We are the Privileged 150k

The majority of the world dreams to make more than 100k a year. Yet, in the tech community, we refuse to train those dreamers. Instead we pine after "rockstars" and "ninjas".

I am happy to see the global tech community pay attention to our burgeoning tech community in Austin. The truth is, Austin has been part of the tech community as long as Silicon Valley has existed. I recently had lunch with a startup founder who eloquently pulled me through the trenches of his trek to his current successes. These include building one of the worlds first online credit card processing websites. Back then, they had to connect to FileMaker Pro as their database - oh the Humanity!

We have a great climate, a vibrant young population, kick ass night life, an awesome music festival, a party with a conference and great food. It really comes as no surprise that young ambitious entreprenuers would put Austin on the very short list of "cool" places to live.

It seems that the local newspaper has published a misleading article about the current situation as it applies to employers and their insatiable desire for top talent. According to the article, recruiters flew out to California and attempted to sway Silicon Valley development talent into a relocation to central texas. Oh, and money. A lot of money.

For a while, the tech community has discussed a glut in talent required at new startups in Austin as well as Silicon Valley. Mostly, I am pointing to recent discussions on Hacker News.

I am calling bullshit. There is no one in the development community telling stories of being offered 150k or anywhere near that number. This is a lame article meant to inspire the next generation of students to dive into the currently lucrative world of software engineering. Everyday it seems like we read about developers who cant write fizz-buzz in an interview and suddenly by magic surprise, the businesses are complaining about a lack of talent? I call it a lack of employee investment. If companies and startups spent their time finding sharp people and shaping them into what they are looking for, I submit that as a world society we would be in a better situation. However, it appears that middle to large startups on a "funded" and "limited" budget would rather spend money on a non-fortuitious business trip in an attempt to persuade a bunch of freeloading developers into moving to a place they have no interest in relocating to. I have an idea. How about training the people that you have right at home? Why not invest in the local community and increase your own technical capital instead of poaching?

We have a vibrant and healthy community. If you asked me, I could name a dozen top notch developers who are more than capable of making a businessmans dreams come true, and they are not demanding 150k a year. To put this into perspective, ONE of our local Ruby on Rails monthly meetups exceeds 70 people regularly. People are hungry to learn, and I bet everyone of those 70 could pass fizz-buzz - some with a little training.

In fact I find it far more common to run into a talented individual who is more in tune with performing social good than incurring self benefit. As a person who prescribes to capitalism, I find this rather interesting. Instead of demanding compensation, these people want a better way of life and they want to solve problems that would inevitably make the world a better place.

How's that food for thought? A skill that could land a 150k job, yet the fruits of their labor are given away for free and for the greater good. We [as developers] understand the privilege that we possess in a modern technical society. We understand that we can demand so much more. Most of us don't. We give our code away for free, we want to work from home, and we want to work in an environment that nurtures our good nature.

TL;DR; Who cares about the compensation amount when you are doing it wrong! Train your local pool and build your community. You invested in your company, now invest in the people and community around it!