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The Almighty Buck Programming Stats IT

The $200,000 Software Developer 473

itwbennett writes "You can make a decent living as a software developer, and if you were lucky enough to get hired at a pre-IPO tech phenom, you can even get rich at it. But set your sights above the average and below Scrooge McDuck and you won't find many developers in that salary range. In fact, the number of developers earning $200,000 and above is under 10%, writes blogger Phil Johnson who looked at salary data from Glassdoor, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. How does your salary rate? What's your advice for earning the big bucks?"
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The $200,000 Software Developer

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:48AM (#43995745) Journal
    Financial engineering. Wall street is sucking them up to implement high frequency and not so high frequency trading apps. Doesn't hurt to have a mathematics degree on top of that which would probably jack you up even further.
    • How do you get started in that field? Do most of them have a financial background with some computer science, or the reverse?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:59AM (#43995907)

        How do you get started in that field?

        1) Develop strong mathematics, physics, and software development skills.
        2) Take away your sense of reason and accountability.

        • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @12:04PM (#43996925) Homepage

          2) Take away your sense of reason and accountability.

          Also, make sure that you measure your moral worth in dollars. The ideal guy in finance thinks like this [].

        • .....or any hope of starting/spending time with your family.

      • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:00AM (#43995921) Journal

        How do you get started in that field? Do most of them have a financial background with some computer science, or the reverse?

        Well, it's a big field. A good place to start is [] and get into their forums. I have found the community there to be very helpful. I have seen postings with requirements for developing in C++ and C# and some places, if they can see that you have the programming ability, will teach you (or pay for your education) to take you further. It's a field where companies look SO much to get the edge that there are whole companies building straighter fibers (or microwave links) to the exchanges across the US to shave milliseconds off the time of a transaction.

      • by jerpyro ( 926071 )

        Anyone who has gotten started in that field, and is any good at it, isn't going to tell you how.
        Sorry, that's part of the trade secret. :)

      • Most of the financial companies in London recruit devs without any financial background.
        1. 1. Move to London,
        2. 2. Be prepared to have commute from hell,
        3. 3. Profit.
      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        How do you get started in that field? Do most of them have a financial background with some computer science, or the reverse?

        Well, the Russian twins who were co-valedictorians at our STEM magnet school went to Harvard and Yale and were sucked into Wall Street during its heyday. So that's one way.

    • by ZeroConcept ( 196261 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:03AM (#43995965)

      According to: []

      200K in Brooklyn is equivalent to $101K in Austin, TX.

      Not that hard to make 100K in Austin, the only issue is that is surrounded by Texas.

    • by cod3r_ ( 2031620 )
      Or the petroleum engineers. Right out of college making 6 figure incomes designing drilling programs.
  • Contractor (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:48AM (#43995747)

    You'll never make that much money as a salary. High annual rates are usually the exclusive province of contractual obligations and performance bonuses.

    • Re:Contractor (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:54AM (#43995849)

      I make 200+k a year working in Washington state, I'm a devops(aka a seriously good generalist).

      To be blunt, I am better than most people and no I don't know everything. The problem with most people they have ZERO initiative in improving themselves. The fact is I'm a high school dropout which started coding for cash when I was rather young. I torched my childhood for education and experience, I regret nothing. I'm always in a state of learning, keeping up with new tech, OSs of all types, security and even find time for a personal/sex life.

      TL;DR: stop playing video games and hit the books continuously.

      • by emagery ( 914122 )
        Well said; I need to do much the same... it kinda comes and goes with me, and I am dissatisfied.
      • I'm the same way. I'm always learning and trying to improve myself. Most people just stand still and rest on their laurels. I've picked up two new degrees and countless new skills over just the last 10 years.

      • You've got half, more or less, of the howto finished. Continuous learning and self improvement is critical.

        But the other half is convincing potential employers that you're worth two or three times as much as they pay their average developers (or devops). How do you manage that? Being damn good is only step one, step two is making other people aware of your competence. I'm working on the first, and I think I'm making acceptable progress. The second... that's harder.

        Me, I want to telecommute full
  • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:55AM (#43995855)
    Make a time machine, and go back to the 80's.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:56AM (#43995865)
    I would imagine most jobs paying $200K are in areas where $200K does't go as far as it would in other places. It is somewhat arbitrary to look at a dollar figure without looking at what it will cost you to live within a reasonable distance of said job.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:23AM (#43996235)

      Exactly. I make significantly less than the industry average for my position, BUT I live in a six bedroom, 3 bath house on half an acre in the middle of a small/medium city. Work is 10 minutes from the house, the house is 5 minutes from shopping, and I'm 45 minutes from great fishing (and 2 hours from world-class fishing). My children go to great schools. My community has a low crime rate. There's a commuter airport ten minutes away and an international airport 3 hours away (by car). We have a nice theatre group in town and strong performing arts because of the local university. I work in a nice office with a door. I don't work for a publicly traded company and so I don't have to worry about the hellish nightmare called the quarterly report and all it entails. Oh...... and my bosses aren't Wall Street jerks with over-inflated egos and under-performing morals.

      What's $200k compared to that? If I were to move to a large city I would have to command a salary of well over $200k to keep the same lifestyle. The money isn't really in the big companies unless you are a top-tier executive. It's in small to medium sized corporations where you can work in a smaller city for a comparatively higher standard of living.

    • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:48AM (#43996687) Homepage Journal

      Working in a location that pays higher dollars makes perfect sense if you are also investing that money in a house/condo in the same area. Why? Because it is not a bad retirement plan. You sell your $1m condo in downtown whereever and buy a nice home in a country setting for less than half that and live off the rest. Risk the housing market will go down? Yes, but not as much risk as in less dense areas, and IMHO lower than the risk of investing in the stock/bonds/currencies/minerals/commodities markets.

      You should still have some retirement savings, but living and working in a high standard of living area and then moving out later is a good idea. If you can stand it.

  • Issue Is... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jchawk ( 127686 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:56AM (#43995871) Homepage Journal

    I work in IT for a large multinational company and the issue I see with our approach to developers is better, faster, cheaper. In reality what this boils down to is cheaper and good enough. Projects tend to drag on for longer then they should but the development expense from a salary perspective is fairly minimal because the bulk of it is being done offshore.

    I think if you want to earn the big dollars as a programmer either need to be the best in the field working for one of the big tech guys like Apple, Google, Etc... Or you need to go work for a start-up for bad starting wages but a percentage ownership in the company.

    The only other option I see is going out on your own and starting your own development company but then if you earn big dollars it's because your business is doing well not because you are programming most of the time.

    • Re:Issue Is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:00AM (#43995919) Journal

      If you can get them, security clearances seem to be a popular way of not getting outsourced and competing with a rather smaller(if alarmingly large, on a per-capita basis) pool of applicants.

      • by rwv ( 1636355 )
        Ten years ago this would be great advise. In USA this year the Congress and President have made efforts to control costs (which include engineering salaries) within the industry. It is good work and reasonably stable (with less fears of competition)... but not a "Get Rich" industry by any stretch of the imagination. There are some people who can command huge salaries and bonus pay -- but I think those are few and far between.
    • by bADlOGIN ( 133391 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @01:55PM (#43998265) Homepage

      I work in IT for a large multinational company...

      Now you have n! problems as a developer.

      $0.05 worth of free advice to anyone out there:
      #1 - _NEVER_ do software development for a large company as an employee. There's too much bullshit, politics, and brain dead process to get anything done. Also, you're nothing but a replaceable part. Go small to mid size, or (better yet) be a contractor. Which brings me to my second point:

      #2 - _NEVER_ do software development where your efforts do not generate revenue unless you're taking the job to try and learn something. If the project/organization/whatever isn't making a profit off of every line of code you write, GTFO. Otherwise, you are simply an expense to be fucking MBA'd and "managed" as opposed to a source of revenue. When those goddamned suits look at you, make sure they smile and see dollar signs & black ink.

      #3 - Contracting let's you violate rule #1 & #2 for fun and profit. BDC's (Big Dumb Companies) are so fucked up, most competent hands-on developers don't want to touch them with a 10 foot pole. That's where contractors & contracting firms come in. When you're not an employee of BDC, Inc. you get to go work for HotShit consultants LLC. When some project is fucked and some idiot CIOs neck is on the line he'll shell out a metric ass-load of cash to get it fixed. Enter you and your friends as HotShit LLC to come in and do the dirty work. Since you work for HotShit LLC, you're of course not a direct employee of BDC Inc. (or directly involved with the politics and BS thereof ) which fixes rule #1 and most importantly, as a consultant you're putting money in the pocket of HotShit LLC thus fixing rule #2 at the same time. Fun. Profit.

  • by p00kiethebear ( 569781 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:57AM (#43995877)
    Do it better. Do it faster. Work longer hours. Bullshit. Kiss ass. Draw a firm line when everyone is so dependent on you that they can't survive without you. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Sabotage the competition. Don't ever settle. Sue. Keep your heart on your sleeve at home. Nail people to the cross in business. Cheat. Lie when you can get away with it. Bend the rules until they break.
    • by kscguru ( 551278 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @12:06PM (#43996953)

      Same message but with a more positive spin. (And yes, I'm in that 200K+ category).

      Do it better
      Make sure your code works right, on the first try. When you have to pick between a band-aid and a permanent fix, choose the permanent fix - and deliver it just as fast as the person proposing the band-aid - because you know the system well and can deliver a fix faster than the outsider who is trying to be conservative. Design defensively and plan for debugging - make sure that when something goes wrong, it's very obvious where the problem started. Don't fear bugs in your code - optimize the process of them being assigned back to you and fixed.
      Do it faster
      When you know in the back of your head that something you wrote isn't up to par, invest the work immediately. Don't wait for somebody to tell you to do it better. Be a generalist: if you are waiting for another team to deliver a feature, learn how to add it to their area, add it, and unblock yourself - what you are doing will get done 10x faster that way. (It's a lot more work for you, but see: $200K+).
      Work longer hours
      Longer productive hours, need not be longer total hours. Don't goof off during the workday - no reading Slashdot [], no kitten videos on Youtube, etc, do all that after you leave work. Most people only work 2-4 productive hours a day, and have a raft of excuses (meetings, interruptions...). If what your company does cannot keep you interested in your job for 6+ hours a day, you aren't going to be a $200K+ developer working for them.
      Bullshit. Kiss ass
      Invest in and maintain social relationships. That group you depend on for your new feature? It takes them 2 weeks to deliver when you are a person with a face they see every week, but 2 months to deliver when you are just an e-mail address. And talking to them frequently helps ensure that dependency works right when it arrives, instead of being a technically-correct-but-useless mess. You say it's your manager's job ... I say your manager would be delighted to see you take care of yourself so he can focus on the people less qualified than you who need his help to be productive.
      Draw a firm line when everyone is so dependent on you that they can't survive without you
      Establish a reputation for reliability; when the company needs an issue fixed right and cannot afford to have an average person fix, re-fix, and re-fix again, be the person who gets called. This requires working in an area where some problems must be fixed "at any cost" (e.g. a $10M contract is on the line) - hence why most $200K+ developers are at big companies where mistakes in certain areas are disproportionately expensive.
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Sabotage the competition. Don't ever settle. Sue
      This requires some mental jujitsu: you don't have enemies. Your job is to make them succeed just as much as your job is to succeed. When somebody tries to get in your way, don't focus on crushing them. Get around them, co-opt them, give them chances to succeed on your coattails (they may fail due to the incompetence you suspected, but at least you tried). This is a particularly hard skill, found only in CxOs and 95%+ salary range professionals. If you think "win-win" is just a figure of speech, then you aren't mentally ready to be in that crowd.
      Keep your heart on your sleeve at home. Nail people to the cross in business.
      Your co-workers want problems solved, not drama. (They get plenty of drama from their SO's at home / their sport team / their WOW clan / Glee / Game of Thrones / whatever). Drama is a distraction from your job; see above point about fully utilizing your hours of work. This doesn't mean you cannot have drama - only that it cannot distract from your job.
      Cheat. Lie when you can get away with it. Bend the rules until they break
      More importantly, know which rules to bend / lie / cheat and which to respect. When a new feature shows up on
  • This just in.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by isopropanol ( 1936936 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @10:57AM (#43995883) Journal

    Only a few people make 2.5x the average...

    Also news:
    Only a few people have substantially higher than average intelligence,
    Only a few cars have much higher maximum acceleration than the industry average,
    Only a few people have substantially lower sprint or marathon times than average,
    Only a few drisophila have curlier wings than average...
    Only a few people have substantially more acute hearing perception than average,

    I'm not sure if it's just the summary, but it seems the author may not understand the nature of the bell curve and why it's a decent model for population distributions.

    • But set your sights above the average and below Scrooge McDuck and you won't find many developers in that salary range.

      From that it seemed like the submitter was trying to imply that there's a dip in the curve between those two, with some average developers, some rich-like-McDuck developers, and few inbetween.

    • And 50% of people are dumber than the average person.

      Frightening, isn't it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:00AM (#43995925)

    Posting anonymously only because I know my employees read Slashdot but:

    I make a very decent living (not 200k but well above the median income for the area) working managing data analysts using SAS and R. This field is rapidly growing and without enough graduates coming out of college with the appropriate mix of programming, math, and business skill we find ourselves looking for anyone with any relevant knowledge combination.

    This void is being filled at a nearly alarming rate of high salaries for what amounts to somewhat limited skill. The average salary for someone with 3-5 years of related experience is just under $100,000/year + benefits, which is pretty impressive for an area which has a median income of about $53,000 a year.

    Want to get money as a developer? Learn to write SQL, SAS and now especially R and be able to do simple statistics, generate explanatory charts on queried data, and have decent communication skill.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:04AM (#43995981)

    Always strive to get the most you can, but honestly don't worry about not making over $200k. Doing something you can enjoy is more important.

    I was making $50k/year or so, saved money, avoided credit card debt, but I also had a car payment, house payment, etc.
    I then made it up to $100k/year or so, saved money, avoided credit card debt, but I also had a car payment, house payment, etc.
    Which was ridiculous! I'm making double the money but my debt ratio is the same!

    I now have no car payment, investing money into retirement, giving, and I'm on goal to have my house paid off this year - at age 30.

    Yes I know cost of living varies, but if you budget your money, stay out of restaurants, and get out of debt you'll live great even earning well below Scrooge McDuck.

    (Dave Ramsey's baby steps...)

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:04AM (#43995991)

    In fact, the number of developers earning $200,000 and above is under 10%,

    In other news, water is wet.

    Was anyone under the delusion that it was ever over 10%?

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      I'm absolutely amazed that 10% of developers make that much. I would have guessed 1%. If that.
  • by Apuleius ( 6901 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:04AM (#43995999) Journal

    I made 50K doing IT for a department at MIT.

    I made 120K for exactly the same work at a hedge fund.

    THat's a 70K price to pay for the intense satisfaction that comes from helping scientists engage in science. Worth it IMO.

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:07AM (#43996053)
    In Taiwan, I make about twice what the average person with an equivalent education level in a different field would make, but that's still way, way lower than $200000usd a year. Adjusting for the cost of living, I'm actually pretty well off, but this pay would suck in the US.
  • $200K? That's crazy talk. Maybe in San Francisco but not back East...
    Computer engineer working on Aerospace control system software: less than half of that. Much less than half.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      That's because aerospace software is written in a very strictly controlled structured process. You write your object to a detailed spec, following well defined guidelines. A side effect of this is that anyone who can code and follow instructions can do the job. So they can pick you up and drop someone else in. And the development teams tend to be big enough that nobody has the leverage to demand more money.

      I was in the aerospace business many years ago and I managed to find a niche inside a company with a

  • NSA (Score:5, Funny)

    by seyyah ( 986027 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:15AM (#43996121)

    I hear an NSA contractor has an opening in Hawaii. Pays $200,000.

  • I would be happy to have ANY job in Software Development.
    But around here everyone wants 3-5 years experience in .NET or Oracle or J2EE or any number of other technologies and no-one is going to give you the experience.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:27AM (#43996297)
    The #1 advice I can give is NOT to take a "full time" job. Work as a contractor. Contractors have always gotten paid significantly more than "full time" developers, and have the added benefits of being able to move between jobs much more quickly.
    • Re:Contractor (Score:5, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:37AM (#43996477)

      Unless you need healthcare, then you can forget that route.

      Contractors get no health coverage and many people can't get it without group policies.

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Contractors get no health coverage and many people can't get it without group policies.

        Have you heard of a little thing called "The Affordable Care Act"? Anybody can buy their own health insurance now. Unless you have some very serious medical issues, it's only a few hundred bucks a month, which is much more than the pay difference between a "contractor" and a "full time" developer.
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          I tried pricing some out recently. A couple months ago, it was $700 a month. That is not what I would call a few hundred dollars.

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            I just tried again, $623/month is the lowest I can find. 30 year old male, non-smoker, NY state.

          • by DogDude ( 805747 )
            I've bought my own health insurance for about 20 years now. It went from $103 when I started to $250 now.
      • I'm a contractor with pre-existing conditions, and I got health insurance without any problem. I think health insurance generally runs from $3000-$12000/year depending on what you need and how big your family is. My current New York subsidized plan is about $4500/yr.
      • Re:Contractor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spasm ( 79260 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @12:10PM (#43997003) Homepage

        Ok, so move to a first world country (ie one with universal health care) and *then* become a contractor..

  • by Doc Hopper ( 59070 ) <> on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:31AM (#43996349) Homepage Journal

    Two factors to consider: Location and risk/reward ratio.

    The "$200,000" figure -- as mentioned earlier in the discussion -- is extremely location-dependent. Let's say you live in Salt Lake City, UT and make $100,000 per year. I'm from the area, and $90K-$110K seems to be a very typical pay rate for sysadmins and programmers with 10 or more years of experience in their field, if you include health and other benefits in the W-2 (all the employers do!). Then let's cross-reference that with the Cost Of Living calculator at [] . To enjoy an equivalent quality of life, here's what that guy needs to make (these are all area averages, not the specific cities referenced):

    San Francisco, CA: $171,987
    Los Angeles, CA: $140,380
    Seattle, WA: $123,784
    Raleigh, NC: $99,154
    Austin, TX: $97,991
    Washington, DC:$151,479
    New York, NY (Manhattan): $231,289
    New York, NY (Queens): $162,684

    Advice for earning the big bucks? If you want to earn a high-end "salary", move to one of the technology hubs. Get an education in finance and high-end mathematics. Or get a security clearance, shine up your resume and skills, and plan to have no life outside of work due to travel abroad. Get some solid experience, get in on some high-profile projects, and job-hop when you're at the apex of your visibility in your company for much better pay.

    If you don't want to live in Silicon Valley or New York, then be your own boss. Write your own products. Innovate in a field that lacks innovation. Develop software nobody has really thought of before. Monetize it and make a living. Cash out by selling the company to a bigger fish, and start working on your next idea. My company, for instance, buys small companies who create innovative software a LOT and integrates that software into its other offerings. And that strategy works very well for continually expanding the customer base and revenue. Sometimes it works out well for the little guy, sometimes not. It's a risk of running your own business.

    Working for someone in a "typical" IT or software engineering field is typically not gonna make you rich. It can make you a good living with solid pay and far less stress than running your own business or working in high-pressure financial and security markets, though. And you're less likely to lose several fortunes on your way to making a fortune if someone else takes the risk, and you get paid the salary. Risk/Reward.

    For me, quality of life matters a lot. I've been on both sides of the fence (trying to make it in business for myself vs. drawing a salary), and right now in my life it makes more sense to draw a reasonable salary doing a job that I love in a great environment working with quality people and making a positive difference without feeling that my job is my life. But I know I'm probably not going to strike it rich doing so... and I'm OK with that.

  • by gwolf ( 26339 ) <(gro.flowg) (ta) (flowg)> on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:38AM (#43996491) Homepage

    If you don't take into account geographical issues, saying "$200K" means very little.

    I am a Mexican software developer. I consider myself well paid, and while I am far from living a life of luxury, I get enough to even set some aside to make some savings. My salary? Somehwere around US$25K a year. And I find I am a bit over the average in my country — Take as an example the study on salaries for 2012 published by Software Gurú [], a national software development magazine.

    (For reference sake, the US dollar is currently at ~MX$12, and we usually talk about our payment in monthly periods... so for your convenience, you can even read the numbers presented as if they were yearly salaries in US dollars ;-) )

  • Why make $200K if you can't enjoy it because you are working 18x7x52???

    I make above $100K working 8x5x48. Been doing it since I was 40. Last two nights I worked 10 hours, but it really was needed. Rarely get called.

    I'm smart, but not an expert in anything. I am a damn good trouble shooter and work on old software because new developers are too full of themselves to do it and I have a lot of experience working on code I know nothing about without finding excuses.

    My salary gives me a very comfortabl
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:47AM (#43996677)

    I would imagine that anyone wanting to earn over $200,000 per year (and not living in some of the super high cost of living cities like NYC or LA) would need to:

    1) Have a PhD and a proven record in developing marketable, patentable technology. Basically advanced knowledge and experience that makes you extremely valuable AND very, very difficult to replace.

    2) An ownership stake in whatever the business is beyond being a minor shareholder. This means partner or substantial investor in the business where you get to make decisions.

    3) Management involvement, and this probably removes you from the programmer or "do-er" category.

    I think salaries over $200k in most of the country would be extremely unusual for people who actually do work and aren't management, highly educated/professionally credentialed or owners.

    I think senior management generally doesn't want to pay that kind of money for people who actually do work. I think it violates cultural norms in business by altering the status quo hierarchy. Pay is used to enforce the hierarchy and someone making that much money might feel a little too independent for his actual place in the system.

    It's also an open question why you would need to spend so much money for someone in that role. I'm sure there are a small handful of "superstars" who might be that valuable, but there's only so many of those people, jobs and managers who recognize that.

    And even if you found a job that would pay like that, I'm sure it would come with horrible deadlines, terrible travel, bad working conditions, etc.

  • by JBHarris ( 890771 ) <bharris@isf.COLAcom minus caffeine> on Thursday June 13, 2013 @11:54AM (#43996783)
    If you go to work for the money, you will probably cap out at the 80%-90% percentile in your given field. Which isn't bad, but you won't set the right-edge of the curve.

    Inspirational speak Zig Ziglar had a story that illustrates this point pretty well. I'm going to try to recall the details, but the gist is pretty simple.

    Some railroad laborers were out working on a track one day when a luxurious single-car train pulled up. A voice called out from the car and said "Dave! Is that you?". One of the laborers looked up and said "Yea, I'm Dave. John, how are you?"
    Dave was invited into the car and the two were in there for nearly an hour before Dave emerged and the two men embraced as old friends would do.
    When Dave got back down and picked up his tools to begin working again, the luxury rail car pulled away. One of the other laborers asked Dave, "Was that John Abrams, president of the railroad?" Dave replied "Yes, sure is. He and I started on the same day in the same job 30 years ago." When the man pushed a little further and said "Well, if you two started on the same day in the same job, why is he running things and you're out here with a shovel?"
    Dave thought for only a moment before answering.
    "When I went to work for this company 30 years ago I went to work for $3.25 an hour. When John started, he went to work for the railroad."

    Maybe a tad cheesy, but the point is pretty simple.
    • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @12:36PM (#43997409) Homepage

      Maybe a tad cheesy, but the point is pretty simple.

      The point is also almost completely mythical: Of the people who are thoroughly devoted employees, only a tiny fraction of them will ever come remotely close to being the president of a major corporation. For example, if you figure that 1 out of every 100 employees is working all-out in a large corporation, then that's a pool of about 1000 people. We'll assume that each of these people has a 50-year career with the company, and the average president is in charge for about 5 years, and that the company only promotes executives from within. So, mathematically speaking, of those 1000 people, under very favorable conditions, only 10 of them will be president, while 990 of them will have simply given up their family life, free time, potential earnings from switching jobs, etc for absolutely nothing.

  • by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @01:18PM (#43997937)

    I hear they even have an opening in Hawaii.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:25PM (#43999465)

    A $200K developer is $190K arrogance and $10k effectiveness.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"