I am the last developer on a team that used to have 5. The Great Resignation has stripped my team bare.

How feasible would it be to hold my company over the barrel and try to get a mega salary increase? 2x type of thing? Anyone had success with this? I am the last developer

My other alternative is to basically quit and focus on appearing to be working while I leetcode.

  • 2
    What makes it impossible for them to fire you and hire another developer at slightly above your salary?
    – ColleenV
    Jul 8, 2021 at 15:22
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    Maybe they would have better luck if they offered 2x your salary to someone who wouldn’t try to extort them when there was a major deadline. Or maybe you really are the only person around who can’t find a better opportunity than an obviously about to fail business. It’s definitely a gamble.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 8, 2021 at 15:30
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    Is it even possible to meet those deadlines with just one developer? It sounds like the company is going to have to face those penalties no matter how much money they pay you to stay.
    – BSMP
    Jul 8, 2021 at 18:05
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    @overabarrel, Would you please tell us the reasons the developers left ? Is it because of the low salaries, bad managements, work culture, or something else ? Jul 8, 2021 at 18:10
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    @breversa, I think "Leetcode" is the website that has about 1,500+ coding problems to practice on how to write efficient code (Data Structures and Algorithms, and other topics). There are other developers who share their solutions on the "discussion" part of that website. Many companies nowadays use this type of coding questions to screen out programmers who apply for jobs (whether people agree that this is a good way to filter out candidates is a different topic though). Jul 8, 2021 at 18:13

8 Answers 8


I mean you can give it a shot, but I was on the receiving end, I'd fire your ass that instance.

It's double the salary today, but what is it tomorrow?

May as well gut the whole thing and build a fresh tech stack. If I'm finding it hard to find people, it's likely there needs to be a tech stack refresh.


How feasible would it be to hold my company over the barrel and try to get a mega salary increase? 2x type of thing?

It may be possible if you have a lot of knowledge about buggy spaghetti code and undocumented requirements that'd be hard for a brand new team to ever get their heads around. It's less likely if your team used standard technologies in a standard way and have clearly written well tested code. Either way, it's a bad idea - it could encourage your dismissal in some geographies. Even if you manage to get a huge rise now, you may well be dismissed as soon as a new team are recruited and have some basic training.

My other alternative is to basically quit and focus on appearing to be working while I leetcode.

You could do that. Or you could view this as a clean slate with the company, ask for more responsibility (with an appropriate pay increase) and use this influence to address whatever issues caused your colleagues to leave. If you want to change development processes, the technologies you work with or even the type of people you work with, you'll never have a better chance. This way you can help rebuild the team in a form you'll enjoy working in and get a pay increase.


The success of this is going to entirely depend on the company, and our experiences are going to be fairly irrelevant.

Some things that make it less likely to work:

  • The company is not going to want to pay you significantly above the market rate, even if they are desperate. Long term having a hugely overpaid worker can have a bad effect on other workers that they hope to hire to replace the ones they have lost, and your hugely inflated salary will be an expense to them long after they have hired and trained enough workers.
  • One solution to the above problem will be to agree to your demands and then fire you as soon as they have enough developers to make you less indispensible.
  • Another solution the company may be considering is to shut down, or outsource, everything. A big salary demand from you makes this look more attrctive.

Are those really and truly your only options? You can't think of anything else you could do? Personally, if I was a manager in your company and you did either of the things you suggest in your question, I'd try to find your replacement as quickly as I could.

Also, accepting a salary for work you have no intention of completing is effectively stealing. They're paying you to work, so either work or don't accept a salary.

  • My options seem to be extract or depart and interview. Jul 8, 2021 at 18:42

I think you will a better chance of success if you would ask a raise of around 40 percent. And also not phrase it as "I have you by the balls, so pony up" but argue that it is only fair since your workload and responsibilities have grown considerably.


It is highly unlikely they would cave in. This situation has been going on for a few months already and you have not stepped up until now. At this point, you would need more than just a proactive attitude and strong negotiation skills to assure them you would be able (and willing) to handle the workload.

Be careful: it may seem like you have the upper hand, but they might have an ace up their sleeve. You could end up just kickstarting their contingency plan without you. This kind of "shark move" could also backfire in future job applications, especially in companies with a habit of contacting a candidate's past employers.


Why cant you do both?

Still you will be doing more, now when all of the development work fell on you.

Perhaps there is a chance to get a lead position :)

Company may decide to give you a raise in order to hold you in the interregnum, but when team will be back to full complement, may decide to cut their losses and let you go, this is when you would need a leetcode

Given that you didn't mention your location, its hard to advice further on the situation.


Focus on leetcode

The software world is on fire right now and companies react a lot better to resignations than attempts at big raises, so I would just depart. As the other answers pointed out, they will likely not be pleased with this attempt of yours. I think this is especially true as retention/hiring is clearly not a priority for your firm.

Being the last dev probably provides you some protection even if your performance slips, so enjoy the grind.

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    Accepting a salary for work you have no intention of doing is unethical. Jul 8, 2021 at 16:03
  • @EJoshuaS-ReinstateMonica I don't disagree. But it is the more feasible of the two options. Jul 8, 2021 at 16:25
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    ...of the two options listed by the OP. There are other choices that the OP isn't considering. Jul 8, 2021 at 17:54

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