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$55 Per Hour Software Developers

Outsourced @ $55/hr - what does it mean for Flex/Java development in the USA?

Last week, a US based Flex/Flash developer who IMO belongs to the top 20% Flash developers twitted that he was contacted by a recruiter offering a contract paying $55 per hour. While $55 per hour may sound a lot in some of the developing countries, the cost of living in the USA makes this rate a joke. And we are not talking about some rookie who learn Flex last week in a classroom.  Pretty sad, isn’t it?

Next day, a manager of a large corporation asked me if our company can provide them with a senior Flex/Java consultant working onsite in a greater New York area.  The rates were $60-$80 per hour plus this software developer would have to go through another consulting company that was on a preferred vendors list of this large corporation. This middleman would also need to get a cut from this rate. Let’s do some math together assuming that the corporate client is willing to pay $80 p/h for this developer.

The preferred vendor will shave off, say, eight bucks. Our company has bills to pay too, and let’s say we’ll take $12. This means that we can pay $60 per hour to a senior Flex/Java developer living in the USA. I can’t find a plumber in our geographical area who’d be willing to clean my toilet for $60 per hour. Last week I had to bring my car to a repair shop to replace worn out brake pads. They charged me $90 per hour for labor.

I deeply regret that I can’t outsource cleaning toilets and changing pads to one of the less expensive countries.

So what does it mean for Flex/Java development in the USA? These are the choices that the enterprise development managers will face:

1.    Hire anyone who knows how to spell Binding, AMF, and Servlet and keep he fingers crossed that these guys won’t bring the project to a full stop.

2.     Outsource the software development to another country where Flex senior developers started to lay eggs and breed.

3.    Stop fooling around and offer reasonable rates in the USA to bring  local talent to the project.
In the past, the Wall Street companies were known for selecting the last option. During the last two years their habits changed and they go number two.  

Other industries do a number one. When a development manager smells troubles, s/he hits the Panic button and tries to switch gears to select number three, which may not be available cause the good spellers ate almost all the budget already.

Dear corporate hiring manager! Don’t fool yourself. There’s no free lunch. I know, the rules in your company changed, and the HR rats wrote the instructions that tie your hands down. Still, fight with them to make an exception that would allow you to bring a real talent on board. Your career is at stake here.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

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