Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

There are enormous differences in the productivity of programmers. Even in the area of "good programmers" really good people can be multiple times faster than others. (Also "better" than others, but that's not directly measurable).

So I think it's perfectly reasonable if the salaries of people are assigned directly according to their capabilities. Why should a programmer that is twice as fast as his peers only get 10% or 20% more?

Actually that's one of the reasons why I've moved to the Bay Area. In my home countries things as seniority are the main factors in regard to the salary. In the Bay Area it's exactly the opposite - and that's much more motivating for me.




"Why should a programmer that is twice as fast as his peers only get 10% or 20% more?" <-- Amdahl's law applies here.

It really depends on the industry. Take finance. Having a programmer who can spit out code ten tiems as fast as his compatriots doesn't result in a ten-fold improvement of returns. There's some economic benefit (because there is real value to having better programmers) but don't expect it to be proportional to skill in an industry for which the software isn't the final product/service (or where other aspects, like legal, really drive the business)


"Having a programmer who can spit out code ten times as fast as his compatriots doesn't result in a ten-fold improvement of returns."

Or maybe it does. A programmer using a better algo might save CPU cycles, storage needed, time to complete, or may even do something which would be plainly impossible for an average programmer. So, in the real world, a programmer who is better by 10% actually yields far more than 10 fold improvement of returns. There is significant economic benefit, but they should be clever enough to point it out.


Salary is unfortunately not (jut) about how good you are, and not even how much money you really make for the company, but how much your managers THINK they need to pay you (minimally) to keep you, while still making it all profitable. So it's much more complicated than just making good code or being efficient, it's just not that linear... like with any other job, it's also about your personality, connections, who's your manager and does he appreciate your work properly, what company you work for, what field of work, etc.


And in general, supply/demand curves are also not necessarily linear. A 10% reduction in the supply of oil could result in a tripling of the price. A 10% reduction in the supply of "awesome programmers" might cause a large increase in their salary, or a small one.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: