How to Undermine Trust at Every Level



  • http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/entdev/article.php/11070_3921006_1/Should-Younger-Developers-be-Paid-More.htm

    I am of the opinion that domain knowledge, experience, and general software engineering skills trump specific technical skills.  This article contends just the opposite.



  • There was a long discussion of this on Slashdot. I skimmed it.

    My personal opinion:
    1) If this new employee has pre-existing skills to complete the project faster than the other dev, then even if he's paid 30% more, he could be benefiting the company many times that in first-mover advantage. Sometimes being 3 months quicker to-market is worth millions.
    2) If the older manager thinks he's being underpaid, he needs to either confront his bosses about it, or leave for greener pastures.
    3) People are paid what they're perceived to be worth.

    A lot of IT employees are too timid to ask for raises, *even when the entire company depends on them and couldn't survive without them*. You can't blame the new guy (or the company's management) for that... squeaky wheels get grease, and assertive employees get raises. I'm suspicious of anybody working in IT who has stayed at the same company for more than 8-10 years-- generally speaking, these are the useless Wally-from-Dilbert types and they will do the bare minimum to get by. If they were out and about creating great products and learning new technologies, they'd be switching jobs more often-- if only because headhunters would be after them.

    So in short, I don't really have a problem with this. In fact, kudos to the younger dev.



  • They both count; depending on the problem domain you may need more of one or the other. And depending on the problem domain, one or the other gets you a better salary.

    @<FONT size=2>Eric Spiegel</FONT> said:

    Lost in all of this are the dedicated engineers who have put blood, sweat and tears into an organization, only to be left behind when technology changes. But is it their own fault? The company’s fault? Or just a natural cycle?

    This is a well known cycle. People go from high enthousiasm/low skill to high enthousiasm high skill to high skill/low enthousiasm to (and this is the point) low enthousiasm/low skill.

    Yes, they may think they still have the skill, but it's Cobol, Mumps, VB6, SQL 6.5, importing CSVs. Sure, it may be useful somewhere, but not in our company. Which is why if you're the manager and you have people like this in your team, you need to stimulate them. Get them to the training, TechEd, get them to work with the young kids, update the skills and keep them motivated or you end up with a herd of dinosaurs.

    I think Rands in Repose had a great blogpost on this but I can't find it, of course.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    There was a long discussion of this on Slashdot. I skimmed it.

    My personal opinion:
    1) If this new employee has pre-existing skills to complete the project faster than the other dev, then even if he's paid 30% more, he could be benefiting the company many times that in first-mover advantage. Sometimes being 3 months quicker to-market is worth millions.
    2) If the older manager thinks he's being underpaid, he needs to either confront his bosses about it, or leave for greener pastures.
    3) People are paid what they're perceived to be worth.

    A lot of IT employees are too timid to ask for raises, *even when the entire company depends on them and couldn't survive without them*. You can't blame the new guy (or the company's management) for that... squeaky wheels get grease, and assertive employees get raises. I'm suspicious of anybody working in IT who has stayed at the same company for more than 8-10 years-- generally speaking, these are the useless Wally-from-Dilbert types and they will do the bare minimum to get by. If they were out and about creating great products and learning new technologies, they'd be switching jobs more often-- if only because headhunters would be after them.

    So in short, I don't really have a problem with this. In fact, kudos to the younger dev.

    The first-mover advantage argument has merit.

    My problem with this particular situation is that they were hiring green developers that only brought one thing to the table: knowledge of a cutting edge technology.  At 130% of the highest paid developers salary.  And they needed to be trained by the experienced devs.  This sounds like a good way to decimate any sense of teamwork  or trust among developers.  I'm sure the experienced devs will do a great job training the new guys on the business rules.

     



  • @frits said:

    At 130% of the highest paid developers salary.

    Well, maybe the lead developer is a timid little butterfly who never asks for raises, and never looks for new opportunities. In that case, he has nobody except himself to blame. I was hired on at a company my friend worked at-- I was making the same in my first week that he was after three years. Why? I asked for it, he never did.

    Or, rather, whoever's discussing his salary is to blame, since that never does anything except make people miserable.

    @frits said:

    And they needed to be trained by the experienced devs.

    Well, of course. He's an expert in (say) Windows Mobile coding, not in "Problem Domain Area." All new hires need training.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @frits said:
    At 130% of the highest paid developers salary.
    Well, maybe the lead developer is a timid little butterfly who never asks for raises, and never looks for new opportunities. In that case, he has nobody except himself to blame. I was hired on at a company my friend worked at-- I was making the same in my first week that he was after three years. Why? I asked for it, he never did.

    Or, rather, whoever's discussing his salary is to blame, since that never does anything except make people miserable.

    The guy in the article directly confronted the manager, so he's probably not [i]too[/i] timid.  Also, he's the highest paid guy.  Are all of the devs in the company timid as well?  The salary range got published in a job posting for the newly opened positions.  Oops.  Not that the word wouldn't gotten out anyway.

    @blakeyrat said:

    @frits said:
    And they needed to be trained by the experienced devs.
    Well, of course. He's an expert in (say) Windows Mobile coding, not in "Problem Domain Area." All new hires need training.

    In this case, he's a fresh graduate, so probably not an expert in anything. 

    OK, maybe at eating Ramen noodles while playing video games.



  • @frits said:

    http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/entdev/article.php/11070_3921006_1/Should-Younger-Developers-be-Paid-More.htm

    I am of the opinion that domain knowledge, experience, and general software engineering skills trump specific technical skills.  This article contends just the opposite.

    I work with a "younger developer". While he has undeniable skills, he is utterly lacking in real-world experience. Paying NEW devs more than established devs is a GREAT way to ruin morale and trust. I don't care how talented a new dev is, he still needs to pay the freakin' dues and learn about the market.



  • @frits said:

    This article contends just the opposite.
     

    The article does not.

    The article tells the story of how a market effect caused the weird situation where a fresh guy got attracted with salary that happened ot be higher than some more experienced, higher up guy.



  • @dhromed said:

    @frits said:

    This article contends just the opposite.
     

    The article does not.

    The article tells the story of how a market effect caused the weird situation where a fresh guy got attracted with salary that happened ot be higher than some more experienced, higher up guy.

    What market effect?  Any market will allow you to overpay for something, if you're willing.  It didn't sound like they even tried to get the new guy at a reasonable entry-level rate.



  • @frits said:

    What market effect?
     

    "if you want it badly enough, you can pay more money"

    @frits said:

    It didn't sound like they even tried to get the new guy at a reasonable entry-level rate.

    You make it sound like economy is an exact science where you can test hypotheses (i.e. "try") and get reliable results.

    But you don't know if they tried anything. The article doesn't say.

     



  • @dhromed said:

    @frits said:

    What market effect?
     

    "if you want it badly enough, you can pay more money"

    @frits said:

    It didn't sound like they even tried to get the new guy at a reasonable entry-level rate.

    You make it sound like economy is an exact science where you can test hypotheses (i.e. "try") and get reliable results.

    But you don't know if they tried anything. The article doesn't say.

     

    I went back and re-skimmed the article.  The article states that they were competing with other firms (according to the recruiter).  You're right and I stand corrected.  I was injecting some bias into my position.  Although, I  believe that the recruiter may not have been the best source for market research.  I understand that if you want something badly enough, you will pay a premium.  I just have a hard time believing that being a first mover justifies hiring recent college grads as full time employees at a higher rate than any of your current employees.  Maybe hiring them as "consultants" would have been a good alternative.

     



  • @frits said:

    I just have a hard time believing that being a first mover justifies hiring recent college grads as full time employees at a higher rate than any of your current employees.  Maybe hiring them as "consultants" would have been a good alternative.
     

    I totally agree.



  • @<FONT size=2>Eric Spiegel</FONT> said:

    Lost in all of this are the dedicated engineers who have put blood, sweat and tears into an organization, only to be left behind when technology changes. But is it their own fault? The company’s fault? Or just a natural cycle?

     100% the persons fault. Anyone who even thinks about going into a technology field, should know that technology is rapidly changing. They should also know that (the vast majority of) companies are not going to pay the employee to "keep up". Just like any herd, the slow get left behind to die.

     If you are not willing to put in significant hours learning new technologies (before they are needed on your job), then you are likely to find youself in the same situation.

     Speaking for myself, I spend an average of 15-20 hours per week (my own time) just keeping up with emerging technologies as well as new tools to support existing technologies. Granted this is higher than average since I am a consultant who is expected to be able to show up at a client's site and simply "know his stuff".



  • @b-redeker said:

    They both count; depending on the problem domain you may need more of one or the other. And depending on the problem domain, one or the other gets you a better salary.

    [quote user="<font size="2">Eric Spiegel</font>"]Lost in all of this are the dedicated engineers who have put blood, sweat and tears into an organization, only to be left behind when technology changes. But is it their own fault? The company’s fault? Or just a natural cycle?

    This is a well known cycle. People go from high enthousiasm/low skill to high enthousiasm high skill to high skill/low enthousiasm to (and this is the point) low enthousiasm/low skill.

    Yes, they may think they still have the skill, but it's Cobol, Mumps, VB6, SQL 6.5, importing CSVs. Sure, it may be useful somewhere, but not in our company. Which is why if you're the manager and you have people like this in your team, you need to stimulate them. Get them to the training, TechEd, get them to work with the young kids, update the skills and keep them motivated or you end up with a herd of dinosaurs.

    I think Rands in Repose had a great blogpost on this but I can't find it, of course.

    [/quote] 

     I've been at previous employers were this was the case, and almost everyone over 45 was a dinosaur. Then I got to my current employer. It's a semi-goverment job at a research institute, it doesn't get paid amazingly well compared to industry although benefits are great.

    What amazed me, is that we have people here, who have worked here for 40 or more years, and still have very current skillsets and are enjoying their work. I think it has to do something with true engineers being attracted to the cutting edge science and developement we do here. It's about as cool as a tech job gets in a small country like mine.

    I once read a quote from Asimov (when he was over 70), that to many people in our society are not encouraged to keep learning as they age, but that if you keep it up as you age, it is remarkably easy and fun. I think it's from his book "<font size="+3">Change!</font> <font size="+1">Seventy-One Glimpses of the Future"</font>

    (sorry, I don't know how to get rid of the weird font - sure I could have retyped it instead of this, but I'd rather complain then fix ;-)



  • @RogerWilco said:

    <FONT size=+3>Change!</FONT> <FONT size=+1>Seventy-One Glimpses of the Future"</FONT>

    (sorry, I don't know how to get rid of the weird font - sure I could have retyped it instead of this, but I'd rather complain then fix ;-)

    1. Open Notepad

    2. Paste text into Notpad

    3. Copy text from Notepad

    4. Profit!

     


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @frits said:

    @RogerWilco said:

    <font size="+3">Change!</font> <font size="+1">Seventy-One Glimpses of the Future"</font>

    (sorry, I don't know how to get rid of the weird font - sure I could have retyped it instead of this, but I'd rather complain then fix ;-)

    1. Open Notepad

    2. Paste text into Notpad

    3. Copy text from Notepad

    4. Profit!

     

    Or since it's just a single line, the address or search box in your browser instead of notepad.


  • @b-redeker said:

    Yes, they may think they still have the skill, but it's Cobol, Mumps, VB6, SQL 6.5, importing CSVs. Sure, it may be useful somewhere, but not in our company. Which is why if you're the manager and you have people like this in your team, you need to stimulate them. Get them to the training, TechEd, get them to work with the young kids, update the skills and keep them motivated or you end up with a herd of dinosaurs.

     Hey, MUMPS and VB6 would be a great combination at my company.  Though VB6 is on the way out slowly.



  • I have to agree with balkeyrat. The time of sticking with a job for life died a horrible death somewhere in the 70ies or something and people should stop being employees and treat their employment as if they were contractors. Don't wait for your boss to give you a training or workshop to "acquire" new technology skills, it's your own god damn responsibility to not be left behind.

    Great you know everything about in-house developed god-application X.  It will die, it will go away, you will be stuck in a broomcloset with some other fossiles working on that one client that still uses it hating your job while people who do keep up have either jumped ship or are working with newer god-application Y which is now all the rage and from the looks of their faces really fun.

    I think especially in the IT sector, people who settle die the slow horrible death of job stagnation. I don't care that you have a wife and 20 kids and can't fiddle with new tech Y in the weekends or in the evening, just make time, it's your god damn job. You spend the most hours of your life doing it, so why the hell shouldn't you put in those extra hours to make sure you can actually work with cool stuff.

     



  • I think any company that reduces these issues to simple matters of immediate supply and demand while ignoring the hidden costs of team morale and respect for its most valuable employees will reap what it sows in the long run.

    (Note here I'm referring to senior developers who are actually valuable, as opposed to old dogs who refuse to learn new tricks and hold the company back more than they lift it up.)

    I'm not discounting that there was a real problem of how they were going to meet client demands when the market cost of the developer they needed was so high. But if a dick move like that had been played on me and I was asked to mentor up a new grad at 1.3x my own salary, I would smile and nod and start job-shopping.

    Dan.



  • Is this a west coast thing or something? I consistently see listings in the midwest and almost every one of them puts the most weight on experience to qualify for higher pay grades. New techs don't seem to pay any more than older ones... in fact the super old ones tend to get higher pay due to reduction of the workforce with the skills. I will admit that I have been promoted on the fact that I quickly learn new skills that other team members do not know very well due to various factors however.

    The big thing that irks me is new tech is easy to learn, domain knowledge for a complex business is far far harder to attain while most competent devs can pick up a new language rapidly. If the tech is so bleeding edge, how does this new hire know it any better than your existing devs? If my boss told me a new project was going to require us to write an iPhone app to supplement it I would't just ask for training. I would hit google and learn the darn skill, how different can it be? If your title is software engineer it should imply that you engineer software using whatever tool is required.



  • @CnC said:

    If my boss told me a new project was going to require us to write an iPhone app to supplement it I would't just ask for training. I would hit google and learn the darn skill, how different can it be?
     

    Your naivety is charming.


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