No matter how much you love to code. When you pick programming as a career you deserve to get paid. In this writers opinion, you deserve to get paid as much as you can. My professional career as a software developer is close to reaching two decades. The majority of that time was spent contracting. This meant I had to find new work and negotiate on rates on averages once or twice a year. In this tutorial, I will share some tips that help me make thousands of extra pounds over the years. This article is written for all software developers.
Value = Money
The money-making tactics that I have used throughout my career have been centred around one really important concept. Value =- Money. The more value you can add to a client or an employer the more you will get paid. There's a great video by Jim Rohn that explains this concept better than I could. The idea is the more knowledge you have, the more experience, the better personal development skills you can master, the money will flow. You will not get paid more than average without providing more value than most people.
The exciting thing is that the more value you can generate around yourself, the better you will be able to negotiate. Keeping this notion of value in mind. We can discuss the next concepts.
Create A Brand
When I started my career I had average success. I got paid less than a lot of people I worked with. I worked in a small town with limited opportunities. At some point, I started reading books on personal development and stumbled across this concept of value. I read that becoming a contractor was a good way to get paid more, however, I had a personal issue. In my head, I had imposter syndrome. I could not comprehend why someone would pay me to double the amount of money that I was currently on unless I was an expert. At the time, no one I knew was contracting so I had no one to ask for advice from. There weren't even any contracting opportunities where I lived.
To make a start on the contracting path, I decided to start a blog in order to 'trick' people into thinking I was an expert. I started writing blog posts on programming. For many years no one visited my website, ever. As of 2021, my website gets close to 1 million unique views every year now. My website and YouTube channel do not really generate any serious money, however, it has helped maximize my career. As I wrote about EpiserverCMS I ended being awarded an EMVP status. This is like a Microsoft MVP for CMS people.
Over time I slowly started being known as the Episerver CMS guy. When I went for Episerver contracts in London, I always got a job offer. As I had this brand and reputation, in most contracts I was always able to ask for more money than the role offered. Through my brand, I have always been able to charge premium rates. This difference could be anything up to one hundred pounds per day. An average employee will work 262 days a year, then this difference is over $20K per year! Compare this to a pay rise a permanent employee might get at work, which at best might be 2K-5K per year, this is a huge difference. This is where negotiating skills are super important!
- Having a great Stack Overflow reputation
- Having lots of GitHub followers
- Writing blogs on medium
- Creating Twitch videos
- Having thousands of Twitter followers
- Having a newsletter
- Owning some great open-source project
- Publishing a book
It doesn't matter what you pick. If you commit to making a daily effort into building a reputation, sooner or later, you will have a brand. This is key to getting more money. There is no easy quick fix, sorry 🤪
Know the marketer rate
Before you start negotiating you need to know the market rate. If you have a brand then you want to ask for money in the top 90th percentile in your niche market. Ideally, you should do this before picking a niche. The difference between a well-paid niche and a badly paid niche can be hundreds of thousands throughout your career.
If you have created a good enough brand then getting paid in the top 90% percentile should be possible. The only way to know the market rate is to use a tool. In the UK, you can use tools like itjobswatch.com, https://www.payscale.com/ or glassdoor.com.
If you do not want a new job, you can use this tool to prove to a company that they are underpaying you. Keep in mind that people who switch jobs frequently are proved to get paid more throughout their careers (study here).
As you have a brand, you should be able to get multiple offers from different companies when you look for new work. When it comes to offers, the more the better. It doesn't matter if you do not want to work for all of them. The more offers you can get the more you can negotiate with the companies that you do want to work with. This advice goes when applying for roles as well. I have found that it is better to talk to more people and to apply to all job specs regardless of your opinion on it. This process is a grind, however, it pays well. I have won work where I didn't like the job advert but the company ended up being great and paid well. The more you can get your name out there, the more offers you will get.
A good negotiating tactic is that the person who cares the least will usually get the best deal in a negotiation. In order to care the least, you need a number of options when looking for a job. When you get multiple offers, you do not need to lie or make things up. Simply play each company against each other. The company that needs you the most will likely stump up the maximum they can afford for a role.
Once I had 5 job offers at the same time. This process of letting each company know about the other offers and asking them to mirror it, netted me an extra $100 a day. Remember, money is also not the only way to sweeten a deal. There are other benefits like health packages, stocks, bonus schemes, etc...
That concludes my tips on how to get paid more. The tips are simple but they do work. They require a great effort but the payoff is huge. Focus on value by creating a brand. You need to become a lynchpin. With a great reputation, you will likely win multiple contracts which will allow you to play employers off each other. When negotiating use a free tool to understand the market rates and have confidence you are worth that much. I hope this helps you make some 💰💰💰. Happy Coding 🤘