One of the biggest investments in software projects is without a doubt : developers. But are more expensive programmers actually cheaper in the grand scheme of things ? Martin Fowler weighs in on the issue.
On the face of it, this seems a silly question. How can a more expensive resource end up being cheaper? The trick, as it is so often, is to think about the broader picture of cost and value. Although the technorati generally agree that talented programmers are more productive than the average, the impossibility of measurement means they cannot come up with an actual figure. So let's invent one for argument sake: 2. If you can find a factor-2 talented programmer for less than twice of the salary of an average programmer - then that programmer ends up being cheaper. To state this more generally: If the cost premium for a more productive developer is less than the higher productivity of that developer, then it's cheaper to hire the more expensive developer. The cheaper talent hypothesis is that the cost premium is indeed less, and thus it's cheaper to hire more productive developers even if they are more expensive.
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