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A thought

Here is my idea about the current job shortage in IT:
Back when there were plenty of jobs workers expected high salaries -- for example Bella recently posted that programmers make either $80-120k or nothing. The idea also came about that talent is important, and a good programmer is far more productive than an average one. Talented programmers became very expensive and employers had trouble hanging on to them and making them happy.
Naturally, employers were glad for a chance to be free of their over-paid genuises, and off-shoring gave them the chance.

If programmers hadn't been so demanding and egotistical there might still be a lot of jobs.

I would rather make less than $80 doing a job I like and having a pleasant life than a driven maniacal genius working 20 hours a day and making $120k.
Maybe the jobs will come back if IT workers start to feel the same way.

The Real PC
Monday, July 28, 2003

My salary+bonus was $250K at my last job (it was off-shored), and I've just accepted a new job at $50K. I've seen ads for Web programmers offering $8-$10/hour.

I expect that programmers earn $80K+ or nothing, iff they're unwilling to work for less than $80K.

I doubt there's a lot of correlation between pay and effort though, for example my longest hours and also my lowest salary were when the company was starting up.

Anon
Monday, July 28, 2003

Here is my idea about the current job shortage in IT:

There aren't so many idiots chasing pots of gold at the end of rainbows, therefore there aren't so many idiots hiring.  It has nothing to do with the egos or attitudes of programmers.

Good programmers are several orders of magnitude more productive than bad programmers.  Should they not be paid accordingly?

another comment
Monday, July 28, 2003

Real PC, the guys and gals who decide where to have their software developed don't know anything about software. If they were buying cars for the company, they would be buying Trabants. (At Phibian's company, they would get him to buy the car.)

.
Monday, July 28, 2003

Real PC, it was an employee market, you could ask for more.  Now we have an employers market, you are fskd.
Taking less in one market does not leave you more when the market changes. These two things are independant.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

[Good programmers are several orders of magnitude more productive than bad programmers.  Should they not be paid accordingly?]

Absolutely good or absolutely bad programmers are rare. Most are pretty good or pretty bad. Anyone who is below average either needs to improve or do something they're good at. All those who are average and above should be paid pretty well.
If, let's say, a guy is twice as productive as another guy, should he be paid twice as much? No, I don't think so. Unless you want to start paying by how much code is produced -- which is obviously not a good idea because faster is not necessarily better and more lines of code is not necessarily more software.
You can't measure it accurately. Some days I am much more productive than other days, similarly for everyone I guess.

Are there star programmers who are miles ahead of everyone and deserve six figure salaries? No, I think if they're so great they should go into business for themselves.

The Real PC
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I'm a star programmer who earns his six-figure compensation by solving seven-figure problems and doing projects that bring seven-figure revenues.  I'm not an owner or manager, and nobody reports to me.

The secret?  Learn to solve problems without programming.  Programming costs money, it doesn't make money.

Phillip J. Eby
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

A lot of project managers I work with have a built-in filter for problem solutions which do not facilitate software. They do want you to program something for them, even if it means that you have to work for 2 months on a solution that might have be reached by simply employing a monkey who had done the same manually in 2 hours.

Note: Yes, I do know I'm in the wrong company. No, I cannot find another job.

Johnny Bravo
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

add: "They do want you to program something for them, because it makes them feel important, ..."

Johnny Bravo
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Well, I'm also pretty good at intimidating people into doing the right thing for the company as a whole, and playing the right political games when I'm dealing with the people who don't give a rat's ass about the company's productivity, only their personal turf wars.  In the latter case, this would probably involve finding a suitable already-written solution (such as an open source one) and telling them I can have something for them in a week or so.  :)

By the way, note that if you'd rather not spend the 2 months, you can always do the 2-hour task yourself, and then circulate a memo to the effect that after studying the problem, you were able to save the company $X (your salary X 2 months) initial investment, and uncounted amounts of future maintenance, documentation, etc. cost by simply doing the task manually.  (Be sure to also add this to your annual "list of accomplishments" to be sent as a reminder to your boss just before performance reviews.  :)

When you do this, make sure you do a wide cc: not only the person who asked you to write the program, but whoever has the actual problem as well, and maybe a VIP or two that you could reasonably expect to be interested - especially if said VIP has been mouthing off about the importance of everybody finding ways to cut costs.  A lead-off like "in keeping with the recent Cost Slasher policy" or whatever the pet term they use around the office is.

This does two things: 1) demonstrate that you are "on board" with corporate policy, and 2) ensure that your boss can't slag you for not writing the program because *he* will now be seen as rocking the boat and not abiding by corporate policy.  If he bugs you, you can look at him in shock and say, "are you saying I should disobey company policy?"

In any sufficiently large company, there is some policy you can use to justify almost any action -- as long as your action really is sensible.  The trick is public visibility of your actions as supporting the corporation and its policies.

This doesn't mean you might not wind up with serious problems if you have a sufficiently sociopathic manager.  Caveat lector!  Note that if you do engage this strategy, you must be prepared to not back down in the event of a conflict.  If your boss slags you in private e-mail, reply back to the same cc: list and apologize profusely for your mistake in seeking to save the company money.  (And no, I don't mean sarcastically; be sincere.)  If he yells at you in private or by telephone, write the same apology e-mail, send it to the group.  The trick is forcing public accountability for the manager's decisions.

Again, your mileage may vary.  For example, I'm assuming that your manager is not the person who has the real problem, and that you're both in a technical group, as opposed to you being the sole developer in the company and the manager is a line-of-business guy.

Phillip J. Eby
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

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