On Programmers and Raises

If your boss came up to you and asked you what you were worth, what would you say?

As a group, it’s not hard to quantify programmers’ worth. After all, we create the product that should:

  1. Make other people’s lives easier
  2. Make money for the business
  3. Reduce costs for the business

But getting down to the worth of each individual programmer, that’s a lot harder.  Does the programmer that writes more code get more money? Is it the programmer that has less defects in their code? What about the person that holds the team together?  What about the most productive person (Highest LOC + less defects)?

It’s impossible to compare programmers unless you compare everything that matters, and it all boils down to simple questions:

Are you better off with this person than without? : If they weren’t here, would you be where you are today? If not, where would you be? Would you be better off or worse off?

We ought to ask ourselves that question daily. So, how about it: Is the business better of with you here? If so, why?  That’s what you’re worth.


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