First of all, let me explain my point: I work as the sole code developer at a small tech company. Since some months ago we have been working with lots and lots of data analysis, which is getting heavier everyday. The computer I work with isn't exactly bad, but it's not optimized for data analysis and performance (with even my home computer processing stuff better). But since I am the only IT professional in the company, it isn't that easy for my employers to realize why sometimes it takes me lots of hours to execute some processes due to computers not working optimally.

Since this is my first job, I'm not very sure if it would be inappropriate to recommend the purchase of a new and more powerful machine. My productivity would certainly increase without having to reinitialize the computer multiple times, but I'm unsure if I should say it directly.


4 Answers 4


It's appropriate and will make you look good. Management uses word and email, they don't need workhorse computers and it's often not obvious to them that other people do.

Hey Boss, I just spent 6 hours today watching my code compile. I make a change which takes four seconds, compile it which takes two minutes, check the result which takes four seconds, then repeat. I'd be like 10x more efficient if I had a workhorse rather than the weakest computer in the office.

My bill rate is something like 75/hour. A computer would cost roughly 10-20 hours of my time so this pays for itself in less than a week.

  • Nice answer. You can also translate the cost of the time you spend waiting around to the cost of the new machine, to really make it plain for them.
    – rath
    Jan 17, 2019 at 16:38
  • 1
    Is XKCD compulsory around here? xkcd.com/303
    – Peter M
    Jan 17, 2019 at 17:30
  • Perfect answer. Just translate your needs to simple cost. Show them the break-even point and how much money they safe just by investing 3k in a very beefy rig. I've done this, now I'm rocking a 64-Core Machine and everything went better then expected for all of us.
    – bam
    Jan 18, 2019 at 12:06
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    Awesome! Talked to boss and we are now studying possibilities. Thank you very much! Jan 18, 2019 at 19:13

It is definitely appropriate. Your computer is your main tool, and if your main tool is not working properly or prevents you from being productive, you should try to improve that.

Contact your direct manager to see what can be done, at least they'll know that your work is slowed due to poor tools. Maybe the change won't be immediate as they'll need to plan the budget for it but the word is out.

I worked in a company where we were only 3 working in IT (in a company of ~30 people) and we aksed new computers so we would be able to work properly. It was granted after we explained the time gained and demonstrated that the current setup was slowing us down.


It is part of your job to make management aware of any impediment to you performing your duties.

It is absolutely appropriate to inform them of the status of the equipment


It's not wrong, or inappropriate. However, just asking for "better" equipment without quantifying it isn't very effective. What's the cost of buying, installing, and maintaining the new equipment? And how much money is the company going to make by buying this (either because of saving, or additional revenue).

Now, you have to specify the costs/savings/gains to the dollar, but if you're able to say "buying new equipment costs roughly $X amount, and we save $Y hours of developer time a year", then you give your manager something to work with.

Because if your manager goes to her manager to sign off on the new equipment, her manager wants to know those numbers.

  • Personally, I think a qualitative description of the problem might be preferable over a quantitative. Estimates of cost savings/gains like that are usually very off the mark and can quickly give an impression of just pulling it out of thin air in an attempt to justify things. Jan 18, 2019 at 16:45
  • Pulling numbers like $X amount is a false precision. Sure quantifying it a bit might be helpful, but will those 'hours/dollars saved' be really realised? Right now the OP might also be able to do other work while the calculation is in progress. So the gain might not be real (or real, but very hard to quantify). If you provide a number, those numbers are more likely to be scrutinized, and you might even have to prove those savings are realized (and held accountable). While just saying "this computer is slow, and it is interfering with getting my work done" might get you the same thing. Jan 18, 2019 at 17:10

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