This is a two part question; firstly, does anyone out there have some insight as to why PHP contract developers would be available at a much lower rate than their .NET counterparts (around a 30% premium for the Microsoft guys)? I have some theories relating to ease of learning and cost of tools and servers but would like to get some feedback from other people.
Secondly, what is the impact of this on total project cost and ongoing maintenance? Generally speaking, would you consider the total effort for a typical website build similar for the two or does one technology impose a premium time wise?
I think this also has something to do with the nature of the clients.
PHP (this is a BIG genralisation!) projects tend to for small web sites for smallish companies, - or -, mega web sites for companies whose main business is web based. In both cases development is a major cost which must be kept down if profits are to be made, they choose LAMP stacks because the costs are lower and they choose php because the rates are lower.
.NET projects tend to be for large corporations. Development costs are not thier main concern (indeed they often pay way over the top to ensure that software development does not delay the rest of the project). Also they expect more than just a coder for thier money. A knowledge of some formal method (RUP etc.), business domain experience, and numerous other technical skills (SQL, CORBA, SOAP etc. ) are expected.
Contract rates are driven by supply, demand and fashion. They have very little to do with the difficulty or skill level required. For years one of the highest paying gigs has been implementing SAP - where the key skill for a SAP developer is the ability to withstand the mind numing tedium.
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