In a well-written article, the role of software developers in the tech industry is explored. The article makes an insightful point that the big tech companies (Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar) colluded together to limit and restrict software developers salaries, and yet they still portray themselves as companies that are favourable places to work at for software developers. This collusion affected millions of software developers and reduced their earnings and salaries for at least 5 years.
This cartel resulted in several billion dollars in lost wages, which went straight to corporate profits. But this transfer…is in fact only the tip of the iceberg. It represents a deviation from the ideal of a competitive market, which itself offers no guarantee to workers that they’ll receive value equivalent to what they provide.
…In the software industry, measured productivity has grown 12 percent a year for the last 25 years–meaning that it doubles about every six years. Wages have increased in tech, but not that fast.
The article also digs into how much managers affect the work environment of software developers. It suggests that while software developers may do some research or open source work on company time, they are still beholden to a manager’s priorities. If there’s a big project due, it’s expected that any extra research time is to be poured into sitting at the keyboard and writing code.
Programmers are typically hired at-will, and are not generally accepted to have any professional obligations that could supersede management’s authority, nor the ability to do research or pro bono work on company time. Management styles range from the likes of Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss to a hierarchy so flat that it’s almost invisible–until it’s time for somebody to get fired. Still, for most programmers, management authority is a constant.
While the industry as a whole is prosperous, software developers are not capturing their full value and are not treated as professionals. There are far too many software developers that are under-paid or have to put up with terrible management. This is especially true for newer and junior software developers who have little experience in the workplace.