If you work for a major (Shell, Chevron, BP, Conoco) they pay about 90 – 100k starting for petroleum engineers and about 70-80k for mechanical/chemical/electrical engineers. The exception is Exxon (they pay more because it’s a terrible work environment, but they make the most profits). If you work for a smaller independent, perhaps it gets bumped up 10k or so. Bonuses are typically 10-20%. I’m a recent graduate in Petroleum Engineering working for Shell.
Look around the blogosphere; law school grads are taking perma-part time jobs, MBA’s are a dime a dozen, and on and on. As long as the population keeps climbing uncontrollably in the US, and as long as businesses can manipulate the government into helping them keep downward pressure on jobs through slimy programs like H1B’s, big salaries will be a thing of the past. It’s why you should think *really* hard about going to college. It’s not for everyone, and its no guarantee that you’ll do better than if you don’t. The old fable of going to college means you’ll make $1m more in your lifetime than if you don’t, has been disproved time and again.
If your youngest child is really interested in OT, then I suggest Colorado State University’s program. I have several friends who were in the OT program there while I was a post-doc in the chemistry dept. Its a great program, and about 98% of grads land jobs immediately. Also, Fort Collins is a nice town on the Front Range with access to all kinds of outdoor fun. Its not far from Denver or Boulder. The people are friendly, and the cost of living is pretty cheap. I work on the East Coast now at a biotech, but not a day goes by that I don’t dream of moving back to CO.
The most important lesson I got from the book is the importance of choosing a niche; it helps build a loyal community, get expertise and great, contextualized advertising. However, except for the generic "start by identifying your own interests, passions, and energy levels for topics", there's not a lot of direction about how to choose a profitable niche. There also isn't much about search engine optimization (which I fortunately covered in another book) or about keyword research. However, a lot of the things that Rowse and Garrett hold important (niching, ads, etc) aren't necessarily the be-all and end-all of popular blogging.
However, it can take a long time for your new small business to pay off. If you have time, effort, and energy, and if you offer a viable product or service, your risks can pay off with a nice-sized salary for you and your family. We don’t have a salary range for small business owners, but profitable small businesses can expect a six-figure salary if
I would love to make 100k, but so far, nobody has come up with that kind of cash for me to blog and take care of my kids. However, when I was working in IT, I did ok. However, layoffs were rampant as the push to use ‘off shore’ resources was huge from corporate. So in many cases, I am not sure IT is the fantastic career it once was. I am sure it is different if you work at Google and such, but for people starting their careers in programming, the competition is stiff not only between American workers, but with those abroad also.