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Developer == Long Hours

william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
it all depends on where you work really. Many people who work for startup companies work 60+ hours per week. But there are expectations that they might get rewarded..

Many startups never make it and therefore, most of those who worked there weren't rewarded. Talk to many who worked during the dot com boom and the dot com bust. I worked 100+ hours per week back then, but in the end, most of what we did, besides gain experience, was wasted because the company and it's management never got the funding needed and tumbled. A great product is pointless if nobody knows it exists.

People mention doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, and so on. Yeah but people forget to mention, doctors are rewarded, so are lawyers and so are investment bankers.. rewarded with huge bonuses, promotions, raises and so on.

Many people in IT come in expecting 40-50 hour weeks, their salary is based on 40 hour work weeks, and most arent paid overtime, so if you work 80 hours in a week but are only paid for 40, that becomes a problem real quick.

And as far as people not getting their jobs done.. Well like any industry, if there are 30 people in a department at one time and suddenly it's cut to 10 people, that means 10 people have to do the work of 30 people now... it happens all the time. Yeah maybe there are some slackers, some geniuses, but it usually evens out.

So Longer hours occur because management believes they don't need an IT department and so on. So instead of 30 people doing the job, you have only 10.... But management and the company does change the way things were done. If you came out with 50 projects per year plus maintenance, they aren't going to change from that theory. So now those 10 people have to complete the same amount of projects, if not more, but with 20 people less...

And i'm being generous.. There have been some companies that cut 20,000+ people and expected the workforce, now 2/3 less, to do the same work within the same time frame.

It's not just in IT.. it's a reason why many things aren't always "best of breed" or has a ton of bugs.

Like I said, if it takes 6 months for 30 people to complete a project, it really shouldn't be expected that in 6 months, 10 people should complete the same project, if not more.. But yet, that happens all the time.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
William,

You're making a lot of generalizations about entire professions and companies.

Originally posted by william gates:
People mention doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, and so on. Yeah but people forget to mention, doctors are rewarded, so are lawyers and so are investment bankers.. rewarded with huge bonuses, promotions, raises and so on.

Many people in IT come in expecting 40-50 hour weeks, their salary is based on 40 hour work weeks, and most arent paid overtime, so if you work 80 hours in a week but are only paid for 40, that becomes a problem real quick.


If you're a dcotor working in a hospital, you're probably only making about $120-150k, which is ballpark for good developers with 7-15 years fo experience. (The money in medicine is in private practice.)

But let's remember that to be a software enigneer you only need a CS degree (and even that is not required). To be a doctor after college you apply to med school, spend another 4 years of tuition and working around the clock. Then you get matched and are a resident for 3 years making $40k (after sinking an additional $150k in debt from med school alone). That's assuming you don't become a specialist, which requires more residency. And of course, you need to be licenced, carry very expensive malpractice insurance, and take CME classes (continuing medical education) for the rest of your career. Oh, and a "bug" that causes a headache for most of our customers often cause funerals for theirs.

Lawyers? About the same... 3 years of law school, "pledging" a law firm to make partner after 6-8 years (and if you don't go to a major firm, you're not making the big bucks), 80 hours weeks are the norm for your career, or at least the first 20 years of it, malpractice insurance, passing the bar, and CLE (continuing legal education) for the rest of your career.

The beauty of the free market is that it rewards appropriately.

Software engineers are rewarded for the work they do. If they are being paid for 40 hours a week and being forced to work 50, the good engineers, who are now being under paid, will leave and the company will face some difficulties.

--Mark
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Not making generilizations it's just what happens in many industries and it's happened in IT. It's life...

I agree that a doctor goes to school for a long time and struggles early, but in the end, they have that "reward" in mind. Most will make very good money in their careers. Those that don't choose not to because they are more into helping poor communities, working in certain area's, specifics and so on or simply are not very good doctors.

As far as lawyers, i don't buy your argument. They go to law school for 3 years. There are plenty of IT people who go to grad school. Is it the same? Neither will be an expert when they enter their fields, yet they will have tons of knowledge.

There are plenty of first time lawyers who make 150+K per year right out of law school. It is mostly in NYC, DC, LA, and large cities. But yeah they put in tons and tons of hours. While it's not the norm, it happens all the time. Andm many young lawyers hope to gain experience and open up their own firm or become partner one day where more bonuses are to come.

As far as IT goes, i have yet to meet somebody out of any school making 150K + per year at their first job. It doesn't happen, even if they have a PHD in computer science.

As far as the tons of hours, the facts are simple. I've worked on dozens upon dozens of various projects all over the US as a contracter and/or consultant because large and small companies cut back their work force. Places the cut 15,000+ people.. Over half of which were in IT.

I've worked on projects for small companies that cut the IT dept.

It became cheaper to pay contractors when they needed things done then to keep an IT dept and pay a salary, benefits and so on. It happens everyday.

It's stupid to think it doesn't effect the moral of a company or the end product. While it's great for me as a project ends another one is waiting at my doorstep, it's not a generilization to think many companies do the same thing after working on projects for 2-3 dozen different companies, many fortune 100 companies who have done this.

Facts are facts. If a company cuts half the IT force, it usually means those left have to do more but produce the same results.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by william gates:
As far as lawyers, i don't buy your argument. They go to law school for 3 years. There are plenty of IT people who go to grad school. Is it the same? Neither will be an expert when they enter their fields, yet they will have tons of knowledge.

There are plenty of first time lawyers who make 150+K per year right out of law school. It is mostly in NYC, DC, LA, and large cities. But yeah they put in tons and tons of hours. While it's not the norm, it happens all the time. Andm many young lawyers hope to gain experience and open up their own firm or become partner one day where more bonuses are to come.


That's because you're comparing apples and oranges. You are correct that starting salaries in top 20 major law firms (where 80 hour weeks for the next 7 years are the norm), for people graduating from top schools can start at $150k (it went up this past year). Of course, *no* lawyer can make the much right out of college, neither can any other college kid. I can tell you that some MIT kids are making $100k right out of college. So when you add in three years (the three years of additional training the law students get), CS majors can make $150k, certainly if they work at MS, or Google, or Wall St, or a hedge fund. Definately if they did masters level work in things like cryptography. That's apples to apples.

Most CS grad students, or CS majors = 3 years don't make $150k right out, but then neither do most lawyers. You're talking about maybe the top 200-300 per year.

Remember as well that law students go into extra debt, someone coming out of college with a BS does not. Also, it's easier to get a TA or RA in CS to pay for school.

You can actually easily make $150k with a CS bachelors degree--just pick the right startup and work 80 hour weeks and when you cash out, you can easily clear $150k annualized, and even do much much better Or you could go bust. When you weight the odds, you get a certain EV. As a lawyer, you can bust your ass and work 80 hours weeks for 6-8 years to make partner; or you can go bust and find yourself 32 years old and not on track for partner and in trouble.

BTW, youn lawyers don't opern their own firms and then later become partners are major firms (unless somehow they win a one in a million case). Likewise an independent contractor is very unlikely to become the chief architect of some division at IBM after working independently for 15 years.

For anyone who feels CS doesn't pay as much as MD or law, I would strongly encourage you to dothe math and see if you think the other field is worth your time. If so, go for it. If not, then you're not so badly off.

--Mark
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Mark the avg. lawyer makes more then the avg. developer
lol, at least here in the US. it's not even worth debating, i mean if you wanna talk extremes for every one of those top 20 school lawyers getting big time jobs how many programming "gurus" are really getting top jobs here in the US?
for every MIT hotshot making $150-200 a yr (if they're lucky) there are 10 big firm partner/entertainment/sports agent laywers making MILLIONS per yr
unless you get lucky on a startup the avg. big time developer is not even making HALF what some of these lawyers are making.
and if you wanna talk about the more normal circumstances you can compare ho hum programmers who make 40-80K working in corporate america, to ho hum lawyers making 75-100K at a small firm...the lawyer still wins

also consider the fact that in IT the more years you are an expert and the more you are "worth" the harder it is to find a new job. development is the rare job where having 30 yrs of exp. can actually be a negative because no one will want to pay you $150K+ unless you are extremely specialized or something, and even then they might just outsource it for cheap
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
I agree with some of the things you say, but the reality is, many college kids, regardless of their major, are in debt after they graduate.
There are many kids who don't qualify for certain grants because they are in the middle tier. Therefore they take out student loans.. US kids today avg about 20K in student loans, regardless of major.

Yeah a law student can take out 40K per year for 3 years in student loans, but the fact is, many lawyers will make that back within 10 years. And not all lawyers go to the top law schools and therefore won't make as much as those who go to the tier 1 schools, but then again, they probaby won't have as much dept either.

The big different you don't differntiate is IT and startups.. Yeah it's a nice dream that your stock will go from nothing to 200 bucks a share. But that is a rarity. You can work 100+ hours per week and so can everybody else, but in the end, there is no hard work that will gurantee you big bucks. There are far more start up busts than successes.

While a lawyer who puts in 100+ hours per week at certain firms will probably get compensated well up front and maybe in due time.

I've been in IT since 1998. I've worked for many people who have been in IT since 1965. The difference between IT and many other professional fields is in the fact that many non-IT people view IT as nothing special, as not important. And in many organizations, IT is the first people cut, for whatever reason.

It is a good career to get into and you can make a lot of money, but don't believe the hype about startups and millions. Yeah it can happen, but you might also be working for nothing and then suddenly a few years later, that startup goes bankrupt and your stock is worth nothing....

People should have learned from the dot com bust. Never work for nothing in the hope it'll be something big. If it's your own company or you are part owners of it, then that's different. But for every youtube, there area billion what ever happened to? And if you are just an employee, it's not worth it to take no salary but high stock options.. Not by a long shot.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jay Dilla:
Mark the avg. lawyer makes more then the avg. developer
lol, at least here in the US. it's not even worth debating


I don't think anyone here is debating it. However, the average lawyer works far more than the average developer. Law is notorious for having serious work-life balance issues. (I-Banking and certain fields of medicine as well.)

My argument is that they may get paid more, but they are so because of additional education, standards bodies, risks, and hours worked/lifestyle.


Originally posted by william gates:
The big different you don't differntiate is IT and startups.


Oh I do differentiate, but I responded to your arguments which didn't. Yes, it's very few who cash out for millions in startups. Likewise it's only a handful of lawyers who make $150k starting salary. I-Bankers? They start at $50k or so, and if they don't burn out after a few years, then they get the big bucks.

During the 90's I met lawyers who became programmers because it was better money. The fact is, may lawyers these days earn between $70-150k outside the big firms and major cities.

Let's not forget that CS is still the highest paying major in college.


Originally posted by william gates:
The difference between IT and many other professional fields is in the fact that many non-IT people view IT as nothing special, as not important.


And they are correct for doing so. If you work for Microsoft, it's about software. If you work for GM, it's about building cars, and the people who run the IT systems are support. If you work for Goldman, the I-bankers bring in the money, IT provides the tools for them. If you work for WalMart it's about selling good, IT just automates it. If it's not a software company, IT is a support role. Many engineers have trouble accepting this because we were often the smart kids in college. But this is reality.

Most importantly, many would argue (including myself--search for a thread on this topic) that "IT Doesn't Matter" as claimed by Nicholas G. Carr.

Yes, it's a good career and well compensated. Other careers which pay more are compensated for a reason.

--Mark
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
I find it funny that IT doesn't matter when we live in a world where if computers go down, half this world shuts down. Plain and simple. But hey, there are plenty of non important IT people, i can't disagree with that.. But on that same theory there are tons of pointless lawyers, pointless managers, pointless doctors, pointless anything.

And I can't just dismiss the big city jobs for any field. That is where many jobs are, in the big cities. People move to NYC, LA, Seattle, the Silicon Valley, Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, Tokoyo, and so on for their careers.. Whether it's for computers or law or medicine or business, it is what it is. You can't just dismiss it because it's the big city.

Like I said, a doctor goes to school for many many years and then interns, does residency, and so on. Most deserve what they earn in the long run.

But I just don't agree on the lawyer front. There are many people in IT who have masters degrees these days. So for all intensive purposes, they have just as much schooling as a lawyer.

But the fact is, somebody with a masters degree in computer science and not much experience will probably earn between 60-80K per year if that when they start a career in a place like NYC. If they do a good job their salary will move up, but unless they move into management, they aren't ever going to make 200K per year.

On the other hand a Lawyer just out of law school and living in NYC will probably make over 150k in his first year. After 3 years he'll probably make well over 200k.


Yeah a Lawyer moving to bumblewoods Nebraska might earn only 70K per year, but your stats don't face the facts that somebody in IT probably can't move to bumblewoods and if they can, they'll probably earn a heck of a lot less than 70K. And yeah star IT people can make 150K per year, but most people are avg or good, not stars. On that same note, a Star Lawyer isn't makeing 200K a year, they are making Millions per year.

And one poster made the best point. IT is bad for longevity. People burn out all the time in IT and are laid off all the time.

If you don't move into management, a good software engineer with 25 years experience is pushed aside because they make too much money, there are too many benefits to pay and upper management starts thinking you are too old to know the new technology or there is something wrong with a 50+ year old who is still a programmer, developer or just a software engineer and they in their eyes, they can bring in people who make 2/3 less what you make.



It is what it is. Yeah for the most part, Software Engineering is helping others do their jobs well and/or better and the sad fact is too many engineers get into the whole "I AM GOD" theories and start believing in new gimmicks, technologies, and forget they are there to support their clients and customers. And in the end, every engineer suffers cause of this. You might be the smartest in the company, but nobody cares in the real world if your new system isn't any better than the old one.
Shubhen Kulkarni
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 28, 2007
Posts: 1
After reading many of you people's responses, I felt like sharing few of mine too. I am in US for last one year and the client with whom I am working has management problems and unrealistic deadlines. Also, the team lead is expecting quick turn around for all the types of development, irrespective of whether they have deadline or no. I think after working 9 years in IT industry, this is rediculous as, no person can work like machine, also, If i finish my work then they are always ready with new one again with short deadline. There is no documentation, of whatsoever for reading before you start working with code. I need to read everything and then assimilate and then do the my part of work. The problem is when you do work in such a fast way, anybody is tend to do mistake and then if that happens, they yell over me like anything. After reading this all, I would like to have you peoples openings as to what should be done by me? Your opinions are welcomed!
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16250
    
  21

In Florida, right now, a recent quote for a typical MD out right of med school was about $120-150K. Of which about $50K will go straight to the malpractice insurance bill, and a good chunk of the rest will be going to med school debts for the first 10 years or so, barring rich relatives.

IT professionals are generally peaking out in the upper 80's to 90's around here, though the other day I saw (and ignored) yet another attempt to solicit mid-level talent for the low $50s. To break $100K, it would take specialized SAP or Oracle product skills or to be an AVP+.

Local lawyers prefer to advertise on contingencies, collecting anywhere from 30-60% of awards in exchange for eating their losses. Those are trial lawyers, of course. Business must be pretty good. Most of the ones advertising look like Bill Clinton after an 8-week cheeseburger binge. With supersize fries.

I don't know what kind of hours the local legal eagles put in, but I'll say one thing and say it loud: I DON'T WANT A SLEEP-DEPRIVED PHYSICIAN GIVING ME MEDICAL CARE!!!. There are some "efficiencies" that I simply am unwilling to purchase, even at everyday Wal-Mart savings, and I do not care if it's "the way things are done" or not.

When someone's been putting in too many hours on an IT project to the degree they're not thinking straight, it can cost money. Ditto for legal. When it's medical care, people can die. Give me a doctor who's thinking clearly, not one where the maximum-profit-per-hour is being extracted. Even at today's medical rates.

And - returning to a calmer point of view - when comparing compensation, recall that medical and legal firms are mostly professional associations - omitting Big Law, hospital corporations, etc. Before they get to keep the big bucks, first they have to ensure that the building's paid for, the support staff get their paychecks, the fixtures and other equipment are kept maintained and up to date, lights, water and A/C functional, etc. Not that suppoorting such niceties are beyond IT professionals, but relatively few in IT are independent or partnered IT consultants. Most are either "permanent" employees or contracted equivalents where most or all of the infrastructure is supplied by their employers.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
I don't get that last statement. A doctor or lawyer who runs their own business is going to have many other costs. But so will those who run any business. In the long run, a business may succeed or it may not, regardless if it's in medicine, law, IT, taxes, and so on.

I mean geez, an accountant can start their own firm after 5 years and make a million bucks per year. So can somebody in IT. So can somebody in Medicine, law and so on.

The difference between somebody running their own business is if they succeed and do very very well, they will get the bonuses, make money for themselves and their business.

While somebody working for whatever company in whatever field, might get a raise, but its the business that wins in the end, not the employee.

That's just reality and has nothing to do with somebody running their own business.

If becoming a laywer were so bad, Law Schools wouldn't have more students applying then ever before. They'd be struggling to find students.

There is a shortage of nurses, but you rarely hear, "Not enough kids going to Medical school."

While on the other hand, big business, Bill Gates, and other people keep complaining, "There aren't enough Computer Science workers and students."
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by william gates:
I find it funny that IT doesn't matter when we live in a world where if computers go down, half this world shuts down.


You obviously didn't read the article because your comment has nothing to do with his claim. he never said, "the world isn't dependent on IT" merely that IT does not give you any competitive advantage. (Obviously this is for non-techology companies.)



Originally posted by william gates:
And I can't just dismiss the big city jobs for any field. That is where many jobs are, in the big cities.

...

But the fact is, somebody with a masters degree in computer science and not much experience will probably earn between 60-80K per year if that when they start a career in a place like NYC. If they do a good job their salary will move up, but unless they move into management, they aren't ever going to make 200K per year.



You are either unaware of the facts or ignore them. If you want to talk about big cities keep in mind non-wall st engineers in NYC and Boston with 4-5 years of experience can easily clear $100k. Not everyone, just the top 25% or so (I'm only including non-Wall St people in this number). But likewise, it's only the top lawyers who start at $150k. If you're in finance, it gets even better. It's not difficult for someone with 10 years of expeirence in IT on Wall St to be clearing $500,000.

--Mark
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Your stats are jaded.

You claim the best lawyers only make 150K to start out and then claim many wall street IT people make over 500K. Not realistic.

You have obviously never lived in NYC or worked on wall street.

Yeah i'm sure a few IT people make 500K per year, but the fact is, most people making over 500K per year are no longer doing IT work or aren't in IT anymore.

The people who make the big bucks on wall street, are not in IT. Plain and simple.

So I guess somebody making 500K+ per year for Oracle would be considered an IT person in your stats. But the fact is, while Oracle is by and large an IT company, the people making 500k+ per year are normally the upper level managers and/or the sales engineers. Neither of whom should be considered IT workers.

There are very few software engineers making over 500K per year in any market. It's a simple fact of life.

If you want to get into that range, you probably are more involved in project management, upper management and sales.

Yeah a few people here and there might make that kind of money, but again, your stats are jaded..

Like I said, they don't claim "There are not people wanting to become lawyers in the world," but everyday you hear, "there aren't enough people interested in IT."

While it's not all about the money, it's a fact of life.

You will probably not make 500K per year working in IT. No matter how long you work.

But there is a very good chance a lawyer might make that much within 10 years.

Your stats are just jaded to support one side of the gun, plain and simple.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by william gates:
Your stats are jaded.

You claim the best lawyers only make 150K to start out and then claim many wall street IT people make over 500K. Not realistic.

You have obviously never lived in NYC or worked on wall street.



1) Stats cannot be jaded. Jaded is an emotional state.
2) I live midtown Manhattan
3) I've done financial work, have considered about 15 roles on Wall St and know what they pay, plus have dozens of friends on Wall St who have given me ideas of salary ranges, plus have a network of about 10 recruiters who have provided me information.


This article notes



First-year associates, those just out of business school, can expect a range of $200,000 to $270,000 in total compensation � base pay, bonus and long-term compensation � while a first-year analyst, just out of college, can expect to make $105,000 to $145,000. Guarantees � contracts which promise to pay bankers a fixed amount for a certain number of years � are back, but only one- and two-year contracts, Mr. Johnson said. At the height of the technology boom, three-year guarantees were commonplace.


Analyst, btw, is used on both the business side and in the IT side. Analyst is not a functional title, but simply means "entry level."

To go further, check out the IT jobs at eFinancial Careers. For example...

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000229169.htm
SR JAVA DEVELOPER/ INTEREST RATE DERIVATIVES GROUP
Base plus Bonus range 225-300k
5-7 yrs

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000238349.htm
Sr. Web Developer/Analyst
Total Compensation 175-225k
3-5 yrs

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000228575.htm
C++ UNIX Senior Developers - Fixed Income MBS Hedge Fund NY
150k - 250k plus bonus
3-5 years minimum


Look around and you'll see all the jobs listed there that list a salary are in this range--the others simply say "competitive" and obviously need to be in the ballpark of these salaries to be able to recruit. You'll noticed that with just a few years experience (3) a developer on Wall St can clear $150k. If you wish to dispute this, I suggest you find a salary survey for IT jobs on Wall St with data to the countrary because all of this data supports my claims.

--Mark
Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
What Mark said is very true.Check out the starting salaring of people in financial field
http://mfe.haas.berkeley.edu/employ_2006.html


Helping hands are much better than the praying lips
Rohit Nath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 387
Developer == Long Hours == Long Thread


R.N
D.W. Smith
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 11, 2007
Posts: 22

To go further, check out the IT jobs at eFinancial Careers. For example...

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000229169.htm
SR JAVA DEVELOPER/ INTEREST RATE DERIVATIVES GROUP
Base plus Bonus range 225-300k
5-7 yrs

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000238349.htm
Sr. Web Developer/Analyst
Total Compensation 175-225k
3-5 yrs

http://jobs.efinancialcareers.com/job-4000000000228575.htm
C++ UNIX Senior Developers - Fixed Income MBS Hedge Fund NY
150k - 250k plus bonus
3-5 years minimum


Who cares??!?

99.9% of us "Java Programmers" would never, EVER, get one of those high paying jobs, certainly not with 3-7 years of experience anyway.

Are you a world-class programmer? Can you find employment at a company like Google or Microsoft? This is a bonus: Did you study computer science at an elite school? If the answers to these questions are "no" then those jobs are out of your league.

I might as well quit programming in Java and start acting or playing baseball.
[ March 08, 2007: Message edited by: D.W. Smith ]
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Like I said stats are nice but they are just that, stats. Every stat is jaded to favor whatever you are claiming.

Of course you can find Computer Science majors who make 500K per year, but the reality is, 99.9 percent of Computer Science Majors are not making 500K per year. Not even close.

There are millions of people wanting to be actors, musicians, sports stars, but most never make it.

I'm sure many computer science majors would love to make 500K per year, but the fact is, 99.9 percent aren't making that much.

If it is as you say, not that hard to make 500K per year as a software engineer, please infrom the rest of this board what they have to do to actually make that much money per year? And be realistic about it.

I'm sure most of us would like to make 500K per year.
S. Sakky
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 5
Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:


Let's not forget that CS is still the highest paying major in college.




If you're talking about starting salaries, that is not true, and in fact, I don't think it has ever been true. Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and EE pay more. Petroleum Engineering also pays more - in fact, is now the highest paying undergrad major you can get and will remain so as long as the price of oil remains high

http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/08/pf/college/lucrative_degrees_winter07/index.htm
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm#earnings


Now, if you're talking about median (not starting) salaries, then again, CS is not on top. The median salaries of software engineers are exceeded by the median salaries of petroleum engineers, nuclear engineers, chemical engineers, electronics engineers, aerospace engineers, and computer hardware engineers.

http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos267.htm#earnings
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos110.htm#earnings

The point is, any way you cut it, CS is not the highest paying major in college. I can agree that it is one of the better-paying majors in college. But it's not the highest. If you want to make more money, get a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering.
S. Sakky
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 5
Originally posted by william gates:


On the other hand a Lawyer just out of law school and living in NYC will probably make over 150k in his first year. After 3 years he'll probably make well over 200k



Nah, I'm afraid that I can't agree with this. On this one, I have to agree with Mark. Saying that a guy in NYC fresh out of law school can 'probably' make over 150k is far too strong. Let's face it. There are a lot of no-name, low-ranked law schools in and around NY. The vast majority of the graduates from these law schools won't make 150k because they won't even be able to land an interview at one of the major NY law firms that pays 150k to start. Even if you go to one of the elite law schools such as Columbia or NYU, you still may not get an elite law firm offer. It all depends on your performance - if you graduate in the bottom 25% of your class at NYU Law or Columbia Law, you're probably not going to get an offer from a top law firm. Heck, you may not even get an interview. And if you graduate from a no-name firm, and you're not near the top of your class, you probably won't land a 150k job.

So, no matter how you slice it, most lawyers fresh out of law school, even in NYC, won't make 150k. Some will. But the majority won't.
Mark Herschberg
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Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
"sakky",

Welcome to JavaRanch. Please look carefully at the official naming policy at Javaranch & reregister yourself with a proper first & last name, with a space between them. Initials may be used for a first name, but not a last name. Please adhere to official naming policy & help maintain the decorum of the forum. The naming policy can be found at http://www.javaranch.com/name.jsp. You can change your name here.

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william gates
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Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Same stats..

I love how people keep saying, Lawyers have to go to this elite school, have to do this and then they can make this amount of money.. So basically your below avg lawyer who went to some tier 3 or tier 4 law school probably won't make 150K per year in his first few years.

On that same note, your avg software engineer probably isn't going to make 100K per year either after a few years of experience.

You can't compare the below avg lawyer vs the Top Elite and best Software Engineers making 300K per year on wall street.

Like I said the stats are jaded.

When you compare a lawyer who can't get a job in NYC making 150K to a Software Engineer who people are begging to hire is just not even a legit comparision.

Like somebody else said, 99.9 percent of Software engineers are not making 500K per year and not even close to it.

And if it's so easy to do that, how come people that claim it can happen never say how it happens.
S. Sakky
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 5
Originally posted by william gates:
Same stats..

I love how people keep saying, Lawyers have to go to this elite school, have to do this and then they can make this amount of money.. So basically your below avg lawyer who went to some tier 3 or tier 4 law school probably won't make 150K per year in his first few years.

On that same note, your avg software engineer probably isn't going to make 100K per year either after a few years of experience.

You can't compare the below avg lawyer vs the Top Elite and best Software Engineers making 300K per year on wall street.

Like I said the stats are jaded.

When you compare a lawyer who can't get a job in NYC making 150K to a Software Engineer who people are begging to hire is just not even a legit comparision.

Like somebody else said, 99.9 percent of Software engineers are not making 500K per year and not even close to it.

And if it's so easy to do that, how come people that claim it can happen never say how it happens.


First off, I would actually do you one better and say that not only are there plenty of lawyers (probably the majority) in NYC who won't make 150k in the first few years of working, I would contend that there are plenty (again, perhaps most) lawyers in NYC who will NEVER make 150k in their entire careers. Some of that is by choice. For example, if you choose to work for the government or (especially) for a non-profit, you may not ever make 150k in your whole career. But a lot of it is not by choice. Again, that's simply because there are a lot of mediocre lawyers who graduated with mediocre grades at no-name law schools. Unless they have connections, they're not going to be given an offer from any of the top law firms. They're going to be stuck doing low-end work at no-name firms, or being on the corporate legal staff at some small-time companies, where they probably won't make a high salary in their whole career.


Now, on the other hand, to some extent, I agree with your sentiment that there are also plenty of mediocre software engineers, whether in NYC or anywhere else. I have certainly seen PLENTY of mediocre software guys in Silicon Valley, and I have to imagine that NYC is similar. Just like how there are plenty of lawyers graduated with mediocre grades from no-name law schools out there, there are also plenty of software engineers who graduated with mediocre grades from no-name CS/engineering schools. So I agree with you that the vast majority of software guys will never make 300 or 500k, even in NYC.

On the other hand, I do agree with some of what Mark Herschberg said. Specifically, I can agree that the chances for you to make plenty of money in software are certainly there, depending on how aggressive and enterprising you are. Software is one of the few fields in which a person who is hard-working and capable really can make a lot of money even if he doesn't have an appropriate college education, or even no college education at all. For example, I know one woman whose degree is in English and started learning Java using those 'Learn Java in 24 hours' books, and within a few years, was making an excellent salary (probably well over 100k ) in Atlanta, which is a cheap city. Granted, she started off at the bottom, and worked very hard in those few years, so her success was deserved. But still, she said, in whatever job she could have gotten with her English degree, she could have worked just as hard or even harder for the same few years as she did in her software job, and still not made anywhere near what she was making in software. I know other software engineers who make very good money despite not ever having gone to college at all. One guy in particular that I know dropped out of high school (eventually getting his GED), yet makes far more than many of of his former high school colleagues who went on to college. I remember him actually laughing at how foolish his colleagues were for studying so hard in high school while he was a total slacker, only to end up making more than they did. {Of course, he works very hard now to keep his skills up-to-date}.

So I do agree with Mark that software offers more 'room to roam'. There are plenty of other fields in which even the best people don't make significantly more than the mediocre people. Many fields of engineering are like that. For example, sadly, the best chemical engineers don't make that much more than the mediocre chemical engineers. For example, MIT is widely understood to be the best chemical engineering school in the country, and probably the world. Yet the fact of the matter is that MIT chemical engineers don't make much more as starting salary than what chemical engineers from the average US school make as starting salary. Consider p. 17 of the following 2006 MIT career PDF and p. 14 of the 2005 and 2004 PDF's, p.9 of the 2003 PDF to see what MIT chemical engineers make to start, and compare that to what the average chemical engineer from any school makes to start, and you will notice that there is basically no difference. In fact, in many years, the MIT ChemE grads actually make LESS than the national ChemE average. The upshot is that the market for ChemE's simply does not provide rewards for the top candidates. You work very hard to get into MIT, and you work even harder to complet the infamously difficult ChemE program there... and you don't get rewarded for your hard work. {Incidentally, this is why I believe that Chemical Engineering is a great field to enter if you're mediocre, because even if you graduated in ChemE with so-so grades at a no-name school, you will probably still get a a quite decently paying job}.


http://web.mit.edu/career/www/infostats/graduation06.pdf
http://web.mit.edu/career/www/infostats/graduation05.pdf
http://web.mit.edu/career/www/infostats/graduation04.pdf
http://web.mit.edu/career/www/infostats/graduation03.pdf
http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/13/pf/college/starting_salaries/index.htm
http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/15/pf/college/starting_salaries/
http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/05/pf/college/lucrative_degrees/index.htm
http://money.cnn.com/2003/05/07/pf/saving/q_jobless_grads/index.htm

Software has more room to roam. If you work hard and have the right skills, you really can rapidly boost your salary. Granted, most software engineers can't or don't want to do that (which is where I agree with you that most software guys won't make a lot of money). But the point is, you COULD do that (which is where I agree with Mark). Contrast that with other fields, like chemical engineering, where even if you work extremely hard to boost your skills, you will still probably not be able to boost your salary significantly.
william gates
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Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
I do agree that as a software engineer if you work hard and keep your skills up to date, there is a very good chance you could make very good money. Most won't ever make 500K per year regardless of how hard they work, but close to 200K is definitely a possibility, depening on location of course.

But that can be said about many other fields. A lawyer who works their butts off and becomes talented might have a chance to make millions, depending on location and what field of law they practice.

But yeah there are also plenty of career fields where no matter how hard you might work or improve, there is a cap to how much you probably would make. That is why my advice to kids going to college is don't take out 100K in student loans if you have no clue what you want to do or if you plan on majoring in something like psychology or english or whatever major and don't plan on going to graduate school and aren't one of those people on some mission to become somebody successfull and weatlthy. It usually leads to somebody making 35K per year with a college degree for the first who knows how many years and never getting out of the hole cause they owe 400 bucks per month or more in student loans for 20+ years.

Yeah you can make good money in software engineering, but regardless of what industry, people who always will have jobs are those who can sell anything. Because in todays world, every job is a sales job. You have to sell yourself to get a job. You have to sell your project, your team, your ideas, and so on. If you can sell anything, you'll probably always have a job, regardless of what field you are in.
Jay Dilla
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Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Wow those salaries are crazy for the NYC banking IT jobs. But if the resumes of some of those Berkley MFE students are any indication it doesn't matter, because 99% IT workers in this country would never get hired going against that pool. Some of those kids in that program are literally rocket scientists. If thats the population the NYC banking IT industry is drawing from then it's obvious why they are paid so much. Not because that is "normal" but because those are extraordinary salaries for extraordinary people.
That being said if you gather a group of lawyers with similar or comparable resumes then the lawyer would still make more. If a best of the best developer can make 300K on Wall Street, just imagine how much a best of the best lawyer makes on Wall Street. Exactly, it's probably no comparision.
S. Sakky
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 5
Originally posted by Jay Dilla:
Wow those salaries are crazy for the NYC banking IT jobs. But if the resumes of some of those Berkley MFE students are any indication it doesn't matter, because 99% IT workers in this country would never get hired going against that pool.



Uh, this is not a fair comparison. Those Berkeley MFE students are (mostly) not going in for IT work. They're going in for backoffice quant work or standard frontoffice investment banking work. They're not doing software development.

I think that poster who invoked the Berkeley MFE stats did so only to demonstrate that Wall Street pays its employees well (which is true), but not to demonstrate that those particular MFE students are what the typical Wall Street IT worker is going up against (which is emphatically not true).

As a case in point, if you want to work in IT, even on Wall Street, you don't even need to have gone to college at all. I know a few people who have done that. But if you want to work in a regular investment banking job, you do indeed have to have gone to college. And not just any college, but almost always one of the elite ones.

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]
[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]
william gates
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Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
So if you don't live near NYC or SF(who don't pay as much as wall street firms) and work for an investment firm or hedgefund company, what 500K per year jobs for software engineers exist?
Jay Dilla
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Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
Originally posted by S. Sakky:



Uh, this is not a fair comparison. Those Berkeley MFE students are (mostly) not going in for IT work. They're going in for backoffice quant work or standard frontoffice investment banking work. They're not doing software development.

I think that poster who invoked the Berkeley MFE stats did so only to demonstrate that Wall Street pays its employees well (which is true), but not to demonstrate that those particular MFE students are what the typical Wall Street IT worker is going up against (which is emphatically not true).

As a case in point, if you want to work in IT, even on Wall Street, you don't even need to have gone to college at all. I know a few people who have done that. But if you want to work in a regular investment banking job, you do indeed have to have gone to college. And not just any college, but almost always one of the elite ones.

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: S. Sakky ]


The students had backgrounds in development and engineering in almost every case. They will either be doing high level development(like algorithm creation) or some kind of intelligence engineering I'm guessing.

by the way I know a PM at a major Wall Street bank and she's not making anywhere near 300K as far as I know. So I don't know about this information 100%.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Jay Dilla:
[QBIf a best of the best developer can make 300K on Wall Street, just imagine how much a best of the best lawyer makes on Wall Street.[/QB]


You seemed to arbitrarily pick $300k as a cap. That is incorrect.

The jobs I posted are sample jobs. (BTW, I could also list sample jobs that pay $120k for people with 3-7 years of experience, plenty of those jobs, too.) But technical jobs on Wall St. can pay far more. There are plenty of $500k jobs for technical people (relatively speaking, obviously there are only a few thousand like this in the country in IT finance). If you get into management it can get into seven figures (there's a hedge fund in CT that is currently paying through the nose trying thire people--six different recruiters have called me about it; I know of another hedge fund in Chicago that also pays top dollar).

--Mark
M Easter
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 11, 2007
Posts: 133
Some thoughts on the original question:

At my previous employer (where I was employed for 8 years), I worked 40 hours or even less for stretches at at time. This would change under these conditions:

(a) before a semi-annual tradeshow (50+ hours)
(b) i was feeling inspired (weekends)
(c) i was feeling guilty (for slacking)

IMHO, management and the tech lead should work together so that the gig is "a marathon, not a sprint". It is all about a sustainable pace. (Though occasional bursts are ok, IMHO, if the team is passionate and fun.)

If a shop is working _too_ hard, then there are many possible reasons. here are three, though there are probably many others:

(1) if developers are being pulled in many directions, to fight fires, fix production systems, etc, then I blame management
(2) if the dev team does not have a nightly build, unit tests, a fast compile, and access to a domain expert, then i blame the tech lead.
(3) if the company is in an area where "the burn" (i.e. wicked hours) is the norm, then i blame the local culture. This one is tough to fix.

ps. I once read a line in a XP/Agile book that said "overtime is any amount of time over 40 hours where you don't want to be working". When I was a tech lead, I tried to give my dev's projects that were interesting to them, so that they would work more just to "scratch the itch". Manipulative, yes, but also a win-win

[ March 21, 2007: Message edited by: M Easter ]

M Easter
Software Composer - http://codetojoy.blogspot.com
S. Sakky
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 20, 2007
Posts: 5
Originally posted by Jay Dilla:


The students had backgrounds in development and engineering in almost every case. They will either be doing high level development(like algorithm creation) or some kind of intelligence engineering I'm guessing.


I don't think so - at least not the way that you are making it out to be. Yes, I agree, they are modelers and perhaps algorithm creators. But that is generally a far cry from any IT or standard software job. It's really more to do with mathematics.

But anyway, take a gander at the kinds of job descriptions that the MFE grads take and ask yourself whether you really think they are comparable to the kinds of jobs that regular software engineers are competing for. With the exception of a few (the analytic prototyping engineer, the quantitative financial developer, maybe the director of quantitative product development), it seems to me that little overlap exists.

"Actuary, Life insurance & Financial Services
Analyst
Analyst, Credit Hybrid Structuring (Synthetic CDOs)
Analytic, Prototyping Engineer
Analytic, Science Engineer Analytic Consulting Group
Associate
Associate Director, Credit Products
Associate Director, Credit Products
Associate, Advanced Research and Quantitative Strategies
Associate, Asset Management
Associate, Capital Markets
Associate, Credit Derivatives Strategy
Associate, FICC, America Special Situations Group, Strategies
Associate, Finance - Strategies Group
Associate, Fixed Income Research
Associate, Knowledge Management
Associate, Municipal Trading group in Long Term Interest Rate Trading
Associate, Quantitative Credit Research
Associate, Quantitative Research
Associate, Quantitative Research Global Client Services
Associate, Research Analyst, Asia Equity Research
Associate, Rotational Program
Associate, Securitized Products Group -Fixed Income
Associate, Strategy Innovation - Fixed Income Group
Associate, Structured Credit Products
Associate, Structured Products Group
Associate, Whole Loan Trading
Director, Quantitative Product Development
Entrepreneur
Financial Engineer, Structured Finance in Emerging Markets
Quantitative Finance Developer
Quantitative Risk Associate, Quantitative Risk Management
Senior Analyst, Credit Hybrids Desk: Trading & Sales
Senior Analyst, Fixed Income Division
Senior Analyst, Global Product Strategy Group
Senior Financial Analyst
Sr. Quantitative Analyst, Mortgage Analytics
VP, Fixed Income Portfolio Mgmt: Structured Finance (CDOs)"

http://mfe.haas.berkeley.edu/employ_2006.html


Or consider the kinds of jobs that the MFE program has positioned itself for.

"Graduates of the Master's in Financial Engineering are prepared for careers in:

Investment Banking
Corporate Strategic Planning
Risk Management
Primary and Derivative Securities Valuation
Financial Information Systems Management
Portfolio Management
Securities Trading
Master's in Financial Engineering "

http://mfe.haas.berkeley.edu/


With the possible exception of "Financial Information Systems Management", few software and IT peopel that I know are prepared for any of the above functions.

So the point is, I don't the Berkeley MFE program being seriously comparable to regular software engineering.
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Defeat your own point. If you get into management, you are no longer a software engineer. Yeah maybe you want to be, but the fact is, many people outside of IT go into management. So saying somebody in IT can work there way into management is nice, but so can a secretary and so can anybody else. Management isn't engineering, it's a whole different ball game.

And those that are making seven figures, are good at politics, selling, negotiating, and other things rather than Engineering.
Elle Atechsy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2004
Posts: 96
Hey Everyone,

Wow! This topic has really generated many many interesting responses.

Originally posted by M Easter:
(1) if developers are being pulled in many directions, to fight fires, fix production systems, etc, ...


This is my case most of the time, along with multiple projects going on at the same time. Or, while developing version 3.0 of a project, working at the same time to apease the client in the interim with version 2.5, until the rewrite is released 4 months later. I'm almost ready to leave my current position because I, dispite requests for help, I don't seem to get it. Either the managers won't give me anyone or when they do, the people they give me are not dependable, and the items they are assigned to do drops behind schedule. And, they don't want to put in the extra time to get it done on schedule. I almost feel like I'm in it alone eventhough I work in a group of 8 developers. So, I was wondering how close to my situation are other people's experiences, hence why the question was posted.


Originally posted by william gates:
If you get into management, you are no longer a software engineer. Yeah maybe you want to be, but the fact is, many people outside of IT go into management. So saying somebody in IT can work there way into management is nice, but so can a secretary and so can anybody else. Management isn't engineering, it's a whole different ball game.

And those that are making seven figures, are good at politics, selling, negotiating, and other things rather than Engineering.


I have to agree with those statements. I believe as long as a managers teaches themselves technical concepts, and understands how the technology can benefit business, that's all they need to know, and general management skills can pick up the rest. As a matter of fact, even if an IT person does progress into management, eventually, after time goes forward, technology changes, and they are no longer experts when it comes to technical knowledge. They only learn the concepts of the new technology.
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
The way you feel happens all the time in various companies and organizations. You still have to support version 1.0 while building 2.0 and so on. It especially happens when a company goes from 100 IT workers to 20, yet even more work is required to be done and faster. It all depends on the users, the company, and the management.

If certain users and their managers like an old system, you'll probably need to support it. But if a new manager with some new users need new features and upgrades, you might have to build a new one. But those old users and other managers probably still want to use the old system.

It becomes a nightmare when their are about 100 managers for ever few people with variuos applications and services and ideas. And therefore in the end, you have to develop and support everybody, even though it rarely makes any sense. There are too many managers and upper level execs who have no clue what IT does nor do they care and people in IT suffer for that fact.

It's not just you.
Sathish Nagappan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 05, 2005
Posts: 76
See this is the most irritating thing about IT companies. In India, when one of the employees raised a question as to why people in his company [Top 3 IT Services Company in India] are made to work for 9.5 hrs at a minimum, when that is not the industry standard, one of the higher level employees replied just this "In IT there is no such thing as a industry standard for working. If you have to work 24 hours to complete something, you got to do it".

In fact I was a victim to this, one day I came in the morning, got a hell lot of a work from onsite, which made me code the whole day, whole night and go the next day morning. The next day I took an off. My Manager got really angry for it. I showed him the middle finger the next day when I came. He shut his trap hard !!


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Rambo Prasad
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2006
Posts: 628
I showed him the middle finger the next day when I came. He shut his trap hard !!

I liked what you did...One of the managers I worked with had such an attitude...But I never cared and would just leave at 7.00 p.m unless there is a worthwhile reason to stay back ..There are such morans everywhere irrespective of whether it is an Indian company or a MNC..
[ March 26, 2007: Message edited by: Rambo Prasad ]
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
As I said before, many non-IT people view IT as the "blue-collar" jobs in the white-collar world. I know in the US, there are many managers who nobody really knows exactly who they manage or what they do. Yet they get the credit. I had one manager who once told about 100 various IT employees at some meeting "you guys need to learn the true meaning of what an 8 hour work day really is."

He expected everybody to work 12 hour days but get paid for 8 hour days because they didn't pay overtime.

I was a contractor but the same theory worked for me because they were not going to pay for more than 40 hours per week, but they still expected me to stay and work longer.

I don't mind staying late to finish something or fix something, but just to stay late so I can get one more thing done that will change the deadline from say 80 hours to 78 hours is pointless to me. One of my first jobs was with a dot com company where i did work 100+ hours per week and half the time, our pay was based more on stock options than actually salary. In the end, the company folded, stocks were worthless, and half the people never got paid for their final couple of months.

I learned from that day that I don't mind working long and hard hours, but for the most part, unless there is an emergency, i'm not working more than I have to, especially if I'm not getting paid to do it.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Ashif Chandra:
In fact I was a victim to this, one day I came in the morning, got a hell lot of a work from onsite, which made me code the whole day, whole night and go the next day morning. The next day I took an off. My Manager got really angry for it. I showed him the middle finger the next day when I came. He shut his trap hard !!



You got what you "asked for." You have choosen to work in a company where showing someone your middle finger is apparently an acceptable form of discussion. Such an organization doesn't seem to have as a value respect for ones peers. As such, you have been treated by your manager consistent with that philosophy.

--Mark
Deep Slama
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 29, 2007
Posts: 4
I can only speak from my experience... the place I work right now, somedays it is slow and I can come in at 10am and leave at 4:30-5pm and take a 2hr lunch in between or even work remotely, then there are other times when I have to work 14hrs straight and also through the weekend..this is usually the time of release/certification period when the pressure is there to take care of issues quickly so the deadline doesn't slip ;-) In the end I guess it's a wash overall so I wouldn't say it's long hrs.
Andy Jack
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2012
Posts: 257
I don't think that working overtime (41-60) hours, without pay for overtime is always a bad thing. I am not a workaholic, but I guess its okay sometimes. Aren't there times when you have very little work to do ? You are not asked to leave the job early. This slack sort of balances the extra hours you have to put in.
Of course, it will be a problem if one has to put in too much extra hours, too frequently.


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subject: Developer == Long Hours