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I accepted a job at a small software company as a software developer. The job posting stated the salary was between 40k and 50k depending on experience. After the interview I received a call and an offer. The Owner said he and his partners wanted to start me out at 35k because of my lack of experience and after 6 months bump me up to 40k. Well its been 5 months and I've noticed my company has posted a job for my exact position(They aren't trying to get rid of me, they are growing and need more people like me)..

The salary posted was 40k to 55k depending on experience.

Well now I believe when its time to get my review for being here 6 months I feel I should ask for the 55k. Since I now have experience with this company and their products. Some key info is I'm the only developer at the moment because their salary they offer is still well below the average for the area we are in and no one as responded to their ads.

Am I right to use their job posting as a point for my raise?

EDIT: Something I don't think people realize is this is an entry level position. Any person with 1 or 2 years experience makes much more than 55k in my area. The average starting, entry level salary in my area with a B.S in CS based on glassdoor, indeed is in between 60k -70k..So based one the job description they posted and requirements and preferred experience, I don't think asking for something closer to 55k is out of line

  • No I would say 6 months by itself is probably not what they mean, but 6 months with their product, and the fact that I'm the only developer and they can't find any one else seems like leverage. – bryan nafegar Oct 28 '14 at 21:34
  • As the great novelist Balzac once wrote - "The graveyards are full of indispensable people". As others have pointed out, the top end range of that posting is aimed at more experienced developers. While product knowledge is certainly useful, it's not the same as experience. If they bring in a new developer in the future and you are expected to train them, then you might have an argument to squeeze out a little more of a raise. – Laconic Droid Oct 29 '14 at 14:16
  • @JoeStrazzere When I worked for a small software company I routinely (at the yearly review) asked for $10k-$15k raise every year. I never got it, of course, but it prevented my boss from low-balling me like he did everyone else. It worked for me, and my philosophy is the worst they can do is say no (even if they laugh while they do it). Really, it's all in the delivery. – Dave Johnson Oct 29 '14 at 15:57
  • @JoeStrazzere Probably because he was crazy. Everyone else either did not give a number, or picked too low, and would get $1500 to my $5000. I started at $30k, so not quite 57%. – Dave Johnson Oct 29 '14 at 16:19
  • Go for the $40K at 6 months as agreed. If they don't go for that, find another job. If they do, work another 6 months and then present your case for more. – Kevan Sheridan Oct 30 '14 at 4:40
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You can ask for what you want, but you're still "light" on experience. 5 years' experience is what's considered "top-end" or "expert."

You may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, basically stating it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Well, there are 2,000 work hours in a man-year (50 weeks, 40 hours ea.). You've got 1,000 in, so far. You're probably safe asking for 45K, but you're going to have to put a very strong case together for why you deserve the top-end of the range. And by that, I mean outlining the value you bring to the company.

Look at it this way:

I'm a business owner. I can have $65 K (adding payroll taxes, overhead, equipment, office rent, etc. as wild guesses) in my pocket at the end of the year, or I can have your work product at the end of the year. Which one is more valuable to me?

I know your answer. Now you have to prove it to me.

  • I totally agree about expert experience being around 5 years. If I had that my salary requirements would be 6 figures or more. The thing that gets me is this is a entry level job, and the salary offer posted online is so much higher than mine, and I figure if they can offer that to someone with no experience with this company or its products then I should be worth it as of now. Entry level for my area is still 10-15k higher than what they are offering which is why I believe they aren't getting any viable candidates – bryan nafegar Oct 28 '14 at 21:32
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    Seems simple enough: go get another entry-level job that pays better. – kevin cline Oct 28 '14 at 22:13
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    I agree with @kevincline It sounds like your employer is simply paying below average and you have not given them incentive to change. Getting a new job that pays more will give them incentive (though you may not want to take it). Eventually, if they keep paying below average wages and their best employees keep leaving to go work some place that pays more, they will need to consider paying more to remain competitive. Ultimately, it's their problem. Don't let it be yours. – Brandon Oct 29 '14 at 17:01
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I don't think you're using the 5 months of experience to your advantage. Try to be more specific about what your capabilities are and what you've accomplished. Consider the following:

  1. Did you get up to speed faster than they anticipated? I had a job and they estimated 3 months before I would touch production code and I was doing it in about 3 weeks.
  2. Are you working unsupervised? This is advantageous to your manager and the company.
  3. Did you offer any new strategies or suggestions that improved the projects?

All of these are things many consider beyond an entry-level position. Make them understand you've achieved in 5 months what may take others 5 years. Don't get punished for being a fast learning.

I don't know if you can honestly defend yourself in any of these ways. If you are able to show great progress in 5 months, hopefully, they'll see you progress faster than average, so they'll want to keep you.

Knowing you can get better paying jobs should be used in your mind to come up with an offer. Indicate you see this as what the market offers. Once they think you're using hardball tactics like, "I can make more somewhere else." the negotiation usually stops. I don't think the problem with your salary offering isn't your company's lack of knowledge. It just seems like money is tight at this stage.

  • I have done everything they have asked in a time where it was much faster then they anticipated. I do work completely alone and unsupervised. I'm not going to demand but I am going to let 55 be the starting point for negotiations. Also the fact that no one else wants to work here for the max they are offering tells me they are still getting a bargain for anything less – bryan nafegar Oct 29 '14 at 14:12
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No, I don't believe you are right to use their job posting regarding your raise and I'll tell you why.

You accepted the 35k to 40k wages and they hired you in good faith. But more importantly, you don't have more experience than the 5 months you've gained working there and they are already aware of that (which is why you'll be getting the 5k raise in another month.

But there's another possibility that makes asking for a higher wage (especially using their own posting) a bad idea. You risk making yourself look greedy. Were I your manager and you came to me with what you're suggesting, I would have to give serious consideration to letting you go over keeping you long term. It makes you seem greedy and also could make them wonder if you're going to be a complainer in the future.

Bottom line is that you agreed to 40k after 6 months and you should stick with it unless you want to at best leave a bad taste in their mouth (and you probably won't get the raise you want anyway) and at worst find yourself looking for new work. Alternatively, you could look for a different job but again, since you agreed to work for 6 months and get your raise, you'd be burning a bridge which is rarely a good idea.

EDIT: Having said all that, if you do decide to ask anyway I would have something other than the job listing as justification. You need to make it about you. If you can say something like "I've completed x projects, done y amount of work which certainly should have exceeded expectations. I may be junior but I feel I've proven myself to be a stronger asset than was originally projected. My talent and progress, I feel, is exceeding my wages." In other words, you need to sell yourself that you deserve it, but not bring up how they aren't getting any bites on their listing.

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    This does not seem like a reasonable response a manager should have. It is the nature of free market capitalism that the employee should try to get as high a raise as possible. – HamHamJ Oct 29 '14 at 15:39
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    Except that you've already agreed to something and now you're going back on it. If you hadn't already accepted 40k after 6 months, I may agree with you but what's changed other than you wanting more money? Do you have unexpected skills that they weren't expecting you to have when the 14% raise kicked in? I could say more but I've already said it above. – Chris E Oct 29 '14 at 16:26
  • Thats a different user not the OP..I haven't accepted the raise yet, it should happen in December, I'm just talking about negotiating for more – bryan nafegar Oct 29 '14 at 16:30
  • Weird, you're right. Must be having a stress day today. :) Here's the thing. You agreed to a 14% after 6 months. If I were you I'd accept it and ask for another after a year. Realistically, the only way to ask for money (in my opinion) over what you've already agreed without having it reflect poorly on you is to give them a legitimate offer to match (i.e. look for another job and give them the chance to meet the new job's wage). – Chris E Oct 29 '14 at 16:34
  • I do agree so I see your point. I feel if I don't ask for it now, knowing that their posting has been up for a while with no one replying(not really no one but those that do are in India and want to remotely work) would be a mistake. So it seems if I'm the only one producing code and completing projects I should be worth at least what they are out there offering other with the same skill set and experience(See my edit for clarification on experience) – bryan nafegar Oct 29 '14 at 16:39

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