MICHAEL HOUGHTON
Software Entrepreneur & Laravel Developer

How to Deliver Value as a Programmer

20th October 2017

I've been thinking a lot recently about how best one can deliver value as a developer.

There is often a value perception that Software Development is a rinse and repeat exercise - that pass any task onto any developer with a slight bit of experience and that the task will be handled the same way - within the same time.

This couldn't be further from the truth - the reality is that experience goes a long way when it comes to delivering value.

Developers need to spend so much time learning to master the skills needed to become efficient in development.  And that learning needs to be an ongoing thing to ensure that best practices are maintained.  The moment a Developer needs to "learn on the job" any efficiency is usually blown out of the park.

This is why selecting the right developer is so important.  As a client, you need to understand the type of developer that you need.

For example, I had a Recruiter reach out to be yesterday asking if I would be interested in a project involving Symfony.  I had to quietly explain to her that I simply wouldn't be a good asset in this case, because my knowledge of Symfony simply isn't good enough to provide value for the client.

And this is the ongoing catch 22.  Developers want to continue to boost there income by being able to charge a higher hourly rate, yet at the same time need to ensure that they are able to deliver value to the client.

And the difference really is 10 fold.  Yevgeniy Brikman talks about the 10X Developer not being a myth and I strongly agree with him.  And this raises an interesting challenge for clients when asking a Developer what hourly rate they charge - which comes back to value perception - is a Developer who charges $10 an hour better value than a Developer who charges $100 per hour?  The answer is - it depends!

And the real difficultly is, it depends on so many factors.

Lets come back to the Recruiter who wanted me to work on the Symfony project.  Even if I had lowered my rate to $10 an hour - I still wouldn't have been much value!

Yet lets take a client who needs a Developer to work on a Laravel project, who specifically needs someone experienced with MVP Development - now I know I can deliver value.  Why?  Because that is my niche - I would consider myself a Laravel expert and have launched so many MVP applications at this stage that I know exactly what is needed to ensure an application gets to market to both time and budget.

The magic comes back to finding the right match.  For the Developer, be selective over the projects you work on - work only on those projects where you know you can deliver value to the client.  As a client, take your time and be selective.

Lastly, don’t judge a Developer by their hourly rate — if they are a right fit for your organization then they will be worth paying a premium for and will result in your project being delivered for less than if you had hired a cheaper Developer who wasn’t the right fit.


Michael Houghton is a Laravel Developer with 13 years experience specializing in MVP Development for Start Up's.
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