Friday, March 02, 2007

Why Great Coders Get Paid Far Too Little

Kevin Barnes picks up a similar topic I was talking about the other day - the question why great coders get paid far too little. Very insightful posting, just as some statements from the comments section. Let me quote:

Also, the industry keeps complaining about a labor shortage, while employees complain about a job shortage. I finally got to the bottom of this. Industry is finding a shortage of good people, whereas crappy people can’t get jobs. Universities, with dropping enrollment in engineering programs, are lowering standards so that more people can train to be engineers. Poor engineers enter the job market, can't get jobs, and when they do, they lower the overall pay range. As a result, good people see low wages and a job shortage, and go into other fields, increasing the problem.

Great coders do not fit in typical organizational hierarchies. Because the hierarchy rarely recognizes the value produced by higher quality developers until they are gone.

I've been in this market for over 20 years. What I noticed is that in 90% of the cases, the manager has no clue who is good and who's mediocre. Mostly, he criteria is based on how each one advertise himself.

The difference between programmers, doctors and lawyers is that if a doctor or a lawyer is mediocre you will notice it pretty soon. With the programmers, only time will show the truth.