What's the deal with Colombian software engineers making peanuts while our pals in America and Europe are raking in some serious cash?
And by peanuts, I mean between two to three grand a month (if you're lucky.) $2000 a month when six figure salaries are on the rise in the US? No wonder so many Colombian developers are going to work elsewhere, or jumping in with new technology startups.
So what about you? Are you ready to start earning what you're worth but not sure how to start? Let me help. Here are my ten tips for negotiating a better salary.
- Have a base salary in mind – This doesn’t mean you’ll get it, but if you go into the negotiations with an idea of what’s not acceptable, or what you think the job is worth, it will help you make a decision. Be sure to do some research and come prepared to discuss what you could be making if you took a job outside of Colombia.
- Take time to think – A common tactic with employers is to ask you what you think the job is worth. This is smart on their part, because chances are, you think you’re worth less than you are, or you’re worried that they’ll think you’re asking too much, and the opportunity will pass. But it’s okay to say “I need time to think about this ,” when the offer is on the table. Check out this guy’s advice on how to say it professionally.
- Don’t be afraid to tell them you have other offers (if it’s true!) - Being upfront about competing job offers can only help you. It makes employers aware of your value and is a great way to test how seriously they want you.
- Understand what’s happening in the Colombian market– If you haven’t seen our survey about what software engineers here make, check it out. But here’s what’s important when negotiating a salary (especially if you have a degree.) The key takeaway here is that there is A LOT of room for improvement.
a. Developers without a degree earn almost the same as those with one.
b. Working outside of Colombia will get you more than twice as much
c. Only the top 10% of Colombian software engineers are making more than $4000 USD per month.
- Salary isn’t the only thing to consider - Healthcare benefits, or other company benefits, add up. Even vacation days matter. If you don’t think you can get a higher salary, negotiate more time off or more benefits. On the flip side, you might want to think about bartering benefits for more money upfront.
- Ask about bonuses for meeting goals early, or surpassing targets – Many startups reward teams when they hit milestones. Ask about this in the hiring process. If the company doesn’t do it now, perhaps you’ll be the one to convince them to give it a go.
- Stock options – Whether you’re applying to work at a startup or an established firm, stock options are a common benefit. Don’t dismiss this as a source of income. If you leave the company, you can sell them back, or hold on to them. It may seem like empty money now, but the result could be worth far more than your yearly salary. You can learn more about the benefits of options and equity here.
- Don't over negotiate – There’s the smart guy, who gets a great deal, and the dumb guy, who negotiated himself out of a sweet gig. Don't lose the job because you can't get the least important thing on your list of dream list of must-haves. Know to quit while you’re ahead.
- Get it in writing – This seems simple, right? I mean, who’s not going to get this in writing? You’d be surprised. And it’s not a good practice to start a new job with a vicious round of “You said/I said.”
- Just say no – Employer won’t budge? Don’t be afraid to say no. It may take a while for them to catch on that developers expect more. But the more software engineers who refuse to settle, the better it will become.
Salary negotiations need to become part of the mindset for Colombian developers. The results of our survey show that there’s nowhere to go but up. And it’s up to you to be the driving force in creating this shift. Learning how to negotiate is the only way you’re going to see a rise in income, benefits, and overall satisfaction.
There’s a lot of information online about how to do this, and if you want to take the time, you can become a near-expert. Start with these articles:
In the meantime, start thinking about how you can put these tricks to work for you. Now get out there and make some money!
Want to have your voice counted in the next survey about Colombian software engineers?
Written by Alex Torrenegra with the help of ArticleBunny