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I don't think it's that much in conflict. If a 22 year old legitimately brings enough value to the table to justify a $200k salary, then sure, give it to them. But the reason we usually associate salaries getting bigger with age is because older people, on average, do have more experience and are able to bring more value to the table.

There's some truth in what you say. Very few new CS grads are making substantial contributions commiserate to their salaries. They probably do hit that level in a few years so maybe that balances out. But the companies/shareholders seem to be happy paying those salaries, and we might believe that they probably know what they're doing.

What is defined as "valuable" to you? People and companies have different definitions, and as your age into the workforce, how you contribute to your work changes.

As a 22 year old dev, "valuable" can be defined as writing code and building products while working 60+ hrs a week, which is what many do in SV. As you age, you write less code and contribute to building products in different ways like architecting the platform and thinking about the business more than the product itself. This is what experience gets you as you age.

I think you're saying that the later deserves more compensation and no 22 year old is worth $200k. I don't think that's true. And most of SV doesn't think that's true. SV likes people that can build and make things, and will pay someone handsomely to build a product and iterate.

I'm a late twenties software engineer. Years ago I worked on a tiny team that was integrating an upstart financial product from a well known legacy company. Billions of dollars have flowed through the system integration. My company got a nice high six-figure "implementation" bonus for implementating it along with a small percentage of the money flowing throughout.

My team of a designer, product manager and two software engineers built this. We created millions of dollars in new revenue for our company.

Prior to this another off-shore team had tried to integrate something similar from our partner's competitor. They failed to complete the integration.

This is why good software engineers are paid so much.

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