What's a good starting salary for an entry level software engineer?
There are many variables to this question, and I'm not going to discuss any of them here.
First, no one can decide your value but you. You'll get offers, and it's up to you to negotiate them. Hopefully, you do a fantastic job for yourself, but it can be difficult. My first software engineer job was a major step up from the previous salary.
NO ONE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR CURRENT SALARY.
Politely deflect this question if it comes up, and strongly consider whether this is the right company for you. You know what salary you want. They know what they're willing to pay. That's ALL that matters.
After ten years of software development, I'm confident about what I know and at peace with what I don't. I have tamed my Imposter Syndrome. But there are three things I must confess
Confession #1: I'm not a genius. I'm persistent. That's essential.
Confession #2: I've never read any programming book from cover to cover. Read everything. The pieces you need. If you don't know what you need, get a mentor or go to a boot camp. Other people know things and will share them if you give them a chance.
Confession #3: No one programmer knows everything about their tech stack. There are incredibly talented programmers, but a lot of the talent is knowing how to ask and where the answers are most likely to be when you don't know something you need to know.
Pro Tip: language specifications can tell you a lot.
CanCode Package: Develop Yourself
It can be difficult to get into software development. Even after attending a bootcamp for 12 weeks to a year, you may not have the fluency and confidence with the software culture. After teaching myself to code at the age of thirty-five without a bachelor's degree in any STEM field, I took my income from $20k/year to $50k/year by landing my first professional software developer role. If you're putting in the effort to learn to build software, I can work with you to help you reach a new level as a professional.
Dear Aspiring Developers,
I have earned 489% more money as a programmer in nine years, than I earned in the previous eighteen doing all kinds of jobs from sales to fast food. Does that sound great? Does it make you want to know how I managed to get into programming?
Well, a former coworker once told me, “You could talk a starving man into skipping a free meal.” That was not a compliment. This coworker watched me turn one potential sale after another into a walk away. Want to know how I could successfully ruin sale after sale? What about becoming a programmer?
I stayed up late, got up early, and put in all kinds of unhealthy hours learning to code. It was also a tremendous amount of dumb luck. I was working for an employer who saw me do a couple mildly impressive things in his business: I hooked up two computers to a single keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and built a simple file server using about a dozen dead computers and Ubuntu Linux. After impressing him with those things and demonstrating that I was learning to write code in C#, he decided to ask me to build an application for him.
I did not know that I could do what he was asking, but I figured it could not be too hard. It took me a year of working seventy hours a week to build a simple Windows desktop app that connected to QuickBooks as a data store. If you think becoming a programmer is a promising idea, you need to embrace working hard and depending on dumb luck. Don't forget survivorship bias either. Maybe this is not the way to become a programmer in your 30's without a computer science degree.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own. I do not represent my employer, coworkers, mentor, friends, or family in any way on this website or any of its connected social media accounts.
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