In the USA programmers earn more money than average workers. But the difference is not huge. It can be twice as much. Not outrageous. It seems that there is a (wrong) perception in the USA that programming is difficult and hence these eggheads deserve a better pay.
But the situation is different in developing countries where offshore programming is flourishing. The difference between the salaries of a young programmer and a young engineer can be 10 fold: $300 vs. $3000 a month. While it’s great that at least some people can earn decent money, I see some negative side effects. Some of these young well-off professionals are starting to believe that they belong to a higher caste, and regular people who didn’t learn programming are losers.
This is is not something I came up with out of the blue. I’m following the blogosphere in some of such offshore countries, and people openly make these statements. Here’s a comment that I’ve received to one of my blogs:
“People who work in the supermarkets are not capable of anything else. Only inadequate people can work there for a long time. A decent person will not keep this low paid job – he’ll find a way to earn more doing something else. Instead of working for pennies in supermarkets they can learn programming and make a decent living”.
In another article a programmer asks,”Please share your experience in finding love? Is it easy for you to pick up girls because of your high salary?”
IMO, this kind of mentality is really bad. You have to respect people even if they don’t know how to program computers.
There are lots of great people who like working in a supermarket or a post office. They will never become programmers and don’t have to be! Ideally, people should do the work they like. It may not be easy, but during a day a person can work at a cash register, and in the evening play violin in the philharmonic orchestra.
I realize, that the labor in the USA is more expensive than in most of the developing countries, and a cashier can make a living just by keeping one job. But considering yourself creme de la creme of society just because you know how to write if-statements is not only wrong, but dangerous. Being any nazi is dangerous both for a society and for the nazi.