Are coders worth it? is an excellent essay. I like that he’s honest about his own experience, and critical of it, and links it to something bigger.
A favourite point, as part of a discussion of the comparison between CEO and coal miner salaries:
It’s like that question my sister asked dad at dinner. There’s an answer to that question — and this is the one I remember hearing that night — that says that my dad was probably paid more than the coal miner because the skills required to be CFO of a Fortune 500 company are scarcer, and more wanted, than the skills required to be a coal miner. It’s the combination of scarcity and wantedness that drives up a salary.
And that answer seems fair, and fine, it seems to settle the question, but we’re not talking about pork belly futures, we’re talking about real people and what they do all day, and my sister, naive as she sounded, had a point, and that point is that the truly naive thing, the glib and facile thing, might be equating value with a market-clearing price.