How to go from being a good programmer to a highly paid developer

ComputermoneyThis blog is dedicated to the career programmer – folks who make their living from turning nebulous requirements into working systems on a daily basis.  If Joel Spolsky is right, and 80% of the software in the world is written for internal use, then chances are good that if you’re a programmer, you’re working in a corporate development group.  The majority of programmers in corporate development fall into the "good" category so, once again, chances are that if you’re a programmer then you’re a good programmer in a corporate development group.

Chances are also good that if you’re a programmer then you are underpaid.

Actually, underpaid indicates that you’re not getting paid what you’re worth so technically you’re not underpaid – you’re simply not making as much as you can.  The result is the same, though: less money is reaching you than could/should be.  How do I know this?  I’ve been a professional developer for more than a decade and in that time I’ve become a good programmer.  Not superb, not fantastic, not even great.  Just good.  Solidly, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-curve, no-better-no-worse good.

Despite being a merely good programmer, I’ve become a highly paid developer.

This wasn’t just a matter of luck, circumstance, or even "knowing the right people".  I became a highly paid developer the same way you can: By changing my behavior.  Being a Big Swinging Developer is all about behavior, not technical skills.  You definitely have to be at least good and if you’re not then I recommend working on your development skills before putting ANY of the techniques on this blog into practice.  Long story short, you must be able to walk the walk above all else.  Being a highly paid developer is all about actually being more valuable than other programmers, but that means that you need to deliver that value reliably.

Are you underwhelmed by the generality of the "change of behavior = more money" revelation?  Don’t worry, I’ll get much more specific in upcoming posts and show you how to see your job in a very different light.  Use the link on the left to subscribe via RSS or email so you don’t miss anything!

Comments are closed here.