Just a few days ago I've finished an Interview with a company that's looking for a Web Developer. My tasks will be converting the existing application to a new Programming language(ASP classic to PHP MVC), maintenance of existing code, adding new features to old code, while also creating new software.

During the interview, the President of the company says they might not have access to all the source code cause every part of the company is outsourced to companies all over Asia (We're in Canada) only to save money. This may be a small problem.

They later say the company has no marketing done and doesn't care about SEO but also needs you, the developer to handle digital marketing for the company. The company website was outsourced for cheap and in return looks poor and doesn't care to update it. Mind you this company has been around for 11 years.

I was offered the job on the spot and at that moment I said to wait till I see some code and how the application works.

As someone fresh out of college with no work, of course, I want to take it and create software but am I right in thinking this maybe a bad choice since it seems the President doesn't have a handle on any one part of the company and they have no other developers just them self. Couldn't explain to me how the company or the software works....

This developer position is also for 24,000ish salary which even for a junior seems low?

  • 3
    24,000ish salary - which country? Sorry, seems to be 24,000 Canadian Dollars - I'd look for a better job at a better salary.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 8, 2016 at 18:57
  • Yeah the salary is for $24,000 cnd. And really for him, he gets 50% of the wage back so it's not costing him 24 more like $12,000.
    – DavidWayne
    Oct 8, 2016 at 19:39
  • If the site is classic ASP they do have all of the code. Aug 1, 2017 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


My gut feeling is to walk away.

  1. The want you to refactor the website, but they don't control all the source code (impossible task)

  2. They want you to do marketing when you are a developer (not your area of expertise)

  3. They offered you a job on the spot (they have no other candidates)

  4. You feel that they are low balling you (they think you are desperate)

  5. You will be the sole developer (responsible for everything)

  6. No-one knows how the system really works (you will have no guidance)

I can't say what you feel about the job (as it might be with your dream company and you are up for the challenge), but from what you say, I see a lot of warning signs. And these are only the ones you know about. I'm of the mind set that if you can see obvious problems then you have to ask yourself how many problems are hiding in the shadows and is that something you can deal with?

I understand your need to write code. But at a fresh out of college level I'd suggest you find a place with other experienced people who can mentor you for a bit. The exception to this is if you have a burning desire to solve a particular problem and you know that you are the only person the world that can do and you have the complete set of skills to do so - in which case you go out on your own.

  • Yeah, I'm of the feeling that it might be a problem. When I applied for the position I was thinking there be someone there to work with, gain knowledge from while giving that person fresh ideas. But having 0 developers seems like a problem especially for someone like myself that wants to learn best practices about development.
    – DavidWayne
    Oct 8, 2016 at 17:53
  • @DavidWayne There's no shame in walking away from a problem job. On the other hand you still need to eat and having a job allows you to do so while you are looking for another one. But that's a call only you can make.
    – Peter M
    Oct 8, 2016 at 17:55
  • yeah it's a tough one for sure. I'll probably decline it. if I'm lucky maybe can get in somewhere on the mainland of Canada. Wishful thinking.
    – DavidWayne
    Oct 8, 2016 at 18:04

Peter M's answer is pretty spot on, but in addition to the two options of take it or leave it, I would add a third option: take it, then leave it.

At today's exchange rate, $24k CAD is less than I made 11 years ago as a recent graduate in Puerto Rico, where developer salaries are already less than in the US and almost certainly less than in Canada as well. The numbers look even worse when you account for inflation. To me, $24k CAD is a severely low salary.

However, there is no shame in taking a sub-optimal job temporarily and then leaving it when you find something better, as long as you are fair to your temporary employer in terms of hours worked, giving enough advance notice before quitting, etc. If the company is in bad shape, it is exceedingly unlikely that a rookie developer will do much to fix it (the technical and financial issues are also probably symptomatic of other organizational culture issues), so don't fret over, "I can't leave, they need me!" or let them guilt-trip you into thinking that.

This job could be a valuable learning experience, and might give you a bit more to talk about at your next job interview, but it should not be a prolonged experience if you can help it.

Good luck!

  • Having already got a job makes you more employable, too... as a developer you don't have to tell your next employer that they were a dysfunctional mess who took you on out of sheer desperation. Oct 10, 2016 at 8:08

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