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Why Developers Should Organize Themselves

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Web developers are perhaps the most critical creative key to the technical future of our planet. I should know as I’ve been a web developer for five years. That may not seem like a very long but in that time but the entire development industry changes significantly every year.

In these past five years I’ve seen alot of things and built my own site call In fact UnionBase was my first prototype just 4 years ago and is now a real contender for best site in the Labor Movement and is a source of progress, education and entertainment. If one person learning to build a website can do that for a movement that has been under attack for 50 years, what else could be done with a legion of progressive  web developers?



There’s just one problem. Web developers are often overworked and exploited and thus burn out very quickly. For those reasons I only half heatedly took serious the idea of being a full time web developer for a company. When I decided to take development serious as a potential career path I taught myself back-end PHP and the Laravel Framework and took a class in Front End Development at General Assembly. It was then that I realized being a new Web Developer takes much more than a formal education.

I worked diligently to find a position as a web developer before taking a very much underpaid part-time position at a progressive tech firm in DC as Junior web developer, a position that typically starts at $80,000 in a city like D.C. I wouldn’t say that the employer was necessarily trying to underpay me. It’s that they were very small with only two employees and two owners, so it’s likely they had to keep costs low to stay afloat.

Though small firms like the one I worked for are quit a bit different, the solution for millions of developers who are overworked and lacking professional freedom at larger firms would be for them to be represented by unions. In this series, Why Creatives Need Unions we’ll be focusing on the reason that Developers, UX/UI designers and others should be represented by unions and how they can make that happen.  We’ll also be dispelling misinformation about unions in places like Tech Crunch  in addition to exposing exploitation by companies like Apple and Google that can be stopped by developers embracing the power of the Labor Movement.

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Larry Williams

Written by Larry Williams

A web developer and startup owner based in Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

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