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Here in the USA, employees who are software developers are typically paid an annual salary, or less often, an hourly salary. Here, I'm referring to W-2 employees, not contractors.

As well-paid employees, employers expect software developers to deliver the goods.

I would like to ask those of you who have worked under both annual salary and hourly salary pay schedules, does working under one schedule or the other affect expectations from employers? Does it affect the work in any other meaningful way?

My thought is that if I were a hiring manager, for better or for worse, I would look at employees' cost and productivity differently.

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closed as not constructive by jcmeloni, Mark Booth, Chad, gnat, JB King Feb 22 '13 at 22:30

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Most hourly workers get overtime, most companies don't want to pay it, so they don't get asked to work it unless it is actually critical. They have fewer compunctions about asking salaried workers to work more than 40 hours.

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I have heard this before. I was wondering if employers may be more demanding of hourly employees in terms of what they expect them to accomplish during their hourly work. – Daniel Allen Langdon Feb 22 '13 at 21:04
Daniel, I think most managers have no idea who on a team is contributing what in terms of moving a feature or product forward. For instance, one team member may write many features in a short period of time, but they're all buggy and hard to maintain, whereas another team member may be the one who goes in and cleans all that up. Who accomplished more? So I think many managers shy away from making comparisons between team members. – Amy Blankenship Feb 23 '13 at 3:00

That is a really difficult question to answer because the answers is simply "it depends." It will vary greatly from company to company, department to department, manager to manager, and even down to the colleague you're sitting next to.

As somebody who has worked as a consultant on both salary and hourly basis, I can be the first to tell you it makes no difference between whether I worked salary or hourly, it all came down to the project manager and the company culture.

You will feel more pressure if you have a crappy project manager (PM), you will feel less pressure if you're working with a PM who knows his/her stuff. Any project manager worth his/her salt will know how to properly estimate development of any given feature and consequences of such features based on their development methodology, historical develvery experience, and team capabilities. Most people forget to allocate enough testing time, and if they do, they don't allocate enough time to fix the problems found during testing. Thus, finding project managers who are aware of these problems are far and few inbetween unfortunatley.

If a reputable company hires you hourly, chances are you're going to end up with a good project manager since they probably have already (accurately) estimated how much time a project will take to complete, and did a cost-benefit analysis and decided to pick you up hourly. In most cases, it means less developmental hurdles than salary actually. However, if a reputable company hires you hourly, and you're finding that you're working overtime constantly, consider looking inwards for a problem.

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