According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, programming careers continue to have a promising job outlook. Programmers are looking at a 24% projected growth from 2016 to 2026. According to Glassdoor, entry-level programmers are earning between $43K and $84K.
How do you ensure you get paid more than the average entry-level programmer? Preparation is key, as well as knowing your own worth. For recent graduates, experts at https://www.negotiations.com/ can assist you in assessing your value and selling your skills. Here are four smart tips for preparing to negotiate your first salary offer.
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Research Programmer Pay Packages
Obtaining salary information isn't always easy. Many professionals shy from revealing their pay to colleagues. Though, if you do have a close friend working a similar job, it may be worth asking them about their salary—with discretion.
Search the internet for discussion forums specific to programmers. Anonymous forum members are more likely to reveal information about their pay than colleagues. The answers you receive may reveal a ballpark figure you can set as your lower range. However, pay attention to factors like seniority of position and location of company to guide the figure you come to.
To get to your preferred number, you might start with the lower range number then keep adding $5K to the figure. When you reach a point that makes you feel optimistic about your future career, consider using that number as your preferred salary to inform your decision-making. Similarly, working backwards in 5K steps can help you establish the minimum amount you would accept.
Understand Your Value
Companies hire based on the perceived value they stand to gain. It can be useful, therefore, to take on a sales mindset when it comes to presenting your value. Your value includes your technical skills and people skills. Your prospective employer will be assessing:
- Your experience in the employer's technology stack.
- Your experience in project management and delivery.
- Which languages, technologies, and libraries you will study over the next 12 months.
- Your experience working well within teams or on your own.
- Your abilities in relating to non-technical staff, managers, and stakeholders.
- Your appetite and potential for taking on managerial responsibilities.
Prepare to prove your worth against each of these values and to sell the employer on what gives you the edge over other candidates. The stronger you are perceived, the more you are likely to push salary boundaries. Take a negotiation class or talk to one of your friends to practice demonstrating your value. A simulation can boost your ability to show how much your skills can benefit the company.
Use Anchoring to Your Advantage
If the interview goes well, then your interviewer might ask about your expectations. The interviewer may want to know how much you are looking for.
Your answers to these questions might set the expectation for the current offer. In sales and other negotiation scenarios, the initial figure on the table can become the anchor that the negotiation revolves around. It’s important, therefore, to give the right figure.
For instance, if you state that you expect at least $43K and you weren’t aware the company had expected to offer $60K, the company will likely lower their offer. The $43K has acted as an anchor to guide the interviewer on what to offer, despite the interviewer thinking they would offer more initially. So, opt for a higher figure than you think you might receive to avoid discussions being anchored to a lower number.
The anchor also sets the margins for bargaining your salary. If you ask for $45K, then the recruiters may feel comfortable offering $40K. Offering $30Kwill seem like an insult, while offering $70K might seem overly generous.
When asked what salary you expect, depending on the culture of thecountry you’re in, state a figure 15% higher than your preferred salary. Avoid going too high, as the interviewer may decide your expectation doesn't align with their payment policies and end the interview right then.
As a programmer, there's more to your compensation than the paycheck. Research and find out what other programming professionals in your area of expertise and skill level get as perks and benefits. For instance:
- Can you work from home?
- Willa phone and computer be provided or subsidized if you can work from home?
- Are your work hours flexible?
- Will there be a mandatory probationary period?
- Will you be eligible for ongoing training classes?
- How many vacation days and sick days are you eligible for?
- What kind of medical and insurance cover can you expect?
- Does the employer offer equity and stock options for employees?
Most entry-level programmers may view salary negotiations as too much hassle with little chance of success. Yet, not negotiating may result in a pay package and earning trajectory you’re unmotivated by.
Prepare for negotiations by researching industry standards to know how much to ask for. Make sure you consider what perks would be beneficial as part of your pay packet. Boost your confidence and sell your skills effectively by being aware of your value to the company.