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I am in my current role 1.5 years. It is my first job after graduating. I have 3.5 years total experience full time in the software industry.

I feel like I could get a better salary if I applied for another job. I think I could get 30% more if I looked elsewhere.

Is it better to stay at one company long term and try to progress there or move around basically promoting oneself? Some of my friends have taken the latter approach. It seems to be working for them.

I did better at university but they are earning a higher salary. One friend earns 30% more than I do. He has moved 2 twice since graduating. I graduated with a better classification than him.

I'm not jealous I'm just curious into how he has done it.

At an early stage in your career is learning more important than salary?

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    Fair comment but what makes you think that? – anon12345 Nov 21 '19 at 23:39
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    Because you've repeatedly expressed how you're the best and/or exceptional at multiple things, you're in your first fulltime role since graduating, you've mixed hardware, software, fixing your car, woodwork, photography, maths etc in the same post. It's difficult to understand what you enjoy the most / are the most interested in. Also a little humility goes a long way. But hey, just my opinion. – ChrisFNZ Nov 21 '19 at 23:44
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    I'm not claiming to be the best at anything. Having a working knowledge about something or being above average is not the best. I've done well in certain area's but I don't think I'm entitled. I am not exceptionally talented. I just try to learn as much as I can. – anon12345 Nov 21 '19 at 23:54
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    Yes, moving around is usually the more lucrative strategy, but I would wait another six months if I were you. 1.5 years for one job is kind of short on a resume. Also, there was no need to sell yourself to us. You just need to sell yourself to potential employers. You shouldn't quit your current job until you already have a written offer anyway. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 22 '19 at 0:33
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    Thanks Stephan. I am going to take your advice. When it comes to an employer should I try to sell myself in a similar manner? Or would I be making a fool out of myself by going into all those random hobbies and interests? – anon12345 Nov 22 '19 at 1:18
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Getting to the gist of the question:

What is the better career strategy? Stay at one company long term or switch often to get higher pay.

There is no one strategy to rule them all. It really depends on your end goal. If you want a higher salary, generally switching jobs laterally is your best bet. Companies tend to offer new hires higher salaries to attract them.

If you want to move into more senior position or manage people, I recommend staying put. It's an easier to promoted within your company into a more senior or people management role than get hired externally. But your mileage may vary.

As a lead and someone who's managed people before, you haven't listed anything that is promotion or salary bump worthy to me. How have you help moved the product and company forward? What are some statistics you can provide to that extent? I recommend you figure out your work achievements first (sorry your school competitions and hobbies don't count here) and use that to discuss a raise with your manager.

  • Thanks for the reply. I think you are right but do you think switching jobs would have diminishing returns? I've worked with a small group of 3 people to bring a new product to market expected revenue is ~10 million dollars. Not privy to the exact details - that is an estimate. I created the first prototype device by modifying an existing product. Getting the Linux kernel up and running on the new device. I've also added a couple of new features to the new product. Any downtime I used to redesign web pages to freshen up the product. – anon12345 Nov 22 '19 at 0:35
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"Better"? What do you mean by "Better?"

From your question, I'm going to assume you just mean "Higher Salary". I mean, that's literally the only thing you mention about your job - nothing about benefits, corporate culture, personal happiness, technologies that you use, etc. Right off the bat, this makes you look incredibly myopic - especially for someone only 1.5 years out of college (early in your career, skills development is far more important than maximized salary.)

So, anyway, along that 'higher salary' front, your "Better" strategy is two-fold:

  • Read up on Salary/Raise Negotiation.
  • Upskill yourself (both technically and soft-skills)

... because at the end of the day, you're not good at one of them. The reason I'm saying this: someone you insist you're "better" than is earning 30% more than you. Either you're not good at negotiating your salary/raises, or you're not as valuable of an employee as you envision. Whether you switch from one company to another, or try to move upwardly in a single company - neither will matter all that much compared to the gains you'd get improving those two aspects above.

  • "At an early stage in your career is learning more important than salary?" If I was incredibly myopic I wouldn't be asking that question. I would follow the money, even when I took this job I could have got a better salary elsewhere but I wanted a better learning experience. My manager has told me I have been one of the best performing members on his team. But I don't know if he is just being nice. I think I'm probably going to wait 1 year and see what happens. The company culture is slow salary raises. I'll see what I'm offered after 2.5 years of service and if I'm not happy I'll move on. – anon12345 Nov 22 '19 at 12:53
  • It's also worth saying that salaries in my country are low. about $32k for a graduate software engineer. Think the average is about $80k in the USA. I just about break even after my expenses. – anon12345 Nov 22 '19 at 13:26
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You are clear about this: you need more pay. There's nothing wrong with needing more pay.

Here's a question to ask your supervisor.

Hey, boss, what does it take for me to get more responsibility in my job?

Most companies appreciate people who want more responsibility, so this question is unlikely to give offense. If the question does offend your supervisor, you have your answer: change jobs to get more pay. The same is true if he doesn't take the question seriously. If he does take you seriously, you can use that information to help make a wise decision.

That being said, you haven't given us nearly enough information for us to say "stay in your current job and work up" or "change jobs to get the pay increase you need."

What information is missing? Here are some things to think about.

  • Are you learning a lot technically in your present job? Is it still a good investment of your time?
  • Are you learning a lot about the business of your current company?
  • Do you like the current company's business? Can you imagine yourself in this business ten years from now?
  • Does your current company offer a decent career path to people like you?
  • Is it the custom in your company and your country to offer short pay to people fresh out of school? Do other people like you have to get new jobs to get pay increases?

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