CodeGym /Java Blog /Random /What's Your Magic Number? How to Calculate Your Potential...

What's Your Magic Number? How to Calculate Your Potential Salary

Published in the Random group
Nobody wants to be underpaid. But if you don't research, you may end up with a lower salary than you deserve. In this case, your motivation will suffer, and you'll even be at risk of a fast burnout. So, before applying for a job, it makes sense to identify what salary you should ask for. We've collected tips that can help you! What's Your Magic Number? How to Calculate Your Potential Salary - 1

Factors to Consider

If you already work in the field and are looking for a new position in another company, you usually have at least a vague understanding of the pay range. But still, it's not a precise answer because different companies have different compensation policies. And if you're looking for a first job (say, you're a switcher), identifying a salary to ask for is even more challenging. So, if you don't know where to start when establishing your potential salary, here's a list of essential factors influencing this number:
  • Job title. It's not just a bunch of words, as one may think. Quite often, a job title reflects the set of skills and experience. So, the first step you can make is to look for people with similar job titles and ask them or search for open positions in various companies across the industry. Be prepared that the range may be broad.
  • Education. For some positions and companies, having a degree (master's, doctorate, etc.) is important. If you have one, your value on the job market will be higher. But for many others, especially regarding software development, it's less critical than real-life experience and projects you've participated in.
  • Skills. It's not about the quantity of your skills but about which are in demand. Hence, you may consider researching the skill set employers value the most for a job you want and then assess yourself. Also, don't forget about soft skills: search for the values a potential employer claims as its corporative, and ask yourself: do they correlate with my soft skills? If yes, how can I highlight them during a job interview or in my CV?
  • Experience. You can measure it in years or successful projects. The more relevant your projects are to a company you're applying to, the bigger the value you'll have for an employer. You should also remember that experience may include managerial (for example, leading a team) or other types of expertise. They will add to your value if relevant to your future position.
  • Location (yours and your employer's). If you're looking for a remote job, look for similar positions in the region where the company is located. For an on-site job, consider your location.
  • Company. In companies that grow fast, salaries can be higher than in non-profit or state-owned organizations. Although employers monitor statistical data and usually rely on average numbers when making job offers, it's not a rule. For instance, more valuable candidates can receive higher offers.
As you can see, there's much to consider, so you must collect information and analyze yourself and the market. What should you do then?

Practical Steps and Tips

You can calculate your potential salary using different methods or combining them all for a more precise result. For example, Olga Zhukova, HR Team Lead at CodeGym, suggests: «First, monitor job openings. You should keep an eye on open positions in your field that match your professional level and collect the salary data from employers' proposals. Second, review resumes of candidates that resemble you regarding tech skills and work experience. If you see any data on hoped-for salaries, collect it as well. Third, use your access to the tech community. Get in touch with your friends or acquaintances who work in the IT industry and ask them for any information about their or their friends' earnings in this field. Also, you can ask about the salaries of people in professional communities, groups, etc. After you gather all the data, do some math. In particular, calculate the average and create a range from minimal to maximum salary. Done! You can use these numbers to answer the potential employers' questions.» In addition to these recommendations, you can perform such steps:
  • Review industry statistics on salaries. For example, on or, you can find a position you're interested in and check the median salary. Then, calculate the number that is halfway between the median and maximum. It will be your desired salary that you'll communicate to potential employers. Even if they want to pay you less, you'll have room for negotiation and still end up with a decent salary.
  • Test the waters, e.g., try attending job interviews and discussing your potential salary. You may discover employers are willing to pay you more than you'd ask. Or the other way around, they estimate your value much less than you've expected. If it happens in several interviews, you have to lower your expectations or acquire more skills or experience before asking for such money. But if it's just one occasion, most likely, the problem isn't your skills but the company.
Answering the direct question about your ideal salary may feel uncomfortable. If it's your case, you may give an employer a "fork", for example, between amount A and amount B. Don't make this range too broad and unrealistic. It's always better to research first and rely on the numbers you've discovered. Not only will it make you feel more confident, but recruiters will see that you've come prepared, which means you're taking this job opportunity seriously.

How Can I Get More?

When job-hunting, you see the hiring process from only one perspective. However, it's beneficial to look at the other side of the deal and understand what employers like and dislike. We asked Olga Zhukova for recommendations, and she offered several strategies to achieve the best result:
  1. Avoid mentioning salary in your resume. It's better not to specify a desired salary in the CV to avoid rejection before you can show your knowledge and skills.
  2. Have flexible salary expectations. During negotiations, don't rush to name a specific number. Instead, say you're considering offers "from... to…" (add comfortable numbers).
  3. Ask potential employers about salary reviews and pay increases. Does the company have a specific policy? How often do they review and increase salaries? What conditions must be met to get higher pay? Questions like these demonstrate your motivation and self-confidence.
  4. Keep it professional. Avoid mistakes throughout the recruitment process. For example, don't be late for interviews, don't confuse a recruiter's and a hiring manager's names, and remember the correct name of the company and the job title.
  5. At interviews, engage positively. Be polite and honest, and express your genuine interest in the company's values and policies.
  6. Show soft skills like flexibility. In today's dynamic work environment, time equals money. Demonstrate to an employer that you understand it. Say you're ready to start working as soon as a company needs it.
  7. Talk about your achievements and successes, and provide examples from a previous work experience. Don't exaggerate, though.
By following these tips, you'll increase your chances to end up not just with a job but with the best possible salary as well.