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I am a web developer with about 4 years of relevant work experience in my field. Recently, I went from making $30/hr working from home contracting for large companies to a full time job that only pays 40k/yr. The company I work for now is great, nice people, but a little behind the times.

I joined on with very little experience in development but they put me in charge of some important tasks right away, so I had to go in head first and pick up skills right away. Which is great, I'm happy I learned more of that, and really make good time when doing these tasks now. However, I'm now doing most of their advanced SQL stuff.

The day I started, another employee who was running another project based in an uncommon programming language put in his two weeks. Two weeks later, I'm the only one who knows how to use, access, modify, or update this project. It's quite a large responsibility for an "entry level dev", no?

I am doing highly advanced development for them to modernize their forms, webpages, amongst other things, a skill that I would most entry level developers would not be able to do as well.

I may be wrong, but I feel that what I'm making now is not acceptable. We don't have reviews, ever, so I can't just wait for that. I want to be paid more and I'm not sure how to bring it up; how can I make this happen?

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Jun 12 '12 at 13:51

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

marked as duplicate by gnat, ReallyTiredOfThisGame, jcmeloni, Monica Cellio Jun 30 at 21:54

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You declined benefits that were offered? Might be a good bargaining chip when asking for higher pay if you didn't already get higher pay when you declined. –  Rarity Jun 12 '12 at 14:07
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There are 10s of thousands of people that know how to manage Drupal sites, same with JQuery plugins, they aren't magic, as for the MVC thing, I can't believe it is dark magic either. PHP is a low payer, plain and simple. I think you are over estimating your criticalness, only way know is ask them. Use this as a learning exercise, learn how to recognize this type of company and not get in this situation in the future. –  Jarrod Roberson Jun 12 '12 at 14:19
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@LagWagon: How big is the company? In some companies it's not unusual for the few programmers there are to do EVERYTHING. Not all companies can justify a full team of IT staff with clearly separated roles such as Programmer, DBA, QA Tester, Analyst, UI Designer, Build & Deployment Manager, etc... If they have a small shop, be prepared to wear many hats! This could be a good thing for you though, as it will expose you to many more technologies and activities than if you were in an isolated role in a much larger department. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jun 12 '12 at 14:21
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@JarrodRoberson That is true and I'm not doubting this. What I'm saying is this feels beyond the expectations of an entry level dev w/ no experience in any field. –  LagWagon Jun 12 '12 at 14:39
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Unfortunately i am in the other group of "being paid more than I would like" so can't help. –  Michael Durrant Jun 12 '12 at 15:02

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Make a case to them that your skill set has expanded and that you are now taking on additional repsonsibilities and thus deserve a raise. Right after someone else has left is often a good time to do this because they have money available in the budget.

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@LagWagon: They have no performance review process? I guess they like to keep things very informal, which probably means that it's up to the employer or employee to open up such conversations when they feel it is appropriate. Good luck! –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jun 12 '12 at 15:03
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@LagWagon - Well it is the future now. I personal feel you should ask for the increase in wage. I would also look for a different job since they seem to have a problem with paying people to low and are losing employees ( perhaps because they are not paying them enough ). You have a great deal of the power at this point, because you could walk, and they would lose all their internal knowlege. –  Ramhound Jun 12 '12 at 15:13
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@HLGEM: no, he shouldn't stay a year. If he gets a better offer, then his short tenure didn't matter. –  kevin cline Jun 12 '12 at 15:25
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If you think they would fire you for asking politely for a pay raise, then don't stay a year, start looking right now. –  HLGEM Jun 12 '12 at 15:25

A company will very rarely volunteer a raise if they don't have some kind of standard process to give raises, so if you want one you have to ask for one

I was in a similar situation a few years ago, where I felt like I was being underpaid and wanted a raise, but really didn't know how to go about it. After a bit of research and getting some advice, here is what I ended up doing:

  • First, research what the current salary rate is for your location, job position, and level of experience

    There are many different salary websites out there that can help you out with that, however keep in mind that some of them include benefits in the salary shown, so the actual dollar amount you'll want to ask for is probably less

  • Next, determined what salary you want to ask for. This is often different than the figure found in the first step depending on your benefits, position in the company, and the company itself.

    I have a related question on this site which may help you out: How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for?

  • Once you know what you want, contact your supervisor and asked for a brief meeting to discuss your salary.

    The reason for asking for a meeting instead of asking directly for a raise is because it gives your supervisor time to think it over and do any research he/she may want to do first.

  • When you do sit down to talk with your supervisor, be concise and tell him up front what your research revealed, and what you want.

    When I sat down to talk with my supervisor, the first question he asked was how much I wanted, so I gave him a very brief summary of my research and told him what I wanted. I think it was something like "I did some research and most .Net developers in this area with X years of experience make between A and B a year, so I was hoping you would raise my salary to C"

    I was very nervous since I had never done something like this before, but it worked out great and I got what I was looking for :)

In your specific case, you can also bring up the added responsibilities you have as an extra bargaining chip. Perhaps your original salary was good for an entry-level programmer, however if you're taking on the full programming workload then you should not be getting paid as an entry-level programmer.

One other thing to keep in mind is the company may be looking to hire another developer to replace the one that just left, and a salary raise for you may impact the quality of developer they hire.

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I'd ask my superior if they're replacing the experienced employee.

Work tends to ebb and flow in software development and you wouldn't expect less money during a slow period, would you?

As long as you're not getting put under pressure to do a lot of unpaid overtime, I'd give them a chance to reform their team to meet your original expectations.

They might be hoping to lean on you for the rest of the life of the business, but you'll never know unless you ask.

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