I currently work as a junior BI developer. Unfortunately, this contract will not be extended after 1½ years of being here. I'm looking for a job in software development as a junior dev. I have a Bs in SE.

My current employer pays me very generously, way above market rates for junior positions here in the Netherlands. I know I have to drop my salary requirement to be able to get a new job, but I'm unsure if I can drop enough to make it work. Because of my income, I have an income history which disqualifies me for benefits in my country, including social housing plans and other ways to save costs. I have calculated what my minimum needs are. This is currently my stated salary requirement. It's a 20% drop in what I'm making now. I could maybe lower another 2-3%, but then I'd have zero headroom for any unexpected expenses like broken appliances etc. (no room to save for anything or to go on holiday or anything)

The other day a recruiter told me that he thought that I didn't have any relevant industry experience because, in his view, BI work doesn't qualify as software development. He would like to have me lower my salary requirement to way below what I can afford to and have me start as an entry level junior. This kind of shocked me, as I feel that the BI work is quite related to other development jobs. It involves writing code in C# using common coding practices and pretty much everything else I have picked up in school regarding software development, there's just a relatively big part which involves SQL as well. (~50-60%)


  • Should I stick to my salary demands, given that I can't realistically lower them much more without getting into financial trouble?
  • Can I state that this experience qualifies me as a non-entry level junior developer? (i.e. dev with 1.5 years of experience)
  • Maybe if you explained what 'BI' stands for. I know what I think it means, but acronyms can be strange things. – PeteCon Feb 7 '17 at 16:01
  • @PeteCon BI is a common shorthand for Business Intelligence. I thought it was well known enough to leave it in there. – Onno Feb 7 '17 at 16:04

This question is almost off-topic, since we can't tell you what decision to make. However, you say this

Should I stick to my salary demands, given that I can't realistically lower them much more without getting into financial trouble?

The only reason I would accept a salary that would strain me financially is if I was making less than that currently (or unemployed), or if I had a desperate need to get out of my current position. Neither of those appear to be the case for you yet.

Be honest with your recruiter that you cannot accept anything lower than X amount without causing financial trouble, and don't back down. This may cause you to lose some job opportunities, but that's better than not being able to pay your bills in a few months.

Also, keep in mind that it's very possible this recruiter earns a commission and will make more money by getting you to accept less. One indicator of this would be if the recruiter doesn't allow you to talk to the company directly about salary at all.

As to your question about your relevant experience, any experience can be relevant, particularly at the junior level. You may need to start learning some new skills from scratch at the next job, but you at least know how to work and behave in a professional programming environment.

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