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I'm an administrative assistant (a data entry operator, basically) at a small business in Australia. I've been here for less than a month; my original contract was for three days but has been extended a couple of times - I'm the only IT person in the office and my skills are constantly required.

A couple of weeks ago I proposed a development project to my employer, who accepted. It's to do with my data entry work - it's a Scala tool that streamlines aspects of the system everyone is using. This project is approaching its conclusion, and there have been no problems so far in its development.

I've had concerns about the current system the business is using to manage its client data. These are issues like data redundancy, inflexible UI/UX, loads of bugs and an overall unsuitability of the system to our needs. Of course, since I'm the only IT person in the office, the other workers' dissatisfaction with the system lacks concrete reasoning, so I've been the sole person bringing these specific issues up with my employer.

Earlier this week I formalised and presented these issues to my employer, who responded by offering me the opportunity to write a development proposal for a new system to replace the current one. I accepted, and have been drafting the proposal this week while also finishing the tool mentioned above. The system replacement project will take several months, according to my initial evaluations.

Now, here are my concerns:

  • My current contract expires at the end of this week. I need to negotiate an extension before then.
  • Currently I have been doing some development work at a data entry pay rate, mostly because the quantity of development work is low and the primary work is still data entry.
  • The pay rate for a data entry operator is notably below that of a Scala/Java junior developer.
  • I do not feel it is fair to work on a major development project without being paid accordingly.

My current plan is to get the tool to a presentable state (several more hours of work, roughly), finish the large project's proposal, and present both alongside average Scala/Java developer salary statistics in Australia to my employer before the week ends. I expect that together, this will demonstrate that I am competent, valuable and worth a developer's salary, and that my contract will be extended to a period of several months plus an according pay rise.

Is this a reasonable course of action, and are my expectations sensible? I'm fairly worried that my pay negotiation will be refused, or that the difference between full-time development and hybrid data entry + development will not be apparent to my employer (i.e. "can't you just keep doing what you're doing now?").

Thank you in advance.

  • Do you think you're a good enough developer to get a job as a Scala programmer elsewhere? – Erik Jan 11 '17 at 22:41
  • @Erik I'm skilled and informally experienced, but sadly I lack paper qualifications and workplace experience. To answer your question: I think I'm good enough, but I doubt anyone else would (unless I showed them past work, of course). – Archmage Jan 11 '17 at 22:45
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Your current plan is good : doing more work than required, make is visible to your boss, and asking for an increase by showing the salary of people who would do the same job.

Will it work? It could depend on :

is the company making money and can afford your increase?

is your boss a fair guy?

what are your prospects (if they refuse the increase will you quit? or keep the job in order to have more experience on your resume)?

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