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One thing I've learned from this website is that software developers are not treated the same as what I've seen in the companies I've worked at, and some of the differences seem to be related to the culture or other factors of the geographical location where the programmer works. In some areas, it seems like programmers can expect many perks and a great deal of professional respect, but in others it sounds like programmers are seen as laborers who are told what to do and then should go do it without question. Even in just the USA, there seem to be major differences in "the norm" between the various regions of this country. I'm wondering how much of this is just my perception, and how much is real differences about how programmers are perceived in their different locations.

Is there any research out there discussing major differences in programmer work environments or attitudes about how to treat or respect programmers by geography? I'd be interested in multiple articles tackling different ways of looking at this.

Edit: Research, specifically, doesn't seem to be available, so I'm making the question broader. Any good, thoughtful writing on the topic of any kind available?

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+1: This is a good question. I've only seen spotty work done on the different experiences women have in IT as opposed to men, but I don't recall seeing anything the was geo-based. –  Peter Rowell Jun 28 '11 at 21:39
    
+1: My experience is this is quite accurate, and I have a lot of anecdotal data, but haven't seen any studies. –  Bob Murphy Jun 28 '11 at 22:06
    
I have noticed that the bigger density of programmers and software companies the better perks software developers have. I think it is because of competition between companies. –  Vadym Stetsiak Jun 28 '11 at 22:56
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From personal experience, I can say flat out that Japan is a horrible place for a programmer. –  cespinoza Jun 29 '11 at 0:04
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Where the demand for programming talent noticeably exceeds the supply, and the local companies hiring programmers are profitable (or otherwise well funded), the perks and respect tends to be better. –  hotpaw2 Jun 29 '11 at 0:54
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Good question. I started looking around for some research, but as Bob said above most of what I found is anecdotal.

You may find this thread informative. In includes users from Holland, Vietnam, Pakistan, Lithuania, and Colombia:

http://www.astahost.com/info.php/What39s-Life-Programmer-Country_t9103-0.html

I hope that helps!

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Thanks, this is more than I was able to find. –  Ethel Evans Jun 28 '11 at 23:53
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Well, that was a different read. It would be interesting to see more current comments like along that line. Would this make for a good community wiki topic for PSE? Something that could be built up over a period of time ... –  Peter Rowell Jun 29 '11 at 0:02
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Nice find. :) Would it be possible for you to summarize some of the information given in that link? Just in case it ever goes down or becomes otherwise inaccessible. –  Anna Lear Jun 29 '11 at 2:37
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From my experience, this seems somewhat based around the structure and purpose of the company.

At a previous job, it was primarily a software company (we wrote and sold software), and about 1/2 the employees in the building were developers. We were fairly well respected, and it was understood that "we make the things you sell; you need us". There was a good amount of respect from management and 'the business' in general. In contrast, at another job, the IT staff wrote some applications for internal use, but it was primarily a sales company. The sales staff were kings, because they were the revenue stream. IT was the complete bottom of the barrel. No one cared who we were or what we did or what we thought, as long as we kept the system/database/email up and running. Otherwise, the IT staff was secluded to a corner of the building, and generally ignored.

So, I would say it largely depends on how influential programmers are to the revenue stream of the company, and if the company is a technology/software company.

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Sounds like a good research topic for a graduate thesis. Unfortunately to research this properly would account for measuring tens of different measures of job quality and a sufficient sample size will need to be obtained for each geographical location being tested.

Polls would be good informally but they are notoriously unreliable and people will tend to conflate or exaggerate their answers.

Further there are tens of thousands of different geo-graphical regions in the world, different cultures, laws, there are just too many factors IMO.

It certainly is a case for the soft-sciences like sociology, or macro-economics. Either way if you are ambitious, try setting up your own polls on one of the multitude of poll sites and see what kind of data you are able to collect.

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Not sure but I know in Florida there seems to be a lot of the "just do what you're told" type of people, although that's also due to my area being filled with small Mom-and-Pop type companies that have a sense of entitlement and a "plantation" mentality, so it probably goes hand in hand.

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