The Real Reason Why Non-Programmers Are Paid MoreMarch 24, 2013 8:43 am
Programming is a truly valuable skill. And when you are a programmer at some company, you are essentially learning on someone else’s dime. And programming empowers you. Every additional hour you spend programming, the more valuable your skill becomes, and the more valuable you become as a person, and to the market overall. Companies understand that. They understand that you understand that.
When you are moved ‘up’ in the org, you do not code anymore (well, in most cases). That is an absolute loss of empowerment, and sets you on a path towards helplessness where you can ‘drive’ things but not ‘do’ things. Where you need to ‘get someone’ to look into things rather than looking into things yourself. Every additional hour you spend in such roles, the less valuable you become as a person, and to the market overall.
The market understands that. Once you have learnt stuff on someone else’s money, the market will pay you much more to get stuff done. For the people who ‘drive’ or ‘run’ things – unless you are a rockstar driver, things are not so rosy. And by definition, those roles are few in number – definitely much less than roles where you need people who can code. And it gets worse as you move up, because the whole org thing throughout the world is structured as a triangle with a broad base and a point at the top.
So there it is – the reason non-programmers get paid more is because they willingly chose to be non-empowered. They willingly chose to ‘run’ things and not ‘do’ things. They willingly accepted the fact that every additional hour spent on non-coding tasks made them less valuable. And they are ‘compensated’ for that. The next time you are given a choice between ‘running’ the team and continuing to code – just forget the title and fire up the IDE.