Articles tagged 'business'

Your Value Proposition as a Software Developer


Sometimes folks will tell you to think about your value proposition – what actual benefit you bring to the table – as a software developer. That could be to negotiate your salary, interviews or promotions. It could be as a freelancer or consultant. It could also just be a way to let you get included in a really cool project (“hey, I can help you out!”)

So what’s your value proposition? What do you actually bring to the table?

Why Keeping Software Working is a Superpower


They say that programming is the art of getting things working, while software engineering is the art of keeping things working.

That sounds like most programmers aren’t good at keeping things working. Which is true.

If you build to keep things working, you’ll have a superpower, one that very few software developers have. I’ll explain.

But first I need to tell you about Scarpe.

Fully-Loaded Engineer Hours

My favorite article on salary negotiation of all time talks about “fully-loaded costs” of an employee. The idea is that when figuring what it costs a company to employ an engineer (or whoever) it’s short-sighted to just take their salary and multiply by time. Patrick suggests that “a reasonable guesstimate is between 150% and 200% of their salary” and that the “extra” tends upward as salary does. Of course it depends on benefits and whatnot.

Many people think that’s complete baloney. Specifically, they tend to think that the “extra” is fixed (e.g. $30k extra,) rather than a large and increasing percent of salary.

But when you’re negotiating salary, or otherwise asking, “what does an employee’s time cost a company?” he’s right. Let me explain why.

What I Learned From My 'Hire Me' Web Page

Occasionally, you’ll see people put up a “why you should hire me” page, such as the one that got Jason Zimdars a gig at 37signals. These pages are effectively sales pages for people, though they read a little differently from a sales page for a book.

(If you don’t believe that a “hire me” page is a sales page, I recommend reading a bit more Patrick McKenzie.)

Most frequently you see pages for less-established entry-level people — people who try using a sales page because they have to, not because they want to.

And I thought, “hey, what if I tried that?” As a great fictitious man once said, “we try things. Occasionally they even work.”

So when my last company went out of business, I put a “hire me” page together. I had a little breathing room before missing a paycheck and reasonable savings. Why not try it?

Yeah, Why Not Try It?

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Why this specific newsletter? You want to be an expert. Expertise comes from learning the fundamentals, deeply. And that comes from the best kind of practice. I write with that in mind. I won't waste your time.

(Yes, I also sell things. They're good, but I'm fine if you don't buy them.)