Are programmers underpaid, or executives overpaid?

Are programmers underpaid, or executives overpaid?

Summary: The average US programmer's salary increased 8.7% in 2006, but bonuses for executives were up 58.8% in the same period. Where do I sign up?

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Now this is really unfair. According to IT Facts, the average US programmer's salary increased 8.7% in 2006, but bonuses for executives were up 58.8% in the same period:

The average annual cash bonus was $3,773,715, compared to third period year 2005 cash bonus levels of $2,375,615. The August 2006 Index indicates that while base salaries decreased slightly, bonuses were up sharply resulting in an average total cash compensation per executive of $5,049,623.

Where do I sign up?

Seriously, breaking into the "executive path" seems to be fairly difficult. Every executive opening I've seen requires... you guessed it... executive experience. What's a programmer who's already at the top of his or her development track to do?

Topic: Tech Industry

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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7 comments
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  • Start his own company of course

    "What's a programmer who's already at the top of his or her development track to do?"

    No one ever hired Bill Gates or Michael Dell as an executive. They hired themselves.
    georgeou
    • Like Bill it helps if you have a rich daddy (nt)

      (nt)
      Richard Flude
      • And a company like IBM...

        ... to make your product the standard, and not realize the worth of the gift given in return for free software.
        Anton Philidor
  • we should outsource executives to India

    ;)
    fricker
  • Haven't seen a 3% raise in 8 years

    And 5% was the highest I ever received. I guess I'm living in the wrong part of the country . . .
    Roger Ramjet
  • It's the Dilbert principle at work.

    I take it you haven't read Dilbert? C/ZDnet probably made you stop reading it when one of its strips revealed their business plan. ;)

    There's a Dilbert principle that goes something like this: How far up the corporate ladder you go depends upon you level of incompetence. The average person may make it to middle management. The smartest ones are relegated to the mailrooms or cleanning crews. The biggest boobs run the company, and if someone is a really dumb f[patch], they can be President of the USA.

    Nice system, huh?
    Mr. Roboto
    • Mis-stating the Dilbert Principle

      In my phrasing, The most ineffectual staff are removed by promotion so that the work can be completed well.

      This competes with the Peter Principle: People are promoted to their level of incompetence and stay there.

      If someone can do a job, he is promoted. Eventually he attains a job he can't do, so he is left in that position to fail.

      I will nominate a third Principle: People selected for promotion are inferior versions of the people who make the promotions.

      The likeness makes the person doing the promoting comfortable. The inferiority makes him even more comfortable because there's no threat to his job.

      Give any organization enough time, and the inferiority will sink to entire incompetence.
      Anton Philidor