I’m from Romania. A place where you can easily guess that salaries are low. I think the average is about $500 a month (personal estimate only).
In the last couple of years there has been an invasion of small sized companies from the better world that do development here because the people are so cheap.
I also happen to live in a rather small city, with few IT companies. The salaries are one third of what’s considered normal in the Capital and there is no real work done. I’m actually a low-level programmer with experience in UNIX world, Windows world and embedded world. I happen to prefer the UNIX world.
I can’t work at local companies because besides the fact that they don’t develop real applications, most of the people working there are clueless. I mean less then 30% of the companies use version control. You can’t do real development unless you are using a version control system – even an old, limited system like cvs.
People working there are the kind of people that don’t care about warnings, as long as the code compiles. The build logs literally have millions of warnings in them and nobody cares.
Because I can’t find any place to work in my town, I tried to find somewhere to work remotely. I mean real work, not Rent-A-Coder and such. Somehow, I wasn’t able to accomplish that either because from my experience companies are not looking for expert people that know what they are doing. Companies are looking for cheap code monkeys that don’t really need to think and don’t really know how to do programming properly. I have yet to find a place where somebody would hire me for my knowledge and expertise.
Next step was to find projects on Rent-A-Coder. I did that until recently and have a few thoughts to share:
Most people are looking for poor quality, fast to implement hacks than real software products. That is because people that are interested in quality software don’t come to freelance sites like RAC in the first place.
The work is severely underpaid. I am talking about 5 to 10 times less than it should be. This should not surprise anyone – that is why people post projects on those sites in the first place.
People don’t know what they want. I find this very hard to believe, but it is true. They have vague specs. If they don’t really know what they want, why are they posting in the first place? I mean how can the software be of any use to them?
Almost all programmers I’ve interacted there with are clueless and with very limited English skills. Hey, don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against non-English speaking people, but non-English speaking people are incapable of providing documentation.
Programmers make poor quality software not only because they are inexperienced, but also because there is no real relationship between the buyer and the seller. In the worst case you can pretend you died and nobody knows anything about you any more. People are not motivated to do high quality work.
A lot of buyers are scamers and trick you to do interaction outside of the web site, so that when they get a copy of the product they cancel the product and don’t pay you anymore. Last year I did work worth of $7,500 and never been paid. Even if you give them a reduced functionality demo, they cancel the product and hire another programmer for 10% of the price they promised you, to finish the rest of the project. Unfortunately, the documents you sign protect the buyer and not the programmer.
People what stupid, or impossible things.
People want a certain problem solved in a certain way. If you hired me in the first place, let me do the thinking for you. It is very likely that I know much more than you in that field. In 95% of the cases, the way you want to solve the problem is completely wrong, dangerous and insecure.
Because of this issues I no longer work on freelance sites. But hey – now I don’t have a job.