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My old job: £24k, digital art stuff at a Uni, maybe good for a scener

category: general [glöplog]
I left my job recently so I could have a crack at some freelance stuff, and it's been readvertised. It's potentially one that a demoscener would find pretty cool, so I thought I'd post it here.

I got it a few years ago when it was a newly created post, and it's been a good chance to work on cool projects, with cool people and with some nice students.

The job is supporting a postgrad (MRes, or Masters of Research) course called Digital Media at Newcastle University, in the North East of England. The course is run by Prof. Atau Tanaka, an academic and digital artist of some renown and Jamie Allen, formerly of ITP at NYU (whose students do a lot of stuff that many sceners have probably seen, even though it's usually not as cool as what goes on in the demoscene ;)

As with most courses/institutions of this nature, there's a lot of emphasis on human interaction, but many of the skills employed are technical with an artsy leaning. I got the job not because I'm a great programmer (I'm definitely not) but because I've got degrees in the Arts as well as a hobby interest in tech stuff. They would equally employ a great programmer who had a hobby interest in art/music/literature, etc.

The course 'lives' in an institution called Culture Lab, which is cool in itself: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/culturelab . Lots of interesting (and well-funded) research goes on in here, but there's also a lot of interdisciplinary interest and collaboration. I used to give screenings of all the latest demos on their fucking amazing HD cinema rig every six months or so, which were pretty well attended by comp-sci researchers who were amazed by the code and more theoretical researchers who were intruiged by descriptions of the scene, artistic motivation, the history, blahblah.

I'd better shut the fuck up and paste the blurb:

Technician in Arts and Cultures - Digital Media

Ref B287T (SACS)
Faculty/Services Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
Department School of Arts & Cultures
Job Type Technical and IT
Hours of Work Full time

Salary: up to £24,273, rising to £26,523
Closing date: 9 March 2010
Interview date: 30 March 2010

Based in Culture Lab and supporting the Digital Media Research Group of the
School of Arts and Cultures, a highly motivated individual is required for
the post of Digital Media Technician.

The post holder will develop and support new interactive media methods for
the Digital Media MA and associated research projects. The ideal candidate
will have a detailed knowledge of digital media programming and
manipulation, audio, video and web development on Apple, Windows and Linux
platforms. In particular Max/MSP/Jitter or PD, Processing, Arduino etc. or

Previous experience of digital media arts, computer human interaction, basic
electronics and an interest in current creative practice are essential.

Informal enquiries concerning the post, after reading the vacancy
information, may be addressed to John Ayers, Studio Manager (tel. 0191 222
3418 / j.d.ayers@ncl.ac.uk), Atau Tanaka, Chair of Digital Media
(atau.tanaka@ncl.ac.uk), or Jamie Allen, Lecturer in Digital Media

For more details and to apply online please go to:
added on the 2010-02-25 17:33:22 by syphus syphus
I'm not interested in switching jobs atm (nor would an art job suit me); but just out of curiosity, is £24,273 the annual gross salary? Sounds awful low if that's the case. Or is Newcastle dirt cheap to live in?
added on the 2010-02-25 20:02:33 by mic mic
Newcastle's relatively cheaper to live in than elsewhere in the UK (which isn't saying much), but £24k is by no means a bad starting salary for a fresh graduate. You could go into the private sector, do 40-hour weeks plus obligatory overtime and earn commission in the hope of rising up a greasy pole, but a job like this has 28 days of leave (PLUS university holiday closure time over Christmas and Easter), lots of self-direction, the opportunity to pursue one's own research interests within the job and self-managed flexitime.

I suppose I took it because it was interesting and left me a lot of precious free time, but now I've outgrown it a bit and I'm moving on. That's what graduate jobs are for, I suppose :)
added on the 2010-02-25 20:17:38 by syphus syphus
just out of curiosity as well, if 24k pounds is the annual gross salary, how much is that after taxes in the uk?
added on the 2010-02-25 20:35:14 by zatom zatom
Something like £18k, maybe a bit less.
added on the 2010-02-25 20:48:47 by syphus syphus
24-26k isn't a bad salary at all, especially not if you're out of the Surrey / London area.
added on the 2010-02-25 21:27:05 by farfar farfar
Heh, also worth remembering that the UK is broke, unemployment is high, there aren't many jobs available in general, plus it's EXTREMELY difficult to get fired from a position like this in a UK university.

I went through the HR guidelines a while ago and discovered that I'd have to pretty much murder someone, or at least do a shit on the vice-chancellor's desk, in order to get sacked.

So I guess some people go for more security and slightly less materialistic gain rather than higher-paid private industry where you could get laid off just because the company or industry isn't doing very well. Six and two threes, depending on your outlook...
added on the 2010-02-25 21:52:01 by syphus syphus
Looks like an interesting role, possibly something you’ve moulded into rather than reacting to whatever a business asks you to deliver. I wonder whether being university they expect the ideal candidate to produce a filing cabinet full of degree certificates? 24k is adequate for the public sector. Probably get a final salary pension and all. Anyway, money ruins most people. I've found quite often the remuneration package is a mere yardstick to how much shit you have to put up with and you don’t always need that 40 hours+ a week. I’m quite lucky in my corp. slavery in that I can take allocated time to do stuff I like but even that’s budgeted and asking for anything additional usually gets a response like I’ve asked to borrow the bosses car for the weekend. I think 28 days leave is the statutory minimum (if you include the 8 public holidays which don’t have to be counted under current uk law).
added on the 2010-02-26 03:26:32 by mg mg
I'm currently studying at So'ton Solent Uni doing a Bachelor in Computer Games

I'm a good programmer (though I've only worked on conventional stuff in .NET, Java and C++)
I'm German :D
only downside is I'm finished in June
and don't have a sound project or work I can show off because I'm still working on them (3 atm)

might this be okay for this Job? Because I really want to stay and work in the UK after the summer
added on the 2010-02-26 03:36:53 by cab cab
mg - about the degree certificate, not necessarily. I only have a Ba Hons and a Masters, but they will accept equivalent qualifications of different types or even equivalent experience, if it can be proven through portfolios of work etc. That's pretty standard, though.

You're right about the shit yardstick; I wouldn't have done my line manager's job for the extra ten grand, no way :)

I thought 25 days was the minimum, but even if it's 28, it was nice that my job had Uni closure time on top of that - it usually means an extra seven or so days a year that don't come off your annual leave.

Oh, and if you get that response no matter what you ask for, you may as well ask to borrow the boss' car for the hell of it :)

cab - could well have been cool for this job, but I'm afraid I know for a fact that they want to fill the post as soon as legally possible. They're obliged to advertise it publicly for five weeks, then they'll want to appoint in about a week...although having said that, some people have to work as much as a three-money notice period in their old jobs and it's possible they're not allowed to discriminate against that... I'm not sure. If you contact my old boss John (Ayers, email above), he'll be able to tell you whether it's worth applying :)
added on the 2010-02-26 04:10:05 by syphus syphus
okay I'll write him tmrw - because this job is really interesting for me!
added on the 2010-02-26 04:51:56 by cab cab
Cool :) Mention that Brendan (me) told you about it ;)
added on the 2010-02-26 05:18:38 by syphus syphus
Hah, 24k GBP is somewhere around 27k EUR... in Spain, typical consultancy (senior programmer and even analyst at some nation-wide consulting companies) jobs are somewhere around 18k EUR gross a year.

Heh :)
added on the 2010-02-26 12:33:40 by Jcl Jcl
Maybe because Spain is no where near being as expensive to live in as England?
added on the 2010-02-26 12:39:56 by decipher decipher
Remind me to never move to spain :P If you held a senior developer position around here you'd probably gross at last 40k EUR/year, and Sweden isn't even considered a high-salary country.
added on the 2010-02-26 12:43:55 by mic mic
mic: Are you sure it is that low? A senior position here in Finland could easily nail a 60k+ € contract. Though I think it has a lot to do with the expertise.
added on the 2010-02-26 12:50:40 by decipher decipher
Decipher: Depends on how you define "senior" I guess. If you mean an expert with 15 years experience, then maybe he/she could pull 60k here as well. I don't know anyone who is old enough for that so I can't say for sure :T

I was talking basically about people who have worked maybe 5+ years and who are "lead" developers with key knowledge within their team or project.
added on the 2010-02-26 12:58:11 by mic mic
Decipher - I've paid £8 in Helsinki for what I consider to be £2.50's worth of beer, and £3 for a croissant, so I should damn well hope the average salary is higher ;) Not sure how relatively better off it leaves one, though...
added on the 2010-02-26 14:20:45 by syphus syphus
Learning how to budget is something they should teach at school. However, most savvy people that prefer not to live for the moment can cope with less income and still manage to spend less than their earnings.

It's unfortunate that most of the best paid programming jobs in the South of England are in investment banking and Hedge Funds. I did a short stint of that at the expense of working with a bunch of intolerable wankers. It was a really badly hashed together finance system that ultimately, I didn't give a shit about as it was in my interests to keep it unreliable :)
added on the 2010-02-26 14:37:56 by mg mg
right, better not mention how much we earn in portugal doing exactly the same thing.
added on the 2010-02-26 15:04:22 by psenough psenough
JCL: 18k EUR per year senior programmer in spain?? So I think you should really come to the south to get paid as you must be :P
In my company this is what usually a junior programmer earn just starting on it, maybe in some other companies go down to 16k, but for sure not for senior with experience.
added on the 2010-02-26 15:12:47 by KILE KILE
At least in Madrid I'd say it's around 30k EUR
added on the 2010-02-26 15:55:27 by ithaqua ithaqua
A good programmer in my company can easily demand 6 figures. It's actually beneficial for them to do that as it keeps the turnover low as a lot of the tools are very bespoke and having such a package makes the dent in the pocket much greater should you leave on your own terms. You can take a share deal too which is good to for tax avoidance but ultimately better for them as they are held for a period and cannot be sold. It's fucking slavery when I think about it.
added on the 2010-02-26 15:58:09 by mg mg
welcome to the economy based society!
added on the 2010-02-26 16:55:20 by psenough psenough
£24,273 ? do they give you a free house, car and food ontop of that? because that's the only way i'd accept that kind of money for my skilled/technical labour.
added on the 2010-02-26 17:00:20 by button button


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