back to article Permies sitting pretty as fifth of contractors see rates cut

A fifth of of contractors saw their hourly rates cut last year, while 51 per cent saw rates rise, compared to 59 per cent of permanent IT staff who saw their salaries increase, with just 2 per cent experiencing a slide. The figures come from Dice - which also suggests both permies and contractors could probably improve their …

  1. Lysenko


    With contractors there are almost twice as many PowerPoint/Gantt Chart NinjasProject Managers as developers, and even with permanent staff the ratio is still 15:13??!! That's insane. It should be closer to 1:12 surely? How can anyone expect to deliver anything on time/budget/spec if between 50 and 66% of the staff are only capable of wittering, arranging meetings and doodling graphics?

    1. I'm Brian and so's my wife

      Re: What!?

      The ratio you seek is as good as impossible with mere mortals. That said, the amount of ancillary staff (as opposed to people who actually get on with tackling the task at hand) is ridiculous.

      If I didn't enjoy dev work so much, I'd become a BA and then migrate to PM. Obviously I'd stay contracting and I'd see my day rates rise from £450-£550, to £500-600 and then £550-650+. A good BA or PM can really bring things together, but good ones are rarer than hen's teeth.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: What!?

      Project Manager is one of the most abused terms in our industry. I've worked with some great PMs who turned projects around when all us techies were up to our knees in Flanders mud (metaphorically).

      But too often it's a label applied to some over promoted half-wit.

      1. Lysenko

        Re: What!?

        Sure, I've seen that too ... when a (singular) PM pulls a team (plural) of devs back into shape. I have never seen that work when every dev has a dedicated, personal PM and certainly not with two PMs fighting over every dev!!

  2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Another article, another mention of DevOps. I've asked before and got an answer, but it didn't make sense to me, so I'll ask again:

    DevOps: Does that mean sitting devs and ops in the same room and having them talk to each other?

    If so, what is a DevOps skill? The ability to have a conversation?

    ( I originally assumed it was a name for devs who can op, but it seems I'm wrong ).

    1. Titus Technophobe


      I believe is the latest evolution of agile programming where by rather than releasing every three weeks the time frame shifts to every three hours ....

      1. Lysenko


        ...I think it is closer to "Extreme Programming". Remember that one? Two devs sitting at a single PC arguing about whether superfluous parentheses enhance readability or not? This is the same - just with an Op and a Dev at the same PC. Lovely.

    2. Matthew Smith

      Devop is to 2016 what System Analysis was to 1999. Where have all the 'System Analysts' gone anyway?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Hasn't everbody been a "system analyst" since the mid 90s' anyway?

    3. Calleb III


      It's where the management decides they don't need to pay the computer people in operations, when they already have computer people in Development, that know computers right....

      I get the idea of SysOps and Devs working closely together.

      I don't get the idea of the same person writing code, managing hypervisors, storage, network, AD you name it. Yes there are a limited number of people out there who are capable of doing all this on a professional level, but certainly not to amount that is in demand according to the job ads. So everyone ends up with subpar Developers and subpar Sys admins for 20% higher price, go figure...

    4. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      > DevOps: Does that mean sitting devs and ops in the same room and having them talk to each other?

      Don't waste brain cycles on this.

      This is just another buzzword good for some time. Just another attempt to lay all responsibility on the bods, require them to know everything including things yet to be invented, make them to report every move and thought to the manglement without getting anything back in turn.

      One driving force being the incompetent fuckmuppets (MBAs), they really love to live under the illusion of actually knowing what they are blathering about. Sure helps to come up with ever new terms that are poorly defined at best, don't you think?

      Pretend to listen, but for fuck's sake, don't. Be polite while thinking of bludgeoning them MBAs with a lead pipe. Oh, feed them wrong and nonsensical information for good measure, they'll never know.


    5. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: what is a DevOps skill?

      I'm sure El Reg is hoping you'll go to their conference to find out. Don't forget your beard.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: what is a DevOps skill?

        Much afraid I am the wrong type of audience, having witnessed to many souls burnt by "current fad taken serious".

      2. Lysenko


        I think you mean "beer". The only possible reason to go and listen to a load of vacuous pontification about nothing from "thought leaders" who neither Dev nor Op (just "consult") is as a day off near a pub.

    6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      DevOps is simply the prerequisite stage towards the real thing - brisk OpsDev.

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Erik4872

    Contractor rates are insane, so this isn't surprising

    Because of the way the accounting works out, companies happily spend multiples of a permanent employees' fully loaded cost on contractors. I work with people doing the exact same kind of work I am for 150 USD/hour -- or at least that's what their "consulting" company bills them out at. The big difference is that the company can just tell the contractor to disappear that day if they decide to. Firing permanent people in the US is very easy too, but it is still difficult and companies love to reduce difficulties like severance, etc.

    It seems like contractors, at least the technical ones, get work on a lot more things, but the downside is the instability. Those $150/hr rates are nice, but you have to be constantly chasing them. Also, it's not family- or life-outside-of-work-friendly. Unless someone gets really lucky, getting top rates as a contractor requires travelling around the country constantly; again, I know someone who bills at crazy rates, but the downside is 40+ weeks of business travel a year.

    I also wonder if this includes the PowerPoint jockeys from the various management consulting firms. The compensation system in that realm is another parallel reality compared to straight technical resources.

  4. Servman

    "Unsurprisingly, 76 per cent of contractors expected to change jobs within the next three months, compared to just 43 per cent of permanent employees."

    Really?? 43% of permanent employees expect to change in the next 3 months???

  5. Robert Morgan

    DevOps is a thing and it works... kind of

    DevOps is a thing and is true and does exist... It however isn't a magic bullet for everything. It's not like extreme programming (i.e. sitting two devs together, or in this case sitting a dev and op together).

    From a Dev Perspective, you have to be very used to using proper check-in/check-out of code repos while working on projects. From an Op Perspective, you have to get used to automating things and making things repeatable, you're normally aiming for more "small/short" outages rather than less "long/prolonged" outages.

    Essentially, it works really well with applications that can scale across lots of servers (i.e. large scale web apps), or software that's provided to customers via a website/api and that ilk of stuff. In relatively large enterprises, internal services can also be built in this way.

    Like anything in IT, you have to consider if and why you should do the DevOps on something.

    Most people structure a bunch of "Ops" guys that can either use 1) hypervisors 2) public/private cloud 3) containers - and importantly, can also do some scripting/tying things together with Config Management tools like Puppet/Chef/Ansible/Others etc. The job of the Op is to then automate the arse off everything in sight. i.e. that server that does that thing? yep, make it built itself and get the code on it, and test stuff works, then join a pool. Oh, and if possible, let us specify if it's production/test/dev etc and put the appropriate environment variables/datasets on it.

    The point of the Op is to understand the codebase/system at hand, and make delivery of that system to customers entirely repeatable and easy to deploy/build. That then changes how you deliver stuff to customers, you can literally kill an environment and build a new one immediately and quickly, and know you'll get the same thing each time. Essentially, your infrastructure starts turning into code. Basically, it improves everything.

    Additionally, you also normally bolt Project Managers/Product Managers/Business People into the mix and discuss what's being done next/what's important. In the end, though you need to be more sociable, you get a bit more of a voice into that's stupid because of Y so how about doing it with X instead.

    It does work, but it's not for everyone/everything, some things just aren't worth the effort, though as the software/systems to automate get easier/better understood, I think more things will come into this methodology, because it eats ITIL for breakfast - if done well... Otherwise it sucks

  6. HmmmYes

    I have a more cynical explanation of the rise of DevOps.

    Most large orgs Ops have been outsourced, to India, to IBM, to fcknows.

    Ops have changed from supporting internal IT to doing as little as possible, for as much as possible, for another company. It does not help that the outsourcer may not be staiing the Ops with competent people.

    DevOps has come as as the only people with computers and the ability to change and commission new software based services are the developers - assuming theyve not been outsourced too.

    So, you are sitting in an org where the IT/software - the core of most companies these days - has been outsourced to a 3rd party who will only do something different and/or new if both CEOs sign off and pays ££££££s.

    Fcked arnt we?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

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