Software engineers think they're amazingly great, study says

In research performed by Chef, 91 percent of software engineers think they're the most valued employees at their company. It makes one wonder about the other 9 percent.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

He thinks a lot of himself? Fortune screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

They suffer.

They work every hour that they're not dreaming of working every hour.

They're misunderstood beyond all reason. Worse, those who know nothing try to tell them how to do their jobs.

I thought all engineers felt this way.

I may be mistaken. This may not be the case with software engineers.

For it seems that almost all of them think they're the most wonderful, most clever, most indispensable people in the world.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but only by a few percentage points.

You see, Re/code has sent me toward a piece of research performed by code automation company Chef.

It surveyed 1,000 software engineers just last month, in order to glean the survival instincts of society's new drivers.

One finding moved me into beating my head with a vacuum cleaner and howling: "Why wasn't I smart enough to become a software engineer?"

You see, 91 percent of software engineers believe they're the most valued people at their company. "Without us," they seem to feel, "the whole of capitalism will grind to a halt like a coalless steam engine."

For one small second, I wondered about the 9 percent who imagined that, say, the CEO, the CFO, or the catering department were the most valued employees.

But I focused again on how wonderful it must be to know software. If this research is to be believed (and I see no reason that it should be any more or less believable than any other research), the average software engineer plans to stay at his or her company for nine years.

It surely can't take that long for options to vest, can it?

More than half believe they'll be millionaires some day. Presumably, within nine years of starting their current jobs.

Sixty-nine percent of these modest beings are sure that their jobs are recession-proof. And a clear-thinking 82 percent say they're more satisfied with their jobs than their non-software engineering counterparts.

You might think I am merely exaggerating the vast egotism of these princely beings. How, then, to explain that 63 percent of them are convinced that they have more power to change society than, say a fine public speaker?

Oh, to see US Election Campaign 2016 featuring only software engineers. This would surely be an improvement on party nomination debates such as Romney-Bush-Ryan or Clinton-Someone Else-Someone Else.

This would be must-see TV and online news.

Despite being mere employees right now, 93 percent of software engineers say they feel "empowered to suggest changes to business processes, products or services."

I cannot find reference to how many of these suggestions are acted upon, but I feel sure it's at least 103 percent.

I know I am painting software engineers a little one-sidedly. This is merely because I wish I could write all those numbers and letters all day.

So let me redress the balance by declaring that despite being the world's new power class, they still have time to give back. This research reveals that the average software developer contributes 50 hours a week to volunteering.

No, wait. That's 50 hours a year.

Still, I feel like a software engineer having to add all these numbers to my letters. So please let me leave you with one last result from this magical, and possibly revolutionary, piece of research.

Ninety-four percent of software engineers believe they will be "a revolutionary influence in major segments of the economy during the next five years."

The revolution will be televised, digitized and, no doubt, sanitized.

But will it also be mechanized?