Prestige in software


There is a questions I like to ask software developers; “what would you like to be doing in 10 years?”

There are almost no developers who answer that with “writing software”.

It is actually so bad that people who have been in software for 10 years feel like they should start moving into management. Not because they want to, but because they feel they should. It is not economic reasons as a good software developer likely makes as much money as a manager, not time reasons either as managers don’t tend to work fewer hours. So why do people want to leave a field that has evolving work (you won’t really get bored as things always change) a good market (yes there have been dips) and the opportunity to be creative?

I’m sure that there are many reasons, but one that interests me is prestige.

Let’s consider some other jobs, count how many you would rate above “Software Developer” in social prestige:

  • Firefighter
  • Real-estate agent
  • Scientist
  • Actor
  • Teacher
  • Banker
  • Doctor
  • Accountant
  • Military officer
  • Entertainer
  • Nurse
  • Stockbroker
  • Police officer
  • Journalist
  • Priest / Minister / Cleric
  • Union Leader
  • Farmer
  • Business executive
  • Engineer
  • Athlete

If you ended up with more than 10 you believe that software developer falls in the worst 10 jobs (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/070802/2prestige.htm). Yeah I butchered some statistics there, but you get the idea.

So if software developer has such a crap reputation, why would anyone want to stick with it. Yep the money is great, but at some point respect would be nice to have as well.

This will not change very fast, but for the people that stick with it there will be a great paycheck for putting up with being looked down upon.

 

 

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