I will not agree with the statement that programming engineers are overpaid. There is a perspective that the IT industry is just walk on a park and people who work in IT industry are paid a lot of money. That is not completely true. There are also lots of companies who extract so much of work from their programming engineers and developers and pay very little. While looking at it from the outside it might look as if the IT industry is the only industry where people are overpaid for what they really do. It is not true.
I have been working as a software developer for the past 8 years. I'm not going to argue saying that I'm paid very less but I would like to say that the pay that I get or people who continue in the same company for several years get is just fair that's all. There are few exceptional cases who get overpaid because they keep jumping from one offer to another offer for the sake of money. Not all those people are highly successful in the career. They might be financially strong but technically not as good as someone who has a solid basement in the IT industry with lots of learning opportunities and lots of skills.
Difficulty of a programmer
From outside people might think that work of a programmer is quite easy because they always work in a sophisticated AC rooms and full time on a computer. This can look fancy from outside but it completely drains out the energy of a person. The problems and algorithms a programmer solves to arrive at a solution is quite exhausting. When you compare programmers with people who do other types of hard working jobs, I would say that they are equally difficult because if for a building worker, if their body undergoes lots of stress and strain, for a programming engineer mind is the master and it takes lots of hits every single day.
There are politics and difficult situations in every company and every type of job. But especially for a programming engineer the task is quite difficult because they have to keep reading continuously through their career. There are so many new technologies emerging every month and the programmers should be up to date with those information. If they fail to be updated on the new topics, they will easily get outdated in the market and their values will drop drastically.
Things have to be fair
I completely agree that things have to be fair from all the sides. When a programming engineer is paid a decent pay for the work they do, I feel that the same recognition should be given to another equally competent job nature. There again problems are there because not all the sectors have good turn over like the IT industry and that is one of the main reason why other MNC companies that are non IT sectors are unable to pay their employees like the IT companies.
An employee from the manufacturing industry cannot be compared with an IT professional and especially a programmer. A continuous development and improvement is always there for any type of job but when it comes to a programmer they have to keep learning so many things every single day to keep them updated with the current market trend. These people are usually working with a great stress and it takes lots of money for the IT companies to get hold of them. If they are not paid a proper amount they might not stick with the company and they will look forward to choose another company that will pay them what they desire. This situation cannot happen in a non-IT sector because everything there is usually a standard operating procedure and there will not be so much of dependency on a single individual.
To conclude what i'm trying to say, I think programming engineers are costly to hire because they have unique skill sets that are not usually found on all the individuals. When companies look for advanced skill sets, it is quite obvious that they pay a high value for it. Today most of the jobs in MNC companeies are matching the value same as a programming engineer just to maintain the industry standards.
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No, programming engineers are not overpaid. Payment Rewards are consequent upon value added and relative availability of competing hands to provide that value.
Programming engineers are highly priced because of relative magnitude of value they create as software engineers vis a vis relative ease to get another skilled engineer to provide same value.
Thus as expertise in programme engineering becomes readily abundant , the cost of hiring programme engineers will be reduced and stabilized!!