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Ultimately it's going to come down to the value you provide the company. The reason senior engineers get paid more than juniors is because of the value they provide over a junior. The same applies to principal over senior and so on. Eventually, there is only so much value you can provide if you limit your skills to one specific area and are unwilling to expand.

I can't speak for every company, but I imagine that if you got to a point where you are the best coder at the company, but you refuse to discuss architecture or design, your salary and advancement opportunities will stagnate. This isn't because you're not a great coder, but rather because the value your code provides in isolation, without architectural context, is limited.






It's all about leverage. If you are a tremendous coder, do you have more leverage to build business value than someone who can enable a team of five? And can your organization recognize it?

The answer for most people and organizations is no.

(Edited to fix typo)

I also think it is worth recognizing that the challenges of higher abstractions can be kinda fun. Different but fun.


> I imagine that if you got to a point where you are the best coder at the company, but you refuse to discuss architecture or design, your salary and advancement opportunities will stagnate. This isn't because you're not a great coder, but rather because the value your code provides in isolation, without architectural context, is limited.

As they should, IMO. It's about the value you bring to the table (in absolute terms and over a theoretical replacement). If you're doing senior IC work, there's a limit to the impact that you are likely to have and value you are likely to create (and therefore to the portion of that value that you will bring home to keep as your own). That can be an incredibly enjoyable work experience, but there's likely to be some kind of a cap on it.

I am not the only tech executive who has said, "If/when I get rich enough to fully retire, I'm just as likely to take an IC role somewhere and just code for the love of it..."


yeah, novel features, creative solutions, and framework are more important and competitive.



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