You're ahead of me, but I'll toss in my 2 cents anyway..
In the last 3 years I've gone from about 20k to 40k, and starting next month 55k. 70 sounds good to me, I'm hoping to reach it within another 2 years. I'm also doing VB, and have no formal training, an no degree of any kind. Currently live in Portland, Oregon, moving to San Diego (somewhat unhappily) next month. I haven't been doing as much full time programming as I'd like, and have instead been doing lots of misc., support, programming, etc. If I'd had higher quality experience for the last year or two, I could get into the 70K range staying in town, but as it is I have a friend in San Diego who's recruited me into a web-development job down there.
I'm reasonably sure VB will be around and useful for at least a few more years, but there may be a glut of available VB programmers soon. The recruiters in this area _are_ looking for VB/ASP and Java. I do think that web development, using ASP and/or Java will be big for a while, I don't know about The Next Big Thing, but I think it will at least be A big thing for a good stretch.
If I had to guess about TNBT, I'd lean towards any and all web/net-enabled
"smart-devices". cellphone/pager/browser/organizer/shopping agent hybrid
devices. Specialized workplace devices, like something a doctor could carry around in a hospital, call up patient history on any patient, put in a prescription order, schedule his/her time etc, instead of the giant paper shuffle. Web/net enabled or not, I think the place to be is going towards information appliances, which so far seem to be leaning towards java. Or if MS gets their way, WinCE, which would mean more VB.
Here's a tidbit from infoworld;
"While Microsoft continues its internal debate over whether to design a
version of its WinCE operating system for smart phones, the Symbian alliance -- which includes three of the leading cellular phone manufacturers, Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola -- appears to be settling on the EPOC operating system from Psion, another consortium member, for its smart-phone operating system."
So maybe the thing to jump into is this EPOC thing. Or there's even rumors
that the forthcoming Playstation will become a platform of its own, above
and beyond games. I don't know. I wish I knew. Alas, I'm a lowly VB
programmer (hiss hiss).
I kind of have the feeling that being a programmer today is like being a mechanic in the 30's or 40's, when all the sudden there were thousands of cars on the road and not too many people who knew how they worked and how to fix them. A couple generations later, any high-school kid can make repairs to the major systems in a car. Cars continue to become more complex, and highly skilled mechanics are still in demand, but I'm sure it's not the same as it used to be.
Given my choice of opportunities, I'd pursue the following, not necessarily in order;
Financials; program trading/analysis
</ two cents>