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Businesses Programming

The Rise of Developeronomics 253

New submitter Geist3 writes "Forbes has an article by Venkatesh Rao asserting that the safest investment for both corporations and individuals is in software developers. Throwing money at talented coders now — even on random projects — will build relationships that are likely to pay off big in the future. 'In what follows, I am deliberately going to talk about the developers like they are products in a meat market. For practical purposes, they are, since the vast majority of them haven't found a way to use their own scarcity to their advantage.'"
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The Rise of Developeronomics

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  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AtlantaSteve ( 965777 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @03:59PM (#38283930)
    About half the politically-minded people I run across in IT are hardcore Ron Paul types, and the other half are Karl Marx types. Both of those groups are annoying in different ways, and tend to ruin any conversation that they barge into.

    However, I do have to say... at least the Ron Paul types are often competent and good at their jobs. I have NEVER , during 15 years in the field, EVER encountered a competent IT professional who dreamed of being in a union. Union culture is pretty much the antithesis of what makes a good engineer tick. I clicked on and briefly skimmed your profile, and could not help but notice that not a single one of your comments over recent months has anything to do with technology or IT work.
  • Re:Wisdom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @04:35PM (#38284366)

    Unfortunately, a lot of companies are doing the exact opposite because the MBAs are trained to manage by balance sheet, stock price and quarterly projections: short-term metrics.

    This is sadly true. I'm experiencing it first-hand. I work for a Fortune 50 IT company as a software developer and team lead for 8 other developers. I was recently given a new "stretch" assignment with the vague title of "architect" (which I'm still learning how to define) along with four other people from other organizations within the company. It comes with a pay bump, but I recently learned that the other four people got far better financial packages than I did.

    Throughout the process of creating the assignment, my management has consistently over-promised and under-delivered (financial compensation, timelines, and even job scope). I know that this is a positive move, but it could be *much more* positive, based on what I've seen by comparing notes with the others. My immediate manager understands that I could easily leave and work elsewhere, joining the steady trickle of coders and team leads that have moved to greener pastures over the last 12 months. My senior managers, though, don't seem to understand this.

    This assignment puts me in a possibly unique but precarious position, as mentioned in TFA. I know that I can get more (more money, a better title, more flexibility). I just need to figure out how to approach them, and get what the others got.

    Worst case, I exercise my right (as mentioned in the article) to accept the random interview requests that I get every month or so, and politely walk out the door.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xero314 ( 722674 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @04:57PM (#38284648)

    I have NEVER , during 15 years in the field, EVER encountered a competent IT professional who dreamed of being in a union.

    Now I can't prove my competence in a slashdot post, but I am a software engineer that fully supports unionization.

    I am fairly compensated, as I do a good job of negotiating what I believe I am worth. But there is more to unionization than compensation. Though I do support collective bargaining (which does not need to be seniority based, and can be performance based).

    Unionization can be used as a tool to bring product quality back into the hands of those that produce the product. Having a union to collectively support only quality changes should improve overall product quality.

    Unionization is a tool that can be utilized. I would much rather have more tools at my disposal than less (though we need not use every tool for every task).

    Just remember that the corporation is bargaining against you, as there goal is to maximize profit, and they are doing it collectively. If you want to even the score you do your bargaining collectively. But corporations have also done a great job to convince the American people that Unions are bad and lazy, so I doubt I'll be changing any minds here.

    Lastly, Unionization is fully in-line with Libertarian ideology, even the Neo Libertarians of the US Libertarian party, and the likes of Ron Paul. Collective bargaining is an important tool that allows capitalism to be successful.

  • Re:10x Engineer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Have Brain Will Rent ( 1031664 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @05:43PM (#38285200)

    On the last moderate sized project I worked on where I had full control of development IIRC I ended up with about 70,000 lines of code, i.e., all comments etc stripped out. There would have been more code but (sigh...) about half way through the process the client changed course and about 30% of the code had to be ripped out as they no longer wanted that functionality - that code isn't included in the figure of 70,000 lines of code.

    Total time for the entire development process was about 1,800 hours - which included the above activities and, of course, understanding the pre-existing system, meetings, designing the solution, removing the code for the discarded functionality, more meetings, full documentation - source comments, system documents and substantial (>100 pages) user manuals, email with stakeholders, more meetings.

    It is in use by governments, businesses and universities and it took over two years before anyone found (what they thought was) a bug.

    However most people/businesses don't want to pay what it costs for that kind of result.

    To be fair I think figures like 10 lines/day usually mean that at the end of the entire process 10 lines that survived and are documented and survive testing account for a day of time. But still you really have to wonder about the people at the low end who managed to get the average down to 10 lines a day... were they producing code that was simply discarded wholesale? Were they producing negative lines of code, i.e., somehow intentionally or unintentionally sabotaging the efforts of others?

  • Re:Great a new boom. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @07:59PM (#38286430) Homepage Journal

    It's not evil, but it is kind of sociopathic if it's not within your nature to do these things. I'll smile when I'm happy, or perhaps instinctually when others smile at me, but I don't go around smiling at people for no reason. I can tell when people are just faking their smiles, and I hate it. It definitely doesn't make my day feel more enjoyable, it just creeps me out.

  • Re:Unionize (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2011 @02:33AM (#38288492)

    I am fairly compensated, as I do a good job of negotiating what I believe I am worth. But there is more to unionization than compensation. Though I do support collective bargaining (which does not need to be seniority based, and can be performance based).

    The collective bargaining aspect alone would be a huge boon to Software Engineering and IT salaries. It's appalling how IT workers (who tend to be introverted and lack negotiation skills) are routinely fucked in terms of compensation.

    It's both sad and funny--the engineers who believe they are being fairly compensated and who are confident that they're paid "above average" tend to be the ones getting royally screwed.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.