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HOT TOPIC The Developer Hourly Rate

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FierceRacoon

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I understand how someone who has never hired engineers/developers may believe what you believe, because it seems like there's so many new developers out there. But the way you describe it is not in line with reality.
Same here. Funny, when I was interviewing, I was always happy about the lack of talent. Now that I need to find people (data scientists), it's the other way round. For example, we go to the graduation days of those Bootcamps, and there is not a single person whom we can consider. Recently we've rejected a guy who was willing to work 3 months for the minimum wage, because we've concluded there is no way in hell he can learn quickly enough to bring value.

Btw if you need a solid recommendation for outsourcing (I am not making any money off of that), consider Ivan Lagunov
I just know the guy, he went to the same school as I did back in Russia, and he knows what he's doing. I don't think he'll agree to $60/hour, maybe for his junior developers, but he'll be definitely better than most people on Upwork.
 

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csalvato

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The fact that there is such a disparity between what people believe about development talent and reality really underscores how dangerous it is to start a tech business as a non-tech founder
 

Primeperiwinkle

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The fact that there is such a disparity between what people believe about development talent and reality really underscores how dangerous it is to start a tech business as a non-tech founder
So to me it sounds like everybody’s learning basic stuff and never putting in the effort to become excellent.

Please forgive this ramble but a dear friend talked my ear off about coding today and “learning it in six months” and “making 150k a year”. Apparently a rather wealthy friend of his is offering to give him a program to learn from and a position in his company.

I don’t think I will be able to dissuade him from this attempt but I’d like to at least offer him some points to consider.

He has a background in engineering but hasn’t done that for over nine years.

Is it possible for someone to become proficient enough in six months that they could make that much money? I googled but the stuff that comes back seems.. unreliable.

I have so little experience with tech I don’t know the right questions to ask but are there more reliable schools or programs that could get one farther, faster?

Please forgive my ignorance I literally have no idea what to google to get a clear perspective.
 
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Patrick Jones

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A lot of what makes an excellent developer really excellent is the experience. The situations he's been in, the problems he's faced, the server crashes, the weird bugs, etc.

There is no book to teach that, no course either.

You can learn a lot if you have a good mentor with strong experience. They can teach you how to write software that is less likely to crash and have weird bugs. However people with such strong experience tend to spend their time producing software, not showing noobies the ropes. And you would still be on wobbly legs if on your own.

Can you become a developer that rolls in 150k per year in just six months? Sure, if you are able to sell yourself well. Actual technical skills would be secondary. No employer would need to spend those 150k, as they could easily find an equally skilled developer for a third of the price.

To summarise:
1. To excel in software development you need experience
2. To earn a high wage in tech you need sales skills
 

FierceRacoon

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Is it possible for someone to become proficient enough in six months that they could make that much money? I googled but the stuff that comes back seems.. unreliable.
Extremely unlikely; it is completely out of the range. Will a restaurant pay you $100/hour to be a waiter, if you have 6 months of experience, are eager to learn and negotiate well? If the guy is really promising, maybe he can make 50K/year in NYC or San Francisco after those 6 months.

Example: this job ad lists 3 years minimum for a 150k job, Senior Full Stack Engineer (Python) at MINDBODY Inc.
Which means they realistically expect 5-7 years of experience but don't want to pass on an outlier.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Extremely unlikely; it is completely out of the range. Will a restaurant pay you $100/hour to be a waiter, if you have 6 months of experience, are eager to learn and negotiate well? If the guy is really promising, maybe he can make 50K/year in NYC or San Francisco after those 6 months.

Example: this job ad lists 3 years minimum for a 150k job, Senior Full Stack Engineer (Python) at MINDBODY Inc.
Which means they realistically expect 5-7 years of experience but don't want to pass on an outlier.
Thank you. That makes much more sense. If you don’t mind, could you possibly give this a glance and see if it looks as awesome as I think it is?

 

404profound

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Extremely unlikely; it is completely out of the range. Will a restaurant pay you $100/hour to be a waiter, if you have 6 months of experience, are eager to learn and negotiate well? If the guy is really promising, maybe he can make 50K/year in NYC or San Francisco after those 6 months.

Example: this job ad lists 3 years minimum for a 150k job, Senior Full Stack Engineer (Python) at MINDBODY Inc.
Which means they realistically expect 5-7 years of experience but don't want to pass on an outlier.
I got a six figure offer in 8 months. I presented my app to a hiring manager and he offered me a couple days later. 8 Months prior I knew - nothing - about programming, couldn't tell you a string from a boolean. It can be done if you demonstrate expertise in a high-demand niche with something tangible. Now, I did bust my a$$ to build something that robust in that time frame, talking 4 to 6 hours every day after work. Also gained about 25 pounds in the process from gym neglect :D
 

csalvato

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So to me it sounds like everybody’s learning basic stuff and never putting in the effort to become excellent.

Please forgive this ramble but a dear friend talked my ear off about coding today and “learning it in six months” and “making 150k a year”. Apparently a rather wealthy friend of his is offering to give him a program to learn from and a position in his company.

I don’t think I will be able to dissuade him from this attempt but I’d like to at least offer him some points to consider.

He has a background in engineering but hasn’t done that for over nine years.

Is it possible for someone to become proficient enough in six months that they could make that much money? I googled but the stuff that comes back seems.. unreliable.

I have so little experience with tech I don’t know the right questions to ask but are there more reliable schools or programs that could get one farther, faster?

Please forgive my ignorance I literally have no idea what to google to get a clear perspective.

Back in 2017 I hired someone straight out of a 9 month programming school for $80k/year. She was stellar, and I told our CEO she would need to be at $120k within the year.

The CEO ignored me. About a year after she started, she got a job well into 6 figures working for StitchFix.

She came into programming with a lot of the soft skills that are valuable, that most people ignore (an ability to listen, break things down, communicate, etc., as I mentioned in a previous post).

Other people who graduated from her program (the Turing School in Denver) were not in that league, and are not commanding her current wage.

So, is it possible: absolutely.

Will everyone do it: definitely not.

Too many people focus way too much on the hard skills, and not enough on the soft skills.

Being an excellent engineering mind that's lacking on hard skills + rich in soft skills is very valuable and what the market tends to reward.

Most people tend to try to build up on the hard skills and totally ignore the soft skills all together.

If you come into an engineering role with an entrepreneur mindset, you will make a good amount of money quickly.

I've never been the best at the stack on any team I've worked on. But I've always been one of the highest paid (if not the highest paid).
 
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Primeperiwinkle

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Back in 2017 I hired someone straight out of a 9 month programming school for $80k/year. She was stellar, and I told our CEO she would need to be at $120k within the year.

The CEO ignored me. About a year after she started, she got a job well into 6 figures working for StitchFix.

She came into programming with a lot of the soft skills that are valuable, that most people ignore (an ability to listen, break things down, communicate, etc., as I mentioned in a previous post).

Other people who graduated from her program (the Turing School in Denver) were not in that league, and are not commanding her current wage.

So, is it possible: absolutely.

Will everyone do it: definitely not.

Too many people focus way too much on the hard skills, and not enough on the soft skills.

Being an excellent engineering mind that's lacking on hard skills + rich in soft skills is very valuable and what the market tends to reward.

Most people tend to try to build up on the hard skills and totally ignore the soft skills all together.

If you come into an engineering role with an entrepreneur mindset, you will make a good amount of money quickly.

I've never been the best at the stack on any team I've worked on. But I've always been one of the highest paid (if not the highest paid).
Thank you so much. I talked to a male programmer just a friend yesterday and he said getting an app programmer for 125k a year is “getting them cheap”. I wasn’t aware that this profession was so lucrative. (I live in a happy, mostly nontechnical, no stress bubble) My guy adores messing with my mind and withholding info I want in an attempt to keep me talking to him. It’s VERY annoying. My point in sharing that is to say I really do appreciate you taking the time.

I keep trying to get straight answers but the more I try to figure this out the more it seems like it just depends.

New question: Could somebody make that much working from home?

I literally have no idea why this subject is intriguing AF to me right now but it is. I legit watched a coding course from Berkeley last night.
 

splok

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Thank you so much. I talked to a male programmer just a friend yesterday and he said getting an app programmer for 125k a year is “getting them cheap”.

I keep trying to get straight answers but the more I try to figure this out the more it seems like it just depends.

New question: Could somebody make that much working from home?
Of course it "just depends", everything always just depends. You can absolutely make 125k from home if you freelance, are good at something valuable, and can sell your skills. That's a lot of if's though, hence the "it depends".

If you want to be an employee, then you can do that from home too, but that dramatically reduces the number of companies that are willing to hire you. Of course, depending on where you live and how willing you are to relocate, getting a decent developer job might be easier remote than in-person. But for remote jobs, you get to compete with everyone everywhere. If you want to relocate, there are places where developers earn FAR more than elsewhere, but you'll pay far more to live too.

I think one thing that noobs miss in all this is that no one that matters actually cares about anything on your resume. That's just a filter to cut down the work in hiring. What really matters is what you can do (at least, once you're talking to the right person).

Google up some portfolios from the coding bootcamp people. I'd guess that at least 90% of the ones we've reviewed have been almost copy/paste copies of each other. Most of the people going through those things are just treating it like any other terrible homework assignment they've ever been given, doing the minimum required and assuming it'll be fine because "they're a coder now!". The people who are really giving it their all and are in it to learn and get better? They can get a nice developer salary right out of the gate, no problem.

The other piece to that is that the people who were really pushing to get better didn't really need the school in the first place. They just needed some structure and an excuse to spend a few months focusing on nothing but learning a new skill. If you're thinking about going down this path, take the next month and dump literally every possible minute into doing it on your own, and go at it HARD. You'll know by the end if it's what you want to do or not.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Thanks dude. For now I’m just geeking out.
 

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csalvato

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New question: Could somebody make that much working from home?
The only jobs I've had in the past 10 years are remote. I only pursue remote positions. StitchFix is a fully remote, remote-first engineering company, as are all the companies I've worked for.

Software engineering is one of the most remote-friendly jobs in existence today, imho, especially at that pay grade. Whole companies transition to remote-first to attract better software engineers...I know, I've worked for 2 and interviewed with dozens.

This is worth a read if this interests you: Amazon.com: Remote: Office Not Required (9780804137508): Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson: Books
 
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csalvato

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amp0193

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I heard u should never pay hourly. Pay per milestone.
They will milk ur hourly agreement.
I pay per project... everything laid out front.

I pay hourly for any after-the-fact maintenance or small changes.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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I’m buying everybody above this a beer or coffee or whatever. Thank you for helping me w/ my current obsession!
 

splok

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This is not necessarily true in software companies, in my experience. It's MUCH harder to get hired as a remote contractor than a remote employee, and the employee route is usually much more lucrative.

You just need to know where to look: We Work Remotely: Remote jobs in design, programming, marketing and more
Ah, I guess I wasn't very clear there. I was trying to say that most companies just won't consider remote positions at all.

Most job hunters probably think that sounds bad, but then most people don't jobhunt outside their immediate physical area, so the fraction that hire remotely may still be more options than someone had otherwise.

It's also worth saying that far more companies will accept remote work than will say so in their job postings. The right candidate at the right time can have some considerable leverage.
 

csalvato

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Ah, I guess I wasn't very clear there. I was trying to say that most companies just won't consider remote positions at all.

Most job hunters probably think that sounds bad, but then most people don't jobhunt outside their immediate physical area, so the fraction that hire remotely may still be more options than someone had otherwise.

It's also worth saying that far more companies will accept remote work than will say so in their job postings. The right candidate at the right time can have some considerable leverage.
It's important to note that there are what I consider four kinds of companies:

  1. "We don't do remote"
  2. "We only do remote"
  3. "We do remote and colocated, but prefer you work colocated"
  4. "We do remote and colocated, but prefer you work remote"
In general, most companies are #1. They may fall into #3 if they really have to. As a remote employee, both of these companies suck, even though its most companies in the world.

As a remote employee, you want to be in a company thats #2 or #4. In the grand scheme of things these are uncommon. In the software world, the trend is growing FAST. I only look at remote roles, and have gotten over 5 dozen serious inquiries from recruiters or hiring managers from companies since March 2019.

My salary requirements are well over $150k/year to even get me to entertain leaving my job (where I'm very happy with a leader I absolutely love). My high price tag does deter some companies...so if you are only looking for $80-$120k, there's even more demand.

Most of these companies seek me out because I know remote, have built a team remote, and also worked as an IC (individual contributor) remotely, as well...and the company they work with is being forced into category #2 or #4 for some reason, so they want to hire me for my experience and culture contribution.

All that said, I would never work for a company that falls into #1 or #3, so I wouldn't try to convince anyone to let me work remotely. The culture is too different, and most managers don't even know how to manage remote staff w/o being 100% remote themselves.
 

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