7 Salary Negotiation Rules for Software Developers

7 Salary Negotiation Rules for Software Developers
6 min read

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there will be 162,900 job openings in the software engineering sector between 2021 and 2031. This is a 25% increase, which is way over the average compared to other jobs. If you are a software developer in need of some useful tips and techniques, then read on. Here are a few rules to follow during salary discussions to help you walk away with the best package, according to a top negotiating course.


The company may slap you with rejection if you quote a figure that’s way beyond the market rate. To start on the right footing, dig deeper into the market to know the industry standard for your niche beforehand. Find out how employers pay developers in your location and at a similar skill level. Arming yourself with this insight can help you negotiate within the appropriate range.

Reach out to recruiters and current or former employees of the companies you’re eyeing. This can grant you access to first-hand data on the salary bands of specific firms. Use resources taught in negotiating courses and build on them using further insights found on websites such as:

  • Salary

  • Indeed

  • PayScale

  • LinkedIn

  • Glassdoor

Leverage Your Value

While negotiating, make a case for why you’re worth a higher package. Focus on your qualifications, skills, and wins. For example, cite real-life examples of how your software is helping a particular company relieve specific pain points or achieve breakthroughs. This is a great way to show what value you’re likely to bring to the company you’re gunning for.

You can walk away with a fat paycheck if you show you have the desired experience and sought-after skills. If you are, however, hot off a coding training course with little or no working experience to your name, you can raise your odds by shifting focus to other accomplishments. Provide as much evidence of your completion of personal projects as possible. For example, keep a record of your input toward open-source apps on platforms like GitHub.

Know The Company's Salary Structure

Some companies have rigid bands, while others evolve with industry changes and emerging technologies. On top of that, your location, experience, and the size of the company you're negotiating with can sway how the talks go. Therefore, knowing a company’s wage structure can give you a peek into how much wiggle room you'll have.

For example, a company might want to hire you on project-based terms. In that case, aiming for a larger package can make up for the perks that come with being in a long-term role. Negotiating courses often teach how to handle some typical salary bands for positions, such as:

  • Junior

  • Mid-level

  • Senior

  • Lead

Negotiate Other Benefits

A company may leave the door open to negotiating other benefits despite falling short on your net pay expectations. Remember, these perks can be as valuable as the salary if used well.

Therefore, work toward the best terms the company is willing to offer a developer of your caliber and location. Some benefits, such as a 401(k), usually apply to workers residing and permitted to work in a particular country. However, there are several perks you can negotiate, no matter your location or skill level. These include:

  • Paid time off

  • Ongoing training

  • Flexible work hours

  • Health insurance

  • Stock options

Prepare a Brag Sheet

Write a one-page brag sheet that outlines the value you’ve delivered in the past. This will help you tell your story while keeping track of all talking points. Hitting each point and dishing out actual metrics is a proven way to negotiate higher pay.

In negotiating courses, you may learn how to weave the following items into your brag sheet to let your technical skills and pursuit of professional growth shine:

  • Awards and recognition: prove the value and quality of your work.

  • Training and certifications: show your willingness to learn new skills.

  • Technologies used: show your ability to adapt to new technologies.

  • Input into the team: show your leadership and teamwork abilities.

  • Personal projects: show your self-drive and passion for coding.

  • Impact of projects: show your contribution to company success.

Be Willing to Make Concessions

While asking for what you believe you're worth may be justifiable, be willing to make concessions if necessary. Give keen thought to the options that may be of value to you, such as flexible work hours and training opportunities.

Getting equal or greater value for every concession you make is the rule of thumb in negotiations. Therefore, before the talks get underway, be clear on what you're willing to give away and what you'll take in its place. For example, you might want to let go of a fixed salary and shoot for a more modest starting package with the potential for handsome bonuses and annual raises.

Walk Away

Despite your best efforts, a company may be dead set on offering you a package that you feel is out of step with your worth and industry standards. In such cases, walking away becomes a viable choice. That being said, declining an offer in a polite and respectful way can inspire the company to resume negotiations with you if it chooses to revise its offer.

Turning down a job offer based on low pay can be nerve-wracking. However, enrolling in a negotiating course can shape you up for leaving the negotiation without burning bridges. Remember, you have value as a software developer, and other opportunities are likely to be available to you.

Software development is one of the fastest-growing tech jobs. As such, knowing your worth and abiding by these salary negotiation rules can place you on the right track during conversations from the get-go.

Alex 10.6K
Joined: 4 years ago
In case you have found a mistake in the text, please send a message to the author by selecting the mistake and pressing Ctrl-Enter.
Comments (0)

    No comments yet

You must be logged in to comment.

Sign In / Sign Up

  • Custom Software Development

    The Digital Dilemma — Custom-Made Software vs. Ready-Made Software In the heart of the digital age, where software solutions power the world, a captiva...

    Shobhit gupta · 14 September · 2