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Kasey Speakman
Kasey Speakman

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Programmer Salaries

Today, I ran across this quote, which I will surgically alter at first.

Nowadays one often encounters the opinion that __ ___ _______ programming has been an overpaid profession, and that in the coming years programmer salaries may be expected to go down.

You might think this quote can be found in a discussion written today. But no. The words missing from the quote are "in the sixties". This quote is from a 1972 lecture entitled The Humble Programmer given by Edsger W. Dijkstra when he accepted the ACM Turing Award.

It is interesting to note that the lecture's speculation of hardware costs going down has come to pass, and almost unimaginably so when you consider cost relative to computing power. But the cost of software development has not seemed to decrease. It seems the opposite in fact, that devs are compensated better today than back then, and even more of us are needed. And that the tech industry has mostly accepted the cost paradigm flip -- that (custom) software now costs significantly more than hardware.


Top comments (5)

stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited

There are those who expect more than they're worth in any profession; however, the inverse (employers expecting to get way more than they're paying for) is far more common (especially in my hometown of Houston, TX, one of many reasons I opted for remote work a decade ago). Just as your comment on a post about how gaming is good for devs reminded me to formulate my thoughts on how we should think more like pro athletes, this post has reminded me to post my thoughts on a video I saw about developer pay.

Thanks for the inspiration, @kspeakman . I've already followed you. Maybe I need to stalk your posts and comments even more for ideas now.

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman

I appreciate it! Checking out yours as well.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I think it's more of difference in terms of we are working in solving complex problems as the years goes by. With increasing specialisation for specific parts of the problem.

Besides that, the amount of software engineers entering the market is increasing due to the rise of coding schools.

But is outstripped by the demand the industry needs from the cutting edge technology to safety-critical systems or just plain maintenance and upgrading work of legacy system to new technologies.

Probably when there are specific events like bust or oversupply of a certain job our salaries might drop significantly along with our age.

bgadrian profile image
Adrian B.G.

Probably, as an avg, the salaries decreased compared to decades ago, because now we have a wider palette of positions and seniority levels.

From excel scripts, CSS and wordpress to database and embeded programming and so forth ...

I did not ran any numbers, it is only a suspicion.