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Context

To set the context, I am now in my 5th year of university (France). I have had a fairly lot of internships, projects and side projects that made me think that I already am a senior developer in the fields I usually work with.

Moreover, I have been teaching Information Security in said university from my 2nd to 4th year (which I took abroad to obtain a 2nd degree in the UK). Doing such, I was obviously not allowed to study those modules as I was pretty much involved in their writings and evaluation.

During my year abroad, I started a micro-company of my own to keep working alongside university, providing low-budget pentests (as I never had any formal teaching or certification in this field, all learnt by myself).

My profile goes as : Security analyst / pentester / developer (back-end arch, not front-end)

To conclude my 5th year, I had to get another internship. I went for a permanent position instead.

So back in November, I have been hired in a company (FR) that designs websites and softwares for clients. Nothing big here.

During interviews, HR recruited me for said work, (mostly) front-end projects with clients. However, the IT guy that got in touch with me (and now my manager) made it clear that he wanted me because of my security/hacking skills and that we'd work side-by-side.

My manager has a heavy development background but has become more of a teacher / consultant for our collaborators.

The first project was some Java architecture (already in production) with huge security flaws, which I fixed pretty quickly and got un-directly thanked (by mail) by the company's CEO (Big guy, never met him yet).

Once this project was done (or at least my part of it), I asked my manager for the next step and he told me to write a Node arch that could be deployed easily. I have been working on it for weeks to the point that I am now adding unnecessary features. Meanwhile, I had to dodge HR that wanted me to go work for some clients (Angular, front-end, ...). I dodged such projects because I don't feel that it's the reason I've been recruited.

tl;dr

Now the interesting part : My manager asked me to join him in his consulting task, I will have to dispense sessions teaching Security Basics to our collaborators all around the country. Except from my students (which some were my classmates), I never taught seniors. That doesn't worry me that much, I am excited to start.

However, when discussing this with HR, I mentioned the fact that my contract would probably have to change as a "developer" has no consulting task. Amirite ?

Their response wasn't the one I expected: I would keep the same contract but with some compensation for every sessions dispensed.

I don't know much about the law regarding extra-work but I'm pretty sure that a simple developer can not be asked to do said task.

Should I stand with my mind and ask for my status (hence, salary) to change, or should I keep with HR and follow their procedures ?

If so, how can I be sure to be paid accordingly ?

Looking forward to learn from your experiences, Regards,

  • You're an Information Security Expert or Information Security Specialist, I would make sure they change the title so you can properly refer to it in your CV later on. – Wilbert Feb 18 at 12:12
  • @Wilbert That's a reasonable advice, thank you for sharing. I appointed my manager at lunch time on Thursday and will relate this to him. Let's see how it goes – Xcrowzz Feb 19 at 8:41
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HR is not the God of the company. Talk to your manager, explain the situation to him. Depending on the outcome, you may go, with your manager's agreement, to the CEO, and explain the situation to him.

If these managers decide something in your favor, then HR will have only one solution, to comply.

But if they (the managers) pretend to not be able to help, then there is also a solution: new company.

Some people are afraid to just quit a job, at least people who have never quit a job before. While it brings some stress, of course, that should be the smallest reason of worry.

Note: you may not be fully aware of it now, but personal satisfaction is at least equally important as money in a job. If you are not satisfied, and the company cannot reach an acceptable middle ground with you, then some other company will surely be able.

Be careful: be sure to be on the safe side. As much as possible, do not leave one job before you are sure you have a new job (read: signed contract). Exceptions may exist. I am one, I decided to leave a company just to enjoy some freedom - and a much deserved relaxation, before I searched and found another job.

  • Thank you for your advices. I appointed my manager on Thursday @lunch to discuss this furthermore. My decision will depend on his reaction, as you said : Whether he will act in my favor or not. If not, well I guess it will be time to go hunting for a contract again. – Xcrowzz Feb 20 at 8:52
  • I wish you good luck, regardless of the way ;) – virolino Feb 20 at 9:02
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The absolute bottom line, setting aside all else:

  • You need more money.

Contracts are paper. The only thing more useless than paper is words. The only thing that matters, is money. Paper and words don't matter, money matters.

So ensure that you get paid properly, before all else.

The second problem you face

If I understand correctly,

  • You're in the classic problem of being an expert in field "X" but you are stuck doing "web stuff"

This can happen, it happens to everyone.

What is the solution?

  • The actual fact is, in all cases the only real solution to that problem is: to change companies

Unfortunately that's the case, you usually have to "face it".

It's common out of school to get one of those jobs where you get to do "some" of "X" but get stuck doing web stuff.

The reality is you have to accept you almost certainly need to move on, to get an "all X, all day" role.

When you get one, just politely say goodbye to the present employer.

Every week that you waste, not moving to a "pure X" situation, is unfortunately a week of your life gone forever. So logic dictates, act fast!

Good luck! Cordialement

  • I've read your answer a couple of times since you've submitted it and you seems to understand my situation more than I would admit. You may be right. I might start looking for another employer that goes along with my set of skills. – Xcrowzz Feb 19 at 8:40
  • No harm has been done; it's a common problem. Time for the "first good" job! – Fattie Feb 19 at 10:08

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