Developmentarian

This is a little post for one of the @LibertarianHome guys. He’s a younger coder than I and was questioning why many coders get paid well for doing pretty simple stuff. By simple he was referring to VB or PHP. But to be be fair plenty of HTML, CSS and jQuery coders get paid well also.

Now, my title is a little disingenuous. Coders don’t get paid well because people are ignorant generally. Even if they are Account Managers… They’re paid well because most people are ignorant of code. Similar to my ignorance of medicine.

There is also the issue that relatively speaking there aren’t that many coders knocking around. Remember you may hang around with a lot of coders, as I do, but that doesn’t mean that every other person is a coder. Look at most companies and the Dev team is rarely the largest. And plenty of companies survive without them — God forbid…

But let’s get back to the ignorance issue. Here’s a little test for you to do to prove my point. Let’s write a simple, little PHP script…

class Lionel
{
    public function Hello()
    {
        echo "Hello! ";
        self::IsItMe();    
    }

    private function IsItMe()
    {
        echo "Is it me you're looking for?";     
    }
}

$song = new Lionel();

$song->Hello();

Now to any coder what I have written is ridiculously simple*. And it’s a script that can be used to explain the basics of code to most people. But let’s have some fun. Remove all the the line breaks from the script…

class Lionel{public function Hello(){echo "Hello! "; self::IsItMe();} private function IsItMe(){echo "Is it me you're looking for?";}}$song = new Lionel(); $song->Hello();

Woah… Things just got complicated… Last time I was seen editing a large PHP file like this by non-coders I heard “Wow, it’s like the Matrix.” And “How do you understand that?” 

Honestly, next time you’re non-coder boss asks what you’ve been doing all day remove all the line breaks from your code and just point at it. They probably won’t ask you again…

To non-coders the second snippet of code is scary gibberish. And this is why we get paid well. Because it doesn’t take much for code to become inaccessible nonsense. And people will pay others good money to take the  inaccessible nonsense off their plate.

This may sound cynical and even arrogant. But the reality is we get paid well because they’re aren’t that many of us. And what we do, even the simple stuff, requires a level of skill that most neither understand nor posses. 

* On a side note we should probably replace “Hello World!!” with “Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?”. Just think about it. You’re writing your first script in C++ and it outputs ”Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?” You can say to yourself, “Yes, you’re exactly what I was looking for…”