Developers have become some of the most in-demand Talents in recent years. Companies of all sizes, from large enterprises to young startups, are constantly driving up the demand for skilled developers. Increased digitalisation has forced companies operating in the more traditional industries to grow their technical competence as new competitors enter the market.
There has been growing attention to the shortage of developers in the Nordics. Companies want to hire experienced developers, but this increased popularity can have its downsides and it is the developers who often pay the price. Weekly recruitment inquiries from recruiters, irrelevant mass messages from headhunters, companies’ fierce competition, the list goes on and on. So, as a highly valued and in-demand developer, what can you ask for next time you go to a job interview? The current market works in your favor. The shortage of skilled developers puts you as a skilled developer in an advantageous position during the interview and hiring process.
1. Personal development plan
We tend to switch jobs because we hope to develop our professional skills in the new job. In the software industry, a significant amount of development happens through interesting projects and learning from other team members. If personal development is one of the most important reasons to look for a new job, you might want to ask the hiring company to think about what kind of development opportunities it can provide to support your professional goals.
2. Training budget
Where personal development is concerned, it is important to think about the time and economic costs of learning new skills. Many of the most interesting events and courses cost money, so it is important that your potential new employer pays for your participation if the content of the event/course is in line with your and the company’s interests. Ask how much the company is able or willing to invest in training over the next couple of years.
In our experience, developers are paid about 4000-5500 €/month in Helsinki depending on the factual content of the job and seniority. Software architects and lead/CTO roles are paid more and the salary varies from 5000 to 7000 €/month.
Talking about salary can be difficult, and the negotiation process can be daunting. If you ask for too much you might lose the opportunity. If you ask too little, it will take a long time until you reach the level the other developers in the company make. To make it easier, we advise you to ask the company directly about the salary level of your future team members and the other developers in the company.
If salary is the biggest motivating factor in looking for a new job, you might want to consider a career as a freelancer. As a freelancer, you carry the risks of an entrepreneur but can, and probably will make a significantly higher salary. Read here why to become a freelancer and to see some pros and cons.
It’s always wise to discuss holidays during a job interview. Nothing is as boring as being the only one at the office in July. Likewise, if you want to be able to take off for a few weeks of skiing every winter, check what your potential employers’ policy is towards working during the July holiday. Typically the customer projects end or calm down during the summer, and it can be difficult for companies to come up with reasonable stuff to do during the calmer period.
You should also ask how the company handles overtime work and if the overtime hours can be used as extra holidays or if are they paid out.
5. General perks
Laptop / phone
There still are some workplaces where someone chooses your gear on your behalf. There you get gear that fits corporate policies and but doesn’t meet your technical needs. This often happens because the company has existing support or software contracts in place.
Don’t put up with these explanations! Do you really, as a developer, need the IT-department’s help? Be clear about what kind of hardware and software you will need to do your job. Gear should only reflect your needs because you will suffer from bad gear decisions daily.
Do you read work emails on your spare time? Do you have to answer them? You can ask your potential future employer to provide you internet connection for home use.
In addition to the recruitment bonus, some companies also offer a signing bonus for new employees. Ask if you can get a signing bonus if you end up accepting the company’s offer.
Other perks that you can discuss
# (full) company car perk for car enthusiasts
# Housing benefit if you are moving for the job
# Nanny to take care of your sick child (available in many companies already, great for those with families!)
# Bonus that depends on how the company’s profit (used in many corporations)
# Share ownership (used especially in startups)
# Raise plan yearly (not so common perk)
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