It pays to make software.
Programmers and software engineers are among the most coveted jobs in Silicon Valley, as their salaries fetch for hundreds of thousands of dollars at the biggest tech companies in the world.
Companies like Google truly appreciate the value of these jobs – even interns get compensated incredibly well for their work.
There is a slight difference between programmers and software engineers: Programmers are responsible for translating someone’s designs into code, while software engineers basically ensure everything is working properly. People in these jobs don’t always get credit when things are working properly, but they’re the ones who get blamed when things break.
Despite the demand for programmers and engineers in the Valley, some people don’t understand why these folks attract such high salaries. That question was recently posted on Quora, and Mike Lee, a software engineer who’s worked in Silicon Valley for over 30 years, had a great answer:
I work a full 8 hours or 12 hours per day, and I’m constantly thinking for those hours. And I have to learn new things every 3 to 5 years: AngularJS, ReactJS, Bootstrap, NodeJS, Django, SASS, Compass (or a subset of these), or else be treated like an idiot by the new graduates.
And then I saw somebody working for merely 3-4 hours really per day. The other times they are not doing anything.
And they get half the pay of me. Well, sometimes I really think I should take their job, because they work half and get paid half, and they have a much more balanced life otherwise.
So, there you have it. Not only do these folks have the pressure from tech companies to create software and meet ambitious deadlines, but they’re also constantly on the lookout for bugs and errors, and they always need to be on the cutting-edge of what’s trending in code lest they risk someone younger – and more fluent in a particular kind of framework – taking their job.
Not everyone is cut out for these types of high-pressure jobs, where you’re forced to be “constantly thinking” during the work day and long after it’s over. But that’s why these positions offer such high salaries: Programming and engineering require constant vigilance and adaptation, and the things you create have a major impact on people. Just look around you: That web browser you’re using, this post you’re reading, it was all made possible by programmers and engineers. And those high stakes feel that much higher Silicon Valley, where if your software isn’t growing, it’s dying