I'm of the opinion that there's no incredibly sensible reasoning which confirms that a higher number of years of experience (always) makes one developer more competent (for most jobs) than other. Before someone starts on me, I perfectly understand the value of having experience and its importance in general, but I'm not biased towards the quantitative usage of it (numbers that people like to attach with themselves). But what I don't understand is why experience becomes the only factor in rating a developer in every compensation decision?
One of the reason of this frustration is the way 'experience' is handled by Human Resources department of a average company. I, for one, extremely hate to negotiate my pay rates with pitifully non-technical HR executives, especially when a non-technical person in front says, your rate is way higher than your number of years of experience. See? they don't care about the proficiency (or productivity) required for job but the number of years of experience, they take casual interviews; get reverse-interviewed and start negotiations relating to length of experience (because they don't know how to negotiate other way). How am I supposed to make that person understand what I can do and what level of productivity I can offer? there's no measurement in competency but a person more experienced would easily win, all because length of experience has become and is increasingly becoming de-facto bargain.
Why many people don't understand that the field of Software development is way too different than most of the fields out there (like manufacturing)? Why they tend to apply their (illogical) rules of thumb to software development realm when they don't even understand software development?
In my career, I've seen many experienced people, people with considerable experience and but not many can even prove their expertise. I also know many many bright people who keep inspiring me, they also have vast experience but I consider they have valuable experience because many have learned from their and other's experiences. I've interviewed many fresh as well as less experienced guys whom I found far better and who can, any day, out-perform those so called experienced professionals. I have always favored the competent than simply experienced, because I know experience isn't the only thing that matters in my field.
It is miserably disappointing how our industry is lead by such nonsense measures of identifying developer's worth. Experience isn't the only thing that makes a developer productive, People!!