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The Almighty Buck Software IT Politics Technology

Trade Group: US Software Developer Wages Fell 2% Last Year 237

First time accepted submitter russotto points out the claim of industry group TechAmerican Foundation (reported by Computerworld) that "wages for the software industry are falling, not rising. Wages fell 2% to $99,000 in 2012." Averages are one thing; the article points out though that wages vary vastly within the industry, and that some jobs are harder to fill (thus, better paid) than others. An excerpt: "Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a research firm that also analyzes IT wage and employment trends, cited a number of reason for the decline in wages for software professionals. First, technology is becoming easier to implement without having an IT professional, he said. Also, the option of turning to outsourcing creates less pressure to increase wages. As the recession continues, companies continue 'to look at productivity and will often look to hire individuals who are lower cost employees,' said Janulaitis. That could include displaced baby boomer workers who have been out of work for some time and 'will take a lower paying job just to get back into the workforce.'"
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Trade Group: US Software Developer Wages Fell 2% Last Year

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  • Still Short-sighted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @12:44PM (#43768331)

    From my own personal experience, you get what you pay for. Yes, you can overpay, but that is true for any employee. A few good programmers will outperform 100 mediocre "code-monkeys", and that holds true even if there are 1 or 2 good leads / architects. Why? Because a good design doesn't overcome bad code. I'll also note that there are some companies that just fill seats. The jobs here are not the kind that appeal to good programmers, unless they just want to pull a paycheck while working on something they care about. There are lots of these jobs, and most holding them are overpaid.

    I personally know of several where the "programmers' don't know how to even configure their own tools, nor build their software locally (this would be on both .NET and Java platforms btw, and multiple cases for both). Sadly, these "engineers" are paid near the average, and barely can converse about basic language concepts. They've been employed for years, in some cases a decade or more, at a single company. These are the type of folks that make outsourcing seem viable, because you'll get about the same quality of people there, and sometimes, if you're lucky, better. It doesn't mean you'll succeed with either set.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:21PM (#43768503) Homepage

    That's nonsense. What the union negotiates for depends on what the union members vote for, so you don't have to put things like "can't promote people to management" into the contract if you don't want it.

    A example of the kinds of things a union could organize for programmers if one existed:
    - Limits on and payment for overtime, after-hours and weekend work.
    - Office conditions. Usually that isn't an issue, but if it is and your choices are "deal with it" or "quit", you may want a third option.
    - Hiring standards that prevent a true idiot from ever working at the company.
    - And yes, minimum pay agreements.

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:24PM (#43768513)
    Drat, forgot to check the formatting before posting. Should have been:

    lower cost employees ... could include displaced baby boomer workers who have been out of work for some time and 'will take a lower paying job just to get back into the workforce.'

    Maybe when pigs fly. If you've been out of work for some time or are old enough to be a boomer, you'll have a hard time getting a job. Put 'em together and you're probably toast. Hiring boomers who've been out of work for a while at lower pay would be a rational and probably a desirable response (not the lower pay part, but in a market economy that's how it works). In reality employers are horribly prejudiced against such people and will just scream that we need more H-1B's.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:44PM (#43768647)
    winning the day. Didn't work our so well for Corel did it? Or Novel? Or Sun?

    Good enough is always good enough. Yeah, you're few good programmers will make better code, but my 100 code monkeys will make more of it. I'll have 10 products to market in the time you have 1, and I'll do it for less $. I'll take those savings and spend them winning bids in backroom deals. Eventually I'll buy up your company just to shut it down. Well, not unless Microsoft beats me to it.

    Also, What's with this thing in America where we always, always blame the worker? Did it ever occur to you that you really can't compete in a global race to the bottom? Like clean air & water? Like health care? A steady food supply? Too bad. Somewhere in the world is a worker willing to live without it. You'll have to give up those 'luxuries' to compete.

    As the saying goes: If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?
  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @01:50PM (#43768669)

    Because the attitudes are:

    1. "you wouldn't be unemployed if you were any good." 2 ."If you got the skills then you can get a job." What if you do have the skills but have been out of work? Then back to #1.

    It is very telling how employers who claim that they can't find "qualified" people never state exactly what qualifications they are looking for. They just make vague statements about "not having skills". That's the same as saying as giving a product review and just saying "it sucks".

    Aren't prejudices wonderful? My favorite examples of how a tight labor market can force employers to overlook their prejudices are the World Wars. In WWI factories started hiring black people, and in WWII they added women. Neither group could get the time of day before that, and as you may have heard, they did just fine providing labor for the Arsenal of Democracy (historical note: we won both wars).

  • Re:Sad, but true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 19, 2013 @04:07PM (#43769289)

    A few years ago, a coworker in another department accepted an offer from another company in town. He turned in his notice the next day. Lo and behold, they gave him a counter offer. Seems that they really did think his specialty was worth more than they were paying him and it was just the economy limiting what they could do. After a bit of negotiation, he accepted the counter offer and told the other company he wasn't coming to work for them.

    Well, three years later he was complaining about how he wasn't getting a pay raise that year like the rest of us. Turns out he hadn't gotten a pay raise since accepting the counter offer. He'd gotten so upset with it that he'd started looking for another job. But guess what? He couldn't even get interviews - especially at the company that he'd turned down (I wonder why...) which had two job postings that looked exactly like his experience. Seems the word had gotten out around town that he couldn't be trusted and other companies were treating him like poison.

    Having accepted then changed his mind, he didn't realize what the other company had put into the process. They had spent hours screening candidates, performing phone interviews, calling people in for personal interview, etc. And then when they had offered him a job that he'd accepted, they had needed to call up the other candidates (some of whom were just as qualified) and tell them "thanks, but no thanks, we have someone else". That had left the company in a lurch as well as hurting their reputation with the other people involved - of course they were upset. And the people involved can carry long memories even as they go to new companies, talk to their friends down the street, talk to recruiters, and so on.

    I left there over 2 years ago and still keep in touch with some of my former coworkers. Last I heard, this guy was still complaining about no pay raises and no interviews.

    Moral of the story: be careful not to burn any bridges, you might need to cross them someday.

  • Re:Sad, but true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @05:20PM (#43769621)

    Let me add one thing that has actually worked for me. Before going to 'ask' for a raise mention to the office snitch that you have a better offer. Only works if the office snitch isn't generally known.

    That way they think they are outsmarting you by paying you more.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell