5 Proven Tips To Raise Your Salary As A Developer

how to negotiate salary raise as a software developer

You know how stressful asking for a raise can be. You’ve been quite a long time now in the company, and you feel you deserve a raise.

You have performed as expected, and even over-delivered in some projects.

But you have only received a pat in the back, and back to the keyboard. Depressing. At this point, many developers don’t even ask for a raise, they prepare for an interview and try to change jobs

You gather the courage to ask for a raise, and you finally ask for a raise to your boss. Usually, the conversation goes something like this:

YOU: Hi boss, I’d like to know if you could give me a raise. I’ve been here for quite a few time, I’ve performed flawlessly, there are no complaints regarding my work and I think I deserve it.

BOSS: I understand. We’ve been already tweaking salaries these past months, we’ll have to wait until the end of the year to check and see what we can do.
The company is not going through the best of times right now and we cannot raise your salary that much. Nonetheless, we are extremely happy with you and we don’t want you to be upset.

YOU: I get it, what can I expect at the end of the year?

BOSS: I can’t guarantee it, but between a 5% and a 10%

YOU: OK, let’s talk at the end of the year then.

Although it may vary a bit in the response and the percentages, the main point will remain the same. You ask for a raise at point blank, and your boss tries to defuse the bomb.

That is the result if you approach your boss unarmed. You are asking a raise in exchange for ‘nothing’, you didn’t brought any points to the table.

It’s like when you asked your parents for money to blow in something crazy because hey, they’re my parents.
You are being a cost in your boss’ eyes. And worse, that cost is not justified in any way. So, why on Earth would your boss give you a juicy raise?

You have to change your position in this battle. You have to do some research and try to get your boss to see you as an investment.
This doesn’t necessarily involve having to improve your current skill set, although that is always useful.

5 Key Tips To Get A Salary Hike

Here Are 5 Tips That Will Give You Ammunition When You Ask For A Raise:

  • List The Top 3 Things You’ve Been Working On The Past 6 Months

    There must be 3 projects you have done or are currently in the making that are critical for the company.
    Those projects where you played an important role, especially if you developed a part out of the blue that made the whole project faster, better or weight less.
    Write down your contribution on those projects, it will be priceless in short.

  • Look For Opportunities

    There are literally tons of opportunities for a developer. You are getting bombarded with them daily.
    What? You don’t see them. That’s fine.

    Try to look for annoyances. Try to look for the $%*#” thing everybody complains about, and no one takes care of.

    Those are the gold mines.

    There must be at least 3 things that are dragging the team and no one dares to touch. Sometimes, they seem like minor things.

    For example, removing a step in a process that gets done close to 100 times a day can really have an impact.

    Write down at least 3 failures you have detected.

  • Write Down Quick Solutions

    Now it’s time to visualize how would you tackle those failures. You don’t want to code anything yet.
    Do not waste any time coding. DON’T.

    You just want to make sure you can solve it without having to flip the whole company. A quick sketch would give you a rough idea of how hard would it be to solve it.

    This is something you will execute if your boss gives you the raise.

  • Quantify The Time You Save

    This is key. I cannot emphasize it enough.

    For each failure you can correct, try to make a conservative estimate of the time you are going to save to the company.

    The big winners here are the problems that affect the whole company. If it is a process that 5, 10, 2
    0 people have to suffer daily and many times a day, chances are you are likely to save tons of hours.

    This also applies to your current projects. Try to estimate the savings of your work. It is likely that you have developed something that wasn’t in the brief that makes your life easier, and the life of your colleagues too.

  • Translate It To Money

    Once you have an estimate on how much time you can save to the company, it is time to translate that to money.

    Are you able to save more than 1000 work hours to the company? At, let’s say, $10/hour, you are saving $10.000 to the company.

    There is a weird psychological blockage here; this is the same principle that applies to the commercial department, and everyone understands and agrees here.

    Can you make $X to the company? Ok, you’ll get a percentage out of that.

    But somehow, we don’t see the developer role like that. And developers have the skills to solve those kinds of things each and every day.

    So, why should you stick to that if you are a great developer?


Now you have a full pack of ammunition to build a proposal. You know how much you are worth and how much you can add to the company. If you are able to add $50.000 to the company, it is much reasonable to ask for a raise of $10.000 or a much better benefit package.

And, even more importantly, you can prove it. You are now in a much great position to negotiate. Ask for a meeting, present your proposal and ask for a nice raise!

Nacho Llacer, a former developer and marketer located in Spain, teaches developers on how to get a raise on his blog High Salary Developers

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