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Currently a software developer working for a SAAS company and have been working here for a year while I've been a student finishing my degree. I took this job as it was a higher paying job then what I had previously and allows me to gather work experience in the field while I am still studying. In the next few months I will finally putting on that cap and gown and walking across the stage.

Except I'm not sure how to best go about asking my boss how this affects my salary, as future hasn't been talked about other then this being a permanent solution. I've been very flexible and through all reviews became a large role within the team. The team is relatively small of only 5 people but for example I know if I stepped out today certain pieces would fall apart.

Any advice on how to approach this situation? Currently making half the average for a Chicago junior software developer.

Also, what could be the optimal time to ask for this? and as well should I apply to other jobs and create a plan "B" before I ask for a raise

  • I think it depends on what you are currently earning. If you are earning a good graduate salary as it is, then maybe you won't be seen as deserving of a raise as you already have an appropriate salary. Would you say this is the case? In addition, I would say that it cannot possibly hurt to apply for other jobs since you are coming up for graduation anyway. – stuart stevenson Feb 12 '18 at 22:08
  • Currently as it started with somewhat of an intern position, it's around half of what an average junior software developer makes in the area. – Nick Feb 12 '18 at 22:09
  • In that case I would look around for other jobs, applying for the ones that interest you. You can then find out roughly what you are worth and then speak to someone about getting what you're after. – stuart stevenson Feb 12 '18 at 22:29
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Key pointers of what I can suggest you do in this situation:

  1. It is best if you always have other job options in mind. Not only is better seen in the eyes of recruiters, but is also the safe way to go if you plan go renegotiate your contract (and you don't get your raise). I suggest you update your resume to include your academic degree and look for those backup options.

  2. If you are unsure of what the future of that role would be, ask your boss. For this I suggest a one-on-one meeting with him/her, so you can share your new achievement and discuss your questions about your professional future.

    Remember to have done (1.) before attempting to negotiate, so you have somewhere to go if it all goes South, and also as vantage point for your negotiation (believe me, you will be much calmer knowing you have a backup that if you didn't).

    Also, if you are going to ask for a raise (thus feel underpaid), consider checking this useful post for more advice: How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?

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If I were you, I'd not ask for the raise. I'd just quietly look elsewhere for jobs. But I'm risk averse to a fault.

The ideal way to handle this is to decide on a priority list. Do you see yourself working here long term? What do you think about working for a start-up vs a big company? What are the prospects of this start-up?

I'll answer the rest of the question with the assumption that you want to continue working here long term.

Option-1: Print out the research you've done and bring it to your manager. Decide ahead of time what you are going to ask for, how you propose to earn it. So something like this would be the summary of what you want him to know:

Boss, based on the market value, my worth is $65,000 to $70,000. Here are the ways I've already provided value to the company. As a student I spent x hours providing value here, and 40-x hours learning. Now with the new degree, I estimate spending y hours providing value and 40-y hours learning. (y should be much closer to 40 than x).

I'd also ask you to think about what you're really asking. This is 2x your current salary, so it is very unlikely that your salary will double. You could insert something about how you aren't asking for $70,000, but something closer to 10% - 20% raise of your current salary, depending on how he responds. I wouldn't open with that, simply because you're only asking for average market value.

Option-2: I'd also start interviewing elsewhere just to test out the market. If you can go to your manager with data to back up the argument, even better. That conversation can look like this:

Boss, I love working for this company, here are the ways I've already provided value to the company. I see a future for myself here. Based the recent interviews I've had, my worth is $65,000 to $70,000, and this is half of my current salary. If you were in my shoes, what would you choose?

With the second option I'd be VERY careful about framing the argument.

In addition to the base salary, I'd ask you to think about bonus compensation, stock-options (remember most start-ups fail) or PTOs, or another option that doesn't cost $$ to the company, but adds value to you.

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