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Should Younger Developers Be Paid More?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the you-deserve-a-raise dept.

Programming 785

jammag writes "A project manager describes facing an upset senior developer who learned that a new hire — a fresh college grad — would be making 30 percent more than him. The reason: the new grad knew a hot emerging technology that a client wanted. Yes, the senior coder was majorly pissed off. But with the constant upheaval in new technology, this situation is almost unavoidable — or is it? And at any rate, is it fair?"

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Keep up or shut up (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920498)

While I agree that experience should, of course, count towards salary--I've also encountered a *LOT* of IT staff in general and programmers in particular who stubbornly refused to learn anything new after they left college (or shortly afterward). They fell further and further behind and became more useless every day. I have absolutely no sympathy for someone who works in a field as fast-changing as a computer-related field and refuses to learn new skills (including, *GASP*, on your OWN time). These are not professions in which it is cute (or acceptable in any way) to be the old curmudgeon.

Would you want a doctor who still exclusively used surgical techniques from the 50's to perform your open-heart surgery? Would you want a mechanic who hasn't learned anything new in 20 years to work on your Prius? Well, the IT world changes *way* faster than either of those fields.

Re:Keep up or shut up (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920632)

the IT world changes *way* faster than either of those fields.

Things change fast sure, but by that token, not all of the changes are permanent or important. I'm not averse to learning new stuff if it's proven, but I don't go running after new stuff simply because it's there. Old programming languages still work fine for new tech if they have appropriate libraries, etc.

Re:Keep up or shut up (3, Interesting)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920708)

But that doesn't mean that you won't get left behind monetarily, at least until there is no one left to support it, then they'll hire you back after you've retired for big bucks like defense contractors have done for people with arcane language knowledge that is not taught in schools anymore.

Re:Keep up or shut up (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920716)

Well, ask yourself this. If your boss came to you and said "We're working on a new project and I want you to learn how to program for the iPhone" would you argue with him for an hour on how the iPhone sucks, or would you embrace it as a new opportunity to learn something new?

That's the difference between someone who's intellectually curious (and always looking to better themselves) and someone who's dug their heals in and is becoming more a liability every day.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920744)

I would just get a toolkit that turns a language I already know into something that will run on the iPhone. We call that lazy and smart.

Re:Keep up or shut up (4, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920880)

The big problem is...you're presuming that the Senior isn't intellectually curious and they're basing the pay discrepancy on just that alone. Neither of which are likely to be correct a assumptions.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920930)

It sounds like the young hire knew something the older professional didn't know, so even if the older person was "intellectually curious", they no longer had the desired qualifications and skills. It sucks, but it's also the case.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

Matimus (598096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920754)

Agreed. There are developers who continue to learn, read and hone their craft. Individuals who pick up new technologies and strive to improve at what they do. Those developers should be rewarded. They should be given every opportunity to advance and get more pay.

All of that being said. A market is a market. The article makes it sound like they did look at training individuals internally, but decided to go with hiring some outside developers to help them jump-start the process. If that is what it costs for that type of talent, then that is what you must pay. Do I think it is fair? No. If I worked where that happened would I learn the new technology anyway? Yes. Would I try to prove that I am a better developer than the new hires? Yes. Would I demand a pay raise after? Yes.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920882)

Alternately you could could learn the new technology and using your new combination of experience and in demand skills, get another job making 40% more :-)

Re:Keep up or shut up (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920770)

...who stubbornly refused to learn anything new after they left college (or shortly afterward). They fell further and further behind and became more useless every day.

You wouldn't believe the number of college grads I've encountered with advanced degrees who turn out to be absolutely useless when taken out of the walled garden of academia and need to be carried by the old curmudgeons until the probationary reviews come around.

IT doesn't change as fast as people think it does. The tools change but the ideas stay the same (case in point: the more I hear about cloud computing, the more it makes me think of the local dumb terminal & remote mainframe architecture of decades past).

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920784)

Nobody is going to just learn random API's and COTS packages- management could have provided training or financial incentive for the Senior Guy to teach himself.

If you read the article, it had to do with mobile technology- which for the most part is just a subset of web or client server technology. Any developer that has done these types of development can quickly switch to mobile applications.

Re:Keep up or shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920788)

Would you want a doctor who still exclusively used surgical techniques from the 50's to perform your open-heart surgery?

So you want a doctor with no experience using a new, unproven, technology?

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920822)

I agree with you here, however, if the programmer aging as he is actually does keep up with the times, then there would be no need to hire a new hot developer, because that would be the old hot developer now...
I believe the point is that if we think business wise, it is smarter to not let your programmers evolve thereby keeping your posts rolling and using the excuse you did not keep yourself updated, but what about the guy that does, how can you get rid of him after 10 years when he still does keep up on his own...dont forget most companies also want reasons to can people to keep the line slim and young and costing less in the long run with benefits and pensions and all....if you take that away, then they will all have to scream rape to get you out,.

Re:Keep up or shut up (0)

hackus (159037) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920826)

Hot new technology

Translation: Yet another boring Web Framework.

I do one thing and one thing only. Java Servlets.

Been doing it for a long time.

Client doesn't want it?

You know what I say? Fine.

After they try doing something stupid on the el-Large side with whatever the scripting language is...

Either it will work, or they will be back.

I could care less really about all of this new technology which is essentially useless. In cases like php, it makes things drastically worse.

Since Java Servlets came out, everything else has been a lot of promises and no delivery.

Not interested in jsp, php, python.....and other 1000 or so new scripting languages that will end up in the dustbin of history.

_Still_ using servlets because they deliver the bacon.

From Grandma's leeetle picture gallery...to a 100 Million user site.

No el problemo....10 years and counting.

-Hack

Re:Keep up or shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920836)

I don't think there is much of 'your own time' left once you start working seriously. In college you can always neglect your classes to spend another 30 hour day on a hot new tech. This stops once you're working 9 to 5 plus transport.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920922)

What university did you attend? 40 hour work weeks are a lot less work, more free time than I ever had back then. I did college, worked around 20 hours a week, and had labs that took 40 hours a week or so.

Re:Keep up or shut up (2)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920844)

By the same token, I've worked with a number of organizations where there was a very strong demand for programmers and IT generalists willing to learn older systems - COBOL, various nasty and quirky Oracle database environments that need to stay running for the next 5 to 10 years, and so on. The truth is that there's a big push to learn and deploy the flavor of the month in IT -- someone gets promoted and all of a sudden everything's being coded by pythons on rails and the entire organization is supposed to live in the clouds. But the truth of the matter is that a lot of our business is very down to earth nuts and bolts stuff -- bills need to be issued every month, reports need to be generated and widgets need to be inventoried. And anyone who is capable of keeping WidgetBill 2000 running is valuable, especially if that person can help the corner office gang migrate WidgetBill to modern hardware and modernize it.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

TheDawgLives (546565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920864)

Instead of paying a fresh college grad more, why not send the senior developer to training? Oh, that's right, companies HATE paying for training. They would rather pay someone an undeserved exorbitant salary and then discard them when their knowledge is out of date. I think it's the same reason they want to hire upper level people from outside the company rather than promote from within. They know what they already have, but they hope this knew person is better!

Re:Keep up or shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920866)

Now converse to that, how well does the new hire know the old code, the methods used by the company, the company history, the correct processes to getting things done, the change management conventions used, the ins and outs of talking to the clients (which ones get what they want, which ones don't).

That in and of itself offsets any new-method for coding, especially when the punk upsets an old client by making fun of xyz app that they're still using.

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920876)

And doctors actually do have the same type of old vs young dilemma (Harvard study [harvard.edu] )

Re:Keep up or shut up (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920934)

Therein lay the rub - I want someone who has experience but who hasn't ossified. I want a doctor who has done open heart surgery thousands of times so that he or she would be aware of all kinds of issues that could crop up and would be able to deal with them with competence. I also want that doctor to use the best and most advanced techniques they possibly can.

I'm a huge fan of trial periods with new jobs - ESPECIALLY with people who have extensive claimed experience - because it lets you see whether or not they're capable of bringing that experience to bear on new problems as well as learning new tools.

A younger coder or someone with less experience may be more willing to use new tools and techniques, but they're also usually going to have a much, much, MUCH smaller skillset and less experience with different environments.

As college student studying computer science (4, Funny)

igreaterthanu (1942456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920508)

I say yes!

Re:As college student studying computer science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920714)

Not planning on being on this good earth long enough for it to be a problem, boy? I suppose that's one solution.

most of jobs have left the country (1)

fregare (923563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920510)

Who gives a shit.

Life is not fair (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920512)

The older developer needs to find a new job. IT raises only really come by switching jobs. For some reason companies rather have high turnover and pay each new hire more than give raises to staff. It makes no sense and is not fair, but it is life.

Re:Life is not fair (-1, Troll)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920730)

This is why you shouldn't go into software development in the first place. If they aren't looking to replace you with an entry level college kid they can burn out at 80 hours a week, they are looking to send your job to India or some other Turd World country.

Re:Life is not fair (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920734)

You are talking total crap, you know nothing about the situation. The older dev probably know the business inside and out, that's called experience. When they leave they create a huge knowledge gap which may well end up costing the company a lot of money, and needing to take on additional staff to hope to try to plug the gaps. I've been seeing this over and over. Any experienced dev can pick up $trendy_tech in no time at all. Ah, but now I see your handle, you talk shit all the time *sigh*.

Re:Life is not fair (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920938)

Sure that happens, but guess what that is the only way the senior dev is getting a raise.

Sure it hurts the company, but they made that choice, not him.

Not unreasonable (1, Interesting)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920514)

for the senior to ask for more than the new hire. After all, it'd take all of two weeks for the seasoned pro to get up to speed on this new-fangled gibberish!

maybe? (5, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920518)

If the senior programmer knows the language or shows an aptitude for picking it up quick(which many quality programmers can do), then I think it's a slap in the face, particularly if the rookie has no realworld experience and no portfolio.

Otherwise, if the senior programmer knows BASIC with no ability to learn C# and the rookie knows C# and is hired for C#, I don't see the problem.

Re:maybe? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920552)

That people have jobs doing nothing but BASIC ?
That seems like a problem to me.

Re:maybe? (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920684)

It was more of an example of vastly different languages than anything, but, for the record, there are companies that have applications that are actively supported and developed for in DataBASIC

Re:maybe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920942)

I have 45 years of BASIC experience - get off my lawn!

Re:maybe? (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920918)

If you RTA in this case it is mobile technology, a much smaller world than the desktop... there is nothing special about this skill. Of course the PHB overcharging customers doesn't want anyone to know this.

Stay on top (0, Flamebait)

Nickodeimus (1263214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920522)

It is incumbent upon technologists to keep their knowledge fresh. Its his own fault for not recognizing the technology trends and pursuing them.

Re:Stay on top (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920622)

Stop speaking that way. You clearly have been infected with some sort of disease, you probably got it by standing too close to MBAs or Marketing folks, see a doctor soon.

For further readers the translation is as follows:

IT professional must keep their knowledge relevant. If they fail to do so what ever happens is their own fault.

This isn't an obviously easy question (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920540)

There are a lot of interesting issues here. First, the developer could've trained themselves in the new technology outside the company. Would the company have believed they had the skill? I know I routinely teach myself new things when they look interesting to me. I also know that it can be hard to get anybody to believe I actually know it.

And I don't really feel the developer has complete responsibility for doing this either. A good company will encourage its employees to learn new things and provide training. If they don't, they are basically calling their people disposable. They would rather hire new young college grads, even at a premium salary, than train their existing employees, even if it cost less in the long run.

Lastly, I really think this betrays a bias for youth over everything. And, to some extent, it's a bias I can understand. When I was younger, I wrote more code and faster than I do now. It wasn't as good, and I'm a much better programmer than I was. But companies frequently prefer code that's 'finished' to code that works well. I think it stinks, and I think companies are selling themselves short and limiting their own lifetimes by doing things that way.

Re:This isn't an obviously easy question (1)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920914)

You hit on a very important point: employers should take initiative in promoting and facilitating the professional development of their employees. It is a wise investment on the part of the employer, and it benefits (willing) employees too. Employees unwilling to grow professionally yield a much lower ROI than employees who embrace the goal with passion.

Capitalism 101: (2, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920546)

Everything is a commodity.

If you are easy to replace, then you are worth less. If you are in demand and harder to replace - you are worth more.

If senior developer doesn't know this technolgy, they are worth less.

Its not fair. But its expected.

Re:Capitalism 101: (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920664)

I believe the point in TFA was that the senior developer who complained about the new hires being paid much more than him really was as valuable to the company as the new hires, if not more so. It sounds like he just wasn't important for that specific non-critical project and someone high up in the company had decided it was ok to pay whatever it took to get their pet project up and running ASAP (and had already decided it wasn't "cost effective" to pay for training in the necessary tech for existing employees).

Re:Capitalism 101: (1)

pays-vert (1182777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920890)

There's more to it than that, though. The senior developer may be willing to work for less since he may find it less attractive to be shoved out onto the job market. The cost of hiring someone doesn't just depend on their skill set, it also depends on their own price sensitivity. Which is why unions exist (though not in software development because programmers are so cool and independent and free-thinking).

Re:Capitalism 101: (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920720)

How is this not fair? We have limited resources, so the way we value things determines what we use the resources to operate. Would it be fair to force everyone to use resources based on the age of people? Maybe so, but we'd be in a much poorer world that was far less efficient than it is now.

Re:Capitalism 101: (0)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920932)

It's entirely fair. A company doesn't just one day hire someone to fill a position - they have meetings and plan how many people they need to hire for what position and they spend weeks (or more) reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates. The Senior Dev knew that they were looking for someone with skill X and if he didn't bust his ass learning it so that he could stay relevant, then he has no room to complain about someone else getting hired with skill X. Why do you think it's not fair to pay people based off their value to the company?

Experience and skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920554)

A specific set of skills is far less important than the general skills one accumulates over a lifetime of experience.

It's kind of irrelevant to speak about whether something is 'fair'... a company makes its hiring decisions and has to live with them. I would say the company was short-sighted if it did this, though.

Re:Experience and skills (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920842)

Not if those skills won your employer a contract worth 10x your salary.

Re:Experience and skills (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920926)

A specific set of skills is far less important than the general skills one accumulates over a lifetime of experience.

Except in the case where your customer wants that very same specific skill that said current employee lacked by the new hire knew?

Senior Devs should learn knew stuff, all the time (0)

jockeys (753885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920560)

Being a senior developer does not excuse you from learning all the hot new techs. If you aren't getting better, you're getting worse. If you wanted a field where you aren't always learning new stuff, may I suggest barber college?

Re:Senior Devs should learn knew stuff, all the ti (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920764)

Being a senior developer does not excuse you from learning all the hot new techs.

All of them? Are you really being serious?

Re:Senior Devs should learn knew stuff, all the ti (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920814)

To counter that assertion, when a senior developer is asked if he knows some specific hot new tech should be able to say: "no, but I will next week". Once you know the basics and have experience applying them, picking up something new is fast and easy compared to the amount of time it is going to take to get a fresh grad up to speed on how things actually work.

Old dog, new tricks (0)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920566)

I can learn a new technology faster than any new grad. If a skill is hot, I can be better faster.

And write 3x as much **production** quality code.

Re:Old dog, new tricks (1)

Synon (847155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920662)

I can piss twice as far as a troll.

Re:Old dog, new tricks (1)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920862)

That's probably true, but you can't program either as well or as quickly as this one.

All kidding aside, this isn't a troll. There's a shift in one's thinking that takes place after learning 5 or 6 languages; it becomes ever more profound after you've worked in a number of languages for years. At last count, I've learned at least a major portion of some 19 languages. I've actually been paid to work in something like 10 or 11 languages, depending on what you consider to be a dialect rather than a separate language.

My point isn't that learning multiple languages makes one cooler. It's that it causes one to internalize and genericise problem solving methodologies, which makes one a better and faster programmer.

Let me ask you this question: do you expect to learn nothing over the next 10 years? Do you expect to become a worse programmer? All things being equal, a good new graduate will only get better over time.

Re:Old dog, new tricks (1)

ignavusinfo (883331) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920748)

And write 3x as much **production** quality code.

Oh, you mean the things that didn't work with C back in 1988 and didn't work with C++ in 1994 and didn't work with Perl in 1998 and didn't work with Java in 2003 and didn't work with C# in 2008 won't work with Ruby in 2011? Gosh, it's almost like all that prior experience is transferrable somehow, if only we could find some commonality.

Re:Old dog, new tricks (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920852)

Until your lumbago acts up at least.

pay market value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920570)

It makes to that any sane company makes market value. Sure loyalty is worth something, but to what extent. We go up and down based on market value, yet we always pay more then the market. Guaranteed a great salary, but we stay honest. For both parties.

Loyalty (0)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920728)

Look, I'm all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I'm being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most.

Re:Loyalty (2)

LiquidLink57 (1864484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920850)

Stolen from Dwight on The Office. You could have at least changed a word or two.

Still hilarious though.

Why age/degree matters? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920592)

Shouldn't it be the contribution he/she makes to the organization?

Re:Why age/degree matters? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920740)

Age shouldn't matter, but it's quite reasonable to make seniority matter: it rewards loyalty. At the very least, sticking with the same company reduces the expenses of recruitment, interviewing, formal training, and your new employees becoming familiar with the code base. There are less concrete benefits to the company too, especially if you're a good employee, like the fact that even after the expenses above it's a crap shoot as to whether the new guy will be as useful as you.

Crap shoot (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920598)

The employer is taking a chance in that graduates fresh out of university are a crap shoot. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they're useless. Without an employment history to check up on, it's difficult to tell.

It depends (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920600)

If they have skills that are in short supply, then yes. If all they know is how to print out "Hello World" in Java, then "no".

OTOH, 60 year old developer who can troubleshoot the COBOL that glues your organization together should probably make more than any random 22 year-old.

In other words, age shouldn't matter. An honest eval of what the worker can bring should

Yeah. An honest eval. Yesterday in the USA we celebrated MLK day, and part of "the dream" was honest evaluation, right?

Re:It depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920796)

Re: your sig. ''For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares"?''

The term is actually "For all intents and purposes". Keep trying to sound smart, though.

Of course. (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920602)

Until we remove ALL legal penalties for senior developers who learn new technologies,
this situation is and will remain totally unfair.

Re:Of course. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920670)

What legal penalties are those?

Is anyone over 60 who learns ruby incarcerated?

Re:Of course. (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920868)

He might just have been insinuating that there was nothing stopping OldDEV from learning hot technology X.

My old company paid $5k for referrals, then one day they announced a job with a $10k referral bonus, I asked my old bosses, asked colleagues, everybody I know on LinkedIN and nobody knew a guy with 5+ years of ArcSight experience.

My old boss said when you can't find a guy, then you need to BE the guy. If it wasn't for the 5 year requirement I might have taken a bootcamp and still be ahead a few grand.

Studying for certs is hard, taking your freetime and doing something to better yourself is hard, it gets harder when you get old and complacent. That is still no excuse to let your skills lapse.

Every time my old company sent out jobs I'd look at em, not because I wanted to go somewhere else, but to see what the market was looking for. Same thing with my long standing Dice job searches, I read the results to see where the market is headed.

Funny Answer: A young Michael York in a black jumpsuit calls you a runner and tries to kill you.

Oh well. (-1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920604)

I'm getting paid more than anybody else in my family, and they are all older than me.

Does that mean I should get less just because they have "seniority"? NOPE. Pay is based upon supply-and-demand just like anything else, and if the demand is high and the number of people knowing Skill A is low, naturally the pay will be higher for those workers. Age is irrelevant.

Sure, if he's worth it (1)

LiquidLink57 (1864484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920612)

If one employee is worth more to an employer than another, then of course he should make more. If a junior developer can do what my company needs to have done, and the older one can't, then he's worth more and should be compensated for it.

It's just economics. Salary for a job is based on the supply of workers with the skill set needed and demand for them.

Relevancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920614)

If the old coder was not keeping his skills relevant, then he should only be paid for the skillset he provides and based on whatever revenue that brings in. If a younger coder can bring in more revenue by bringing in more relevant skills, then he is more valuable. Just because you have years of experience and tons of tenure doesn't mean you make the company money. I don't care that you have 30 years experience if you can't provide me the experience I need right now. I would expect the young coder to face the same problem if he, too, fails to keep his skills up to date so I see no prejudice.

If you don't keep up, then you fall behind. It's a really simple concept.

Two answers, maybe more: (1)

bdemchak (1099961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920616)

1) How does one measure the value of one's life and work?? Is it really just about money? Weren't *you* that young guy upsetting the old guys 30 years ago?? Sit down, shut up, and keep to your knitting. 2) If you're worth more, prove it. Otherwise, you aren't.

The Real question is... (2)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920618)

Why should a programmer be paid less just because he's younger. In this case the more qualified candidate for the needs of the company is getting paid more, as it should be. Age doesn't enter into it. If the older programmer wanted the higher paycheck he should have kept up with the field. If he had made himself competent in the "hot emerging technology" that their client wanted, his industry experience and seniority would have counted for something. But no amount of general experience will make up for not having the skills his position and company needs you to know.

Re:The Real question is... (5, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920672)

I don't agree. The good programmers I know are better in a new language after a week than a "fresh grad" who's studied the language for a full year. The bulk of what makes for quality software is not domain-specific. People who have learned five or ten programming languages already are usually fine in a new one on very short notice.

Age doesn't matter. Experience does, in terms of the actual quality of output you get.

Here is how you handle this (5, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920630)

This, and many similar workplace situations:

1. Have zero debt.
2. Have, in a money market account, distinct from your investments, one year of your carefully budgeted living expenses.

When these two conditions are true, conversations with your boss will tend to take a very different tone from most people's expectations.

Re:Here is how you handle this (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920888)

+1 Life Lessons. The less you need your employer, the more leverage you have. Be a slave only to your own wishes (and maybe you family, depending on your outlook).

I call BS (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920640)

What if the employer asked the senior coder to pick up XYZ skill in exchange for a really good raise? I bet you they would have become a subject matter expert in a short amount of time.

Experience Counts (1)

inhuman.games (1590643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920650)

I'd be upset too. It means management doesn't understand that senior developer is almost always better than a fresh grad. Hot emerging technologies are easy to pick up for the senior development and in the long run, his overall wisdom will pay off. Without that wisdom, young guns make high-level mistakes and write code with more bugs.

This is how we do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920652)

In manager-land, of course it is fair. Coders are all identical, interchangable "resources" with matching insight and competence completely independent of that out-dated concept known as "experience". The only difference you should care about is if their certification in Technology X was for version X.Y or X.Z.

On the other hand, perhaps the client knew that it was worth an extra 30% to attract a new grad who had no concept of what a "reasonable" working week looks like.

Re:This is how we do it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920874)

What the a-hole manager who wrote the piece forgot to mention was after a year the new grads were summarily canned and poor George was moved to a nice project in the basement.

Yes... and No - it depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920656)

So the new hire makes 30% more than the existing senior dev?

If the new guy has all the skills, and MORE skills than the senior, then sure, he deserves to earn more.

But the vital question is - does he? Does he just have the BUZZWORD skill the client is looking for? Can you rely on him to take leadership and responsibility if there are tough decisions to make? And will he make the right decision, or at least a better decision than the guy without the BUZZWORD skill? And finally, can you afford to squander loyalty and morale among your older - more experienced - employees like that?

Life isn't fair (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920660)

Don't concentrate on what other people have. Life isn't fair. Nobody said it would be. Thinking that it should be fair won't give you anything but an ulcer. Instead, concentrate on what you have. Your position, your skills, your pay.

If you aren't happy - leave. Get new skills, get a new job, get different pay.

Basing your happiness on what other people are doing is useless. Concern yourself with your own position. If you have enough, great. If you don't, work on it.

Paid by contribution value (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920668)

It really should be as simple as being paid according to the value you contribute to the company. The old-school paradigm of simply being paid more because you've been there longer doesn't encourage employees to make themselves more valuable (learn new skills, develop capabilities for instance). Software development is one field where it is acutely necessary to continually re-invest in your education. If the old goat isn't doing that then certainly their value to the company is going to stagnate, even erode. To speak as to whether or not it was fair to pay the new guy more in this particular case is rather difficult without knowing specifics.

Only fair if senior gets same for learning the tec (1)

rins (1786822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920686)

1) It could be considered fair if the senior developer can get the same amount of money after spending a month getting up to speed on this new technology.
2)I guess there might not be training out yet...but I have to imagine it would be cheaper overall to either send the senior to training or buy them the tools needed for them to learn the technology. That new hot tech won't be new and hot in a few years (it'll either be obsolete or a lot more people will know it( and you'll be stuck paying out the wazoo for a barely out of college kid.

Dishonesty is the problem (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920688)

The problem here is that the company lied to its employees. Now they have to face the consequences.

Life isn't fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920718)

Life isn't fair. Suck it up and figure out how to solve your problem.

Do you want a similar pay? Learn the new technology and start applying at other companies. But then if you have been around enough to be a senior programmer, you know that isn't always the best choice. Money isn't everything.

salary compression effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920746)

The "new guy being paid much more then the current veteran" is a well known phenomenon called "salary compression". Starting salary growth just outpaces yearly raise rates; so the longer you stay at one job the less you make vs a new hire.

http://hrfundablog.blogspot.com/2008/08/salary-compression-hr-nightmare.html [blogspot.com]

http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/compensation-salary/846727-1.html [allbusiness.com]

Recent graduates are worthless (2, Insightful)

narcc (412956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920758)

Recent graduates should be making just above minimum wage until they've proven themselves to be anything other than completely incompetent.

Their pay should then rise in accordance with their skills and experience.

Recent graduates are, in general, absolutely terrible. It's insane to pay some idiot kid a senior developers salary because they managed to pull a passing grade on a few practice exercises in C# in college.

Management and HR (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920760)

30% of a year is 3.6 months. The older developer can learn the technology in that period of time, at which point he will know the new technology and will also have more skills than the younger developer in anything else.

So they could justify paying him the salary of the younger employer, minus 30%, plus some percentage for extra skills, and only for the first year. After that, pay him a salary equal to the younger developer's plus more for the extra skills.

Paying him 30% less, with no accounting for extra skills at all, and for all years forever, forever, can't be justified.

There are two reasons this doesn't happen. The first is that management and HR are generally completely incapable of understanding how long it takes to learn a new technology. The main reason is that they like to skimp on salaries and it's a lot easier to skimp by not giving an already employed person a 30% raise than by hiring a new person for 30% less--they're far more likely to go somewhere else when doing so just means picking a better offer than when it means quitting.

Coders are like professional athletes (4, Insightful)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920776)

even if they are good on paper they might be crap in practice. If you need young hot talent then pay for it, but prepare yourself for disappointment. Cheaper coders might be just as good. Paying for good track record is probably worth the money. Worst thing that companies do is to promote good coders to be managers instead of paying them premium salaries. My analogy that I throw around is that when your guitar player finally learns how to play you don't "promote" him to be a manager and pick new "talent" to fill vacancy.

So the engineer at the chemical factory ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920778)

... has a job that requires him to run around and check various gauges and valves. His manager notices that he is doing an excellent job, and buys the engineer a bicycle.

The next week, the manager sees the engineer running around and pushing the bike. The manager asks, "Hey, why aren't you riding the bike? The engineer answers, "Who has time to learn how to ride a bike?"

What about in more mature fields? (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920794)

When I graduated, my chosen field was led by people without University educations, so I thought it would be easy to rise through the ranks, at least to a level. It's not good enough, however, to be just smart, and to know more about your field than people that have been in it for their whole professional life. To be honest, I'm not sure what is needed. If this guy can get more money to compensate for what he had to pay for his education, then good for him, because elsewhere, the reverse is usually true.

sometimes hard to change title (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920810)

Say you are the senior guy, an expert at perl, sql and java or something. You take a weekend to learn ... and a few hours
at work to install the environment. But your title still is 1990s tech guy. And they still hire somebody who is supposed to be an expert in .
But he actually hardly knows it any better than you since its so new.

so how did he know the pay? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920834)

although from an employee perspective it's not a positive thing, most companies put effort into preventing their employees from learning eachother's pay rates. I wonder how this senior coder determined what the new guy was getting? open his check?

Re:so how did he know the pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920894)

In TFA, he found the job posting online (probably not too many companies in the area looking for that specific sk) and it included a salary range.

Re:so how did he know the pay? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920908)

In TFA it states that the recruiter that posted the ad for the job made the ad specific enough with regards to location, qualifications, what the company did and what they were offering as a starting salary that the senior developer was able to quickly deduce that the ad concerned the company he worked at.

Yes and no (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920838)

I don't have a problem with younger people earning more than older people in general, I know I've passed quite a few people on a fairly steady rapid climb and is making a pay that would be respectable for a guy 10 years my senior. However, I would be very surprised if a guy straight out of college - no matter how hot the technology he knows is - could command a higher pay than a senior developer. There are after all fairly many college graduates and they've yet to show much real world coding skill. Starting salaries are typically low all around - for relative values of low - that reflect that. If the wage structure is so flat that giving new hires a bump puts them 30% above the team lead, there's something very wrong with what he was paid in the first place. Sounds to me he's the kind of guy who'll work for peanuts and should have asked for more or left for a better position somewhere else long ago.

I have first hand experience with this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920848)

I'm a grizzled C developer and we just hired some young whipper-snapper right out of college who only knows some prissy language called 'Python' and he started at nearly 40% more a year than me!

oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920858)

Life in the programming world isn't fair and you'll end up seeing a whole bunch of seniors being pissed-off for a whole lot of reasons which is an early sign of future problems to come. Every year you have to study on your own, or get certified in one or two things at the very least (even renewing certifications) though in many cases your work will pay for you to be educated. Though that is not free money, it's part of your pay consideration. Yes, you may make $65,000/yr. but you would be making $72,000 if those "benefits" weren't included. The downside is that you would have to use that money to pay for your education. If I want someone to program in C# .net and my senior developer only knows FORTAN and BASIC then he won't do me any good and I might as well hire someone else at a higher pay while he does what senior coders do. Yeah, I'm exaggerating a slight bit but if someone is unable to educate themselves in latest technologies and programming languages that was requested upon interview, then they shouldn't be worth company time IMO.

Age isn't the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920870)

This isn't about age as much as experience. This company is saying that knowlege of he business and code base is worth less than a 4-8 month college course. Mobile app development isn't rocket science where people have really specialized skills. Now there isn't enough info (ie was the mobile job requiring Objective C experience while all the experienced guys had spent the last 10 years writing html scripts?) to tell how offend the senior guy should be, but if he didn't send out a half dozen resumes and contact a recruiter he is an idiot.

Knowledge that matters (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920878)

The reason: the new grad knew a hot emerging technology that a client wanted.

This is certainly a factor weighing in favor of a pay differential, but if its the only thing that is being considered, there is probably a deep problem; "new technologies" in the sense of programming languages and platforms are comparatively easy to pick up, proficiency in applying good practices to produce quality that cross cuts platforms and languages are less easy to pick up. If the only thing you look at in deciding how to pay technology staff is whether they have experience with the current flavor-of-the-month implementation technology rather than broad cross-cutting knowledge of how to apply technology more generally, then you are going to tend to produce buzzword-compliant, superficially (at best) attractive, low-quality, brittle solutions.

No. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920900)

we all have been young. we all have been hot. it all passes after a while. those young developers (one of which, i am one) will also specialize in some fields and will stay in those fields after a certain time. that's human nature. you cant just be going at all the new things like hyper. not to mention that most of the 'new thing (tm)' end up being fads.

senior developer is harder to find. because, eventually, most of the developers will either leave the field, or move into management, or set up their own business. if, you have a senior developer who is still developing, coding actively, it means you actually have one of the rare ones out there that are still in others' employ. you should stick to him/her. once s/he flies away, you will be hard pressed to fill the position.

if, the new tech is so much needed, just pay some bonus or something to the new developer accordingly. dont upset the senior one. this also can incentivize the senior to to take on some new things too.

and last but not least ; dont get swept up in the endless fads that sweep the internet/i.t. world every now and then.

no wai (1)

dhermann (648219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920912)

While the end question of fairness is irrelevant (fairness is not and should not be considered in a capitalist society) (perhaps the younger developer is simply a better negotiator of salary and pressed the employer for more?), the end question of worth is. Much like experience in general, experienced IT developers know that there is simply no substitute for said experience. The skills of project estimation and proper time management are worth 30% or more in productivity alone, and young developers simply have no perception of these things. They are here to code! Right... so what's this environment thing you have going on here? This looks complicated...

The real question is why the senior developer has not learned the new technology already!

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