Attention all developers: what you sell in the market are not your coding skills.
Let’s use an extreme example to illustrate: it is 2004, you are Mark Zuckerberg, you are working on something called “The Facebook”, and I offer you $250K a year to code up some software. You must choose. Should you take it? In hindsight, of course not. Not because $250K per year would not have been an amazing compensation package for a kid still in college…you will not take the offer because it would preclude you of pursuing a multi-billion dollar opportunity. There is an opportunity cost to those $250K, no matter how sweet they look.
It is now 2012 and you could have been at Instagram, instead of grabbing that nice Kodak salary. You could have been at OMGPOP instead of on the Electronic Arts payroll. If you are a software developer in the startup scene it is your professional duty to find those bats out of hell and grab on for dear life. If an employer puts a ring on your finger, they are compensating you for the opportunities you are forsaking to do something else. Your coding skills are simply the price of admission. Even if you are pursuing the flat-out best opportunity you can conceive, you could still be doing something else…you are selling the fact you are closing off other options…that is what employers are buying, and you’d better charge for it.