app owner^contractor#German6Y

Q: Look at my current per-hour value-add to the team. How many percent of that value-add is portable to next 2 jobs?
%%A: I feel it’s usually rather low. Mostly about local system knowledge.
%%A: current value-add/hour increases over the years and grows with relationship.

In the big banks, many team managers really need a owner-developer, a system expert ( …as German said) to remain with the system for 3-6 years. However, on Wall St and London, there’s a long tradition of hiring (proven) high-caliber contractors as the big guns to get through a tough project.

eg: Song Jun
eg: Rob in the Stirt tech team

Also, from budgeting point of view, a system needs a long-term owner (like BAU), whereas a project needs temporary manpower. So that’s one difference between a lead developer vs a contractor.

The owner-developer often earns more, but ownership is not guaranteed simply by staying for x years because

  • there may be other old-timers
  • even after 4 years some parts of the system may still be unfamiliar to you
  • even after 10Y on the system, you have below 50/50 chance to build credibility and position to convince everyone to follow your suggestions. Look at Kevin’s influence after just a few years on the system.

For me, it doesn’t make sense to get very familiar with a local system and become efficient and a “powerful” local system expert. Yes the manager would appreciate my value but

  • it often takes 2+ years and a lot of learning effort (Does it cause aging? Only if excessive stress.)
  • Still, for many years the existing experts may remain more powerful than you, so manager may not appreciate your value as much as you expected.
  • the learning effort takes away from my “body-building”
  • Depending on context, it offers only 50% protection from job loss. Sadly, due to lack of body-building, you may become weaker on the new job market.
  • the appreciation seldom translate to meaningful compensation
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