skunker - 4:21 pm on Apr 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
Hi Crazy Panda, I'm a front-end developer for a government agency, but am looking at going as a contractor for one of the big defense firms that support the government. In the US government, front end developers are rare, however, they get paid about 60-75k (cost of living adjustment not taken into consideration) whereas as a cotractor, they generally get about 10-20k more. I normally see contract jobs (generally last about 3 years) looking for people like you with a pay of about 80k STARTING. More if you have a top secret security clearance. One thing to keep in mind is that this does not include benefits. If you work for a government agency, your benefits often are one of the best in the business with health insurance premiums very low and a very generous retirement package. Contractors have to pay a bit more than their federal government counterparts, but that is offset by the higher salary. All in all, it's about equal pay/benefits at the end of the day...however, if you're a contractor, you often have to work overtime and the weekends (which you will not be paid). A government employee's work ends by 4-5pm and no weekend work. Boss can't force you to work overtime (and if you decide to do so, you can be paid in a form of time off or overtime pay).
I know this is probably more info than what you want, but I often do this because there are several people on this forum that are very talented and would make great employees as a fed eployee/contractor. Maybe they will find this post of interest. As a federal employee, I also have time to work on side projects. Having two jobs this way, I find that I have more time to spend on family and vacation AND make more money.
Successful work about 50-60hrs and 6 days a week, anyways.