Please remember that this is about Indian developers. While a $2000 laptop may be 2/5ths of a months salary to the average beginner in the US, it's about four months salary to a fresher in India. It's value as a perk is thus proportionately higher.
This is an evolving post which I will update and refine based upon the feedback I get. Expect it to be vague to start with. I wish posts had versioning, but whatever. Here's the dope.
- Access to cool tech (company issued Core 2 Duo Laptop with a Go 7800GTX/MacBook Pro anyone?)
- International Travel (Per Diem earnings in $ or euros can increase annual income by anywhere between 10% and 100% - or more)
- Stock options (post IPO or pre IPO?)
- Quality of Work
- Choice of technology/domain. For those so inclined, the freedom to switch languages/technologies/domains/projects regularly
- Challenging work - whatever that means to you
- A say in project direction/architecture/technology
- Degree of exposure and learning - New concepts, technologies and ideas. If the organization is home to thought leaders and innovators and they are easily accessible, it's a huge plus
- Work environment
- Politics - the presence or absence of it. Some people thrive on it. Others hate it. I don't know if it is safe to say that developers in general dislike it...
- Management - what does a developer have to deal with in order to get something done? Are the managers former developers or technologists?
- Work timings - I think it's safe to say that flexible is good
- Work hours - how long is a work day? I have plenty of friends who think nothing of 14 hour days. One extreme case does 30 consecutive hours of work several times a month. He is paid the industry standard wage (around Rs. 15000/$350 a month) for a developer in offshore services with one years experience
- Commute - how long does it take and how exhausting is it?
- Location - is the job in a city I like? Do I have to relocate?
- Trust - how much trust exists in the organization. More is better. For example, is it high enough to offer unlimited sick leave to employees trusting them to not exploit it?
- Performance reviews - Who does these? Your manager? Your peers? How transparent is the process? How much visibility do others have into my review?
- Freedom of communication - how easy is it to talk to someone in order to get something done? Do you need to use e-mail even if the guy sits in the next cubicle and is on your project?
- Privacy - How much privacy do you have? As much as you feel you need? Or is it so high that it stifles free communication?
- Comfort - How much attention does the organization pay to developers comfort? Joel Spolsky obviously thinks it's very important. Anyone who has seen the photos of Google offices and pantries which are floating around the net would agree that Google is of a similar opinion
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