The True Cost of a Full Time Engineer: Got a call from an engineering friend of mine. He just moved to a new city for a new job. He writes firmware for a small company. Reason for the call? He is bored and wondering if we had any projects he could work on. Good engineers love their job and hate just sitting around. This is not an uncommon occurrence – there are a lot of small companies with “bored engineers”. One look at this company’s website and you can understand why. They design a new product about every 5 years. It took him about 2 months to write the code for the new product (why he was hired), and he will start on the next one in 4 years and 10 months – assuming he does not quit before then – which is likely given his current state of boredom. Meanwhile, he is costing the company $250,000 per year (google average cost of engineer – the true cost, not just what they get paid). So, it cost this company $1,250,000 to write this firmware. If they outsourced instead, the cost would have been about $25K, and likely would have resulted in better quality code – he is very good, but one person will never outperform a functional team. I can only imagine what this company could have done with an extra $1.25M. I guess it is one of the reasons our clients seem to be growing so much faster than everyone else.