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American programmers at Indian wages

Prepare to see your salary get cut in half:

http://businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/dec2003/sb2003122_8887.htm

bye
Thursday, December 04, 2003

"The result? 'We got flooded' with resumes, about 90 in total, many from highly qualified programmers having trouble finding work in the down economy, Jon says"

Hahaha.  What a joke.  If I had to bet my entire savings that this will fail, i'd do it.  I'm sure he's really finding "quality" workers for 40k a year.

Vince
Thursday, December 04, 2003

Yeah, it's probably just writing web pages or some crap.  The media doesn't know any better, though, so they like to write inflammatory articles about it. 

(and I like to post them)

bye
Thursday, December 04, 2003

Actually I think it is quite possible he found good programmers for $40k.

The real issue is that they almost certainly view it as a "until something better comes along" job and will jump ship at the first possible chance.

Mr. Fancypants
Thursday, December 04, 2003

"Pay peanuts, get monkeys."

Skagg
Thursday, December 04, 2003

22 years ago I was learning my trade.  I was the only wannabe code jockey in a particular plant's engineering department of one of the Big Three automakers in the USA.  I was working on a project with a squad of guys from a now defunct computer company, who worked on site every day.  Something like 20 of them arrived every day to work in this brand new computer room full of blue and white boxes in the middle of a automobile component plant in the town that made the movie "Roger and Me" famous.

The head engineering guy (older white shirt blue tie type) wandered over to my desk one day (this is before the invention of the cube farm) and wondered what I saw in all this computer stuff.  I replied that it was the wave of the future, and I thought it was a fascinating business to be in.  He replied that it looked to him like these programmers were glorified draftsmen, and were both nothing special and easily replaced.

In retrospect, we were both right.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Thursday, December 04, 2003

The article says that he hired at the lower rate for contract work and has since hired two of the programmers permanently and given them more typical salaries for a programming job in Boston.

I can see how it worked for one guy who needed a few programmers. I'd be surprised if the market would let everyone do it.

Beth
Thursday, December 04, 2003

$40-$45K will attract programmers, but only unemployed programmers.  If you can find some worthy ones out of the mass of unemployed applicants, it can work out great as long as you boost their salaries to market levels once you realize they are worth keeping.

T. Norman
Thursday, December 04, 2003

http://www.yourescrewed.com/

Full name:
Thursday, December 04, 2003

The competant programmers will not accept substandard wages. They are, even as we speak, changing careers. The only american programmers who want to work for indian wages are the ones who are absolutely no good. This is just common sense. Let's say that you told doctors that they would still have to have extensive training at great personal cost, but their wages are going to be cut in half. Most of them would find another line of work, assuming that wages in other industries remained level. Doctoring is difficult, stressful, work that demands high skills. High salaries are generally needed to attract people to be willing to put up with it all. Programming is the same way. If you have high salaries, you attract the most competant and skilled people. If you have low salaries, you will attract dumb people who are helpless and need to be told how to do every little thing.

Burger King, for example. They pay $6/hr. Do they attract highly skilled college graduates with advanced skills and inventing and bringing to market useful products by working 12-16 hrs a day? Of course not, they pay $6/hr. Get real.

The future of the US IT industry is inevitable -- historically unprecedented speed of collapse coupled with a rapid overtaking by foreign IT firms that will decimate and subjugate the firms foolish enough to relegate R&D and competitive advatage issues to the lowest outsourced bidder.  This is all predictable issues of common sense and known properties of a free market, which INCLUDES labor. Labor (working folks) are also free to work under conditions they prefer. Competant folks will find jobs that satisfy them. Jobs in IT will not be those jobs. Thus, only incompetant people will be employed in US IT. This is already happening, hence the current 80% level. Used to be that only 50% were incompetant. Within 5 yrs, 99% will be incompetant and shareholders with worthless stock in bankrupt companies will rue the short-sighted decisions made by CEOs who cashed in their bonuses and moved to Bermuda.

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, December 04, 2003

I'll second Dennis's observations. Even just reading JOS lately, I shudder that some of these people might be at a place I would work.

Programming is getting dumbed down with little recipe followers.

JM
Friday, December 05, 2003

Yes, there are many "little receipe followers" as you put it, but is that because the overall quality of programmers is going down?  Or because there are simply *more* programmers, which naturally increases the number of both good and bad ones?  Are you looking for the good ones or are you looking for the bad ones?

Michael Kale
Friday, December 05, 2003

Err, make that "recipe"... curse the JoelForum which doesn't let me cut and paste from above!  ;-)

Michael Kale
Friday, December 05, 2003

Well, "recipe" is really just another word for "algorithm."  If you're a good "little recipe follower" that's a good start on the road to becoming a good programmer.

When I think back about my own comp. sci. education, I realize that it all started by being a recipe follower.  As a kid, I'd sit at the C64 for hours and hours typing in source code from Compute's Gazette magazine so I could play whatever cool game they'd published that month.  In the process, I learned how programs work in order to debug the inevitable typos and publishing errors.  Eventually, this led to writing my own programs, reading the manuals so I could do more advanced things like program music with the SID chip, learning 6502/6510 assembly, reverse-engineering file formats with a hex editor for my favorite role-playing games so I could have uber-characters with lots of hit points and badass weaponry, etc.  I learned an awful lot by being a recipe follower.

Matt Latourette
Friday, December 05, 2003

USD 40K a year is more than I earn. According to the arguments above, I'm exposing my incompetence by admitting that, but what the heck.

Of course, it costs way more than USD 40K a year for the company to keep me on board, because they'll only take me on as an agency employee; headcount is Nemesis, Beelzebub, Armageddon to them. Headcount costs money.

Seems to me I'm therefore more competent than the finance department, but what would I know.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, December 05, 2003

Hey, don't forget that before the dotcom boom (circa 1994) the median programmer made about $48K.  And at that time there was a much higher percentage of competent programmers.  The high salaries of the late 90s brought in loads of idiots who were chasing dollars but lacked the will or talent to become good programmers.  Management was (and still is) largely incapable of separating the wheat from the chaff, and there was high demand, so most of the idiots were able to get jobs.

Sure, an individual company paying $45-$50K now is unlikely to attract good programmers because there are so many jobs within the industry that pay much more.  But having the market average return to the low $50K levels might be a good thing.  It would result in less offshoring, and the field would attract a higher percentage of those who are in it because they love doing it.  Unfortunately, during the shakeout period the incompetents will tightly hold on to their jobs like a pit bull on an intruder's arm.

NoName
Friday, December 05, 2003

Fernanda,

Are you saying you earn less than $40K within the US for full-time work?  That is less than the starting average for programmers straight out of college.  If you are within the US, it's time to start polishing your resume.  Continuing to make far below the market average will hurt your career in more ways than one.

NoName
Friday, December 05, 2003

No, this is within the UK. I've been aware that my low wages have been hurting my career for a long time and have made considerable efforts to improve matters.

I did send résumés to Toronto in 2002, but I only had time to get 120 of them sent out before my trip, the timing of which was not wholly my decision. Of course you can't do a whole lot with only three years of Java, C, C++, VB, SQL and InstallShield, at least not in the market as it was then.

I live in a low-paying, "oppressed masses" town where there are no other opportunities for programmers. Very few people in this town earn as much as I do. The alternative is to commute to London, as I did on my previous job, which would cost an additional USD 600.00 per month. I calculate that I would have to increase my salary by 50% just to break even, because I'd then be in the higher tax bracket.

I'm now hoping that I will pass my driving test (11 December) and increase my choice of location. I'm also taking an MSc (at my own expense), which may or may not glamourize my résumé, but at least I'm learning some cool stuff.

I say all this not so much to whinge (although that, too, of course), but to point out that I am well aware that my low wages will damage my career and that I am going to great lengths to improve matters. I wish I could believe that all my strenuous efforts will meet with certain reward, but I very much doubt that life is like that. I think that working hard is entirely within my control, but success isn't entirely within my control.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, December 05, 2003

Salaries in the UK are just plain lower than in the US. I'm really quite satisfied with my ~$45k; it's good money over here... of course I'd rather be on ~$120k like my co-worker sitting some six feet from me, but hey.

I could, of course, add about 50% to my salary by going contract but I rather like my current lifestyle.

Mr Jack
Friday, December 05, 2003

To each his own, Mr Jack. I think people really do need varying amounts of money. Speaking from a personal point of view, my salary would be enough to pay for the day-to-day expenses of a modest lifestyle provided I had no unusual expenses (such as repairs, etc) and provided I could accept the idea of having no savings of any kind, and didn't have an MSc to pay for, and so on. In fact, if I lived like that, I might even have a bit left over for entertainments.

I do want a bit more security than that, however, so I really want better money.

(Not suggesting that your lifestyle is as I describe above, Mr Jack; I make no presumptions of that kind. Like I said, I believe that people genuinely need varying amounts of money to live on.)

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, December 05, 2003

I heard on the BBC news that a lot of UK call centre jobs are being exported to India.

There it is really cool to work in a call centre. They only take university graduates and pay them about £1,200 per year (about $2,000 US). This is more than a Doctor or an engineer gets paid over there, so there is a lot of competition for these jobs.

Steve Jones (UK)
Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm an American that's been working in Israel for the past 6 years -- the last 3 as a web-developer. My salary is about 20% higher than the average Israeli wage, but in dollars I'm making about $22,000/year.

What's more, 30% of my salary is going to taxes AND the price of goods in Israel is higher than in the USA. I'm making less and paying more.

I'm moving back the USA next year. If I can get a similar job there at about $40,000/year I will be sooooooooo happy.

It's all a matter of perspective.

Chi Lambda
Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm enjoying being poor.
I left a $60K consultancy job for a $25K job at a startup,
my take home pay halved.

I work from home - so save 1hour each way commuting and I don't need a car.
I can work when I want, not work if I'm not being productive that day.
The new company values what I do instead of being only interested in how much of my work is billable.
I get to produce the cheapest / best solution instead of the one which allow us to bill for the most follow up work.
Life style is about the same as being a grad student again.

And in a couple of years I can jump back on the gravy train having been in a senior position in a small company. ( or retire if the share options work out ;- )

For reference in the: UK $30K is graduate starting salary, $45K is higher ( 40% ) tax bracket.

Martin Beckett
Friday, December 05, 2003

Sorry forgot to say - this is in the UK

Martin Beckett
Friday, December 05, 2003

When Indian companies start writing whole software suites all on their own, when the first Indian Bill Gates arrives, that is when we will be in trouble. For the record, I have worked with these guys and they aren't 'little recipe followers', India has a huge population and a highly effective education system. There is lots of competition for this kind of work. The people who get it are often highly skilled, capable and extremely good communicators. That last bit should make most western developers very scared indeed. They also have the incentive of putting small minded racist jobsworths out of their $120,000 a year jobs.

</RANT>

Ian Sanders
Friday, December 05, 2003

There is another aspect to the UK argument. Sure it takes a long time for a programmer here to reach the $40K mark. Is the US flooded with UK programmers ? No. Is US programming work outsourced to the UK ? No. Is the standard of software development in the UK worse than the US ? Don't make me laugh - we invented it. Remember Turing, Enigma, Leo ?

Outsourcing is of limited benefit, useful for filling in gaps in load. It is more threatening to the use of contractors than employed programmers.

Ian Sanders
Friday, December 05, 2003

Well, last year I probably earned less than $40K, but now that Euro is $1.20 I suppose that I earn more.
Anyway, this is much more than I spend.

Pakter
Friday, December 05, 2003

Programmers (me include) have an exagerated view of their self importance. I have a B.S. in Computer Science and have been doing this for 17 years now. I know what I am doing,  I'm good at it and I make good money.

But with a wife and 4 kids, if I was to loose my job I would take a job at $45k. I have responsibilities. It would be tough and I would still look for more but I have to work.

Now if the salaries reverted back to their pre dotcom levels I would be in a tight situation. We've grown to love the large house on a lake with a pool. Don't want to give that up so I need high salaries.

The cost of living that the life style we require is what drives the need for the high salaries. Not the fact that we are just so damn good.

I had been in this business for 10 years before the dot com boom and I was working at $48k. Did that make me a bad programmer? I think not.

We made this situation now we have to live with it or come up with an alternativer that doesn't affect our life styles.

$$$
Friday, December 05, 2003

"The cost of living that the life style we require is what drives the need for the high salaries. Not the fact that we are just so damn good."

That's right, employers will pay the smallest amount that workers will consent to live on.

If a majority of us end up consenting to lower wages - which will happen if the choice is between low wages and no wages - then lower wages will be imposed on us all.

I live very frugally but I don't kid myself that what I am earning is going to support me into the future. I don't think that that's because of my greed and extravagance, either.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, December 05, 2003

You can't live on 40K in New York - Period.....

GenX'er
Friday, December 05, 2003

I make less than US 40K.  In the US north east.  I'm also just out of college.

 
Friday, December 05, 2003

In Latvia i earn 12,000$ per year and i am happy with that

IJ
Friday, December 05, 2003

I don't know, I'm in a lucky position right now, no debts, not big overheads.

I'd probably take a job for 40k, depending on the conditions. If I could for example work for home pretty much when I liked, if I was interested in the area and pretty much got a free hand at design as well as coding, as well as support, if they used real version tracking, nightly builds, bug tracking systems etc...

It's about perks, the freedom, when everything is setup right, you have good version control, a good bug tracking system, working with reasonable people, as little talking as possible, email as the preferred communication, and most meetings standing up so they wouldn't be dragged on by mindless idiots who can't do their jobs.

Then I'd think about it.

fw
Friday, December 05, 2003

"You can't live on 40K in New York - Period....."

Yeah, you can. Millions do it. You just can't live *well* on 40k.

You're going to have an apartment that is one of more of the following:

* small
* old
* outside the most desirable areas in Manhattan
* shared with roommates

It's a matter of priorities.

Joe Grossberg
Friday, December 05, 2003

Joe Grossberg is a moron!!!!!!

Flame away!!!!!!!!!

What if you are buying at house at current prices and want to have a family???????

GenX'er
Friday, December 05, 2003


Joe,

Not all of us are single losers like yourself.  Some of us have responsibilities like families, mortgages, and the like.  It's not so easy to pick up and leave, but of course, you don't have that problem.  BTW, it's not just Mahattan that's expensive, try everywhere within 100 miles of NYC.

Troy McClure
Friday, December 05, 2003

"Flooded with 90 resumes"

Flooded??  90??

Any ad we place gets at least 150 resumes in response -- most more like 300.  90 hardly seems high considering he advertised in the boston paper.

Han Solo
Friday, December 05, 2003

A "moron"? "Single loser"?

I think you've already done enough flaming.

If you "are buying at house at current prices and want to have a family", but are making just $40k, then don't live in NYC. Duh.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. So, boo hoo.

And yes, I know how expensive the NY area is. I was born in Manhattan and grew up five miles away.

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Friday, December 05, 2003

If you "are buying at house at current prices and want to have a family", but are making just $40k, then don't live in NYC. Duh.

You are a moron - we're not even talking about NYC. I live on Long Island, grew up here, have a lot of family here and most of my friends are here. I have as much or more education than most of my friends. But now I have to not live here anymore, DUH?

If a carpenter (plumber, electrician)  can make $100,000+ (which someone can learn in BOCES in high school) then a programmer should be able to make a lot more than $40,000 (in NY).

Too many "wanna be" so called "programmers" have flooded this market!!!!!!!!!! People who don't program at home, people who aren't really very interested in the field. People who got into the field just because it was good money.

They will be elimated by attrition and be forced to move to another career.

GenX'er
Friday, December 05, 2003

Yes, a good programmer in a major metro area should be able to pull down more than $40k in salary.

But if a programmer is willing to settle for just that $40k and wants to live in New York, then he's got to make some sacrifices. It's not impossible; just difficult.

So you grew up in an area and are now being priced out of it? That's life.

And save the personal attacks and mega-punctuation for Slashdot!!!!!!!!!

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Friday, December 05, 2003

"The competent programmers will not accept substandard wages"

Yes they will.  As has been pointed out:
1 - Poorly paid beats unemployed.
2 - Someone is always worse off than you.
3 - Developers are too elitist to form a guild so they will never have protection

Next we will see companies telling their workers to take a 40-60% reduction in wages.  If you quit, oh well, they find the person in dire need.  Enough churn and the wages are driven down.

I live in a rural area and in the 80s and early  90s all the IT jobs paid within 2k of each other.  Meeting with some of the companies in the area they never said collusion, but they indicated a price war would hurt everyone.  Look for a VP to see a President's position in their future by cutting salaries by 40%.

AreWeDeadYet
Friday, December 05, 2003

Has anyone heard of supply and demand ?  As it is, here in the US, fewer college folks are majoring in CS, and fewer people going into the field because of the so-called shortages of IT jobs.  That's great news.  Combine the smaller number of folks coming into the market with the baby-boomer programmers dying or retiring.  Sounds like a great future.  There is always going to be a need for developers here in the States.  Some work can be shipped offshore, but many companies are just now starting to realize that the so-called savings achieved by going off-shore results in higher costs though re-work and poor specifications.  The future looks bright.  Companies like pretending that the job market is bad, so they can cut salaries.  Eventually, it's going to catch up with them.

Troy McClure
Friday, December 05, 2003

Forgive me, this post may sound slightly "bella"ish.    All you losers need to stop telling yourself there are plenty of good programmers for 40k a year.  There may be a few, but they're few and far between (and probably consist of bright but inexperienced people, or spineless people who don't realize they could be making more).  My company is having trouble finding a competant programmer at 60-80k, much less 40k.  We see tons of "qualified resumes", and 90% can't even answer basic interview questions.  Just like the best programmers don't make 10x as much as the worst, 40k programmers are probably more then 3 times as unpdroductive compared to an 80k a year programmer.  This guy is just looking for a get rich quick scheme, and it ain't gonna work.

Vince
Friday, December 05, 2003

Thank you, Vince.

"You get what you pay for", as the saying goes.

If an experienced programmer in New York City was willing to work for $40k, I'd have some serious questions as to why that was the best he could do.

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

Joe Grossberg
Friday, December 05, 2003

Hey Joe - didn't you just contradict yourself????

Re-read your previous posts in this thread you tool!!!!

GenX'er
Friday, December 05, 2003

I don't know or care what all of this yelling is about, but anyway...

I'm not the best, but I'm certainly not the worst. I have two years of Java (some servlets and client side) experience, PHP, Perl, general web development, and Unix (Linux, IRIX, *BSD) system administration. I'm at a very small company in the midwest and make just under $40k.

I own a nice house, a new car, and am pretty darn happy.

I guess I'm also unskilled and should not be doing software development!

Sam
Friday, December 05, 2003

"I own a nice house, a new car, and am pretty darn happy."

Sam I am proud of you!

The point I was making is that you would NOT have a new house or a new car making 40K in New York.

You might be able to rent a cheesy apartment for that - renting is around $ 1,000.00 / month average for a 1 Bedroom on LI.

GenX'er
Friday, December 05, 2003

Oh, I don't disagree with you there! I have friends in Westchester. They spent five times as much on a house the size of mine with no yard right next to a freeway.

I'm just wondering if it's true that I am somehow incompetent. Java developers like me are a dime a dozen. If someone was looking for people like me and paying $65k, I would be interested. However, here in the midwest, they are not.

Sam
Friday, December 05, 2003

No I didn't contradict myself.

$40k gets you a crappy programmer. Crappy programmers can afford to live in NYC.

Joe
http://www.joegrossberg.com

P.S. Thanks for calling me a "tool" and giving the extra exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

Joe Grossberg
Friday, December 05, 2003

At the end of the article:
"HERE AND NOW.  In the interim, Jon has promoted two of the programmers to full-time employees, at standard American programming salaries, rather than risk losing them to the marketplace. And he is convinced that having people working onsite gives him control over quality and timing that he wouldn't have enjoyed if he had subcontracted overseas. "

What a stupid article imho. What is the guy saying? And does he really think he got really good programmers at that salary? And then he blows the whole reason for doing what he did by paying them what the market demanded.

Me, I'd have hired a really good project manager. A really good programmer and then outsourced the rest in the U.S. or Russia or Brazil or the Bahamas.

Me
Friday, December 05, 2003

The article states that the average Indian programmer gets $40K USD a year.  I don't believe that as my company just hired a bunch of Indians for under $20K a year.  I suppose it depends on their level of experience.  $40K a year is actually a decent salary in much of the U.S. for a programmer with less than 5 years of experience.  Does anyone have some more accurate data on actual Indian programmer salaries at different levels of experience?

Jethro
Friday, December 05, 2003

Around $20k if you work at a local comany to about $40k if you work for one of the multinationals that are outsourcing there.

$20k is roughly equivelant to $80k here, so $40k would be equivelant to $160k.

These are numbers I got from my friend, so they could differ from other people's concensus. These numbers seem to jibe with dotcom era salaries in the US.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, December 05, 2003

We have two indian girls at our company and I think one is making around 55k, another around 70k.  If there as good as the equivelant "american" programmer that makes 55 - 70k, why wouldn't we pay them that, and why wouldn't they demand that. 

Sam- I don't know what cost of living is out in the midwest.  My guess is your working for a company that doesn't do development.  If you really do produce good results that the company can sell to customers or clients, i'd imagine you could ask for a raise.  Now, I think a lot of people making 40k a year are perfectly content with their slow-paced, internal programming position where they arn't pushed.  If your a smart, experienced Java or C# orC++ programmer working for a consulting or service company, you can bet that they're billing you out at 100-200, even more an hour.  You can be making more then 40k. 

Vince
Friday, December 05, 2003

The Indian programmer would have beem billed at $40K to the American firm after going thru the intermediary; the Indian programmer doesn't get a US$40K salary in India.

T. Norman
Friday, December 05, 2003

> Next we will see companies telling their workers to take a 40-60% reduction in wages.

We actually had this in Australia. When Infosys arrived, Deloittes, who had been doing Telstra work, gave their developers an ultimatum that they must substantial pay cuts. I think it was around 50 percent.

Get this though: the pay cuts were only for the developers. The Deloitte managers kept their pay levels.

echidna
Friday, December 05, 2003

>"I'm at a very small company in the midwest and make just under $40k."

Is that typical in the city or county where you work?  If it is significantly below average, your low salary will hinder your chances whenever you look for another job.  Either they'll underpay you, or they'll believe you earn a below-average salary because you aren't good, and thus won't hire you.  If you apply for a $75K job, they probably won't believe a $40K person is up to the level of ability they are looking for.

(Note that $40K is not an absolute number; it is all relative to the job market where you work.  Make $40K in Brazil and you'd probably be considered a demigod.)

Even if you like the job and are happy with the salary, unless you are guaranteed lifelong employment where you are, lingering at a below-market salary for years can seriously damage your employment opportunities.

If you are indeed below average, you can at least start to make a case with your management why you should be paid much more.

However, if what you make is typical for your area, one day we may observe a counter-trend to offshoring -- companies relocating their IT departments to the midwest and other low-cost areas within the US.  And it would probably actually be cheaper than India in many ways, given that they would save not only on labor costs but also on office real estate and infrastructure (which are generally more expensive in India than the US) and time zone issues would be minor.

T. Norman
Friday, December 05, 2003

> great developers will *always* be in demand.

Yes, software development is here to stay.  But your salary will be HALVED soon enough.  Fast food is here to stay as well.  You want fries with that, future boy ?

Bella
Friday, March 22, 2002

Bella
Friday, December 05, 2003

> If a carpenter (plumber, electrician)  can make $100,000+ (which someone can learn in BOCES in high school) then a programmer should be able to make a lot more than $40,000 (in NY).

I disagree?  Everyone wants a desk job.  No one wants to bust their butt physically.  Supply/Demand.  Sitting at a desk all day sure beats sweating and breaking your back.    I'd take $40k as a programmer before I took $100k as a carpenter.

Bella
Friday, December 05, 2003

I think paying $40k for a programmer is VERY feasable.  There is always a 25-28 year old who has low overhead, lives with roommates, and just cares about beer money and rent.  And will work for $40k.  Both parties needs are met., 

You can be very clear and honest at the outset.  This is a $40k job.  It will stay that way.  When it no longer meets your needs, we will part ways. 

Once they get older and need more money, b/c of their house/wives/kids, they can go find work elsewhere.  No hard feelings on either side, just like agreed upon at the outset.

Bella
Friday, December 05, 2003

"Sitting at a desk all day sure beats sweating and breaking your back. "

It does? I, like probably a lot of my peers, _dream_ of the idea of doing one of the trades because after a few years in the software development trade it looks like a pretty easy job. I suspect that the average plumber/carpeter/electrician will have a much longer lifespan as well.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, December 05, 2003

> Sitting at a desk all day sure beats sweating and breaking your back.

What? Carpentry is a great job. Every day you see the results of your work, and so do your your colleagues, bosses and customers. If you're good at your job, you're respected for it.

Sitting at a desk - which implies staff job in big company - is one of the worst jobs in modern society. (This is different from analysis or development conducted with reasonably independence, which I wouldn't describe as a "desk job.")

analyst
Friday, December 05, 2003

Bella, I have to ask.... Do you regret having a family? This is a recurring theme in your posts. Did you bust your butt for your family and wish you didn't have to?

Full name:
Saturday, December 06, 2003

> I suspect that the average plumber/carpeter/electrician will have a much longer lifespan as well.

Do a little research on disability numbers of these fields.  These people develop all sorts of physical ailments.


> Bella, I have to ask.... Do you regret having a family?

I am not married or have a family.  But over the past year or 2, I have started to believe that it is a thankless "slavery to your paycheck" figurative death-sentence.  I hope I am wrong.  But it just goes to show, You MUST love what you do for a living, or your personal life will be filled with resentment, b/c you view 10 hours a day as a sacrifice for others.  I see it all around me.

Bella
Saturday, December 06, 2003

The $40K was what they would be billed. The programmer would be lucky to receive $15K.

Now, they didn't think of the third idea which was to relocate the company to India and actually be able to offer say $30K to compensate for the additional infrastructure, to the Indian programmers.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, December 06, 2003

bella:  Are you saying a 40k a year developer is only half as productive as an 80k programmer?  If you were a manager, do you think its better to have 8 80k a year developers, or 16 40k a year developers.  Maybe you really sucked as a developer, I don't know.  Maybe you never really had a lot of competition.  But your not giving up any facts to back up any of this.  I've always had respect for your "down to earth views", but your last few posts just seem like a tired, last ditch effort to inject dispair into people who succeeded where you failed.

Vince
Saturday, December 06, 2003

> over the past year or 2, I have started to believe that it is a thankless "slavery to your paycheck" figurative death-sentence.  I hope I am wrong. <

I agree. I call it "The Working Class Curse." The desire to escape a sort of slavery through Get Rich Quick schemes. To take control of your own destiny, so to speak. The hardest thing to realize is that taking control of your own destiny first means controlling yourself, and not discovering some magical "no money down" formula.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, December 06, 2003

"As the head of a startup that had been going for less than a year, he wasn't at all certain he should take the risk of having essential work done at a far-off location by people he didn't know, and with whom he could communicate only via e-mail and phone."

So let me get this straight.  This entrepreneur didn't feel comfortable with shipping everything he was actually doing overseas, well out of his reach?

Well, what the Hell was he going to do in the meantime?  Eat steak?

There's nothing worse than so-called small businessmen who start companies and believe they can make a profit just by farming out labor.  No actual involvement necessary; just hand-waving and :poof:, product.  Time to sell!

It seems fairly logical to me that if you're a small business owner, where your goal is to provide a technological solution to a business problem, then you really can't just expect your company to run itself overseas without much intervention.  If that's what American businessowners are trending towards, then expect to see software entrepreneurship head out to Bangalore in a few years, too.

In short:  what does this guy want?  A cookie?  You're _supposed_ to run your own business!

it_ranter
Saturday, December 06, 2003

Good point. People forget that it's hard enough to run a successful business with the employees in the room. Running a business where your core products are designed in some far away place by people you've never met and who speak a different language has simply *got* to be more difficult than running a business with the designers where you can talk to them and interact with you. Also, any local operation will check the references of their employees and execute nondisclosure agreements. This is not possible when you don't even know the names of the people and pointless anyway if enforcing breeches would involve foreign courts.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, December 06, 2003

Vince,

No idea what you're talking about.  I never made any correlation b/w programmer skill and value vs. salary.

My only point was that I feel one can easily have a staff of $40k programmers.  Condition:  They would need to be young (mid/late 20's), and you should not expect to retain them for the long haul.  But, certainly, there are business cases where this type of cheaper stff is a worthwhile trade-off.  In other business cases, it won't make sense, and would be shortsighted.

Bella
Sunday, December 07, 2003

well, all I'm saying is, its possible for a competing business to pay half as many programmers twice as much and get 3 times the productivity.  If this becomes a well known fact, I don't see why IT will take this massive hit.

Vince
Sunday, December 07, 2003

Not if you're the other half !

Bella
Sunday, December 07, 2003

As a guy who has been out of work for months (since October 2003 at this point), I have to say that I'd be willing to work at much lower wages than what I had at my most recent position (it would have worked out to about $50k/year if the place hadn't been shut down and had jobs sent to Singapore).  I'm only starting in the post-college workforce, though, having only worked in student positions previous to that at wages of $7-12/hr.

While I'd really want a job that paid more than 12 bucks an hour, I'd be willing to do that at this point since my financial reserves are drying up quickly.

Mike Hicks
Thursday, March 11, 2004

This is ridiculous. I was a systems analyst and systems architect in Boston for a bright and highly regarded biotech firm, one of the tops in the field. I was paid... $42,000 a year. This was in 1997. Of course, I also was still going to school, and had just lost my scholarship, but I had just lead a team into a really cool project with NASA. That was my dream, to work in or with NASA. But I lost my scholarship (due to the time I put into the project as opposed to my studies)

So, I had a choice. Drop out like my parents wanted me too and go back home to a cheap state school, or give them the middle finger, stick with my dream, and figure out how I was going to afford to do it at the same time. I was almost ready to drop out of the school and just work on the project while working as a waiter in a restaurant nearby. I had the waiter application in hand, and was digging ditches for family gardens with whatever advertised "help" was needed.

Luckily, being in a dire circumstance, I took my linux hobby, something I was using since early 1994 (I think I was one of the few 25,000 people at the time to start using it) and turned that into something that could pay my rent, my food, my bicycle, and especially my tuition, while tuning down my college engineering degree studies to half time instead of full time, and work on the NASA project. The company heard about how I was such a linux/unix guru from friends (I am not. I consider myself competent, but there is no master... except God if you really think about it), and they hired me... for 40 grand a year, which in the second year they bumped to 42 grand. I had a BLAST working for them, built supercomputers, architected high end systems, the works. They helped me with my tuition. It was a win win situation.

2 years later I got laid off, and used that time to finish the NASA project, which was a success, then I got burned out finishing up my degree while living on unemployment. I then finally found work (a year later!!!) at Harvard's medical school. Same type of work, architecting systems, etc... except I didn't have a blast, learned to hate MD pHD's with egos that couldn't fit a hallway, and even threw one out of my office after I called the cops on him for harrassment and workplace disruption. Boy, that sure amused the president he was friends with. So, after a year or so there, I had enough, quit, and took off on a lifetime adventure in South and Central America, and did freelance volunteer work.

WELL, now I'm back, and have been sending out my resume (for at least a year and a half), which makes the average person blink and stare (I also did a cool research project for my senior thesis at MIT and BU).

And yet, guess what?

No one wants to hire me. ¿¡Nadie me quíere!?

So, I've been working as a spanish english interpreter (which pays less, no benefits, is not consistent, but it's very rewarding emotionally) and am finishing a travel documentary about my travels.

So, I ask you. Am I incompetent? Am I a shitty technical guy who jumped on just for the cash?! I have no problems working for 40k. Back home in South Jersey, I wouldn't mind if it's 30k! I need to eat too!

I'm beginning to wonder about that now these days. I still use linux cause it's the only OS I've used ever since I bought my first computer in 1994... although I am playing around with BeOS (learning video production). I'd love to get my hands on an amiga video toaster... which is what I wanted in 1994, but my Dad insisted an engineer needed a PC. Funny, now these days, engineering, comp sci, or systems analyst seems to be a liability. Still, it's kind a nice to return to using the computer as a hobby, and not for work.

<SIGH> In Boston, I myself have seen some extremely competent and highly experienced people, engineers, scientists, guys who started up companies, courted venture capitalists successfully, and developed wonderful products... and they were working with me as a security guard. There's lots of em. So, I don't think the 40k will get you a lousy technical person cuts it. There's something else here that feels a lot more insidious.

Hell, the group at Discreet, Gus Grubbers, I believe, those guys were NAMES in the graphics fields, having done the graphics for the Matrix, The Last Samurai, Armageddon, etc for YEARS. Their company just outsourced their work to Canada, and they've been looking around for quite a while, and they can't find any work!

Anyone got a better explanation for what's going on?

Dave N
Monday, April 12, 2004

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