Cost Of Outsourcing To Cheap Engineers

True Cost of Outsourcing Cheap Software Engineers

Poorly written code was a matter of life and death to Boeing.

Touching on the topic of hiring cheap developers and how devastating it can be to a company. Let’s take a look at the Boeing incident.

Boeing thought they were smart when they replaced $80/hr software engineers with $9/hr ones.

Leadership at Boeing made the decision to hire and outsource to cheaper engineers who lacked experience in Aerospace.

For some developers they were paying as low as $9/hr.

It seemed like a good decision. Paying someone $9/hr instead of $50-$80/hr does make it a compelling case. That’s what the leadership thought, a shrewd business decision.

Until it wasn’t!

Turns out, when the Boeing’s 737 Max crisis did happen and investigation took place, bad code was the culprit. It was due to the basic software mistake.

Engineers wrote bad code and failed testing.

So the issue was with the computer chip that lagged behind in emergency response when it was overwhelmed with data.

How many innocent people died?

How about the people who are directly related to those who have died in the crash?

It’s too much to fully comprehend, and the worst part, there is nothing Boeing can do to get those lives back.

That is how devastating a poorly written code can be to an enterprise no matter the size.

“Cheapskate pays twice.”

“Knowledge Workers”

Software engineers fall under the category of “knowledge workers”.

Meaning that, as an employer, you are paying for their intellectual abilities in particular field, which is programming. When assessing technical talent, non-software engineering folks have a harder time understanding the difference between having to pay $30/hr versus $100/hr.

To a hiring manager, HR, or a recruiter the clear winner seems to be obviously the $30/hr candidate.

Why pay someone extra $70/hr if both of them will do the same stuff?

Plus, how can someone really know the difference between the 2?

That’s the achilles heel for many companies who view software engineering department in this light.

Since a non-technical folk cannot understand the difference between the two, cannot quantify their output, and does not understand what to look for between these candidates, who do you think they will go with?

They will go with the choice that’s obvious to them. On average, the highest-paid engineer gets paid 2X more than the lowest.

All the while, the engineer gets work done 10X better than the worst.


This output compounds and spirals. It spirals in whichever way you sailed the ship.

  • Sail towards 10X engineering talent, and you get world-class software with loyal, die-hard customers.
  • Companies hire cheap developers ⇒ cheap developers write bad code ⇒ bad code turns into buggy software ⇒ customers unhappy ⇒ businesses lose profit and customers.


And in case of Boeing, it compounded to the point of no return.

It caused 100s of innocent lives.

Don’t be a company that is cheapskate when it comes to software engineers.

Want to attract better software engineers to your company?

Click here to read more about it. 

Scroll to Top