back to article IT salaries: Why you are a clapped-out Ferrari

As a tech careers writer I regularly receive noise about the UK IT “skills shortage", which makes as much sense as saying there’s a shortage of Ferraris. I know this because, according to Blighty's Office for National Statistics, the average weekly pre-tax pay in “computer programming, consultancy and related activities” in 2012 …

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Anonymous Coward

> our pay is nearer to the average than it once was

There is definitely an issue in pay of "best vs worst" (depends on organisation of course), but difference in productivity is often 2-5x vs pay difference of 20-25%. That said, I'm sure that's true in most industries.

I do see an issue in interviews for incoming recruits where too many view "programming" as their job. It's a tool, nothing more. If you can't design and solve problems you are no use to me. Being good at "programming" is like having a mechanic who is good with "spanners" - essential, but not useful by itself.

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Anonymous Coward

"the average weekly pre-tax pay in “computer programming, consultancy and related activities” in 2012 was £718.70, which is about the same as a decent Ferrari's cost of ownership""

Surely that's per day? No consultants I know would get out of bed for much less than £500 a day including me.

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Anonymous Coward

He means permies I am sure....

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xyz

Just my thought exactly. You'd have to be really, really crap to get £700 a week.

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Great article

Cracking article, keep up the good work Mr Connor!

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Average

Thanks Dominic, thought provoking as usual.

Should we not be comparing IT work with Average qualified wage?

I suspect the level of qualification in IT and legal is much higher than the average workforce, you for instance compared salaries to lawyers. So a comparison to average wage will always show a premium.

There is a 'degree premium' to most jobs, from memory its 10 - 20%. Entrance into IT nowadays is almost exclusively degree qualified minimum.

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Pint

extrapolating the curve

Looks like I'll hit retirement at exactly the right moment.

Cheers

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First of all, an interesting and insightful article, thank you!

Like the author, I have around 25 years commercial IT experience: software development, training and support. I also look back fondly to the days when genuine skill was appreciated and paid at (admittedly) a very generous rate. My pay rate hasn't changed in years, and this isn't something I'd complain about, given that it started off way above the average for the hours and effort expended, but some things certainly have changed.

In the late 1990s I was a technical trainer, loving the experience of having a room full of geeks eager to learn the ins and outs of (e.g.) NetWare, TCP/IP, etc. but in the space of a few months, a quite astonishing and noticeable change meant it became much more common to have an audience concerned only with passing a specific exam, with no interest in what had been learned from experience, and much less in sharing any (often limited) experience of their own.

Whereas at one time it was a novelty for enthusiastic but amateur programmers (yes, Office developers usually) to be able to pick up tips, it is now with monotonous regularity that I am asked to help out with projects undertaken by people who have little or no genuine interest in programming, but don't think it's worth their while employing experts to write applications when they can cobble something together from scripts downloaded from the web.

I'm not talking about home users who want make an address book in Access or use mail merge to send out party invitations, but 'professionals', for whom building an application is one of their many varied IT roles.

It isn't that our skills are less valuable, just that they're less valued because what is there to compare them with? That applications can be built (and I've seen many, many examples) by people who by their own admission don't 'get' the document object model, understand the difference between what PHP does and what Javascript does, or have the vaguest notion of how or why relationships are used in databases, just makes me look like an expensive luxury to managers who think that anybody can write an app.

Amongst the questions I've (genuinely) been asked in the past fortnight alone by 'IT professionals': "How long would it take me to write an app?" and "Would it be easier to write this without using variables?".

So, of the million or so 'IT professionals', which presumably includes support staff, network engineers, designers, developers et al, how many are doing what they're actually good at, and (more to the point) how many are appreciated for it?

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re: without variables

At least they'll always get the same answer, and if you're really good, you can run the program once, and change it to a single "@echo "$answer" "

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I concur with many of the thoughts in the post above. Maybe it's just me - and I've been only working in a paid role in IT for about 11 years - but I get disheartened when I see people who are supposed to be IT pros, yet have not passion or real interest in either being good at what they do or doing things properly. Crazy to see people working for software houses developing and supporting Windows software for a living - and yet having no idea that they shouldn't put user configs or program data in C:\Program Files - and that's been the official MS stance for many years. I don't even like Windows and still know it! Or things like sharing an entire C: drive to the network out of convenience - with no second thought to security implications. Or phone engineers leaving VoIP or hybrid systems connected to the internet with ports open and the default admin username/password! And then wondering why sometimes their clients find the phone system configuration trashed when they go to work in the morning!

Yes - the words "IT Pro" are pretty meaningless nowadays. It's not so much not knowing stuff that's worse - everybody learns all the time - what is worse is not caring about learning more and being good at what you do.

And don't even get me started on sales people who pass themselves as "IT experts" or "IT consultants". I'm sorry, but working in a company where other people actually do "IT stuff" and know the real thing is not the equivalent with you yourself having a clue. Bugger off and stop calling yourself an IT expert. No disrespect intended to those sales people who might actually possess real IT knowledge - not just regurgitate some acronyms they overheard or follow a series of steps on s sheet of paper without having the faintest clue as to what they mean.

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Anonymous Coward

This is all too true. I can provide the perspective of a noob to the iindustry (4 years now) and I started at the bottom on a helpdesk. I studied for a Computing degree but unless you can nab a rare apprenticeship with a major player the only realistic option now is to begin on a helpdesk, regardless of your aims. This to me seemed to be the equivalent of a qualified mechanic having to start off giving driving lessons rather than practice what matters.

The culture of box ticking for qualifications seems to begin with staff high up the chain, who regard IT as a necessary evil and a service that they'd rather not spend money on. I've been to many external industry recognised courses (the usual suspects) with people on the course who perform non-IT roles such as 'retail buyer' being sent on MCP type courses because their manager saw 'Windows 7' somewhere in the title and clearly thought 'we are migrating to Windows 7 soon, so that MCP will be handy'. Many even in my own organisation see an external course as a free week off work.

The industry isn't what it used to be and even I know that as a newbie. I know one of the 'old school elite' through my parents (probably not that dissimilar to yourself). My father (and most of his friends) automatically went into manual work and learnt a trade when they left school. Then there is one man in the group that somehow, against the flow, ended up computer programming in the early 80s. He's now the one they speak about who has a brand new Porsche. He's also the one that 'works hard for 6 months but doesn't have to work for the rest of the year'. This is the man that I'm compared to in the pub when I say 'I work in IT' and they all sigh and say 'you must earn a lot'. That may have happened 30 years ago but nowadays some potentially talented IT workers have to fight at the bottom to compete with people who somehow stumbled into IT with a humanities degree and people who think that their skills at Facebook and ripping CDs entitle them to 'IT Pro' wages.

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Anonymous Coward

Nesta is squandering some of its vast budget

I think you'll find Nesta has a vast endowment and a fairly meager budget but it does like to confuse the two ...

They did do some really interesting studies on investment mind - but the 2009 work still seems to be what they shout about.

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damned statistics

>>since IT makes up at least 10 per cent of all wages <<

I've never worked for a company where the wages of IT made up that much of the overall wage budget, not even close. I'm pretty sure that the entire IT budget (hardware, software services etc) was never equivalent to more than 5% of the wage budget. (In one case, I was the only IT person for a company with 400 plus staff).

But perhaps that's just the businesses that I've worked for?

The other thing of course is who the ONS are categorising as "IT workers"; if we have 20 staff sat in front of a PC all day entering sales orders, I would say that they are not IT workers.

But the point is well made - as more people gain knowledge, the scarcity value drops and the cost of hiring that skill drops accordingly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: damned statistics

"But the point is well made - as more people gain knowledge, the scarcity value drops and the cost of hiring that skill drops accordingly."

This belief ... is in one sentence why the salary range between average / good developers and brilliant ones is as wide as it is. The average/good ones think it's about gaining knowledge, the brilliant ones know that it's what you do with that knowledge that is the differentiation in salary. Unfortunately as the ability to be a brilliant developer seemingly has more to do with the wiring of the brain than with anything learnt from books the average / good ones never figure it out and complain that IT doesn't pay as well as it should...

Actually properly valuable developers come in at someone around 1 per every 200, if that. The rest are basically a commodity. When companies get one they tend to be prepared to pay them the earth to make sure they don't leave, actually making the inverse of what you said true in many cases.

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Anonymous Coward

Nortel pensions?!

"my lawyer wife has joined the Nortel bankruptcy fight over my pitiful pension “because it’s technically interesting”.

Good for her. And sympathy to the rest of the pensioners, some of whom had been led to expect something rather larger than "pitiful", either from Nortel or from the Pension Protection Fund.

Please can we have an article or three on this subject. Doesn't have to be frequent, as nothing much ever seems to be changing.

Given that there are forty thousand or more Nortel UK pensioners (and then add their families where applicable), it would be of interest to far more people than (say) the bankruptcy of 2e2.

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So if IT salaries are converging towards the mean

What is diverging positively?

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Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

My extrapolation? The range of salaries will spread.

1. An IT screw up can already sink your business. And the amount and importance of IT in our lives keeps increasing. Managers haven't yet adapted to that. But those that don't, will find themselves with plenty of time for golf.

2. The golden age of casual programmers is passing. You can't really knock up a spreadsheet or VisualBasic on a mobile device. So while, under Microsoft, we all had to learn to tinker; that's no longer the case. If your employees needs an app they won't be able to cobble it together themselves. And so the most talented won't be able to make the jump to "IT"

3. The Increasing complexity of IT is going to take it out of the hands of people who don't know their stuff. The days when you can design a web site by knowing some HTML, and being able to cut and paste PHP, have already passed.

So good programmers will start to become more valuable. Hey, I can dream.

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Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

I (hope and) think maybe you're right, although my own experience suggests that the golden age of casual programming is not yet passed. I'm certain that your points 1 and 3 will prove your point 2, but it's not a universal truth quite yet.

Upvote because I'm a dreamer and eternal optimist as well :-)

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Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

Thanks Chris. On reflection I should have titled the post "the golden age of casual programmers is passing". And put it thus: currently we have a continuum of casual users, powers users/casual programmers, and "serious" programmers. The gaps are opening up between those catergories because of point 1, point 3 and the mobile "revolution". And managers will stop trying to turn power users into programmers and pay programmers appropriately...

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Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

Nicely put, another big ol' thumbs-up! Next management meeting I attend, I need somebody like you with me ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, but only if there are real consequences for 'IT Pollution'...

"The Increasing complexity of IT is going to take it out of the hands of people who don't know their stuff"

If the tech industry was a washing machine, that same machine would leak every other week and chew-up clothes when not leaking, but we could compensation! The real-world tech industry has been saturated in poor quality control since its very origin but with little consequence. If tech was the Energy or Chemical sector, and we leaked something nasty, then we'd have to pay huge penalties. But the tech world isn't perceived the same way, as the harm isn't perceived as 'real'! That means it only makes good economics to kick out bad code indefinitely! By logical conclusion -> we can hire bad programmers forever!

But oh how I wish you were right B.A.G. Certainly 'people who don't know their stuff' can lead to big IT screw-ups, whether or not it involves outsourcing or cloudy services, and things could change but IF and ONLY IF....

...Penalties for data leaks / privacy breaches become harsh.

.....Down-Time becomes expensive for Online Services, Cloud service providers, App Hosters etc.

The problem is penalties for IT screw-ups don't exist. Every week some new cross-site scripting or SQL injection attack is discovered. Sure there's embarrassment, but there's no fatal financial hit! For example, in a Reg article yesterday it was revealed that a games company was responsible for including Malware with its updates. What were the Penalties? You guessed it-- None!

Politicians aren't clued in enough to regulate these types of problems, so behaviour doesn't change. Instead its always a case of: what's the cheapest way we can get our business online? Ok, lets go with them.... What? ... What?.. We were hacked??? Oh shit... Do we have to own up? Yes, well ok, lets wait a while though until things quiet down.... Then we'll offer to provide free-credit checking or something lame!

The problem too is if you're a business there's no clear-cut quality control or Ratings-Agency that says this piece of code is better than that piece, this outsourcer is better than that one, or this cloudy service is superior.... So its easy for talented salesmen to sell IT services but then hire below par programmers who just rob bad code, make ill-advised changes, provide up and down survives and still stay in business... After all the business is locked-in at that point!

There's some memorable screw-ups on this link below. How many of the companies involved actually went bust? None! they just passed the costs onto their customers... BTW: RBS / Ulster Bank is not on there, but of course they're still in business... And recent CLOUDY SERVICE screw-ups aren't on there either AWS / MS etc, but we shouldn't forget them either....

The 25 costliest tech screw-ups of all time

http://www.itmanagerdaily.com/the-25-costliest-tech-screw-ups-of-all-time/

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Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

While your point 1. does make sense, I'm afraid I can only partially agree with point 2. and point 3. And by partially, I actually mean "not agree much at all".

First, your example about employees not being able to create mobile apps? Well, I don't think that has much relevance in the long term. We are talking about a new and emerging technology, which has been around for much shorter period of time than the rest of the industry. You choose to extrapolate from that? Are you sure the mobile app development market will look the same in 5-10 years time - and it will be just as inaccessible as it is now to people with lesser technical skills? I'm not sure at all. Not if you look back at what the history of computing has to teach us.

Secondly - your point 3 about the increasing complexity of IT - in a sense, it would be nice if that was the case - if the complexity of IT would bring more of the work into the hands of specialists. While it is true that there are plenty of fields in IT where one has to truly know one's stuff to make it - you neglect to take into account the fact that while IT has increased in complexity nonetheless over the years - a lot of that complexity has been moved deeper and deeper into the bowels of the beast - away from users and power users. IT has been on a path to "democracy" so to speak pretty much since its inception. Where are the "specialists" in long coats reigning over the data room - as gods supreme? Do you still require an engineer (or a team of them) to install a printer or a scanner for you? No - and the reason is because a lot of this technology has been simplified at the interface level sufficiently for even average users to handle it themselves - even if they don't understand what is under the hood/bonnet. And things are continuing relentlessly in that direction.

As to your web design example - I'm not sure where you've been the last 5-10 years - but you've obviously never heard of WordPress, or any of the other frameworks/templates based tools. Yes - you could say that people who don't know proper web design will end up with insecure Wordpress installations, or that a template based website is not a substitute for a proper, professional version. And that just installing a Wordpress site doesn't make one a web designer. And you would be right. But did we have tools available in '99 for an average user to get an interactive, database driven, dynamic content website up and going without advanced knowledge? Ten years ago anybody would have been shocked if they were shown a Wordpress website from today (specially one with a tasteful theme) and be told that somebody with virtually no webdesign expertise has put it together.

For good or for worse - that's where the world is going. Not back to the good old days when technical experts were scarce and paid in gold. Yes - like in any industry - true experts will still be able to command wages above their peers and be in demand no matter where the industry is going - within reason. The rest is just daydreaming. And I am working in this industry, and I am and will be affected by it every day - but that's just the way it is.

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@xj25vm

You're actually making my point. At one time any smart person who used a computer for any length of time became a casual programmer. The ever increasing simplification prevents that happening - that's the gap opening up between powers users and ordinary consumers. At the same time, the complexity and importance of IT is driving "real programming" away from the hands of the power users.

The point about mobile programming is a bit deus ex machina ("but something else might come along to save the status quo"). Wrapping a web page in phonegap is not beyond the grasp of a power user now. But our expectations of technology are increasing faster than the simplification process. I started programming in assembly and, at that time, I could write a whole product myself in a few weeks; I couldn't do that now. In 2001 I wrote my own blog software; but these days the sophistication I demand is beyond my spare time and, as you say, wordpress is solid. The day when macros ruled the world and every computer user could program are fading.

Of course the corollary of my speculation is is there will be less programmers and less programming.

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Boffin

Re: Never extrapolate a curve close to a turning point

Not good programmers - good software engineers who have specialist knowledge of a commercial or technical subject.

I am not the best programmer, nor the worst, but I am about to retire to part time consultancy because I know how, in a particular industry, to design stuff that gets shit done.

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@ribosome

Ribosome, I had that in mind in point 3. Although, as any "good" programmer knows, it's just a question of selecting the correct values of "good." But as someone who has wielded boost's MPL in anger, I do take the point.

Out of interest, when you finish consulting where will the new consultants come from? Is there a pipeline all the way do to graduates?

Anyway, I hope enjoy you enjoy your part-time retirement.

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@Anon 12th April 2013 14:24 GMT

Anon, as it happens, I had just read this arXiv article which includes a few bankruptcies (KMart, Auto Windscreens) and at least one other case (Airbus) that should be included in that top 25. Then there's the Knight Capital Group August 2012 trading error that cost $400E6 (saved by the skin of their teeth). We might as well add Universal Credit to the list (do Ladbrokes let you bet on these things failing?) And dodgy tech (NT4) was fingered as hindering the Norwegian Police's response to that awful massacre. If these problems keep happening, keep getting bigger, then eventually they're going to be unignorable and something will have to change. That was point 1.

I'm not sure how more regulation will solve this. We already have Data Protection legislation. Perhaps it needs more teeth, and more funding for the ICO. I would be in favour of legislation mandating the disclosure of all hacks. Maybe we ought to require people selling stuff on .uk domains to have their site certified as standing up to metasploit. (Won't someone think of the children?! Particularly, little Bobby Tables.) And if selling software containing malware is not illegal, then it certainly should be.

But outsourcing woes are just management problems. Research your supplier and don't trust promises from salesmen that ain't written into the contract. However you have my sympathy if you've been stuffed by a gullible manager.

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Mushroom

Connor have you ever considered writing for the Daily Mail, with your 'Everyone be petrified, foreboding doom is just around the corner' writing style, you'd fit right in!

Also the bit about 'Women are the future'. I bloody wish.

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Anonymous Coward

He didn't mention that working with computers will give you cancer. Although he did bring up how IT jobs are being shifted to india.

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Anonymous Coward

"IT jobs are being shifted to india

I love IT jobs being shifted to india, it means more screw ups for me to to clean up and fix for a hefty fee!

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What's next?

This leaves two questions:

1) What fast-growing industry would you recommend to school-leavers today?

2) What should those of us left in IT do to protect our wages?

As for #1, it seems obvious that youngsters should steer clear of IT if they want a (financially) rewarding career.

But #2 is less clear. Is now the time to take a permie position in a government department, safe in the knowledge that your wage will never fall? Or should we branch out, learn lots of skills, and try to find ways to use them all in our day jobs so as to keep our CVs looking good? Or just progress up to management and spend all day shouting at the poor folk who were too foolish to ignore #1 ?

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Go

Re: What's next?

1. whatever they feel comfortable doing and pays enougth for the qaulity of life they expect. go do media studies(if you like it) if you are prepared for minimum wage afterwards but don't moan if you expect a massive salary afterwards.

Likewise don't do something you hate because it has good money as chances are you will get through uni/training and a few years before you either quit it or settle for a lower level due to people who genuinly love the field (and more likely to do stuff towards furthering career) being better then you.

IT subjects in uni (Comp sci, networking,game design, comp sec) are stuffed to the gills in the first year and then come down to a handful in the final as many people get bored as it is not what they want to do.

2. Make yourself useful and learn. it outstands me when i was temping talking to people at a car plant that was due to close who's attitude was "i have screwed the same 4 bolts into a car for 10 years i can't do anything else, ever". does not even have to be technical, language skills are good, you could even retrain completly one guy i knew from said car plant became a music teacher and is making more then he did before doing what he loves.

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Re: What's next?

I wouldn't recommend a permie job in a government department if you can get anything else. Yes your wage might not actually drop, but it will be pretty shite to start with & not go up. The pension may look decent (though not as good as it used to be by a long way) in percentage terms, but 50% of shite isn't that great in the long run. Don't forget there are things that are considered standard "perks" in private industry that you don't get in government jobs either, you even have to pay for your own tea & coffee, and supply your own mugs & spoons.

And there isn't the job security there used to be; chances are the job will be outsourced to someone like Capita or IBM, your job will be TUPE'd over, and 2 years later you'll be redundant because they've moved the function to India (or Mauritias, or Eastern Europe, or the far east).

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Anonymous Coward

Find a company with the lamest, dumbest-ass tech guys in the world...

"2) What should those of us left in IT do to protect our wages?"

Find a company with the lamest, dumbest-ass tech guys in the world... Think spiralling IT budgets way out of control and critical biz apps years behind expectations.... Then speak to the frustrated business heads... Ask them what they wanted? What they got? What they didn't get? They'll create a picture for you that's akin to the famous tech cartoon for the tree swing. Do a web image search on 'tree swing, what the customer got' if you're not familiar.

Then ask yourself, can your skill-set create band-aids around the problems? Can you add any value right now up-front? If the answer is yes, then honestly tell the business leaders what you can do, and see if they sell the job to you!! My advice is forget recruiters, forget HR and job-sites, go direct to people screaming out for expertise. Otherwise IT pay will always be brutally and unfairly capped. There's something about corporate IT in particular where budgets and bums-on-seats means that often the rewards go to mediocre! This pulls down IT wages overall, and crucifies the really productive people IMHO!

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Re: What's next?

Outsourced to Capita? I wish! I'm a contractor with E working as a subcontractor to H working as a subcontractor to Capita as a subcontractor to my local council.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's next?

"

2. Make yourself useful and learn. it outstands me when i was temping talking to people at a car plant that was due to close who's attitude was "i have screwed the same 4 bolts into a car for 10 years i can't do anything else, ever". does not even have to be technical, language skills are good, you could even retrain completly one guy i knew from said car plant became a music teacher and is making more then he did before doing what he loves.

"

Dude, I agree but for fuck's sake, I had to read this 5 times to understand it.

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Unhappy

Not worth it anymore

It takes a lot of hard work and determination to become a good developer. You need to be well motivated and self-study in your free time - a lot.

Employers don't want to pay for this, they want cheap because it looks good on paper.

Simply put, it just doesn't seem worth the effort anymore and that's dangerous for the industry because the same rot is affecting the developers in India now (where everyone want's to be a project manager).

I'm about to start a new contract gig and they are paying every developer the same rate. Somehow I doubt we will all be as productive or as knowledgeable.

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Austerity Kills Demand

Austerity kills demand. Without demand, no company will invest.

Tories and Republicans are addicted to the rich.

Austerity only benefits the top 2-5% of society.

Never vote Tory or Republican.

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WTF?

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

Never vote for a Party that tells you that they alone have all of the answers...

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Re: Austerity Kills Demand

So never vote for anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

Or don't vote Labour/Democrat as they spend more than they take in. This is really bad business practice and causes massive crashes every couple of decades.

This lot of Republicans and Tories, however, are doing a really crap job of sorting it...

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Re: Austerity Kills Demand

While austerity kills demand, this is a very one dimensional view of the economy as it doesn't take into account the state of a countries finances.

As certain countries are showing, you can't just keep running large deficits and hoping that things will get better, at some point you have to live within your means.

It would be nice to think that politicians would be able to discuss public expenditure in rational terms, but based on the UK where a government running some of the highest budget deficits in recent memory in order to maintain the growth in public sector spending can be demonised for making such severe cuts, I'm not optimistic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

"Austerity only benefits the top 2-5% of society."

It benefits at least the top 50% of society that actually contributes to the state.

Don't vote Labour unless you are a freeloading, benefit scrounging chav or immigrant....

Don't forget it was Labour that left us in this mess....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

"Or don't vote Labour/Democrat as they spend more than they take in. This is really bad business practice and causes massive crashes every couple of decades."

That is very true. The problem is that, here is America, the ONLY party that, prior to 2008, did NOT overspend WAS Democrat. Every Republican administration since 1980 spent into a deficit: provable fact.

But yet, it is the (American) Republicans that constantly claim to be Practically Perfect in Every Way (tm) and try to stake the high ground when the issue of "overspending" is discussed.

And, so, here we all are. Recessed, depressed, in debt. Amongst the largest population wealth disparity in recent history. And the right wing still trying to deny their own provable history with propaganda, propaganda that some people blindly believe rather than looking up factual history.

Strange world we live in.

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Thumb Down

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

> Austerity kills demand.

That's so much bullshit that it must come from the Labour anal region.

Unless you mean Austerity = "reduced government spending, higher taxes" instead of "extremely reduced government spending, lower taxes", which is what's happening now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

Outsourcing also kills demand.

We make a finite amount of money in this country, a lot of that money is spent by companies and corperations. These companies shift their products to people in the UK, this is good. These companies outsource their jobs to china and india, this is not good.

Effectively we have a one way system in may places. Money gets made inside the country, and spent outside the country.

In certain markets this is all well and good, It's what internationalism and the free-market is all about. But now it's happening to more and more industries it's leaving the country stripped bare, imagine a garden. You pick a few flowers but then you plant a few seeds. You always have flowers in the garden. This is an economy that gives back.

Now you pick flowers, but you don't plant any seeds, and instead you plant them in a different garden. Eventually the first garden is going to be a barren wasteland. This is what's currently happening.

If we as a country want to build ourselves out of debt, austerity isn't the way. A more internalised economy is. Give companies incentives to hire from inside the UK rather than going to china. If we can make something here or buy it from zimbabwe for 4p cheaper, make it here, create more jobs, and keep the local economy going.

We survived hundereds of years on an internal based economy, shipping in what we needed, not what we wanted. It's only when we started going after the cheapest deal, rather than the neccessary deal that we began to slip.

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FAIL

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

The idea that an 'internalised economy' is good is called mercantilism. It is wrong. It was debunked roughly 230 years ago by Smith and Ricardo.

Being a good problem solver means, in the long term, being driven to learn. You're not looking so hot on this criterion.

On the other hand, you're doing better than the guy who wanted to rewrite it without variables. That is not even wrong, to borrow from the great Wolfgang Pauli.

Still chuckling about that. Sheer genius.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

Not saying we should go quite to the extremes of Mercantilism. But to take elements of it wouldn't hurt. The idea that country A specializes in item one, and country b item 2, causing high value for either commodoity leading to trade makes perfect sense.

I wouldn't dare imagine the UK would start making electronics and stop buying from china, it'd be absurd. the price gap is simply too high.

Merely that with other commodities, where the percieved difference in value isn't quite as high, it would make more sense to internalize. Likewise the numbe of jobs being offshored. To take from an ICT perspective, I've spoken to a number of people who work for companies who offshored their programming work to India.

The code they got back wasn't to standards, didn't match the functional specs, and was generally sub-par at best. In each of these instances teh company then had to hire contractors in the UK to fix this debunked code, whcih then cos tthem more than originally intended. By saving a few thousand in one area, they cost themselves tens of thousands in another.

Not only that, I don't even think we shoudl force companies to stay here, but there are so many things we could do to encourage them to stay. As a few small examples

Corperations Tax, We charge a rather high amount (to my understanding) most of which the big companies don't even bother paying, leading to problems for smaller companies. Lop a chunk off of corperation tax and the estimated gross income would drop. BUT we would attract more businesses to stay, and others to come over to the UK. This would lead to a boost in the number of people paying the tax. 20% of 100, vs 15% of 150.

These are perfectly reasonable changes which would lead more companies to come back to the UK, leading to an increase in the internal economy while still maintaining external relations where needed.

Does that make any sense?

As a way to sum it up better. The UK has priced itself out of the market in almost every respect, taxes, rent, taxes on rent, taxes on paycheque, taxes on bills, taxes on taxes. If we could lower the amount paid on certain taxes, or limit the number of times they're added on (because taxes on taxes is just silly) we could make ourselves more competative for businesses to set up shop here once more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Austerity Kills Demand

This "low tax economy" of which you ramble.

Have you heard of a country called Ireland?

Did you know they tried the "low tax, light touch regulation" magick?

Where are they now?

Have you heard of a country called Germany, who traditionally have relied on investment (in training, product design, etc)? I gather even in Germany the neoliberal madness is risking the country's economic future, but they've still got time to look at what it's done to the rest of the world and turn round.

"I wouldn't dare imagine the UK would start making electronics and stop buying from china, it'd be absurd. the price gap is simply too high."

Raspberry Pi. Made in Wales. At the same cost as it was being made in China. Have a read.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/tag/pencoed

Need a few more like that. They exist, if you know where to look.

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Gold badge
Meh

And woe betide if you don't have *exactly* that specific version of the language they want.

Either what the system was developed in or the system they want it re-developed in usually.

And remember

In the wrong environment you can be get carpeted for not using the GOTO statement (that's not an UL).

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Unhappy

Re: And woe betide if you don't have *exactly* that specific version of the language they want.

I think this a problem of the recruitment industry, and the idiots that it employs. I am sure there is a better alternative than these idiots that are capable of matching two keywords in a search, and talking shite on the phone for half an hour to cover up for the crap salary they are trying to get you interviewed for.

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