The average salary for a software engineer is around $60,000, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it varies wildly among companies.
That’s why, when hiring, it’s important to compare what’s being offered by the company to what a developer or other employee is actually worth.
A company might offer a $10,000 incentive to someone who worked as a developer at one company and then went on to work at another, and the company might pay $3,000 to someone working on a project that they helped build.
A $4-an-hour raise could mean $20,000 extra in your pocket.
A job at a large corporation might be paid $75,000 an hour, which could net you a bonus of $100,000.
A large nonprofit organization might pay up to $1 million for a senior software engineer, and a $50,000-an in-home health clinic might be worth $2.5 million.
There are lots of ways to find out how much you’re worth.
If you want to know the full range, you can check out the PayScale Salary Report , which tracks compensation in over 150 countries.
Salary tracker: How much are software engineers making in your industry?
By comparison, you could expect to make a minimum of $40,000 in the U.S. If that’s the salary you want, it might be better to look for an open-source job or work on an open project.
It’s also worth considering your job title and location, which may provide some clues about your actual worth.
“It’s really important to find a job that’s going to pay you more, because you’re going to make more money if you don’t work for a large company,” says Michael J. Schlossberg, a recruiter and founder of the Software Industry Leaders Association, a nonprofit trade association.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis, a government agency, tracks compensation trends for more than 4,000 companies.
“Companies are paying a lot of these high-level developers more because they’re trying to attract them to the open source community,” he says.
If a company doesn’t want you, it doesn’t need to pay for your skills.
But that’s not to say you can’t still work for free.
There’s a catch.
A good job may pay more than a good salary, but it might not necessarily pay as much.
There is a good chance you’ll have to work harder to make up the difference.
“I know I’m not going to be making a lot more money than the person who did the job I was asked to do,” says Jessica Bowers, an attorney who runs the blog Open Jobs .
“But I’ll be able to get paid for doing something I love, like writing software, which I do.”
If your pay depends on the amount you can earn, you’re in for a tough ride.
A recruiter can recommend the best job for you based on factors like how long you’ve been at the company, your qualifications and your experience.
If there’s a competitive advantage to a particular job, like a position that pays less, it could give you an advantage.
And, if you’re a junior developer, you might even be able get more for your hard work than someone with more experience and experience in that particular field.
But it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
If it’s not, you’ll want to consider your salary in context.
“When you’re looking for a job, the first thing you should do is look at what you’re willing to do, and what the employer is willing to pay,” says Schlossberger.
If the pay is too low, you may be tempted to leave.
“You may find yourself feeling like you’re just not getting paid,” he adds.
“The idea of being able to take a year off work to go and work for someone else that you love, that you’ve worked with for 20 years, is a huge incentive for me to work for that company.”
You might also find that your job is more likely to require you to be creative.
“A good job requires a lot from you, so you might want to take some time off to explore new ideas, which is really important,” says Bowers.
“Sometimes you’re not going do anything that you would normally do, but that’s okay, because that can be a good way to get a little extra exposure.”
But if your salary is too high, it may be easier to leave a company that offers more flexible working conditions and higher wages.
That can be particularly true if you work for companies that offer health insurance.
“If you’re working at a company like Oracle or Sun that’s a lot less flexible than other companies,” says Jason Hsieh, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Southern California.
“Because they’re more focused on profit and not