Monday, July 26, 2021

Programmers’ Pay Way Up, but Confidence Down

While IT worker confidence fell last month, programmers had reason to

celebrate — their pay jumped 17.6 percent since October of 2004.

A year ago, application developers were looking at a tough, if not

frightening, job market. Their jobs were increasingly being shipped

offshore to Indian, Russian and Chinese workers who would do the job for

a fraction of the cost. And their pay was down 6.1 percent, according to

David Foote, president and chief research officer for Foote Partners, a

New Canaan, Conn.-based firm that tracks pay scales.

Today, those numbers are changing.

”These are monster numbers for software developers, but for those of us

who closely track IT workforce developments, this doesnt come as a

surprise,” says Foote. He explains that IT executives are coming out of

the Sarbanes-Oxley period, where their focus and budget was fed straight

into dealing with major compliance issues. With that moving into the

background, they, once again, can focus on new products and services.

And that will call for software developers.

It also means that not all of a company’s software developers can be

working 3,000 miles away.

”It’s also about speed to market now,” Foote tells Datamation.

”We need some predictability in how we deliver this to our customers.

They’ve learned that offshoring is difficult and a lot of companies had

schedules slip because of problems with hand-off. Companies more and more

are saying, ‘Now, we are going to in-source this if it’s going to cost us

just a little more. We don’t want to slip our schedule and have one of

our competitors beat us to market or beat us to the punch in some other

way.’ ”

Foote also says application developers are taking home bigger pay checks

because companies are no longer looking for generic programmers. They

want people with not only specific skills, but specific experiences. And

narrowing in on job requirements, means creating a smaller pool of job

applicants. Fewer applicants means companies will have to pay more to get

the people they want.

”The more specific you get, the smaller and smaller the pool is of

people you want to interview,” says Foote. ”In the old days, they’d say

they want five years of Oracle and some Web services experience. When you

say you want that experience applied in the financial services industry,

the smaller the pool of people who can fill that need. That’s when it

starts becoming a supply issue.”

Worker Confidence

Whether or not companies will continue hiring in the fourth quarter will

have a direct effect on worker confidence, according to Steve Wolfe,

executive vice president of Hudson, a Tampa, Fla.-based firm that tracks

hiring and worker confidence issues.

And some uncertainty is causing a lot of volatility in the IT sector,

Wolfe tells Datamation. ”We can see swings in how people view

their overall job satisfaction and their personal finances,” he says.

”It’s interesting to see how it goes month to month. Every third month

in the IT sector we see some pretty big fluctuation.”

In September, 82 percent of all workers rated their job confidence and

satisfaction as ‘excellent’. That number fell to 71 percent in October.

Specifically in the IT sector, those numbers were 74 percent in

September, falling to 71 percent in October.

”There’s enough volatility that it’s hard to say,” says Wolfe, when

asked to analyze IT’s ups and downs. ”For November, we’re looking to see

some kind of spring back… Because organizations do have the tendency to

slow down their hiring in the fourth quarter, that causes some people to

raise an eyebrow. This is the time of year when people start to really do

some gut checks, if you will.

”They ask themselves if they’re in the right place at the right time,”

he adds. ”Is there a better opportunity for me. There might be more

fourth quarter movement than there is in the second or third quarter.”

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