Why Do Software Engineers Get Paid So Much?

Melchor Tatlonghari

It’s a question that many people ask when they see the hefty salaries that software engineers command. In a world where job hunting can be frustrating and demoralizing, it’s important to understand why engineers are compensated at such high levels. As a software engineer who has had the privilege of working with other engineers and non-tech individuals, I’ve come to realize that there are several key factors at play.

Photo by Travis Essinger on Unsplash
Firstly, let’s address the misconception that engineers have it easy when it comes to job hunting. The truth is, the hiring process in the tech industry can be incredibly daunting and frustrating. Many companies rely on ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software that filters out candidates who don’t meet certain criteria, such as having 8 years of experience. However, these systems often fail to take into account a candidate’s actual skills and abilities. That means qualified individuals with less experience might be overlooked simply because they don’t meet an arbitrary requirement.

Networking interviews can also be a source of frustration. It’s disheartening to go through multiple rounds of interviews for a position that doesn’t even exist yet. Companies do this as a way to create a pool of potential candidates for future roles. While it may seem like a waste of time for job seekers, it’s a practice that continues to persist in the industry.

One of the reasons engineers are paid so well is because of the high demand for their skills. The constant need for software development and technological advancements means that there is a shortage of qualified engineers. Companies are willing to pay a premium for top talent to ensure they can keep up with the competition and drive innovation.

Another factor contributing to engineers’ high salaries is the specialized knowledge and expertise required for the job. Developing software and designing complex systems is not something that can be learned overnight. It takes years of dedication and continuous learning to become proficient in programming languages, frameworks, and technologies. This level of expertise comes at a cost, and employers recognize and reward it accordingly.

The requirement of extensive experience in certain technologies is often cited as a reason for the high salaries in the industry. However, there are instances where job postings specify an unrealistic number of years of experience. For example, asking for “15 years+ React experience” is simply not feasible since React was launched in 2013. It’s a clear indication that some employers are not fully aware of the timelines and advancements in the industry.

The expectation for engineers to contribute to open-source projects can also be seen as an added burden. While it’s important to give back to the community and collaborate on open-source initiatives, it’s unrealistic to assume that every engineer has the time and resources to do so. Hiring managers should be more considerate of the demands placed on engineers and focus on evaluating their skills based on relevant work experiences and achievements.

So, is it all worth it? Despite the frustrations and challenges that come with the job hunt, many engineers continue to pursue their passion because they genuinely love what they do. The satisfaction of designing and developing software, solving complex problems, and making a tangible impact on the world keeps them going. The high salaries serve as a recognition of their hard work, dedication, and expertise.

In closing, engineers get paid so much because their skills are in high demand, their knowledge is specialized, and the hiring process can be challenging. While the frustrations of job hunting may be discouraging at times, the love for the craft and the opportunity to make a difference in the world often outweigh the hardships. So, the next time you see a software engineer with a hefty paycheck, remember the journey they’ve taken to get there. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the value they bring to the table and the impact they make in our rapidly advancing technological landscape.