On walkabout in life and technology

How Many 99c Apps It Takes to Afford That Guy

Drew Crawford, jumping in on the Sparrow story in Let’s talk about Sparrow, actually covers another area I have been trying to find the words for, why good, experienced software developers, like myself, cost real money:

Let me tell you how it actually is, because I write iOS apps. A fully-dedicated senior iOS developer is way more expensive than you think. I’m not talking about “some guy whose LinkedIn profile says he is a senior iOS developer, let’s send his profile to HR.” I mean, a person who can read your ARM assembler, lecture on the finer points of Core Data, coordinate with graphic designers, draw mockups, tell you what is going to pass Apple review, solve customer problems, be a primary on the sales call with the client, negotiate the cost, write the proposal, know what’s in the HIG, come up with a class diagram that doesn’t suck, give presentations to management, train any developer in your organization, and actually get the coding done. Specifically, a guy who you can lock in a room with a Macbook for three months and he emerges without any oversight or management from anyone, with Sparrow.app. That guy can go from interview to interview and never even hear a starting offer under $125k, or $175k in the valley. Never even hear. That guy has Apple HR calling him saying “we know we can’t poach you, but maybe you can recommend someone?” Apple HR.

Do you have any idea how many $0.99 apps it takes to afford that guy?

I, too, am that guy. It took me years of practice and toil to become that guy. The guy who can do and has done costs more than the guy who has no idea. Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll be explaining this point to people for year’s to come.