back to article Soft eng salaries soar by 25 per cent – and, oh yes, devops is best paid for non-boss techies

Software developers, you're getting a raise, on paper at least. Coding Q&A community site Stack Overflow has crunched the numbers from its latest developer survey and found that programmers are earning more everywhere, with median salaries that are 25 per cent higher than last year in cities like London and San Francisco. …

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From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

"developers living in places like San Francisco, where the cost of living is high, can expect to see more of their pay go toward housing and related costs."

One wonders what they are thinking. Living just 20ish miles north or south could mean paying off a mortgage instead of throwing away money on rent ... and the mortgage will probably be 10-15% lower than renting in SF! Do they not teach Developers math(s) anymore? Come to think of it, that would explain lots ...

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

Came to say pretty much the same thing.

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

Having lived in Walnut Creek and commuted into the city, I am no fan of the BART option, or the Bay Bridge and Caldecott Tunnel.

However, that was the 90s. If it were today then I expect I would go in 2 days a week or less and travel off peak. Oh, and it would have to be Concord as WC is too expensive now or maybe all of CoCoCo is. Dunno.

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

"I am no fan of the BART option, or the Bay Bridge and Caldecott Tunnel."

That's why I specified north or south. The east bay is a grotty hell-hole, and the tri-valley area is only nice if you actually work there. Hint: Wineries actually need techies these days!

Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

It would also mean horrendous commutes, from a cost & times and discomfort perspective.

Have you worked in a high density metropolitan area?

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

That would be 20 miles of crude public transportation or car drivers using their cellphone while occasionally looking up to see if traffic has moved. Set asside 90 to 120 minutes a day for it.

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

Peery & McMurtrie, you're developers, remember? You hardly need to be there 9-5, every day, like all the rest of the cube-dwellers. Set your own hours to avoid the commute. Work from home a couple days per week ... or better, only go into the office a couple days per month. I know several people who have been doing it this way for years.

Peery, I have lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost half a century (barring road-trips that have taken me over most of the world)..

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Re: From the "no shit, Shirlock" files:

Shifting off 8-5 to avoid traffic started 20 years ago and there aren't many clear times left. There's no traffic from 11pm to 5am but those aren't good hours for me, and that's only 6 hours. Sadly, very few workplaces allow telecommuting.

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Alert

How about the rest of us?

Some of techs would like a decent raise as well.

All that pretty software can't run on broken machines.

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I do think this demonstrates that real coding talent is still something that needs to be paid for and it cannot be outsourced to coders in battery farms.

I quit as a coder many years ago, because there were people with far more talent than I getting paid really badly.

basically i read this as there are a few, really highly paid, developers in the UK/US etc, and all the lower level jobs are outsourced to 3rd world sweatshops.

average salary in the UK/US increases, as all the day to day lower paid jobs that pull the average down, disappear.

10 years time, there are no lower level developers to come up through the ranks to replace the higher paid seniors, when they leave. The entire industry collapses into barely functional tosh for a while, as the cycle starts again from scratch

Anonymous Coward

Enjoy it while it lasts!

All your jobs and especially DevOps will be either

1) sent overseas to South Asia within two to three years

OR

2) totally automated so that even a PHB can understand it and use it.

The hundred thousand CompSci grads that Indian Universities turn out each year need jobs.

Then there is the 200,000 grads from Chinese Universities but at the moment, few of them can speak engilsh well enough but that is changing.

Yes, the end is nigh for 75-90% of dev jobs in the western world.

We need to totally rethink the Economy and how our lives are organised.

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

'Then there is the 200,000 grads from Chinese Universities but at the moment, few of them can speak engilsh well enough but that is changing.'

/Is/ it changing? What's your evidence for that?

I've heard doom and gloom about outsourcing to India and China destroying my career as a programmer in the West for the entire 20 years I've been working in the industry. This is nothing new..

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

Absolutely... In my 10 years of commercial coding, I've been hearing the exact same thing. But the demand for local Devs (UK) and the difficulty in finding them is as high as ever.

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Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

Yes, the end is nigh for 75-90% of dev jobs in the western world.

The end will come one day, but nobody currently in Uni or working will be around to see it. Millennials will be retired and Ge X will be dead!

We need to totally rethink the Economy and how our lives are organised.

The economy works fine. Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than have been lifted out by all other ideas combined. Venezuela demonstrates only too well the oft forgot lessons that Socialism doesn't work - it only ever impoverishes the plebs and middle classes while the party leaders get ever fatter (literally as well as financially).

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

We need to totally rethink the Economy and how our lives are organised.

We did. That's how this shit happened in the first place.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

Millennials will be retired

Then who's going to pay their rent?

I don't believe it for a moment. This seems to assume that in China and India there is no demand for local developers. Perhaps eventually there will be a greater supply of devs which will drive down wages but it looks to me like demand is increasing at a far greater rate than supply.

Programming while perhaps not the most difficult of the engineering disciplines still requires a reasonable degree of skill and intellect if you want to be any good at it which is going to limit the number of good devs you can end up with.

Happy

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

All your jobs and especially DevOps will be either

1) sent overseas to South Asia within two to three years

OR

2) totally automated so that even a PHB can understand it and use it.

I retired a couple of years ago, after nearly forty years in the software industry.

I heard this sort of thing constantly during the whole of my career. I didn't lose sleep over it then, and I'd recommend that no-one loses sleep over it now.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

I'm actually in the Far East and have recruited, managed and fired teams from both India and China. Some things that have come up.

1) China isn't as low cost as it was. Places like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are attractive to developers because they offer higher salaries; just as London, New York and San Francisco do. Correspondingly the "top" talent migrates to these places.

2) You pay for what you get. Very rarely does low cost = high value. Explaining this to management is hard. Cost is very easy to measure, it's on the invoice or payroll every month, value is much harder to measure.

Anon, because I'm here and people I work with may be reading this.

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Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

Rent? Millennials don't pay rent, they live with their parents.

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@LucreLout

“The economy works fine. Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than have been lifted out by all other ideas combined. ”

Only if you employ checks and balances. At some point, someone has to cough up for all that debt. Spiralling interest payments can bring down governments.

At some point the system will seek balance, whether that’s a worldwide debt erasure, collapsed economic system or the whole world just goes bankrupt I have no idea, but I doubt it will be pleasant.

I have noticed a huge drop in product quality since the 2008 crash, because a lot of quality producers went under. What we are left with now are mostly the bottom feeders of production, lowest common denominator stuff - we’ve gone backwards in so many areas.

What will we have after the next crash? Personally I’m just hoping we can still eat and put on some lights in the evening.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

1) Semi-true and possible, but already salaries are higher in India than many EU countries for compent guys.

Incompetent bulk is available for cheap but those people usually cause more costs than savings.

2) Automation to a level a PHB can understand it won't happen. Commenter seriously overestimates the mental capability of a PHB.

Also, automation breaks down as often as anything else, you only need (possibly) fewer people to fix it. But those people are even more expensive than anyone doing the work now as tasks automated aren't simple ones at all and automation raises the complexity to second power.

Anyone who has tried to debug automated installation fails knows this.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

"The hundred thousand CompSci grads that Indian Universities turn out each year need jobs."

True, but.

If you have ever met any of these people you realize that their education is totally unsuitable for most software development environments in the West: Too rigid, innovation/independent thinking is basically banned and mistakes bring punishment.

Also the culture is that manager tells what you do and you do that, nothing more.

Many of them are really bright and flexible people, they can learn the local ways to do development, but it is definitely a cultural barrier and education is more or less a hindrance than actually useful.

Company has experience in outsourcing stuff to India: It works if you don't expect too much. But cost savings? Not really. Works best if you are short of staff and need to get something relatively simple done and can define it well.

But often creating the definition is 90% of the work, doesn't make much sense to outsource the rest.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Enjoy it while it lasts!

"Venezuela demonstrates only too well the oft forgot lessons that Socialism doesn't work"

BS. Sweden and Norway prove that socialism does work.

Venezuela isn't a socialism, but a dictatorship, and those never work very long.

Yet another mccarthy seeing communists everywhere. Yet fails to see that Trump is a glaring example of capitalism

"Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than have been lifted out by all other ideas combined. "

BS.Capitalism has put ~50% of US population to poverty line just in 40 years. And lifted none.

Major poverty reduction has happened in India and China, hardly capitalisms.

So where this so called 'lifting out from poverty' has happened?

US and EU have more poor people than ever (since WWII).

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Salary or Package value?

It isn't clear whether they've included simple pre-tax money earnings or other package benefits like holidays, health-care, vehicles, travel passes...

I've worked in 2 (UK) jobs several years apart for the same salary number, but one of them had effectively 22 days annual leave (including any compulsory shut-down days, bank holidays extra) whilst the other had effectively 36 days in like for like comparison.

Which of those is better remunerated?

Anonymous Coward

Re: Salary or Package value?

Try working for a university, then.

The downside is that I am not going to get very much better paid unless I make the jump to management, which is unlikely. Nor is my commute likely to change much; it'll still be 30 miles of mostly motorway

The upside is 33 paid days of leave per annum not including Christmas closure days, bank holidays etc, a nice working environment, a nice boss and customers who are all in the upper end of the intelligence bell curve.

There's more to a job than money.

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Re: Salary or Package value?

Not enough info on remuneration, Mr. Stiles. The first might have been a small start-up with half a dozen friends, the second might have been a hell-hole with an overbearing boss and a nosy gossip of a shrewish secretary who thinks she owns the place, lock stock & barrel and personnel. The first might come with a corner office with private full bath and a kitchenette, the second might be in a windowless cube-farm with 70+ other unfortunates.

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Re: Salary or Package value?

Would you not consider many of those things to be 'other package benefits' then?

Obviously not including the shrewish secretary part!

Sadly never been in a place to have a private bath provided - occasional use of a shared shower perhaps.

Both orgs had several 100+ staff, one a scale of magnitude larger than the other, and both in open plan office spaces of 30-80 people, a bit too much overbearing admin / HR but neither enough to make them hellish experiences.

Anonymous Coward

Re: Salary or Package value?

"There's more to a job than money."

True, but only if there's enough money to live a life.

Anonymous Coward

What exactly is a 'non-managerial developer'?

Is that like a 'Catholic Pope' or a 'woodland-defecating bear'?

Anonymous Coward

Money is not the only way of keeping score.

It only makes sense if you factor in all the other stuff - not just the positive/negative money-related stuff like healthcare, holidays, cost of living etc. Some example questions :-

Do you have plenty of work to do? Do you have enough work to do? Is your work meaningful? Are you learning new skills? Are those skills transferable? Do you have a vocation for the kind of work you're doing? Does the company point you at that kind of work, or does it just treat you as a resource? Do you have the tools you need to do the work? Is the office clean, quiet, healthy? Is the culture ethical, diverse, inclusive, non-abusive, non-aggressive?

Anonymous Coward

Re: Money is not the only way of keeping score.

You're right, money isn't the only thing, but it's damned useful - even if you trade it away for other concessions.

I recently lowered my day-rate by £150/day, just so I could work from home permanently. Of course, the fact that I'd already hiked my rate by almost £300/day meant I could afford to do so :D

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