> But such people are thin on the ground in Spain. It takes at least eight months for an experienced software developer to earn an Agile qualification and they also need the ability to deal with senior executives, limiting the pool of people who could potentially fill the roles.
That part of the article is hilarious, not only because 200K euros is completely made up and untrue (by far surpasses best salaries in other more decent countries), but because of the Agile qualification mention. Do we have Agile certifications now? What a load of bullshit.
The only truth in the article is this:
> Spanish executives are less-skilled than their competitors in Germany, France or Italy, according to a study of 11 European countries. Only Greece came out worse.
And that's the reason why the executives don't find workforce. Being less-skilled means they don't value the engineering profession up to the required level to compromise and give good salaries.
(Spanish dev here --working abroad obviously--.)
Typically retrofitted on top of a defunct process, with separate requirement analysts, "software architects" whatever that means, and a lot of control functions and processes inherited from the manufacturing industry.
What makes that work is probably the few people that actually understands software development - typically a low percentage of the massive overhead in a typical business software development center.
But you've got to start somewhere.
The Agile ceremonies are not bad, but relatively useless if there is no "real Agile" beneath. Unfortunately, they are easy to implement whereas "real" agile is not.
And what is "real" agile: The core agile ideas (the manifesto), the focus on flow-control, the incremental analysis-build-analysis cycle, continuous improvement, multi-disciplined teams, knowledge sharing, analysis methods that involves multiple people (like story mapping), empowerment (self governing teams, but also product owners).
Perhaps above all, the idea that software development processes should not be defined by business administrators, but instead by people that are actually qualified.
I guess it could be labeled as "common sense", but a few things are typically hard to reason about for a lot of people, for instance the flow-control part (such as kanban), as dynamic efficiency is harder to "see" than static efficiency.
But getting good at that is actually hard. Adding 1000 fields and workflows to Jira is easy.
Many teams start out productive, but they also tend to degrade over time. How many 10 year old projects have you been happy to start working on? How about 20?
Those are the places most in need of someone to cut the bullshit.
You just described my last job...
Not every manager can understand every facet of the operation two levels down. Methodologies not only give them an understandable metric of what is going on, they also have something to point to when upper-upper management is considering a lower manager for a promotion or trying to figure out why things are taking too long or not working as expected.
Development methodologies have a place, that's for sure, but structure for structure's sake - in my experience - tends to exist primarily for the benefit of the managers, rather than the engineers.
And agile coach, at least as I know them, guides several teams in their use of agile, without being part of the team. They have to be experts at recognizing whether a team functions well, which aspects need improving, and handing the team the tools to improve. It's a bit more distant from a team than a scrum master is.
That's because even my Software Engineering textbook first published in the early 80's warned about it, and presented iterative, agile-like, models and referenced the article by Royce that first described waterfall (without naming it) as an example of a broken model in the early 70's... Iterative processes have been widely taught since the late 70's at least.
That ridiculous expectation is probably a symptom of some pretty dysfunctional management in general.
For someone involved in non-technical delivery, I would expect they had experience delivering agile projects.
(Of course, agile projects typically call them product owners instead, a subtle distinction.)
I've been involved with agile projects since 2006 and I am still learning new ways of delivering software that solves the right problem, developing team cohesion, surfacing risk early, and other things you don't learn in the 3 day class.
I can teach Scrum in 30 minutes, but there should be an actual expert around until enough of the group has internalized the reasons for the concepts and feel like they can adjust it to suit their situation without fear of dogma. (This expert, however, won't usually cost $200,000 unless they signed the manifesto themselves or are otherwise agile-famous.)
(Here's the 30 seconds if you don't have anyone around. Start with trying to group the next most important thing to do in a 2 week chunk. Every day, talk with each other and make sure to surface any problems and risks as fast as possible. Have at least one person who will use the software sitting with the team to answer questions as they pop up. And every week, take an hour to figure out what's working well, what isn't, and what you need to adjust to make things work more smoothly. There are dozens of technical and organizational practices to go through and try, but the best is to keep the ones that work for you, ditch the ones that don't.
Standups and Demos are just 2 of those organizational processes. Use them if they work, ditch them if they don't. For example, I'm currently working with expert practitioners and we're not doing a standup because we're small enough, work close enough together, and have worked with each other long enough to just talk.
Pretty darn good summary.
SCRUM Master role is the closest to a Project Manager.
The product owner, however, controls the backlog, and the yes/no in what defines the product is most often the most important (and difficult) position of the PM.
That's different from the Project Manager who works on resourcing and timing of a project.
For example I remember receiving calls from recruiters looking for devs with 5+ years of .NET experience when .NET was less than 5 months old.
Came to post this
> (Spanish dev here --working abroad obviously--.)
Same here ;)
It is not competitive at all compared to the US of other european countries. That along with the "special" office politics and extreme inefficiency that plague Spanish companies, makes it extremely uninviting to come back to Spain.
The one thing that does not fly is developers that does not know the business case, or worse, those that don't care and acts like the company's purpose is to give them new toys (frameworks) to play with. But grokking a business case is marginally harder than resolving a merge-conflict so most people are actually presentable in a steering committee meeting.
Anyway; 200.000 € is probably not a developer, but possibly someone with a development background.
Unfortunately only a few people can sell things to the (non-tech) management - that is typically harder for us square-headed developers, as you have to be able to skimp some details in order to convey the big idea. But selling ideas is a unique skill anyway.
This is hilarious. Say that to Amancio Ortega :-)
- The maximum salary a developer can earn at any given company is almost written in stone - around 36000 euros. Every public job posting will have that figure as the max. When it's higher, they'll water it down in the interview.
Why? Probably because they don't have the notion of a 10x programmer at all. We all are perceived as 'equal' or even replaceable.
- Also, companies are scared of the mere possibility of their programmers leaving. The sole hint of that you may leave will turn their red alarms on, and they'll start searching a replacement.
There rarely exists here the mentality that a work relationship is a commercial exchange, not an intimate family-like relationship. Being open to the market is not 'treason'.
- Tech stacks tend to be years behind San Francisco, whether is languages, frameworks, ops practices...
- Functional programming opportunities extremely scarce. Elixir is gaining traction here though.
Nowadays however, you can't find anything over 35K that is related to development -and- in Spain ( i.e. not a position in Germany)
Anyway - Spain does not have a problem of running out of worker, it has a problem of not paying those workers. I have been looking for years to go back to Spain but the job market is just completely unrealistic. I'm highly skeptical of the 200K figure in the article. Of course, job offers in Spain often do not specify the salary at all, but I have regularly seen director level position for about 70-90K.
First, most software companies only offer crappy jobs that don't require specific skills. Most of the job postings are for standard developing positions in very common languages such as Java or Python. Considering how many people finish their degree or their FP (Formación Profesional, courses of about two years oriented towards the job market, and often including internships) each year, and how high the unemplyment rate is, I just don't believe that there aren't enough applicants.
Second, a lot of the big companies are what we call cárnicas (roughly, "butcheries"), i.e. companies specialized in outsourcing that pay ridiculous wages (10K a year for an entry level, full-time position where you will get fired if you don't do three hours of overtime a day is not difficult to find). Most developers know better and stay away from these, but because of the unemployment rate, a lot of people end in these places.
In other words, those hard-sought qualifications are more or less "will do a specialized job while getting peanuts in return". The article misleads by giving an example of a position with a 200k salary (which I'm also very skeptical of, like gutnor), and fails to mention that it's a very specific position and does not represent the whole set.
The only way I could believe that there is an actual shortage of workers, and I still doubt that it's true, is if we took into account that many of the good developers fled to greener pastures a lot of time ago.
EDIT: I should also mention that the problem is not that there isn't money and therefore the job market can only offer crappy jobs. On the contrary, most of the big enterprises and especially the cárnicas are very lucrative for their owners. The problem is that there is a very big barrier entry, because these companies strive on public contracts, and because of corruption, new and smaller companies can't stand a chance against the already existing ones.
I find these sorts of problems intriguing from a microeconomics perspective. There was a store in a small midwest town which closed because it couldn't afford to pay its workers, and felt if it raised its prices no one would shop there. The next closest store was 20 miles away. So people with the choice of buying something locally for 10 to 15% more than buying it remotely, it would seem would rather drive the 40 miles to get what ever it was they were looking for.
So how do economies get into these inversions? Is it globalization? is it an expectation of price or value? Is it the difference between economic action versus values?
So if Spain did pay a market wage what would impact be on other costs? Who do those companies sell to? In market? Out of market?
Of course now with the bubble over, the 3000€ wages in construction are over, but the 1000€ wage for people with a title remains.
It's true that Spanish company owners don't expect that someone with a title will be able to add value behind the 1000€. I've been thinking why for quite sometime, one of the reasons is that most Spanish entrepreneurs used to be self-made, rising their business from the bottom with little formal education. So they didn't find that that education was truly valuable. Also the oversupply of graduates already before the bubble, made finding someone for the job easy. Another reason is that most Spanish people can rely on the family network so it was very rare to see someone moving to another city to find a Job, they rather stick to a low pay and stay close to family and friends. This has changed with the crisis, with people people with studies or experience emigrating to the EU and south America mainly.
I do think that Spanish people that goes abroad to work is mostly as good as the other European or American counterparts, hard-working and well prepared. But it's also true in Spain that a lot of people that is not interested in moving, are also not interested in making an effort in their jobs. I can say this of myself, I work as an airline pilot, and certainly wages are much higher in the middle east or asia. But I'm not interested in earning more just to be stranded in the middle of the dessert or in a megalopolis. I'd rather stay here where quality of life is very high even with a lower wage (family, friends, nature, culture, etc... are just 10 min away with awesome food and nightlife). For example one of my best friends is what you'll call a 10x programmer, is the star programmer and architect in a tour operator, he has built mostly alone and from scratch the core of a hotel reservation company with sales figures close to one billion €. He is the one who is called to put down fires or to handle difficult projects. He is very happy making around 100k€, when I'm quite sure he could be making 5x that in SV, and he is the best paid programmer in his company.
I know a number of business owners that complain of being unable to find people willing to do the work, it's true that the initial wage will not be very high, but usually are very specific jobs that need learning. And this business are interested in paying better once they have the skills. This includes electricians, beauty parlour worker, car mechanic, boat mechanic (I´m talking just positions I´ve learned are needed this last year). They find that workers are not interested in learning or working hard, just ask for what is the payment the first day, and they don't even know how to do the job!. Even people desperate are not willing to make the effort to learn a new skill or hard work, because most of them have the family that supports them. Even my friend complains that a high percent of his programmers are not interested in improving or learning new things.
In Spain most people want to be civil servants, entrepreneurship is something that just recently has started receiving some recognition. Before entrepreneurs were seen as just bosses that want to take profit of people, some kind of villain. That's why I'm not very bullish of the universal wage as an "universal" thing. You see that a high percentage of people is not interested in working any more once they are able to have enough money to live. We have this institutional envy in Spain were successful people (business or professionals) are seen as cheaters no matter what. You can not make money working hard, just cheating or stealing, so people don't even try. Don't take me wrong, there is very hard working people here, but they do it as their responsibility, because they like their job well done, even when they are poorly paid. Usually no as a way to improve their conditions or earn more.
In Spain living from the public money is for some like an art. Working in "b" jobs that are not registered so they can maintain the government help, or working just enough to have the next 6 months of unemployment, or trying to obtain a health disability (when they are fine). With the crisis all this went down, but still...
You also have to think that that as we had the Euro and we couldn't devalue the currency to keep up with the crisis, they had to devalue the whole country, taking most wages and prices a 15 to 20% down over 6 years. This has been very very painful to the economy, but I don't see they had other way to save the Spanish economy.
I must say that my experience is in Mallorca island and Madrid where the crisis has been melower than in the rest of Spain due to the tourism for example. There are towns in the middle of the peninsula, where unemployment is dramatic an nothing has come to replace construction even after all this time.
It's a complex problem both at the supply and the demand side. Companies don't value properly good workers, and also workers don't see their job as something to nurture, but as an inconvenience and the management as oppressors.
Man, how things change. I remember times when most developers would derisively laugh off Python's indentation.
Back in 2006, Python jobs were so few and far between, you'd struggle to get paid to work with it. 10 years later, "everybody" works with it, so apparently you struggle to get paid a decent amount.
Why can't I ever find a niche I like and paying well? :(
Been there, done that, been happy with the approach.
As for Go, I do like the language- well enough that I took another job where I'll be mostly using it. I can't quite shake the feeling that some of the syntactical and stylistic choices were made more to be different than because they are better, but I can move past them. I think goroutines and channels have a lot of potential as atoms of concurrency for building models going forward, and I think it's nice to see a language gaining popularity that is focused on being small (in the sense of the size of the spec) and simple (in terms of feature interactions). I don't think a lot of it's potential has been realized yet, and I hope that we can take some of the lessons learned from other languages, e.g. Conduits and FRP from Haskell. For right now I've seen enough cases of people introducing threading errors and problems introduced by the user of pointers that I think it pays to be wary of third party libraries.
2. You're probably looking more for the term "meat market" than for "butcher". Unless, is part of the implication that a cárnicas somehow chops up the time of a bunch of FTE's?
: my boss told me literally to tell them: contract is fine, except for the hourly rate, I should tell them he would not accept to be associated with such a cheap rate so they would have to add 20% to their prices.
I use this now that I hire through upwork as well. Espescially when you hire across the globe you get chances to build good relationships for peanuts compared to around here. (Oh, works with kids as well: you can buy many lifetime friends before they become teenagers.)
I would be offended if someone called this child labour and attempted to limit this opportunity.
>As a 18-old Polander ... I would be offended if someone called this child labour and attempted to limit this opportunity.
"Before teenager" is 0-12 years old
> Are you seriously saying you are using child labour?
No, I say I buy myself friends and happy consultants that come back. The link is when you are in an advantage position (parent with small children, western SW company that use remote consultants) it takes next to no effort to make a difference in someones life.
Who are under 13?
Was your "before they become teenagers" statement perhaps in error? I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, and ethical concerns aside, I have trouble imagining even a brilliant 12-year-old producing code you'd want to use in a commercial product. (Speaking as someone who started coding at 7.)
Perhaps you're mistaken about the meaning of "teenager"?
The "work" part is about consultants.
The "friends" part is about mine and relatives kids.
No, I do not try to extract value from kids.
And the youngest person I have seen coding anything useful was a 16 year that managed to complete 70+ days of effective 9-5 work in 14 afternoons.
He got a nice job (at well above market rate IIRC) at the compiler division at one of the big IT companies after finishing his bachelors degree a few years later.
While I don't claim to commit 10x more LOCs, I do write exceptional abstractions that allow me to get things done in a quick, robust way.
I've met far too many 'senior' developers blatantly breaking DRY because they don't really know/use all features $language or $framework has to offer.
My hunch is that as expertise increases for developers, LOC/day initially goes up, as they have to think less about language constructs and how to do certain things. Once a certain level of expertise is reached, LOC/day goes down, as the developer figures out how to do more with less code and spends more time in decision making and planning.
To be fair, those guys that throw out tons of code really explore the problem space. it's tough to start with a clean design when the spec is vague.
If you could achieve this feat, I'd say you are already a 10x type programmer. It's good you are better at abstraction, you may not be 10x but you may be 5x/4x and that's significant.
LOC is the worst measure of productivity, but sadly, most managers (mainly, the excel sheet type managers) find it easy because they can use LOC in their shitty formulas.
I know a recruiter at a company like that that worked on a point system: Barring a recommendation, to pass his bar you had to have 5 years of experience in the industry for what he considered a major tech company, a degree from a top university, and a history of promotions during those years.
So he is fine with hiring all over the world, as long as you had already worked at trendy Silicon Valley companies for a while (In practice, using them as a recruiting filter). So, for all intents and purposes, the only people passing that bar would be people that already had a great job. Someone with talent but without pedigree would not even get an interview.
Also, if you are working remotely you cannot command a bay area salary.
There are a lot of uncool companies who need those same skills, and will pay to get them.
Hell, they pay consultants far more to fly in and do the work if they can't find someone remotely.
Naming companies just puts undue focus on them, when there are so many.
on both occasions i commanded a Bay Area salary. still do. remote from Spain.
Currently working in London and looking at options after Brexit referendum.
How do you get paid by US companies if you don't live there? Do they hire you as freelancer?
Do you have to open a USD bank account in Spain or do you need one in the USA and then transfer the money over to your spanish account?
Probably it's easier when you specialise in a niche language - which I'm doing lately!
Almost all remote job posts that I find end with "(US only)"
I do think though you can get jobs that pay around 2000-3000 euros a month when working remotely, although you have to be very patient as it is some kind of contracting, I mean you won't exactly get all the employment rights you would get if you lived and worked at the country that the company is set.
Edit (pressed submit early): some companies use remote workers to reduce costs, but I wouldn't expect to pay such a low $36k max in Europe. Remote, if managed well, is just as good as in-house. You're not worth significantly less.
I lived in Spain, and moved to the middle of the US, to a city that is about the same size as Valencia: Here, A 4 bedroom house can be had for $200K. Groceries are often cheaper here. Cars are WAY cheaper here, barring a few EU luxury brands. My mother's electricity bill, in an apartment less than half the size of my house, is double mine, so the cost of living is in no way higher than in Spain.
The difference is that someone right out of school will make 60K. A completely average senior dev makes 100K. The last time I had local work I had a long term hourly contract, 40/week average, that paid $125 an hour, so 20K a month. Today I make more.
So in Spain you have a cost of living that is not really any better, far higher taxes, and pay that would be seen as pretty low for a recent college graduate. Every time I visit, and people ask me why I don't come back, I just go through the economics, and Spaniards quickly agree that I'd have to be insane to come back.
For what I read (but probably there is a little bias in it) in SV there is a partially workcentered style of life when you have to work often >60h with a salaried contract (that, btw, here in EU they do not exist... you are paid with an explicit amount of hours per week in your contract). For example reading the book of Elon Musk it seems he asks constantly for 80/90h/w working also on the weekend. Consider also that.
Oh and also you have not to pay anything for healtcare.
Basically, as other have already said, if you manage to live in Italy-France-Spain-Portugal-Germany and you are capable to get a remote work for a company in US you will have a incredibly high level of life here.
The employer gives you a salary, then they have to pay on top of it ~30% of INAIL, INPS etc. (pension, health "insurance" including sick days and so on) and ~10% of TFR (fund you get back at the end of your career.)
In the U.S. those are costs you have to remove from your salary.
So, 3000 euros a month would be 6000 euros before taxes and if you add the other employer costs, it's about 10000. Now convert it to dollars and you have a 130000 dollars a year.
In my country, pension payments is mandatory. As well as insurance for maternity/paternity leave. I've full medical insurance. Well, as full as regular workers. The only difference is I don't have paid sick days and can't claim unemployment benefits. Which kinda makes sense when freelancing.
I think I'm eligible for disabled pension though. So if I got hit by car, I'd get free treatment. But no salary compensation. If I was rendered disabled, I may be eligible for disabled benefits based on my previous incomes. Or at least basic disabled benefits.
But...employee is always the only one who have to create value for customer who will give company his money. It doesnt matter who pay taxes (even health or social "insurance" are kind of taxes) value needs to be created and customer needs to be charged. Employer will not pay (long terrrm view) your bills and taxes from own pocket (dont consider early startup phases)
your feeding corrupt governments in a mandatory way with out a way to get out of the system (i don't want a government pension or the so called "free" social/medical care)
in spain your pretty much putting your money in fund they may not be there by the time you retire.
so making 3k a month is peanuts there is no way you can save for retirement.
most specialist will tell you that you will need to save anything from 500k to 1M for retirement. if you have kids, 3k its probably a stretch specially if you want to give them a good education.
And you are saying this is a good as it gets for Software Engineers. I was looking up real estate prices in Lisbon and they seemed pretty high. Per my understanding a lot of people from EU (and some outside of EU) are buying real estate in Portugal and that drives prices up. How do local people buy real estate then?
What websites do local people in Portugal use for real estate sales and rentals?
Regarding locals, we have a problem which is that when daily workers leave Lisbon, you can only find the tourists looking at each other..
Before the crisis you could get full credits, with 0% entry on your side.
It is also quite common to live with the parents and only leave when you eventually marry, with one salary being used to pay the bank and other running costs.
Or you get to buy a little piece of land with an house that gets built with lot of shortcuts along the years.
Not sure what the best websites are, as I am living abroad, however many local agencies lack Internet presence. The best sources are ads on local newspapers or word of mouth.
Edit: https://casa.sapo.pt/ for a look at the real estate market. "para venda" is for sale, "para alugar/aluguer" is for rent.
42000€ per year gross salary lands you in the 28.5% income tax.
A yearly gross salary of 42000€ is about +/- 1800€ salary/month.
The distinction is largely a technicality, all the more because both parts of the SS contribution are paid by the employer directly to the state, but it does have one effect: because the 20% don't show up in the salary receipt, most portuguese people are, like you, blissfully unaware of what the real tax rate on their salaries is.
I've heard that falacy time and time again: "Oh, if I didn't have to pay so much taxes for each worker I could pay higher salaries."
What would happen if those taxes were lowered is for economists to speculate, I'm not one (even then, as the joke goes, put a question to two economists, get three different opinions)
 This conversation made go check the exact values, you can find them here: http://www.economias.pt/contribuicoes-para-a-seguranca-socia...
Even renting is way harder right now. Landlords prefer to rent central properties via AirBnb than to make cheaper long term contracts.
I don't think the 10x programmer is a valid concept. If a company believes they can easily replace you for that price, then chances are you aren't working on anything that that makes you irreplaceable. Why should an employer pay you more for the same amount of work? I also have reservations about looking at work as "an intimate family-like relationship". It's all families and sunshines until an investor pulls out and its time for layoffs.
Or, they cannot really appreciate the quality or even the speed of my work. Clueless people abound.
> I also have reservations about looking at work as "an intimate family-like relationship"
You misread my original sentence - I'm with you on this one!
Many "10x programmers" aren't anywhere near 10x faster/better/etc in an environment full of 1x programmers. I think "exponential" would be a better description than 10x. If you watch them in the short term they look similar to the 1x programmers. If you distribute their exponential gains over the whole team then this will always be true. These types are like successful hedge fund managers in the domain of technical investment and debt. If you let them work alone long enough you'll start to see their foresight paying dividends.
Your comment is totally reasonable. You're being down-voted because the sentiment of that statement is so negative but in some ways it's true. There is widespread encouragement from society for individuals to learn how to program. In the last 5 decades the group that operates primarily from this motivation has exploded. The much older fanatical nerd group (originating with Charles Babbage himself) has seen more modest growth. This latter group operates primarily from intrinsic motivation. They would have an earnest desire to achieve the improvements you've stated. Simply to see if they can. Their love for their craft and overall playful orientation eventually accumulates. They quickly familiarize themselves with the whole bag of tricks. They have wet dreams about things like binary search. You just can't compete with someone who loves what they do. The more monetary incentive there is to do something the more those people are few and far between. So yes, I agree that the phenomenon is relative and that it is so extreme (10x) mostly because so many developers are merely "good enough" (1x). I still think there's a lot to be said about how much an environment enables the expression of a 10x programmer. It is most common that "good enough" really is good enough and going extreme doesn't make anything better.
> I suspect a lot more code gets written by junior developers than we'd like to think.
This may be true if you just measure lines of code. But if you couple that measure with the number of times each line was actually executed I suspect you'd see a different story. My library, for example, was comparable in size to parts of the standard library it replaced. So by direct measure a junior developer wrote half the code. But when you measure it by usage you can see the magnificent results of the 10x programmers at Boost and otherwise working on the C++ standard library. Notably their 10x-ness is in the performance of their code and not their performance on the job. Like you described.
10X business value developers are incredibly rare.
10X managers are rarer still.
You could probably fit all the world's 10X executives into a small lift without worrying about getting the doors closed.
I'm not sure how much the 10x thing generalizes. I still think it's a terrible name. I sort of gave an argument for why programming ability may have a bimodal distribution. With one half growing and eventually eating the other. I don't necessarily see that same phenomenon in leadership or product design. That is assuming you're looking at people who are actually trying and not just random technical developers.
A completely average developer making 1k over market is not replaceable for anywhere near 1k.
He talks about how you can allocate engineering effort to making other engineers more productive, among other subjects.
The only thing I like better than teaching is being taught. But both have a quantum of pain.
Sorry, your comment just struck me, that layoffs come with loss of investor capital, not in actual revenue and earnings declines.
Our open positions are on https://www.3scale.net/about/jobs/
We're based in Barcelona, but had remote workers in the past and still might be opened to that after some warmup time. On some hiring sites we were publically posting 50k EUR for Senior Backend Developer.
Being here for 5 years I can say there is plenty of growth space for good developers. Cheers.
The internal recruiter was honest with their problems finding talent abroad: People have families and, even though there are cheap flights inside Europe, if you have a partner and maybe kids things change. Life there is great with a good salary, but chances are your partner also has a professional career. If it's outside IT, your partner is pretty much screwed: Little jobs, terrible salaries, no English-speaking outside IT and a disdain for foreigners in more traditional industries. "Why hire a foreigner when I can hire someone local?" seems to be an acceptable attitude for a majority of the population, even though we're talking about people with the right to work, so there's no extra effort, paperwork or burden to the employer.
On the other hand, you have beach, culture, food, night life, mountains (even the Pyrenees), a cosmopolitan city in such a tiny radius that you can enjoy each of those every so often. Plus an international airport that can get you in a few hours anywhere in Europe and North Africa. And it's cheap to live there.
If someone is wondering now why I didn't go back, these were my concerns: Career development (none was offered) and stability. I'm up for well paid risks, but if that position disappears (it was newly created) I have to move country again. Such a pain in the ass.
Remote or ? Because I don't think it's that easy to find them remote with (often) hampered English language skills and very different interviews than we have here in Europe. And moving to the US is also not that easy even if you have a job, partially because it's a life altering decision which moves you far away from family. For a lot of people that's not worth the increase.
Edit: also, it is really cheap, depending on where you (want to) live to buy houses. So your 'compared low' salary actually brings you quite far. I am a weirdo in that regard though (at least compared to most on HN); I don't like living in cities. But even there it's not expensive if you look in the right places. Exceptions are there ofcourse yadayada.
I am sorry I was talking about the best people, and I haven't yet met anyone who is really great technically but has hampered English skills.
> "Remote or ?" / "And moving to the US is also not that easy even if you have a job, partially because it's a life altering decision which moves you far away from family. For a lot of people that's not worth the increase."
Totally agree, that is why some people choose to stay even if it's not the best for their career. The salary is definitely not the only reason to move out of Spain in Tech.
My plan is going back to BCN at some point, so if you are still searching for backends then, I will give you a call. ;)
A problem however that you can't really see it in the hiring process. Unlike "0.1x developers" whom you can filter with fizzbuzz, they are indistinguishable from a normal, competent engineer in the interviews, and there aren't many of them around.
Either way, building your company to depend on being staffed by top performers is a dangerous strategy IMO.
... but that's exactly what happens with "technical ability"
People may get a little too easily offended (or excited) by "10x".
I know a lot of employees or freelancers making a lot more working for companies in Malaga or companies elsewhere; more said it but get projects abroad; worked well for us. A problem here is that you need USPs because in Portugal people are working for a lot less than in Spain, all speak English and very willing to take whatever work. Also less rules; easy to fire people in the first few years.
> companies are scared of the mere possibility of their programmers leaving
where does that come from?
> Tech stacks tend to be years behind San Francisco,
That is a problem? I would say that's kind of an advantage? Most programmers would find it more of a problem to learn new stuff all the time.
I talked about the rule - undoubtedly there are exceptions. I once interviewed for a senior position for a prominent Malaga company, and they offered me less than my first job ever here in Barcelona.
> Most programmers would find it more of a problem to learn new stuff all the time.
One could argue that London/SF programmers do exactly that - and are compensated accordingly!
We are in the technology business - by definition those who don't keep up are left behind. Maybe not drastically, but gradually and without you noticing.
I agree, i'm saying many programmers would not think that a problem as long as the market demands those 'older' technologies. If you read HN or /r/programming you might think you are missing out all the time; if you make E200k+ at BBVA as senior dev you really wouldn't notice any of that. You would be using stuff that hasn't changed massively for over a decade. I would wager that a lot (most) programmers would prefer the latter to the former. Not me, not you, but many would.
Then there's Linkedin. Personally if I receive a job offer from outside Spain I assume it's clueless recruiter spam. Your message should be extremely clear that you are actively seeking remote developers from abroad.
Whereas 36,000 euro in Southern Spain (where the unemployment is high) is not fantastic, it doesn't seem all that bad. In few industries employees would complain about that. And how many years of university education do you need to get to there: often none.
Why? Well, firstly, it's a real kick in the pants to get paid half what you could elsewhere, even if you're paying rent and eating out for half the price. Secondly, computers, student loans, automobiles, and AWS services cost the same whether I'm in New York or Indiana, so I'd rather get paid twice as much, thank you very much.
It's amazing how often "structural unemployment" is just "we don't want to pay what people want to be paid".
Sounds like a great setup to raise a family... not.
Just saying, what sounds amazing for young and single white guys might not be great for the rest of the population. Wouldn't it be better if each of them could have their own flat and privacy for the same price?
Have they ever considered that programmers might be less likely to leave if they got a decent salary?
I've got to say, much of this sounds familiar. In Netherland, I used to hear companies complain that it was so hard to find technical people (programming and otherwise). At the same time, the jobs I saw didn't really pay all that much. The solution is simple: pay better, and people will come.
The problem is that in Netherland, management is/was seen as better, more important, higher status and deserving of better pay than programming. So for a programmer to move on beyond a certain point, he'd have to go into management. If programming jobs were seen as equal to management (in status and pay), programmers would have no reason to switch. Netherland is very much a management-oriented culture, for some reason.
Another is education. Politicians always kept talking about the knowledge economy, while at the same time cutting costs for education, and there was not a particular stimulus for technical education. And students are more likely to choose something management-related when they think there's more money there.
I'm talking somewhat in the past tense, because it feels to me like things have changed. I made enormous jumps in income over the past couple of years (could be because of the switch to freelancing and mostly working for banks since then), and the management-over-tech attitude seems to have diminished a bit (though that could be because of Scrum, which emphasizes empowered development teams and makes management somewhat redundant at times). I don't have any recent data on this, though. Maybe it's just my personal situation that has gotten better.
I don't know where they pull the numbers from that wages increased.
A former company I worked with went to shit. So the best ones are leaving first.
All, of, them, earn less now. I'm the only one getting more now.
And they are seniors mostly with a ton of experience and dozens of projects under there belt...
Here some of the things we do:
- Pay fair salaries: 54k€ / year (before tax) for those that work full-time
- We distribute the companies profits every quarter with our employees as bonuses. Although we're planning to retain more of that in the future to reinvest in internal projects.
- Everyone can choose to work from wherever they like (one guy is currently traveling around the world with his wife) and you can work as much as you like (as long as it is planned properly in advance). Some people prefer to work less and spend more time with their kids or go kitesurfing. Others decided to reduce to 1/2 time and study again (just for fun) the other 50%.
- 3-4 times per year we organize 1-2 month long company retreats , where we rent a villa in a nice location with good Internet and work remotely. This year we went to Cape Town and Bali. Last year we went to Thailand and skiing in the Alps. In October we're going to Martinique (Caribbean)
- We support our employees with internal project ideas, even the most crazy ones, like the automated Nespresso Ordering Machine  or those that have turned into actual products, like Bugfender .
Summarized we treat our employees very well and give them a lot of responsibility and autonomy. And it all pays off. Our clients and customer are extremely happy and since inception (2009) we didn't have to make on single outbound sale. All clients came to us through word of mouth and recommendations from existing clients.
On top of that it gives me personally a lot of freedom and peace of mind, because I know I can fully trust and rely on our employees. For example just two months ago I completely disconnected and decided to work on a small sailing boat for a month (just for fun, as a life and learning experience) crossing the Pacific from Micronesia to New Caledonia [blog post coming soon].
We're also about to launch a niche entrepreneurial community for similar-minded people called: O4H - Optimizing for Happiness (instead of profit) .
Feel free to email me (email address in my HN profile). I'm always happy to connect with like minded people.
For those that are looking for a job, check out our Jobs API on our website . Although, to be fair I'd like to mention that we currently don't want to grow a lot more in team size (currently 20 engineers and designers), but rather focus on getting traction with our products. But that will probably change in the future again.
- : https://mobilejazz.com/philosophy
- : https://optimizingforhappiness.com/remote-office-cape-town-2...
- : https://mobilejazz.com/blog/with-nom-youll-never-be-out-of-c...
- : https://bugfender.com/
- : https://optimizingforhappiness.com/
Might not be for everyone, but sometimes money is not everything. Personal interaction can be strong motivator.
We are in the same building as MobileJazz and both of our offices have a big terrace and BBQ which we put to fair use!
You can do this at co-working spaces with other people who work remotely for US companies.
And in the end it's not all about money. Especially not for us.
Sadly, this wil be the norm everywhere eventually.
1. 5 million unemployed people
2. very highly sought after workers
The employers complaining about people in group 2 being scarce are merely not paying enough. The workers complaining in group 1 need more skills that the market wants. They're at different ends of the spectrum.
Other than that they live in the same country, they really don't have much to do with each other. Whether you can convert people from group 1 to group 2 is an interesting question, but generally if it were easy to be in group 2, a lot more people would be in it.
I am not sure the real problem is as described in the article. While there is a percentage of the population with no real skills, there are highly skilled people with either no work or working on positions for which they are overqualified (frequently non-permanent employees ).
I know people that are doing "fine" by Spanish standards, which is around 30K/year, but the majority of my friends and university classmates are making way below that bar. Most of them with the equivalent undergrad + master.
If the problem was "just" the lack of preparation among the youth, I am pretty sure that migrants would have trouble finding jobs on other countries (UK, Germany are the most frequent "destinations"), which is not the case. In my opinion, there is a big cultural problem; long hours, low salaries (employer) and a lack of culture for optimizing work hours (employee). If we add this cultural problem to the incompetence of the Spanish government, that basically prioritizes building pharaonic public structures (like the high speed train) or taxes technology (solar panels ) instead of investing on technology and/or innovation we have the current situation.
If you're a good developer, 99% of the time it's better to work remotely from Europe for a US company. It really is a simple problem to solve -- pay talented people in Europe more. And yet, for some reason, this is often dismissed by CEOs as a ridiculous statement. They're probably the same people who think you need 100 software engineers to complete a complex technology project.
American nominal GDP per capita is 2.13 times that of Spain's and 1.38x that of Germany's, and the distance keeps increasing. There are many possible causes, but I think lower salaries are a symptom.
It seems to me that the prime determinant of pay is how close the worker's "category" is to the money. So in a start-up intensive environment like the Bay Area, the devs are also sometimes the executives, and executives are often former devs, so devs get paid correspondingly.
Norway interestingly has almost the same pay as USA - $68,737 , probably because of high share of oil extraction in GDP (22% ) which skews the result. If you subtract oil share from the GDP, you get $56,195.88 nominal GDP per capita, which is almost the same as the American one ($57,220)!
Now Luxembourg is a tax haven/financial center with a population of half a million so I don't think it's a relevant comparison. Just due to population to get something close to true pay average you would have to ask a relatively (to other countries) very big percentage of their developers.
Same site for comparable data
 https://www.ssb.no/en/befolkning/artikler-og-publikasjoner/_... page 40, graph
> GDP per capita seems to be a curious way to estimate if a local dev is likely to be productive.
Curious is putting it mildly. :) What is being objected to is your _measure_. Stop using the GDP per capita of an entire country as a proxy for software developer productivity. It's frankly stupid. Anyway GDP per capita using PPP (purchasing power parity) is seen as a fairer comparison. But even GDP per capita by PPP is a stupid metric to compare software developer productivity. I'm sorry for using the word stupid. But it's stupid.
Outside of entertainment where software is a direct consumer product, the developer's productivity comes from increased efficiency of use of other productive resources. You can't eat code, but you can eat food that comes from higher production due to better software. So software has a multiplicative effect on existing production. That is, GDP.
Now even added value of entertainment software (games etc) depends on total GDP, because people have to pay with something for that entertainment.
So average developer's productivity IS a function of GDP, with different coefficient depending on the structure of a economy.
A primitive non-mechanized agricultural economy would have a coefficient of near zero because there's almost nothing to automate.
>Anyway GDP per capita using PPP (purchasing power parity) is seen as a fairer comparison.
A fundamentally wrong metric because pay is nominal.
So why would the GDP per capita of their country be a useful tool in deciding who to hire?
A Swiss farmer is much more productive when measured in currency units, but probably not that much in milk volume.
However as we are talking about salary differences it's money that matters.
>So why would the GDP per capita of their country be a useful tool in deciding who to hire?
Why would it be? In this conceptual model the ability of a developer is how much he multiplies the output of whatever he's working on, but his productivity is the absolute value of added output. How could it be counted otherwise, in what? Lines of code?
If productivity didn't depend on location immigration wouldn't exist.
A remote dev working for a Bay Area company from Spain can be just as productive for his employer as one located in Los Gatos, CA. However the above method would categorize this dev as "objectively less productive", which seems counter-intuitive...
It wouldn't, it purports to explain the differences in local salaries, or more precisely salaries paid by local entities to on-site developers.
It's true I didn't specify that explicitly in the first comment, along with definition of productivity, so your reading of it was a reasonable understanding. It's a good thing you helped me clarify the intended meaning.
One assumption is that foreign demand (for non-local use) for local on-site developers is small enough to not change the workforce demand significantly. So it won't work for India or other common offshore destination, but it seems to explain pay differences between USA and Spain, Norway and Switzerland reasonably.
It is a given that GDP per capita is a measure of a country's economic output per person. I know that is the technical definition of GDP per capita. And presumably then you would link economic output to productivity.
You've fudged together too many uncorrelated entities :)
Europeans do get paid very, very well, and they are equally as productive as Americans.
It's about the individual, and not much else.
I don't think it's European vs American CEOs, it's treating software engineering as cost center vs value creator. Even in the US one would likely have a hard time procuring a large compensation package employed as a software engineer in a utility company, aerospace company or insurance industry, but the attitudes take a drastic 180 turn with tech-centric and tech-oriented companies where software creates new value.
in which case, there ought to be market pressure for software engineers to move away from such companies. When the company finds out they actually need a good programmer, they end up having to pay more again for quality (perhaps, indirectly, via consulting companies). But the current anecdotal evidence is that those companies _can_ pay very little, and yet, no catastrophe has happened. The only valid business conclusion is that the highly paid engineers aren't needed there!
They pay in other ways: increased layers of management, decreased development speed, decreased software quality. One argument is that they manage to stay in business anyway — but I think we're actually seeing places like that start to go out of business, or at least be surpassed, by nimbler firms. The world is all about information, and those that can do more, faster with it are at a tremendous advantage.
Again, how do people get those jobs? I have a lot of friends in the underpaid situation and they applied for stuff on HN; most of them don't hear anything back or have problems with the interviews. They are very good devs though. Loyal too; don't think they would ever leave once on board.
Playing devil's advocate: If we limit the discussion to pure tech companies that target a global market, then yes, it is that simple. But there is a vast majority of companies that do not belong to that category, yet require software developers.
I'm thinking primarily of Spanish software agencies that have other Spanish companies as clients.
I always hate the mindset that because developers are in demand for some reason lower wages are acceptable. The opposite is true, exclusively, than when developers are in demand you should demand more money, and accept no less. It is extraordinarily rare for a worker to have any leverage over their employer, to such a degree that there is this systemic culture of employers being unable to stomach the concept of a developer being a skilled professional that demands a professional wage above and beyond what someone driving a truck or working in Excel makes.
My cousin's husband owns a small agency (15-20 people) and sells one developer at €2.000 a day on €500k-1m projects. I think on average they're billed out around 150 days a year, so grossing around €300k per developer, per annum. Paying developers more would mean less profits ending up in his pocket.
There are ways to reduce the tax rate a bit to an acceptable level, but this depends on the goodwill of your employer. Most just don't care, even though it could mean an extra €1,000 - €1,500 in after tax salary for their employees, without increasing cost to the company. You can even ask the tax authority for a free tax ruling, meaning they approve this and can't challenge it later on.
I know what I'd do if I wanted to hire great local developers.. starting by offering a salary that is 1/3rd higher of most other local companies probably isn't a bad starting point.
"If there was excess of people in group 2, then there'd be no upward pressure on wages, in the fashion that there is none in group 1. If we import or train enough of group 2, perhaps we can make this happen..."
Basically, the message for each group - "we want to pay less".
So they put pressure on the government to swamp the market with newly trained/educated people as well as loosen restrictions on the hiring of foreign nationals.
It's frustrating that they don't provide data like that in articles like this. Instead of they a single data point anecdote about how a company can't find an Agile project manager for "up to" $220k.
How about comparing the percentage of software developers in Spain to the US? Or discussing how the education for technology is different? Or what percentage of the unemployed are developers? Or software developer salaries compared to rest of EU. Or the number of Spanish developers working abroad or for companies abroad. Instead have a graph of Spain's GDP and a graph showing the size of their workforce.
This is why I rarely ever click on articles and only read the comments. Most of the time it's the only place with any substance.
In Spain, politician and corruption are pushing skilled people away. I have seen (and heard of) too many people moving out to be just mere coincidence.
The subtlety is that most of the time the greedy consulting firm will keep 198K out of the 220K and the be surprised not to find anyone.
"Spain is different" as some friends say.
Unfortunately I only know French and German, but I could learn Spanish relatively quickly I guess. The corruption and politics is troubling however.
Pay a little more than the average, but still way less than in Paris or London, and you'll have your pick of the good devs who don't want to emigrate, right?
That I think it's the root of the problem. Dev salaries don't rise because there is no real competition for top talent. Many established software companies in Spain can get away with mediocre programmers with low salaries because they operate in captive markets and the quality of their products don't really matter.
If politicians really wanted to fix this problem they'd make it easier for new companies to compete with the old ones, but they are doing just the opposite.
Which sounds very mafioso, not to mention the collusion that must be taking place.