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  •  Yes, secretaries exist....they are called (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, Stude Dude

    assistants more often than not.

    Get your fellow programmers to go on strike.

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:22:32 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  They Like Their Jobs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, sethtriggs

      Most programmers, especially ones at Google with swimming pools, like their jobs. They're well paid, challenged, trained to grow, and interested in the subject matter and/or the way of doing it. They are making a mistake in not being organized to better protect them from subsidized or throwaway competition, but that's not really a threat as long as they're up to date on rapidly changing skills - demand far exceeds global supply. But it's a natural mistake to make that every laborer not organized (or organizing) has always made. Nothing special about programming, except that reasons to organize are less obvious.

      The only people who ever went on strike to protect people in a different kind of job have been people organized by effective organizers, in effective organizations.

      While there is a somewhat shortsighted failure to organize by knowledge workers, the much more culpable failure is on organizers for failing to organize them. That's why there are organizers: organization is incumbent on them, since labor hardly ever self-organizes.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:42:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  WTF? "that's not really a threat?" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine, Puddytat, rbird

        It's true that most programmers like their jobs.  But I think it's somewhat disrespectful to insinuate that other types of labor don't like their jobs.  I'm sure there are some, especially on the lower end of the wage scale.

        But programmers are not well paid, not for their training.  I'm not sure what you mean by subsidized competition, but throwaway competition is the norm in the industry.  It's to the point where it undercuts the ability of companies to actually get the job done (I'm thinking of the Obamacare website).  The problem often is that the managers understand how to manage and HR understands how to hire, but neither understand the programming requirements of their company and cannot distinguish between competent and incompetent programmers.  Maybe they don't care.  There is such pressure for short-term stock performance, and the easiest way to goose stock price is to fire all the expensive experienced workers.  Who cares if the next quarter the company goes out of business because it can't actually do the job?  The important things are the temporary high stock price and the golden parachute.

        Maybe now that doctors and other more prestigious positions are now going to face some of the same pressures as programmers, things might change.  But maybe not.

        In any case the futility of the strike is that there is no picket line.  you can't call someone a scab who is hired on the other side of the world without even knowing there is a strike happening.

        •  No Insinuation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Puddytat

          I didn't insinuate that other workers don't like their jobs. I only said that programmers like their jobs too much to strike to demand more. You inferred whatever you inferred for your own reasons, not mine.

          Programmers typically are paid starting over $100,000 in most US cities, over $120K in major ones like NYC/LA/SF. Where they are paid less they're still paid a lot more than workers of their own age/experience in other kinds of jobs.

          Subsidized competition from foreign programmers is where, eg. in China, India and other underdeveloped countries, their incomes have much larger buying power locally because environmental and labor protections (that mostly are needed by other, more hazardous work) are far less, so expenses are far less, so prices are far lower. This is the basic problem threatening US labor of all kinds, though programming is easier than most to operate remotely.

          It is true that corporate execs are often mismanagers in defining the business accurately. So programmers' work is more difficult, as specifying and designing by and for business people is harder or skipped. And yes, the high paid programmers are targets for self-defeating costcutting (which BTW demonstrates their high paid, thank you for changing your mind about that). But the work difficulty is standard for every whitecollar (and many bluecollar) jobs, while the stupid cost cutting isn't unique to programmers, is unusual even though it shouldn't happen at all, and almost always gives programmers the chance to get a new job at higher pay or otherwise better terms at one of the many places they're in high demand. Indeed the problems on the job mean there are even fewer programmers to go around for the need of businesses to employ them.

          The fact is that there aren't nearly enough programmers for the work waiting for them to do. Programmers are probably the workers who increase their own productivity the most of any kind, and yet they still create more demand than they can fill.

          I've been a programmer for over 35 years now, and have been hiring and often paying them myself for over 20.  Most programmers love the job, for many good reasons. Which have just been getting better, and no end really in sight - even to my long and usually proven prescient perspective.

          If you want to see programmers unionized, or just striking in sympathy with fellow workers whose jobs are worse or more unfair, you have to look for better organizing of them. That makes them no different from any other kind of worker, even ones much worse off. Except the organizers are going to have to lean on more abstract arguments than to, say, telemarketers. Fortunately programmers are receptive to abstract arguments and system oriented thinking, especially where precedent data can be extrapolated to logically determine future behavior.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:25:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  O_o (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Puddytat, rbird

            what kind of programming gets $100 STARTING salary and has difficulty filling slots?

            For a long time I was paid half that (with many years of experience) and I had great difficulty finding a new job when my company went under.

            I think your idea of programming work is like comparing a chef at a four-star restaurant with a fry cook at McDonald's.  There are a lot more programmers in my position than in yours.

            •  meant $100K :) nt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Puddytat, rbird
            •  I Dunno (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Puddytat, cordgrass

              There are lots of people who had jobs as programmer who I've interviewed over the years who I might not pay more than $50K. Depends on what kind of programming you mean. And of course on what the employer does with the programs - which is related to where the employer is located.

              Here in NYC programmers get $80-100K to start, though they almost never are beginner programmers. They've all got at least a few years progamming either on real school projects, or more often their own projects before entering fulltime work. Even in other cities where overall wages aren't quite so generally price inflated to meet the rest of the inflated prices the rank of programmer salaries is several times the equivalent experience salary in most other people's jobs. In fact even as long ago as 2010 (in the depths of the recession) programmer salaries were about $80K median nationwide, up to $115K nationwide. Businesses benefiting from programming have recovered better than most others, and so wages have risen quite a lot since then.

              If your programming can't justify income close to $100K, it's probably not generating over $200K for the employer. Which means there's probably off the shelf solutions they should use instead. But there's probably someone else who can make over $200K from that fulltime programming, especially with experience that makes them more manageable.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:37:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Boston is my location (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JerryNA, Puddytat

                My employers are in Boston.  I program in SAS.  It's old school, about as old school as you can get, so I get that it's not a hot language, but it's never gone out of demand.

                I'm extremely experienced, at this point more than ten years experience, and people all over the department come to me for advice.  I'm still nowhere near $100K.

                Before I worked here I was making less than $60K, and embarrassingly the old company I worked for we supplied many of the marketing lists to subprime lenders.  Now I'm in academia working as a data manager.  So when I say, "programmer" I am not creating software to be put on the market.

                I went to Brown and I work for another Ivy League school, so as far as academia goes, it's up there.  But salaries here are nowhere near what you say.  And I looked for work for months before I got this job--and the only reason I got this job was being an American citizen was a requirement for it.

                •  Low Demand (0+ / 0-)

                  SAS is in pretty low demand, even if fairly stable. COBOL programmers (I am one, among lots of other languages) haven't gotten paid much either other than briefly for Y2K. HTML "programmers" who aren't graphic designers or artists don't make much either, nor most Excel "programmers" (except some programming VBA).

                  If you want to make more money, why don't you join some open source Java projects in the same business areas you've got expertise? After a year or so you can pitch yourself as a "data management" programer, with a decade of SAS giving you a lot of experience, but relevant skills in the language with a larger market.

                  The median Java programmer in Boston made about $110K last year. Lots of Java programmers are entry level and have little experience, especially in a school-heavy town like Boston.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:11:01 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That website is baloney (0+ / 0-)

                    It says the median SAS programmer in Boston made $102K last year.

                    SAS is actually in pretty high demand because it's used for big data.  People with really big data use SAS.  And everyone can program in Java.

                    I'm not complaining, I do love my job and it's important work.  I'll probably have to be looking again when the grant money runs out.

                    I'm just saying that you are fortunate to be somehow insulated from the economic reality most programmers face.  

                    •  Data (0+ / 0-)

                      Their salary reports come from the data they collect. The Java numbers are probably more accurate than the SAS numbers since, as you say, "everyone can program in Java".  SAS is not in pretty high demand, except perhaps compared to the small number of programmers who do it.

                      I think it's your academic employers and your highly niche application that limits your income. The $102K for Java programmers in Boston sounds right to me, and I'm hiring in the market next door.

                      If you can show me stats showing that the majority of programmers make less than double the overall median income in their market for work, I'll be interested. Anecdotal evidence from your own situation doesn't compel, when it flies in the face of my own extensive experience and the stats that I've found.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:44:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I watched my entire company slowly get (0+ / 0-)

                        laid off over a couple years, and I heard about their struggles to find work.  Just to find work, not to find good-paying work.  And plenty of them had multiple languages under their belts.  It wasn't just me struggling to find work.  My company held onto me and a couple others at the very end, but then had to cut us down to three days a week and I went on unemployment and really started the interviewing process.

                        I had temp agencies say to me that they don't place American-born workers,

                        oh, never mind.  But peruse some of the comments in the H1B diaries here and you will see that I'm similar to the majority of programmers here on dKos.

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