Velocidad de Escape

Among my many pending tasks I had this one, writing a post talking about how difficult or impossible it is to be an Individual Collaborator in LATAM, but well, I finally decided, this may be an unpopular opinion, but in the end, it is my opinion…

When I started studying programming, I really didn’t know that many years later that would end up being my profession; I was about 14 years old and I liked to test things that I saw on internet forums ( for example. That was how it all started…

Python was the first language I learned, although PHP was starting to take off and become more and more popular.

I remember that I started as a junior developer in a local development agency, we developed portals and websites using Joomla and WordPress, there were no roles like we have now, we were software engineers, we did practically everything, backend (PHP, MySQL), frontend (JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS), devops (SVN 😅, git was not very popular in the agency), even designers sometimes. A couple of years later everything changed, I was hired by a multinational company and now I am dedicated only to being a frontend (JavaScript, Backbone, jQuery, HTML, CSS/SASS).

This completely changed the development industry, we already began to become specialists instead of generalists, which I think is great, that way we could focus on what we really liked and were passionate about, in my case it was circumstantial, when I was finishing I didn’t know what I was going to do after graduation, but in the agency I had been in contact all the time with frontend technologies, so it was what I knew how to do.

In ~2012-2013 there was a boom in Colombia, many companies began to arrive in the country to open operations, the vast majority of these companies work under the nearshore/offshore model.

Nearshore refers to outsourcing to a nearby foreign country with similar time zones.

The reason for this is very simple, the geographical location of the country is ideal for companies located in the United States to subcontract people, obviously at a lower price and with an excellent USD/COP ratio.

This, to a certain extent, works very well for both employees and the employer, it works very well at low levels, from junior to senior perhaps, the problem starts when you think, now what? what’s next after being a senior? Well, with these companies the career path is restricted to the company’s own needs, that is, you are forced to assume more (team lead, engineer manager, etc etc etc) responsibilities or never advance and this is because the companies are due to your clients, then the only way to get more dollars for you, is to show that you are capable of having more responsibilities managing people… (Not a generalization).

In other words, there is no room for us, who are focused and want to be individual contributors (In fact, most recruiters don’t even know that this role exists).

In order not to take too long, I would like to show a little what the role consists of:

“Individual contributors” are generally technical experts or highly specialized professionals in a specific field of work. Instead of directing and managing the work of others, they focus on executing projects, solving problems, and delivering concrete results.

This role can vary by industry and organization, but in general, the responsibilities of an “individual contributor” may include:

  • Contribute to the development of strategies and work plans.
  • Conduct investigations and analysis to solve complex problems.
  • Design and develop products, systems or technical solutions.
  • Create and maintain technical documentation and user manuals.
  • Collaborate with other team members and provide guidance and technical expertise.
  • Participate in meetings and presentations to communicate progress and results.

I believe that all companies should give more value to this role instead of pretending that everyone is a manager…

Andres Bedoya

About Andrés Bedoya

JavaScript software engineer, internet enthusiast and blogger from an early age. He strongly believes in the free culture.

Learn more about Andrés Bedoya