Negotiating your tech salary

2021, Feb 12    

This article is mainly targeted towards people starting new grad or full time jobs in the tech industry as Developers, Software Engineers etc. These are a list of things you should definitely know before accepting a job offer.

Pay attention to total compensation and not just base salary alone

Companies have different compensation breakdowns such as base salary, bonuses and equity etc. Make sure to ask questions about your compensation. This will give you a overall better understanding of what to expect as the compensation breakdown varies company to company.

Should you renegotiate your salary?

100%, yes. Recruiters are given a range when making offers and the difference in what you are starting with could be anywhere from 20-100k. Recruiters will also try to start you out at the minimum number or the minimum to mid range. No one automatically gives you the max and they wait for you to ask.

Don’t worry about risking your job when renegotiating

This is something a lot of new grads suffer from. They worry that their performance at their job will not be sufficient to justify higher pay or it might look bad asking for a higher salary for their first job. In reality, companies have budgets allocated for hiring new developers and there is always a range. Higher compensation does not affect what is expected from you for a specific role. Finding good talent is really hard and that is why there are a lot of technical recruiters. Developers are valuable and companies need you to function. Renegotiating for better compensation will not hurt your relationship with your manager.

How to justify a higher salary

Have something to backup why you are not happy with the initial compensation offered to you. Reasons like you would have to relocate, competing offers, previous experience are some examples of what you can use to justify higher compensation and totally valid.

A lot of people don’t ask for more

People often get a salary range and never ask for more or counter it. They simply either accept that range or reject the company. It is a negotiation and a lot of times if you ask for more, the recruiters are likely to offer you that.

Don’t be the first one to put down a number

Get a range of what the salary could be for your job from the recruiter. Ask them directly “What is the salary range for this job?”. Avoid responding with things like “That sounds great” or “This offer is very low” but rather keep things very open ended and say “This is a good start”. You want to leave the door open for further negotiation. If they push back and deflect the question and then ask you for a number, just tell them “I can’t make a decision if I don’t have all the information. Do you mind going over the compensation structure with me?” and try to find more about it.

Ask a lot of good questions

Ask about the bonus structure and how that works. “When is the payout? Is it once a year, twice a year?”. “Is there any other bonuses on top of what you offer?”. If a company does not offer a lot of bonuses, that’s a perfect opportunity to use this as leverage against them with a phrase like “Hey since you don’t offer me any bonuses, I want to be very mindful of inflation. Living costs just keep going up. So the longer I stay with the company, essentially the less my take home pay is going to be and I don’t want to be in a position where salary is a thing for me to have to leave the company. So I hope you understand where I am coming from.” Most of the time, companies won’t be able to say no to that request.

Be careful when you give a range

Give a reasonable range. You don’t want to shoot it so high because it signals to the recruiter that you might not know what your market value is and makes it more likely that the recruiter is going to lowball you later on.

Setup an info chat and don’t be afraid to ask for extensions

Don’t be afraid to stall the process a bit. Feel free to use phrases like “This is a big decision to make? Could we set up a meeting to just go over everything outlined in this compensation package sometime next week?” etc. You want to give yourself the time to negotiate the offer incase companies try to put tight deadlines on offer acceptances. So never back down from asking for more time when it comes to making such big decisions.

Finally, I wish all of you the best of luck and hope you land your dream job!


This blog is a summary and highlights of things I thought were useful for salary negotiations from this video.