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How to Get a Raise (in any business)

07 Jan 2019 by Teemu Tiilikainen

I’ve always been interested in every kind of craftsmanship and that’s one of the reasons I got into programming and software development in the first place. For a while, I’ve been following this Essential Craftsman channel on YouTube. The guy having the channel is an old-timer from Oregon and has made his career in construction sites all around the States as a carpenter and blacksmith.

In one of his videos the guy explains how to get a raise in construction, and because I see immediate similarities between construction and software development, I decided to share these tips with all of you.

Solve more problems for your boss

If you solve more problems, which are increasingly complex and/or time-consuming, eventually you become more valuable to the company. They get more output from you in the same time frame as before, and it will be in the company’s best interests to make you stay in that company. Earning more is an incentive to you to stay put and not to take your know-how elsewhere.

It is also important not to cause problems yourself, as you will then decrease your value. For example, if you are not getting along with certain people (or people in general), it is a problem for your company and decreases your value. So be pleasant to people, especially your superiors, and always aim to reduce the problems your organisation has. “I don’t know, but I’ll check” is a great attitude to have.

You start the salary negotiations

At this point, you should have something to show for and if you have acted according to the first point, you should have already increased your value enough to justify salary negotiations. Some companies might be an exception to the rule, but in most of the cases, the company will not take the initiative to raise your salary. You have to do it yourself.

As we have met hundreds of software developers all around Europe, we have a quite good hunch about the salary levels and can offer a hand you in case you need help in defining your current market value.

Your current employer might never give you the raise you deserve

No matter how much you learn, no matter how much problems you solve and no matter whatever you are doing, in some places it just might not happen. There definitely are organisations that are not able or willing to recognise your value as an employee. Then it is in your best interests to take your know-how and skills elsewhere and start to look for a new job, which is paid according to your skills.

Sometimes the best way to get raise is to work for yourself

Sometimes one realises that the best way to get the most money with your skills is to work for yourself. Make no mistake, working for yourself as an entrepreneur always includes a risk of catastrophic failure, but so does working as an employee.

The path of entrepreneurship is not easy, not always intuitive and can also be a wild ride, but mostly it is totally worth it. Especially in Finland solo entrepreneurship is made so easy that I think everyone should have their own sole proprietorship.

If you are working in IT-business and interested to work as a freelancer programmer, we can help you to establish your own company and find the projects you want.

Bonus: Recognize situations where the raise is due

When you know how to get a raise and recognise the situations when to ask for it, you also develop an eye for others as well. It helps you when you are yourself working as a superior for someone and are responsible for hiring people and giving raises. It will teach you to see the value in people, and a skill to keep skilled employees happy is a skill worth its weight in gold.


Talented is shaking up the general way of recruiting software professionals in Finland and worldwide. We help senior IT and digital Talents to find better fitting jobs and projects, and companies to build digital competences and employer brand.

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