Many programmers start out quickly in their careers,
advancing up the ranks, only to find that they have hit the proverbial
glass ceiling which caps their earnings and gives them the choice to
either jump tracks to the management career plan or stay stagnant where
It doesn’t have to be this way though.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can shatter that glass ceiling and keep on advancing.
Why the glass is there
Before we talk about how to break the glass, let’s talk about why the glass is there in the first place.
The big reason most software developers hit an imaginary
ceiling on their income and career advancement is because they stay with
Most people have what I call the herd mentality. It means that you
stick with the herd and you value yourself based on where you fit in the
herd. If you are at the front of the herd, you are doing good. If you
are at the back of the herd, things aren’t looking so good for you—you
are in danger of becoming a hungry lion’s next meal.
The developers at the front of the herd make more money and have
nicer offices, and the ones at the back make less and live in tiny
cubicles, but they are all part of the herd. So, even though there is a
difference in pay from the junior developer to the senior one, there
isn’t much of a difference in pay from one senior developer to another
one, even if one of the senior developers is more valuable and has more
Now, there are a few developer animals out there that break away from
the herd. These developers have figured out that they don’t have to
try and compete to be at the front of the pack, instead they can run on
their own where they don’t have to worry about their position in the
pack, because they can just outrun it.
This is, of course, easier said than done. In fact, I have quite a
bit to say about how to go about doing this and what exactly this means,
but let’s not get into that just yet.
First, I want to break up this example a bit more and apply it to real life.
As software developers, we are acutely aware of our position within
the pecking order. We know which developers are higher up than us and
which ones are lower. We have titles at our jobs which help us to know
But, it is important to remember that the rest of the world
has no idea about which developers have greater skill and can do a
better job, and for the most part, they don’t care—they just see a pack. They see a pack with some developers at the front and other developers at the back.
When an employer hires you for a job, they just want to know where
you are in the pack. Are you at the front? The back? The middle?
They pay you accordingly based on your ranking within the pack.
If you aren’t explicitly standing out far beyond the pack, you are
going to be grouped right in with the pack and paid accordingly. And
once you make it to the front of the pack, you’ve got nowhere to go in
their eyes—you’re already the best.
So, the glass ceiling isn’t there because someone mandated that
software developers shall only make so much money and live in 5 by 5
cubicles. Instead, the glass ceiling is there, because unless
you are doing something extreme enough to differentiate yourself from
the pack completely, you are part of the pack and the pack is always
going to stick together. That means that the average salary of
software developers will be used to determine what the developers at
the front of the pack will be paid, as well as what the developers at
the back of the pack will be paid.
Breaking away from the pack
So, if you want to increase your value as a software developer, your
goal should be to break away from the pack. But, how do you do it?
Let’s start by looking at an example outside of the software development world—the restaurant business.
Suppose you are a cook. There are quite a few cooks in the world.
In fact, each restaurant in the world, whether it be a fast food joint
or an elegant upscale restaurant, needs at least one cook of some sort.
Cooks run in packs. There are low level cooks who don’t make much
money at all. Some of these cooks work at McDonalds or another fast
food restaurant. Some of these cooks work at more reputable places, and
we typically call them chefs instead.
But, you’ll probably find that most high level cooks also cap out
around the same level. That is except for a few that end up having
their own television shows, write books and make millions.
The same is true for musicians. There are quite a few musicians who
are really good and talented, but only a small number of them break away
from the pack to become rock stars. The rest are relegated to the
If I asked you why you honestly think Gordon Ramsey, or Rachael Ray,
or Wolfgang Puck make so much more money than other chefs, what would
You might be first tempted to reply that it is because they are so
much better than other chefs, but we both know that isn’t true. Sure,
they are probably in the top tiers of skill level, but the real reason these celebrity chefs make so much money is precisely because they are celebrities.
They are primarily being paid for their names. There are hundreds of
chefs in the world at a similar skill level, but those hundreds of
chefs are relatively unknown. The same applies for musical talent and
even software development.
Now, I’m not saying you need to become a celebrity to break away from
the pack and advance your career as a software developer, but what you
do need to learn how to do, which most celebrities and famous people
already know how to do, is to market yourself.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a guidebook for software developers on marketing themselves either.
But, that is precisely why I am working on writing one.
Well, more than just writing one. I want to put together a complete
package on marketing yourself as a software developer—with your help of
I’ve been in the industry a pretty long time and I’ve made my share
of mistakes. I got stuck for a pretty long time at my own personal
glass ceiling, until I started to notice how the developers I would read
articles from and see speaking in front of thousands at conferences,
had figured out a way to break away from the herd.
I talked to many of these ultra-successful developers, (I won’t use
the term rock star here, since it is so overused,) and I found out how
they were doing it.
I started applying what I was learning and discovering to my own
career, and it didn’t take long before I was able to really break
through my own glass ceiling and see that there actually was no limit to
the earning potential of a software developer who knows how to market
him or herself.
Since then, I’ve been hired for dream projects at my own
price. I’ve been on numerous podcasts and publications. I’ve created a
successful and popular blog that gets over 100,000 visits a month, and
I’ve gotten countless other opportunities.
Now I want to share the information with you.
I’m putting together the guidebook that I said didn’t exist. The one
that will help you break away from the herd and put your head right
through that glass ceiling.
Only it will be more than just a simple guidebook. I’m
putting together a complete package which will include a complete video
course; several eBooks on topics like how to market yourself, social
networks, professional resume advice, networking; and even some video
interviews with top developers who have already broken away from the
herd themselves and will share their secrets with you.
This isn’t a scam or some marketing mumbo-jumbo, it is real tried and
tested career advice from myself and other software developers who have
figured out how to make their names stand out. The fact that you are reading this post proves that what I am offering works.
Now, this package is still in a pre-release format. I’m actually
preselling it right now—and that’s where I need your help. If what I’ve
talked about here sounds interesting to you and you’d like to make sure
you get this package at a discounted rate, go here now and
you can read more about the package and preorder it. (I’ll also be
giving away a free eBook to everyone that preorders within 24 hours.)
Preordering will help to make sure that this package gets out sooner
and I’d like to get your feedback on what kind of things you’d like to
see in this package.
What are your questions about marketing yourself? I’ll be taking
feedback directly from those developers who are committed enough to
improving their careers to preorder the package, and incorporating it
directly in the course.
So, check it out and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your feedback.