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I'm currently finishing my internship (graduation) as software engineer and the company has asked me to come work for them after I've graduated. During the internship I developed an iPhone app which is graphically top notch.

I'll be expanding the current app and developing the same app for other platforms. I'll be hired as software engineer, but I know I'll be using my graphic design skills extensively. Would it be OK or wise to negotiate for higher salary? If they would decline, is it then OK for me to refuse to do any graphic/interaction work and insist the currently employed designer should do the work (whom is notably worse)? Should they insist I do the work without getting paid, I'd be willing to walk away.

I'm asking because all new-hires start at the same rate, yet the other programmers/engineers do not have any 'art' skills (and don't need them either).

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Definitely go down the asking more $ route rather than excluding a work domain (graphic design), or worse yet refusing to do related work, within your job responsibilities. –  amphibient Sep 25 '12 at 15:25
    
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Should the Q be "How" Should I .... The obvious answer to the Q as posed is "yes" –  Neuro Sep 26 '12 at 15:22
    
@Hayes: check out the additional answer, sometimes holding off increase can be better. –  Greg McNulty Oct 5 '12 at 22:06
    
I am also a software developer that had an intern job and when it was time to get hired, they hired the other guy because he offered a number that was lower than what I got paid as an intern. –  crh225 Jan 11 '13 at 14:12

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Unless you are going for a large salary increase, let it be (Beatles song, right?).

Sounds like you are able to utilize your right brain and left brain together and are a very well rounded developer, that's awesome! Naturally it sounds like you are doing more than the other engineers.

However, are you completely sure that your engineering skills are as matured as the other engineer (only) developers?

Are you on level with their expertize or do you know a little bit here and there?

If you are completely confident you are working on a much higher level than the rest of the others starting out and are contributing to a different craft as well (UI - art), that could give you enough to make your case.

However, if not completely sure, I would leave it be.

Here is why:

If you are starting out at a higher pay, a lot more is going to be expected of you, can you handle that pressure ? Is it worth the extra money to you ? Would you rather be out with friends or can you stay the extra night shift ?

I would think at this stage you shouldn't let the money be that big a factor. If you are really contributing that much more, you can be sure managers are going to notice and within time, you will be promoted and responsible for a lot, which comes with more pay.

If the negotiation amount is only a little higher - you might benefit more from actually not asking for it.

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If you can make a good justification for asking for more money, then you should ask. The worst they can do is say no, and then you have to decide whether you want the job as they're offering it to you.

I wouldn't go so far as flat-out refusing to do any graphic-design work if you don't get the higher salary you want, because once you're working for them, you're expected to do what you can to make the product and the team successful. Saying that you don't have time to do the graphics work in addition to the development work you're doing is reasonable, but refusing a whole category of tasks that you can perform as "not my job" makes you look like someone who isn't a team player.

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Yes, though be careful about phrasing your justification for deserving a higher salary. If you state that their currently employed designer is worse directly that could backfire on you. There may be various replies that are worth being prepared to see like if they suggest having a performance review at various points would that bring you down or would you hold firm? Just something to consider.


So are you wanting to imply that when you use your graphic design skills the company will think of this as free labor? Seriously? You get paid a wage and part of that is to bring whatever skills you have that the company can use. Do you think many places would let you specify getting paid $x/hour for administrative tasks, $y/hour for programming tasks, and $z/hour for graphic design tasks? I don't know of many places that would work that way as then wouldn't the administrative stuff get the lowest pay since anyone could do that stuff like e-mail and phone calls and regular meetings that aren't using any technical skills?

Some developers wear many hats. I know when I was in my early years of development, I did some technical support, system administration, database administration, network administration in addition to building new systems. This is part of the job, that you'll have the opportunity to do this and that. If you want something more specialized then consider finding companies where your work is sliced so thinly that you only get to do one part of things which would tend to be the bigger companies where the processes are mature and each person takes on a specific role.

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Agree with this. Definitely don't criticize the people they currently have! –  Kelly Tessena Keck Sep 25 '12 at 16:16
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I'd like to add that many people see design as completely subjective, so they won't feel that it's possible for one designer to be "better" and another to be "worse." Also, my experience is that designers without development skills are looked at kind of like floppy puppies, whereas developers are seen like Pitt Bulls, regardless of whether they could do the same or better job as a designer. If you even imply that you don't think that a designer hung the moon, it will be viewed as if a Pitt Bull attacked a floppy puppy. –  Amy Blankenship Sep 26 '12 at 2:36
    
I agree wholeheartedly. I did not mean to imply that I'd like a higher salary because I think I'm better than someone else, nor would I never speak badly about someone else in order to prove my own worth. The reason I'm asking is; as I'll be working on apps most of my time, my graphic design skills come in very handy. I'd ('emotionally') feel bad about the fact that I might end up using a talent and skill other engineers do not possess, yet receive no compensation. As if I would be giving it away for free. Even if only there were a minor compensation, it would be enough to make me feel better. –  r7k Sep 26 '12 at 8:14

Always ask for more money. If you don't, then you set yourself up to not be taken seriously when it's time for a raise in the future, because they know they can keep you on the cheap. Highest paid people in a group are the ones who asked for it. Don't believe if you simply do a great job, you will be rewarded. It doesn't work that way. If you don't ask, then management assumes you are happy with the current situation and aren't looking to improve it. Also, if you are not asking for more money, then it communicates that you are not worth anything more or they might be paying you too much already. People who are worth more ask for more.

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