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How much does a programmer earn? What rates in the IT industry?

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25 years ago, this job was a waste of money, it was impossible to rent an apartment. After graduation, I used the debit card quite often to get to the first one – says Sebastian Kondracki, who has been associated with programming since the beginning of his career, in an interview with TVN24 Biznes. – The IT sector seems to be the goose that lays golden eggs, but if someone is motivated only by the earnings that are written about a lot, it will be hard. She won’t stand it, she’ll get frustrated – Agata Grzelewska, a programmer, points out.

There are legends about how much programmers earn. So we check what the market looks like. – In Poland, the record rate for a programmer is PLN 350 per hour, and it was offered by a foreign company. In the world, the record was $ 250 per hour – Kamil Moses, HR Business Partner at B2B Network explains in an interview with TVN24 Biznes. – Programmers receive several proposals a day, 15-20 a week – he adds.

A hen that lays golden eggs?

However, the beginning of a career can be difficult. Agata Grzelewska has been a programmer for four years. He currently works as a Ruby Developer at Smart Pension and says that “it’s difficult in this industry if you don’t have any friends and someone doesn’t recommend us for work”.

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I did it without any connections. I learned the profession on my own from freely available and free materials. I haven’t completed any bootcamps or training. Instead, I was looking for workshops organized by various IT companies. However, there are far fewer such offers than there are applicants, he explains.

– I started with three thousand gross and it was based on a contract for specific work. The IT sector seems to be the goose that lays golden eggs, but if someone is motivated only by the earnings that are written about a lot, it will be hard. She won’t stand it, she’ll get frustrated.

Big money at the start is a myth. – It’s not that if someone comes to work after some self-study or bootcamp, without any commercial experience, they will immediately receive, for example, PLN 20,000 as a ‘good morning’ – he reveals.

According to her, if an employee has no experience, he must start with the lowest rate. – This is because it is a big cost to the company. Let’s face it, such a person doesn’t contribute much yet and others, his co-workers, have to devote their time to teach a young programmer how to work. So you have to have a lot of humility, because this learning never ends – he emphasizes.

In her opinion, after about two years of commercial experience, the salary is already quite decent. – It is between PLN 10,000 and 20,000, depending on the specialization or type of company. Interestingly, in most job offers in IT, salaries, or at least the range, are given openly – he notes.

Agata Grzelewska added that there are still few women in the programming industry. – In my team of 10 people, I am the only one. I started quite late, because I became a junior at the age of 39. When I came to the company, out of 60 people, it turned out that I was the oldest. At the same time, I had the least experience in IT.

That’s why she decided to co-create free workshops “RailsGirlsWarsaw” for women who want to change their profession – I help women volunteer, for example on maternity leavebecause they want to return to the labor market.

IT rates. What is not being said?

Maciej Mazurek, Chief Operations Officer, from the Poznań-based recruitment company Bee Talents, explains in an interview with TVN24 Biznes that when we talk about developers’ remuneration, we must be aware that we focus on a very wide set of people dealing with technology: from Front-End and Back-End Developers, through DevOps, Site Reliability Engineers, Embedded Developers, to Machine Learning specialists. – This results in a large spread of the fork, which will additionally vary depending on the specific role. Junior Developer rates range from PLN 7,000 to PLN 13,000 net, Mid Developer, i.e. about 2 years of commercial experience, ranges from PLN 16,000 to PLN 24,000, and Senior Developer ranges from PLN 22,000 to PLN 30,000 – he lists.

Kamil Mojżesz from the Warsaw-based B2B Network recruitment company, presenting the salary levels, points out that companies rarely want to hire someone without experience, which is why a person without commercial experience on the market is not attractive.

– Some time ago, companies were looking for people entering the IT world, they invested in training, but now it has changed. They are reluctant to employ juniors, because it requires large investments. From quarter to quarter we observe changes in the market – he explains.

From his experience, a junior developer can expect a rate of PLN 50 net per hour, but without paid holidays, i.e. PLN 8,000.

– And then when he’s hired on economic activity. For people with two years of experience, the range is PLN 120-150 per hour, which is about PLN 22,000. Employees with more experience can expect about PLN 200 per hour, i.e. PLN 32,000 – he calculated.

At the same time, he emphasized that the highest money on the Polish market, i.e. over PLN 200 per hour, is available to people who know more niche, less recognizable technologies. – They accept this rate not entirely with a smile anyway, because there are foreign companies on the market that can offer them work on even better conditions – he commented.

One million positions in IT

Sebastian Kondracki, author of the book “Python and AI for e-commerce”, Chief Innovation Officer at Deviniti, has been involved in programming for several decades. He comments in an interview with TVN24 Biznes that the rates for experts reflect the situation in Poland and in the world. – There is a very large digital transformation of all areas of life, which means that the demand for programmers is very high. In Europe, people are sought for more than a million positions – he points out.

He explains that high salaries for programmers are related to the scope of their duties.

– The software development process is very knowledge-intensive, where effective thinking in various and uncertain situations is required. There is a lot of technology turnover. We need to learn more and faster than people in other areas, he says.

Example? In 2017, an article about the Transformer model is published, related to machine learning, and a year later on the market, developers use it in their applications. In 2020, a whole new field of prompt engineering (based on model hints) is emerging. – So in three years we have everything in production. In medicine, only clinical trials would be started – he explains.

He states that this is why programmers must have purely technological competencies, which depend heavily on specialization and the so-called technological stack, i.e. technologies used by a given company: e.g. knowledge of JAVA programming, knowledge of databases, IT security.

– The second group is purely cognitive skills: abstract thinking, problem solving, data analysis and interpretation, communication and decision making. Added to this is knowledge of at least English at the level of understanding technical documentation – he emphasizes.

Sebastian Kondracki recalls the beginnings of the IT sector in Poland. – 25 years ago, this job was a waste of money, you couldn’t rent an apartment. After graduation, I used the overdraft on the card quite often to make it to the first one. Back then, Western corporations were looking not for programmers, but for salespeople and account managers. For me, programming was and is interesting, so I preferred to earn less and have an interesting job. The moment came when Polish business began to turn over huge budgets, additionally there was a professionalization of processes. A specialist, an expert with experience began to be well paid in Poland – he said.

Programmers vs. AI

The profession of programmers is considered to be of the future, but the question remains whether the development of artificial intelligence (AI) will not cause the demand to fall. Sebastian Kondracki believes that “selected programming specialties will disappear”.

– Already the so-called large language models know not only natural languages, but also programming ones. Thus, they can “hint” the code to the programmer or explain complex algorithms. Experts point to 2030 as the year in which AI will be able to create code on its own, for example based on descriptions in natural language, he says.

He adds that, however, the demand for AI programmers and big data specialists will increase. There will also be new specializations.

Read also: A “soft reset” in the industry. “The numbers are still huge”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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