[plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers

From: Matthias Felleisen (matthias at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Thu Oct 14 13:22:12 EDT 2004

On Oct 14, 2004, at 12:44 PM, Noel Welsh wrote:

>   For list-related administrative tasks:
>   http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
> --- "Neil W. Van Dyke" <neil at neilvandyke.org> wrote:
>> I think they'll increasingly find that
>> they're not sufficiently competitive in a global IT
>> workforce.


> Preach on, brother. (And generalise the US to "Western
> nations".)  Here are two puzzles I'd like to solve:
>   1. How can I make myself 20x more productive than an
> Indian SE, so our salaries are comparable

The good news is that you don't need a factor of 20.
As Robby points out, there are structural hurdles that
add to the cost just as cheap labor deducts from it.

Economists have found a savings of about 25 to 30%
everything taken into account. Even if this is not
the factor 4 that's often quoted ($15 vs $60 per hour;
ignore the extremes) it's a good amount of savings
that boosts profits here. No responsible CEO/CFO/CTO
can ignore this.

However: there are other advantages and disadvantages
that are not yet quantified in the above. (Ex: compare
labor laws in Germany and India.)

>   2. Why aren't top SE's paid £300ph (circa $600ph), which
> is what a top lawyer would easily charge?  Software is
> incredibly valuable, or Microsoft wouldn't be what it is,
> so something must be wrong if we can't charge what lawyers
> do.

Two answers:

1. I do know developers who make over $200K per year. Some reasonable 
companies know what to pay to good people.

2. I do know professors who charge exactly what a lawyer charges per 
hour when they consult for lawyers, just to get the point across. 
Indeed, they not only charge, they get it.

> I suspect solving 1 would also solve 2.

I am afraid they are unrelated.

> Perhaps the US can out-educate inexpensive overseas labor, enough to 
> catch up cost-effectiveness-wise.  (An HtDP in every high school!)

Thanks. I think the four us would give up royalties (of a few million 
$$$s) if we could achieve this.

-- Matthias

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