned in the past (based on the year you enter for a job). Most people intuitively know that if they haven't gotten a raise for several years that their wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, but this feature will show you exactly how far behind you could be falling.
This is my first version of this program, and there are still several things that I need to fix, so consider this to be "beta" software. Here is my list of planned improvements:
- The printed page is terrible, this needs to be made to fit on a single printed page.
- I want to give average salary data based on the selected industry, occupation, and location.
I'd like to give thanks to Mark James for sharing his silk icons collection which I used in the job comparison application.