Negotiating a Higher Salary as a Junior Developer

Negotiating a Higher Salary as a Junior Developer

Strategies for Junior Developers to Achieve Better Starting Salaries

May 9, 2024ยท

4 min read

As a Junior Developer, you might have thought, what is the highest salary you can get? Although the money might not be much, it is a motivation for your day-to-day life as a developer.

Getting Experience

Before even starting at a new position, you should gather experience by offering to work for free or at a very low rate. This is important if you want to later get paid more.

When I started to code, my first 1-2 jobs were for $200-$300 each. Now I would charge 10 times that, but back then I wanted something to show on my CV. So don't be afraid to spend the first 3-4 months working for basically nothing. I know it is not what you expected, but for someone to pay you a good salary, they need reasons to trust you.

The Formula

Now that we have set aside your experience, we need to talk about a formula that I used back in the day to get paid more. This formula is a simple table where you will write things that you are good at, including soft skills. Also, you will write things that you are not so good at compared to the things you are.

Because you are a junior, of course, you are bad at everything, but highlight the things that you are a little bit better at.

As you can see in my list I didn't just write HTML, CSS, Javascript. I wrote specific things I am good at. Be think-full before you write yours. Write specific things you are good at.


Before the interview, you do not need to rehearse the list you just created. If you were truthful, you will remember it. The recruiter will know that you are a Junior, so don't feel bad; embrace that you are a Junior and be honest, but with some tweaks.

If the recruiter asks you about something you completely don't know, tell the truth and don't lie. To be caught as a liar is a really bad thing and it will ruin the interview.

--"To be honest I have never worked, with that technology, but I am looking forward to".

Tell him the things you are good at with examples. Don't just say you are good with Javascript;

--"I have used Javascript to create redux side effects for a live chat application that I developed."

Remember to mention the things that you have on your list. For example, say:

--"I communicated improvements to my product manager for performance issues that our live chat project had when I sent a message, which ended up in production and improved performance by 50%"


Now for the negatives, try to study them daily and if the recruiter asks you about something you are not good at, be truthful and say:

-- "Although merging on Git isn't something I use daily, I try to improve my skills there by having my own GitHub projects and managing them daily through the Git CLI."


Now to the important stuff. Before every interview, you need to research salaries in your current location. For example, if developers in your location earn between $1000 and $3000 per month, you need to be aware of that.

During the interview process, when it comes to discussing salary, don't hesitate to ask for $2500. Don't tremble and be precise with your words.

"$2500, although more experienced developers may earn closer to $3000, with my problem-solving and good communication skills, I think I can be a great addition to the team."

Go straight to the point just say the number out loud without any prologue. In the worst case they will just give you a smaller offer.

Leaving The Company

Remember that the salary you start with is going to follow you for the rest of your years at the company. Getting a raise will not usually take you far; they are typically 5-10% each year if you are good enough. If you make $2000/month, it is rare to get a raise to $2800 (usually, you will go to $2200-$2300), but if you asked for $2800 in the beginning, you will not be forced to leave the company.

I am saying this because in the tech industry, people leave their companies every 2 years on average, as they get more money and their current company won't give them much of a raise.

Final Words

Navigating the salary negotiation landscape as a junior developer can be daunting, but with the right preparation and mindset, you can position yourself for a better starting salary.

Remember, the initial salary you accept can significantly influence your earnings and career trajectory.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at, and I will respond.

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