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High-Frequency Programmers Revolt Over Pay

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the crying-all-the-way dept.

Businesses 1018

An anonymous reader writes "Programmers who design and code algorithms for investment banking are unhappy with their salaries. Many of them receive a low 6-figure salary whereas their bosses — who manipulate these algorithms and execute the trades — often earn millions. One such anonymous programmer points out that he was paid $150,000 per year, whereas the software he wrote was generating $100,000 per day."

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1018 comments

Somebody call the waaaambulance (-1, Troll)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081912)

Did someone order waaaaaamburgers and french cries?

If you think that you can do any better, go out and start your own firm.

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (0, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081936)

Would you like some waaaaaaaaaaaaaasabi to go with that burger?

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082248)

lulz

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082262)

Do a barrel roll!

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (3, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081998)

Did you read the article? No, of course you didn't. That's what they're doing.

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (4, Insightful)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082040)

I think that something really important to remember in all this is they live in NY. You pretty much have to divide their salary by half to get an equivalent salary anywhere else in the US.

Even with that in mind, I think the real problem isn't that the programmers should make more, it is that the traders should make LESS. Whining about not being able to take advantage of rigging the game to funnel money to yourself like your superiors do shouldn't get you any sympathy.

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (5, Insightful)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082270)

Wow! It's amazing what you learn when you actually read the article. I should do it more often.
These guys are not whining about the situation, they are actively taking measures to fix it.

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (0, Redundant)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082096)

The waaaambulance is on it's way, but the bridge over the Crymeafuckin river is out!!! It won't get here in time!!!

MOD PARENT INFORMATIVE (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082154)

This is as common sense as it is funny

Re:Somebody call the waaaambulance (5, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082164)

It annoys me like hell that people use this kind of arguments.

Maybe they are excellent programmers, but bad business men. It doesn't mean they deserve to have their blood sucked from them.

If you shift all the income from the workers to the managers, everybody will want to make business, and there'll be nobody left to do some work.

waaaaaaambulance (0, Redundant)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081918)

So...if they think they're underpaid, go somewhere else...

Re:waaaaaaambulance (4, Insightful)

kabloom (755503) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081994)

RTFA. They are quitting and going somewhere else. The finance sector is going have to deal with this if they don't want to be massively outcompeted by their own ex-programmers.

Re:waaaaaaambulance (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082198)

That would mean the system favours skills and hard work over weaselisness. Sorry, that won't happen.

Re:waaaaaaambulance (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082222)

>>>They are quitting and going somewhere else

Where? $150,000 sounds like a heck of a lot of money to me, considering my previous job (when I had one) only paid 70,000. where are all these magical jobs that pay such huge salaries?

Re:waaaaaaambulance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082282)

The jobs are in a tard free zone.

Re:waaaaaaambulance (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082236)

Let's see: financial giants, capable of spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the servers, all the coders, access to the markets, and not to mention *the assets they trade at a profit*... Vs the guys who made 150k a year and just quit to form a startup. Somehow I doubt they are too worried.

The only chance these guys stand is to basically create a "better" program they can then sell back to the banks. The problem is, the programs themselves are very simple (the simpler the better, speed is all-important) so it comes down to the equipment they use that dictates the revenue. Unless they come up with a more profitable model than "buy low, sell high" they are probably going to have to beg for their old jobs back before too long.

Re:waaaaaaambulance (0, Flamebait)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082268)

Wow, you dumb much?

Or can you point to a single example in the article of someone not going somewhere else and just complaining? There's a bunch of examples in the article you are too illiterate to read surely one of them backs up your implication of them just complaining...

Bosses earn too much (5, Insightful)

Shugart (598491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081922)

It isn't that the programmers earn too little it's that their bosses earn too much.

Re:Bosses earn too much (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082086)

Yeah, really. Six figures for a programming job is fantastic pretty much no matter how you slice it. If it seems like the guy who's making ten times that isn't contributing a commensurate amount over what you do, well, welcome to reality. Especially the reality of trading and finance.

Re:Bosses earn too much (2, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082234)

If they are making too much, they are sucking a lot of money out of the system. The finance system doesn't produce anything, so they're sucking money out of the real economy (and the investors). If this blood-sucking is stopped on its tracks, the overall economy will be more efficient. Out with those fucking leaches!

Re:Bosses earn too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082266)

I thought the whole point of the last two years, what with them screwing up everything for everybody, is that the reality sucks and should be changed ASAP?

I think these guys should leave this bankrupt business. If you're a programmer who is undercompensated for writing a billion-dollar piece of software, or whatever, and the people above you are essentially taking that money for themselves, wouldn't you want to be in a different business? Like, one that has moral scruples and doesn't view other human beings with contempt?

Re:Bosses earn too much (1, Insightful)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082150)

The best method to stop the bosses earning so much money from immoral transactions, they shouldn't wrote that software. but first agreeing with the system and its concepts and then later whining about it is, well, normal today, but still it is hypocritical. It is like whining about poisonous food and the destruction of agricultural resources and still buying the cheapest food in [your favorite discounter].

Rule 1: If you find something offending, then stop doing it yourself and stop supporting it.
Rule 2: Don't run around telling everyone you are better, just because you were able to stop one mistake you made before.

Re:Bosses earn too much (3, Insightful)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082220)

I disagree. Programmers are a lot easier to find than people willing and able to lead/run a successful financial firm. And it takes more programmers. The problem is that people want the big bucks without the big risks. And since experience is the best (and often harshest) teacher, these guys going off on their own guarantees an education. I'll bet that many of them will go back to their $150k per year jobs after they realize how hard and risky it is to run a business like that.

Simple solution. (1, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081924)

If you think you are underpaid, you have two options. Ask for more money and quit if you do not get it, or quit.

Re:Simple solution. (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082202)

Erm.... my options are quit or quit?

What about quietly undermining the organization while biding your time looking for opportunities?

Re:Simple solution. (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082212)

Strangely enough, that's what the article is about. A whole bunch of programmers asking for more money, being told they can't have it, then quitting and setting up competing businesses that are outperforming the first set.

Re:Simple solution. (5, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082226)

Option Three:
Write a subroutine that takes the fractions of cents usually rounded off and tallied up later, and deposit them into an account of your own. Then sit back as the money trickles into your account. What could possibly go wrong?

Why not just open your own business then? (1)

dancingmilk (1005461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081926)

If you are so unhappy with your current salary, then quit and stop letting your boss milk you for money. Use your coding knowledge to make the coin for yourself.

If I coded something that made $100,000 a day while only getting paid $150,000 a year... well I'm sure any coder worth their salt can figure out that math....

Re:Why not just open your own business then? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082026)

But you see, that would make him see that he's actually NOT worth that, and on his own, he won't be able to make shit.

That's the last thing they want. They just want to whine about deserving more than their *6 bloody digit* salaries. It's all about the entitlement.

Yet...he agreed to it right? (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081930)

I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here, but the programmer in question agreed to the terms BEFORE he wrote the first line of code.

Shouldn't gripes like these come up before you begin working? Maybe this is part of the problem, non?

Re:Yet...he agreed to it right? (5, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082036)

It's been my experience that pay is not as negotiable as everyone thinks it is.

Re:Yet...he agreed to it right? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082070)

Perhaps not, but it can always come down to; you agree to the terms or find another job.

That he was responsible for this software ( which sounds more like resume fluffing...but I digress ) indicates he has some skill. I'm sure if he's really that valuable, he'll be able to find someone to pay him what he thinks he's worth.

Re:Yet...he agreed to it right? (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082204)

It's been my experience that pay is not as negotiable as everyone thinks it is.

Yes and no. Simply going to your boss and demanding a raise likely won't get you anywhere.

However, going to your boss saying "company X made me an offer for $Y" (where $Y > $CURRENT_SALARY), then you have a greater chance of getting that raise (assuming they want to keep you onboard). It's a sad fact, but in this day in age it's pretty much what you have to do.

Re:Yet...he agreed to it right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082060)

I'm sure his contract prevents him from doing this without getting a lawsuit. Non-compete agreements suck balls, and prevent good people from jumping ship.

Re:Yet...he agreed to it right? (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082280)

>>>the programmer in question agreed to the terms BEFORE he wrote the first line of code.

This seems to be a universal problem. Buyer Remorse (paid too much) or Seller Remorse (didn't ask for high enough price). You have to learn to set your price upfront and not whine about it later.

Yeah, and? (1, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081948)

I write software that sells for millions and make $80k/yr. Where is my commission?!

Re:Yeah, and? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082050)

You are seriously getting underpaid if your software is valued that much and you are making that little.

it depends on where the value is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33081956)

If he's being given the algorithm and codifying it, he deserves a small part of the profits. Put another way, if he said screw it and left, how much would he be able to make? Does he know how to interact with a trading API, or how to actually make good trades?

Re:it depends on where the value is (5, Insightful)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082074)

I agree here. Does the algorithm do everything on its own and the programmer's bosses have no input? I'll bet the software is a very small piece of the money-making picture. Was the programmer provided with any resources to write that algorithm? Could the programmer write the algorithm on his own, freelance style, and sell it to the company? I doubt it. Maybe these programmers deserve a raise, and the bosses probably get paid too much, but this is a one-sided story.

Working for Nintendo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33081958)

Perhaps that anonymous programmer worked on the Nintendo DS. It does print money, after all.

If it's so easy (0, Redundant)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081968)

Why don't they use their own programs to trade and make the big bucks then?

If it's not that easy to turn 'their' code into flowing rivers of cash, why don't they STFU and either do the job they're being paid to do, or decide that it isn't worth it and do something else??

Re:If it's so easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082024)

Why don't they use their own programs to trade and make the big bucks then?

If it's not that easy to turn 'their' code into flowing rivers of cash, why don't they STFU and either do the job they're being paid to do, or decide that it isn't worth it and do something else??

The original article is all about some of them are doing exactly that.

Re:If it's so easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082046)

Jeez, did you read the article? Thats exactly what they are doing. No one would give a shit if all those guys did was whine.

Re:If it's so easy (2, Informative)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082064)

I don't know what he's complaining about. The programmer in question is making more money in one year than most people in my county see at once in several (I say most, there are those who make 6- and even 7-figure salaries around here, though I do believe it is a minority that does so).

Change Jobs... (1)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081974)

Change jobs and stop complaining.

No wonder the one developer kept anonymous. Paid only $150k a year... Where did I put that little violin again? Get real!

Anonymous Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33081976)

dancingmilk has it right...the folks earning the big bucks put more at risk than a little time in front of a computer.

Accountability (5, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081986)

"One such anonymous programmer points out that he was paid $150,000 per year, whereas the software he wrote was generating $100,000 per day."

And if said software screws up and costs a few hundred million, or otherwise causes other "bad things" to happen, what's the accountability of the programmer or the manager?

Re:Accountability (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082116)

It doesn't matter, because the feds will just bail them out. Can't have poor innocent institutional traders going out of business, we'll just stiff all the mom & pops with a bigger tax bill.

Re:Accountability (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082188)

I know guys in that sector... What happens is, whoever they can pin it on gets fired immediately for cause (no unemployment), with the cause being gross incompetence. This, combined with his I.P, noncompete and nondisclosure agreements makes him unemployable in his sector (and possibly all of New York, which upholds such agreements for up to 5 years).

There's accountability. It's called "career death".

Re:Accountability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082190)

A lot of exchanges have risk limits that prevent customers from losing too much money or creating too much risk for themselves.

The damage a rogue program can do is usually limited by this mechanism. Though you might lose some money, you probably wouldn't go bankrupt.

Re:Accountability (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082230)

"One such anonymous programmer points out that he was paid $150,000 per year, whereas the software he wrote was generating $100,000 per day."

And if said software screws up and costs a few hundred million, or otherwise causes other "bad things" to happen, what's the accountability of the programmer or the manager?

Accountability? Of a Wall Street manager? Are you for real?

I'd like that guys job. (3, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 3 years ago | (#33081988)

He can have mine, where he'll write code that helps save lives everyday, for less than six figures.

Right... (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082000)

If it is only the software generating $100,000 per day, why did he write it for them as opposed to just writing it for himself? Is it beyond the realm of possibility that these highly paid co-workers are actually adding some value?

Re:Right... (5, Insightful)

mcb (5109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082114)

Algorithmic trading is not effective if you have to pay commission on your trades. Their software only works if it's used by a corporation with
1) network connections to stock exchanges
2) seats on those exchanges, which allows stock to be traded directly instead of through a broker

Re:Right... (0, Troll)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082216)

Both of which cost millions if I may add. If these "poor" souls feel so used, they should quit. Then they can sit at home reading the classifieds as some guy from India does their job for 10K a year and an apartment with no furniture.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082156)

Because he probably does not have millions in investments to manage as the fund he works for does.

Re:Right... (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082238)

Is it beyond the realm of possibility that these highly paid co-workers are actually adding some value?

RTFA, they really weren't adding a lot of extra value. He cut them out, and is still making lots of money, but now is about to start making their share also.

Apparently they didn't really add all that much value, and now he's removed their redundancy.

Boo Effin Hoo (0, Troll)

fatboy (6851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082006)

How can the guy survive on 150K a year? I bet he had to settle for a little cuddy instead of getting the large custom houseboat. Cry me a river.

Coal miners are unhappy with their salaries... (1)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082008)

they point out that they get paid only $10,000 a year, whereas the coal
they mine produces $100,000,000 a year in electricity revenues.

-paul

Re:Coal miners are unhappy with their salaries... (2, Insightful)

fatboy (6851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082082)

they point out that they get paid only $60,000 a year, whereas the coal

Fixed it for ya.

Re:Coal miners are unhappy with their salaries... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082240)

Maybe they're chinks?

It's time to watch Superman III (1)

blakelarson (1486631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082020)

Just tweak your code to forward all fractional cents to you. It's so easy even Richard Pryor can do it!

Excuse me? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082030)

I'm the brother of one of the managers he's talking about (maybe not the specific boss in question, but he's in the same situation) and let me tell you...Did the programmers come up with the specs? Did the programmers come up with the strategy? No. They are just automatons pecking away at the keyboard while stewing in their own envy juice. Lame. Intelligence should be and is richly rewarded and as we can tell from their low 6-figure salary those developers are simply not as smart as the managers. *shrug* bring in the next batch

Re:Excuse me? (2, Informative)

KernelMuncher (989766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082178)

I'm not an electronic trader but I do work in a data-intensive tech job on Wall Street. And the above mindset is very common - that business guys are super smart and everyone else is a glorified office assistant. All of the senior managers at my company have MBA's and give only minor thanks to the computer scientists and statisticians that keep them employed. My supervisor only has a vague idea of the data and that's only because I keep him informed. Without me the guy would be completely lost. The techies definitely don't get much respect.

Good news (5, Insightful)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082038)

FTFA:

"Now some programmers feel used and are instigating a revolt.

They are doing so by striking out on their own or forming profit-sharing arrangements."

That's hardly "whining," in fact it's precisely what they ought to do.

The outstanding part is that Forbes is recognizing this. We all know that folks in IT are underpaid in many professions, but the proof is when people actually say "fuck you" and go work elsewhere. That will *force* salaries up to the real market rate. And when publications like Forbes notice this, it's harder for managers to pretend it's not happening.

Thank you, to the ladies and gentlemen who struck out on their own, and thank you to Forbes for noticing. Both of these will make life a little better for the rest of us.

A counterpoint to all of the hate (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082052)

A counter-point to all of the hate.

a. The American Dream (tm) says that if you work hard, you will benefit in the end. High risk / effort jobs should pay well
b. I bet these guys signed some sort of non-compete contract. Let's say that you and your buddies are the golden boys of financial trading algorithms. I think that you should get pay increases if your company is doing well. A 20% pay increase would probably shut them up.
c. After actually scanning the article,

Computer jockeys setting up own shops in bids to make millions.

[...]

They are doing so by striking out on their own or forming profit-sharing arrangements. Jeffrey Gomberg, 32, worked for a trading firm that paid him a low-six-figure income after four years on the job. His trader colleagues, by contrast, made millions manipulating the algorithms he'd written.

[...]

The programmer's bosses offered him an office and a $45,000 raise, but he left instead. He found a partner, and together they began trading on their own. The programmer now pockets more than half of any profits his software generates. The programmer says he's making about the same money he did at the job he left. But at his old job he'd topped out in pay while now he says the sky's the limit.

“I'm on my way to making a ton,” he says

It seems that they did the right thing. Why are all of you complaining? They didn't like their job, they grew a pair of balls and went out on their own.

It's amazing what reading TFA can let you know.

Re:A counterpoint to all of the hate (1)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082210)

Mod this up. Why the hate? He realized that if he grew a pair and risked some that he could start his own company and make money.

So he did, and everyone in the industry is realizing that they were underpaid.

Net result: Programmers make more money.

Or, if I was some silly financial geek I could wax on and on about removing inefficiencies from the market, providing more liquidity via proper evaluation of resource potential and application of those resources, etc, etc. But in the end, he realized that the upper level guys weren't really adding all that extra value, so he cut them out.

Car analogy (4, Insightful)

TwiztidK (1723954) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082066)

"Many of them receive a low 6-figure salary whereas their bosses — who manipulate these algorithms and execute the trades — often earn millions."

A Nascar Driver's pit crew recieve a low 5-figure salary while their bosses - who use the cars to win races - often earn millions.

I get why the programmers are disgruntled, the code they write makes a lot of money and they aren't getting a huge cut, but it seems like the algorithm the program is based on would be the most important aspect. Besides, $100,000 a year doesn't seem that bad to me.

That's the point (2, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082088)

Everyone is paid less than their worth. That's why people would form unions before they were stupefied by tv and the false hope that they would rise to the exploitative class. The fact that people are now paid less than 1/100th their worth isn't surprising but it is pathetic.

Re:That's the point (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082186)

That false hope is the foundation of our political system: getting working class people to continually vote in the interests of the wealthy by distracting them with hot-button social issues.

The IT community at large has already decided that it doesn't need unions, because unions are for poor slobs who get their hands dirty at work. One day, they'll realize the folly of this attitude, and hopefully it'll be before all the good jobs in IT are outsourced.

Re:That's the point (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082194)

Exactly who is the "exploitative class"? Is that a code word for "people that make more money than I do"?

Where is the real value coming from? (1)

plumby (179557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082090)

Just because you design and code systems that others can make millions from, it doesn't automatically mean that you're being underpaid. Is it your software, or the way that it's used that is adding the real value?

If I wrote software that helped someone to write a bestseller, should I complain if they made a fortune and I didn't? If I'd invented and written a "story generator" that took a few bits of input from a user and spat out a great novel, then yes I would be annoyed (although I'd presumably just create a book myself). But if all I did was create another standard word processor, or even if I'd coded the story generator based on someone else's algorithms, then no I wouldn't.

Don't like it? Know where the door is? (1)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082110)

Anyone who doesn't like the conditions of their job, whether it be pay or whatever, always has the right to quit (at least in this country). So if you think you can do better elsewhere, go for it. If you are proven wrong, scuttle back into a job working for the man while looking for the next opportunity to break free again. Sooner or later: profit!
The difference between winners and losers is that everyone loses, winners merely shake off defeat and try again.
My friend started 3 companies. The first 2 failed. He went back to working for someone else each time. The third one was a success. He eventually sold his share in the company for (I'm guessing) $40M. He retired before he reached 40.
I'm still trying :-(

WAaaaaa (1)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082132)

[i]"Wwaaaa...I only make 150K a year...waaaa"[/i]
Cry me a river...

With the US hitting double digit unemployment I would bet there are a few people who would be happy to do that coding for HALF of what he is making.

pay not always linked to income (1, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082140)

just because someone has found a novel way to make a lot of money without a lot of work does not entitle everyone in the production chain an even share.

The intended theory is that people earn money based on the worth of the goods or services they produce multiplied by the rarity of the skills required. The (relatively) small amount of work being done to earn that $100k/day does not mean the work is worth $100k/day, it just means that there is something to be taken advantage of causing a disproportionally high return.

If I write code for two days, of relatively equal quality and complexity, and sell each day's code to two different people, and one of them uses it to make $1000 and one of them uses it to make $100,000, it doesn't necessarily mean I should get paid 100x as much for the second job. It means the second guy has found a much more lucrative way to use my code to produce a profit. Now this does usually mean I'll get paid more, but to expect 100x the pay is just unreasonable. That excess money isn't for my brilliance on day 2, it's for the guy that found a way to sell my sand for its weight in gold.

These people that are crying about their "low pay" would be dancing in the streets if their bosses were actually making less than they were, doing the same thing. It all comes back to basic Greed... "He's getting more money than I am, so I must be entitled to some of it." No, not really.

Maybe instead of complaining about they pay, you should try to do your employer's job, since that's obviously where the profit margin you're looking for is at? Oh that's right, you can't DO that, can you? So they obviously have a skill you do not. Maybe that's why they're taking home more money than you? See, that's how life works.

Not surprising (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082158)

Considering the unashamed nature of the greed in investment banking, this is not at all surprising. The whole point is to hoard as much as you can for yourself and limit your losses on every front possible. While essential, programmer salaries are nothing but an expense to be limited as much as possible. If you expected altruism or fair play, you're in the wrong industry.

That said, if you want to experience unfair salaries, try being a sysadmin/programmer in an academic setting. Oh, your salary is only in the low six figure range? Whiners.

Apples / Oranges (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082170)

I'm not arguing that Wall Street salaries are reasonable, far from it, but the comparison is not so simple. The reason the programmers make what they make is based on a value comparison of their skills and knowledge with others in their field, and what it might cost to retain (or replace with someone possessing similar abilitites) were they to walk. The reason Wall Street traders make what they make is based on a different skill set (and probably connections, too) and is probably more closely tied more directly to the amount of profit they can generate. The fact they are using a tool created by somebody else is not a huge factor. If the programmers are truly behind the *design* of the algorithms rather than just the coding/implementation, then they definitely should share heavily in the profits. But I suspect it's not so simple as mashing a button and sitting back and watching the profit counter start incrementing. The people who make footballs for the NFL probably make $40,000 a year. The players who use them make millions.

Ripple effect (4, Insightful)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082206)

Yes, and I am the IT Manager who makes sure that the bankers and analysts have the hardware, software and comms tools to do their jobs. Right down the corridor is Michael's room - he's our maintenance guy - if he didn't empty my bin, keep the area tidy and make sure the lights stay on...

None of them should be making any money (5, Insightful)

kidcharles (908072) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082214)

Those programmers and those brokers are doing nothing of worth to society. They are just playing games with currency. If our government wasn't in complete collusion with Wall Street, millisecond trading would be illegal. The issue isn't that the programmers aren't making enough money, it's that their jobs and the jobs of their bosses should not even exist.

Let them start their own investment bank company (1)

sargeUSMC (905860) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082218)

Let them start their own investment bank company. In other words - fully take on the risks and the profit.

NOT FAIR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082242)

OK Slashdot. I will play ball. Here is the comment you are looking for with the posting of this article. "This isnt fair! If you think about it, the programmers really make the money, I mean really! Its sooo stupid that the guy that uses the program makes so much more money! Its not right. IANAC, but as Marx said...."

Hired staff (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082252)

are lucky to even get paid these days. If I were netting $150,000 a year and were unhappy about it, I'd save up and open up a business (luckily, there's plenty of stuff to be getting on with around the World - and people to PAY for the stuff, according to the article). I'm just saying - be your own boss...

Back to work...

Given up the sigs

screw these guys (1)

r3xx3r (1358697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082254)

these guys are horrible people. Making a 6-figure salary (especially in this economy) is amazing. I understand that their software makes tons of money, but how can they complain about a 6-figure salary when there most people never make 100,000 in there entire life in so much of the world?!?!!

Solution Here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33082256)

Make high speed trading illegal. Each individual trade needs to be human initiated. Solves both this little problem, and the much larger "Big Evil Bank" problem.

be glad you have a job. Nearly 1 in 10 do not (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082258)

in june of 2010, the US unemployment rate was 9.5 percent. Be glad you aren't giving 50 cent blowjobs just to get a hot meal in your stomach. Make do like the rest of us and quitcherbitchin.

supply and demand (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082274)

Programmers who can write a halfway decent market prediction algorithm are being churned out by universities all over the world in astounding numbers. Investors with the available funds to make use of those algorithms, not so much. I'd say a six figure salary for a programmer is pretty good considering how many out there are unemployed right now.

Swap jobs? (1)

Tomahawk (1343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33082284)

They are welcome to swap jobs with me. I'd be more that happy with $150,000 a year.

Currently, I'm unemployed. I've written a Google Android app and uploaded it to the Market. I'm not in a country where I can charge for my app, so I have ads in it to try to generate some revenue. The app has been on the market place for 17 days so far, and I've made $2.65. That equates to about 15.5c/day, or $56.90 a year. I had to pay $25 to create my account, so that makes it $31.90 for the year!

So only too happy to swap, guys.

(for those interested, the app is on the market here: market://details?id=org.thetomahawk.spreadsheet )

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