Let’s Talk About Salaries

In my career, I have always disliked talking about salaries. I hated salary negotiations. I have never asked for a raise. I had never told anyone my actual salary besides close family, HR, or recruiting managers. Why is that and has it hurt me?

Let’s be honest. Software developers typically make a pretty decent living. Three years ago, my wife quit her day job to stay home with our kids. I have made enough to provide for my family with my sole income. I feel like I have been compensated well enough. So what is the purpose of this post?
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I would love to remove the taboo that exists around salary discussions. Who benefits from keeping salary information scarce? The employers. I have seen some contracts and NDAs that explicitly disallow employees from discussing current salaries and bill rates. If developers do not talk to one another, the employer has a lot more leeway to steamroll naive or timid developers (like myself).

I would love for every developer to have the confidence to know what their skills are worth while negotiating a salary increase. There are websites like http://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/index.htm that attempt to provide a range. However, these are often off or give a wide range of salaries.

So what are some options for determining how much you are worth as a developer?
As previously mentioned, you could try using online salary range calculators. You could job hop and find what other companies are paying. Or you could simply ask your fellow developers.

For me, I am no longer going to be timid when it comes to compensation discussions. I will have asked my fellow developers, I will have done my research, and I will come prepared to any future negotiations. I hope you are open to the discussions.

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