Sometimes job listings may indicate a range of possible salaries. This range can often be quite wide. In any case, during an interview, you will definitely be asked about the salary level you are expecting. And, it has to be said, this question is climbing the charts of the most cringe-worthy interview questions. It's awkward primarily because it's very hard to evaluate oneself. This is especially difficult for newcomers. Let's figure it out.

How to evaluate yourself so as not to waste time and money?

Firstly, it's important to understand that there's no need to be shy. You're selling the time of your life and the experience you've gained. They should not come cheap. On the other hand, it's necessary to assess your skills and knowledge adequately.

Secondly, a recruiter and an applicant have different goals. The former tries to find the best possible specialist at the lowest acceptable price, while the latter tries to sell themselves for as much as possible (or to gain valuable experience).

Therefore, it's important for both the applicant and the employer to find a compromise.

So, what do we need to do to get a salary that's adequate and as high as possible for your experience and skills?

Websites with statistics and developer salary assessments

Today there are many sites with open salary statistics. Some of them we mentioned in the previous lecture. Here are the most well-known ones:

On all these sites, you can find salary statistics by job title, country, and work experience. Also, in most countries, there are local websites where you can find similar information in the public domain. If you can't find such an aggregator for your country, type a search string like "Junior Java developer middle salary thisYear myCountry", and most likely, you will get access to the information you need.

Calculating Your Worth!

So, let's calculate your starting rate. Go to one of these websites, select the position (Java Junior Developer), country, and a year or two of experience if there's such an option (it's better not to set it lower, after all, you've gained serious practical experience during the courses), and look at the median and maximum salary. Now calculate a number that lies in the middle between the median and the maximum.

For example, if the median salary is $24,000 per year and the maximum is $30,000. In this case, our desired salary would be $27,000. This will be the desired salary that you can declare to employers.

In this scenario, if recruiters try to lower the salary, they will most likely hit the acceptable median value. If this happens, everyone will be satisfied: the company lowered the price, and you got a decent potential salary. However, this will happen if you fully meet the employer's requirements.

But let's say you're offered a salary below the median? In principle, if this is your first offer, maybe it's not so bad? But what if the company is just "greedy," how to understand that? Most likely, you are attending more than one or two interviews, and this is the right tactic.

Suppose you went through 5 interviews and all of them reduced your salary to the median, but one reduced it more. In such a case, it's most likely a feature of the last company, and you are indeed worth the median salary. However, if your stated figure is significantly reduced several times, it is likely that you have indeed overestimated your potential at the moment. In such a case, you can either accept one of the offers or lower your starting price between the median and the salary quoted by the companies and keep looking.

Thus, the brief algorithm for assessing your own worth is as follows:

Analyze the market.

  • Set your value above the market.
  • Start attending interviews and see how the company reacts.
  • If everything is really bad - lower the cost.
  • Repeat the cycle until a job is found.