I discovered this question on Quora, so I answered it; this post is an extension of that post for programmers.

If an interviewer asks me what I expect as my salary, what should I answer?

— Quora

Ask for what you need and what fits the market rates for your prospective position.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • How much money do I need for retirement savings bills? — Requirements
  • What is the salary range for my role? — Market Rate
  • How much am I worth? —Value

A little introspection goes a long way. Research is essential to understand your market rate.

Use these websites to understand your market rate.


Dice.com, the granddaddy of job websites, was founded in 1990.

It has a nifty salary calculator.

Salary Dice Clay


Glassdoor provides salary comparisons.

Use this information to set your price.

Glassdoor, Find The Floor!


LinkedIn is the defacto site for professionals. If you’re not on LinkedIn, I recommend joining immediately. It will give you new opportunities and connections.

LinkedIn For The Win

Set Your Price

After researching market rates, set your price slightly; use your best judgment. Ideally, the job listing provides a salary range. Otherwise, employ your power skills and guess a prospective employer’s compensation. If you’re changing roles, accepting a lower price may be worthwhile.

Hold Your Cards

Keep your desired salary to yourself. If the prospective employer insists on a number, provide a researched compensation range. As you disclose a range, lead your delivery with something like:

“Based on my research, the range for this position falls between 70,000 - 100,000…”

Be Honest

Be honest and set your price with confidence. If you feel like you’re not worthy, ask yourself why. Dig deep and seek to understand why you feel deficient. It takes work to keep the imposter monster at bay. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all fake it until we make it.

For Programmers

Programmers are fortunate to have a high-demand profession. Know your skills, boost your skills, and keep learning. Be a sponge, commit to continuous improvement, and follow your heart. 🧽

Find a sweet spot where you deliver unique value with passion. You’ll earn more with a focus on learning, earning, and growing. I factor work-life balance into my overall compensation, so remember these must-have attributes!

Salary Negotiation Sweet Spot

Remember your power skills and technical skills! Find the right balance between an outstanding human and a highly-skilled software development professional.

Further Reading