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Is this a good salary for a software developer?

  1. Mar 31, 2013 #1
    I'm fresh out of college (21 years old) and i was recently offered an offer for 25/hour (40 hours) as an entry level software developer.

    My original plan was to go to graduate school but, ~52,000+ sounds too good for me to pass up. The company also supports its employees by paying for them to go to school if it helps their career within the company. So my plan if i took this offer would be to attend graduate school part-time while i gain practical experience.

    What do you guys think?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2013 #2
    It really depends on where the job is (I'm assuming you are in the US). In most of the country that is an okay salary for a new grad in a software job. If it is in a big city like say NYC, Chicago, or Boston which also have high costs of living, then it's actually a pretty low salary. If the job is in the state of California and especially if it is in the Bay Area, DO NOT TAKE THAT JOB! That salary is way, way under the market rate.

    As to the graduate school part - it really depends on what you want your career to be. Did you want to do a masters or PhD? What field do you want to go to graduate school in?
  4. Apr 1, 2013 #3
    The position is in north carolina actually. I want to do a masters and i think i'll be going into a computational mathematics program. I don't know for sure where i want my career to settle but, i know that i want it to be a good marriage of math and programming skills.
  5. Apr 1, 2013 #4
    There's a good chance you can get more if you negotiate.
  6. Apr 1, 2013 #5
    assuming you havent negotiated
  7. Apr 1, 2013 #6


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    I suppose this is for either the Triangle area (Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill) or the Charlotte area? My feeling is that 52K is likely to be a pretty decent starting salary, but check out typical housing costs. (I'm in a rural area of the Carolinas, where 52K goes a long way.)
  8. Apr 1, 2013 #7
    @jtbell the position is indeed in Charlotte. I actually have negotiated from 50k to 52k also.

    Maybe i'm different than most of you but, that much money seems like a lot to me. I also don't have any other job offers at the moment.
  9. Apr 1, 2013 #8
    I grew up in Richmond, Virginia which has a fairly similar cost of living to Charlotte as far as I can tell, so I'd say that salary is probably about right. On the graduate school plan that sounds good to me, especially if your company paying for it.
  10. Apr 1, 2013 #9
    What are the benefits like?
  11. Apr 1, 2013 #10
    Pretty good: vision,dental, medical, 401k matching, etc. The medical is 20ish per paycheck which I thought was a lot but, I don't really know if that's true or not
  12. Apr 1, 2013 #11
    I think a few useful questions would be whether you're a physics grad or cs grad and is this position with a financial firm(considering Charlotte is known to be a huge finance hub in the southeast)
  13. Apr 1, 2013 #12
    Not bad for the area. Not sure what the job market is like in that area currently, but if it is an area you want to live in probably worth pursuing.

    Another nice option is to see if they have option for tuition assistance (or try to negotiate for it). I had my MS paid for by my company and the company was flexible if I needed to take classes during the day.
  14. Apr 1, 2013 #13


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    One question. If you work 60 hours some week getting a piece of software out the door, will you:

    (1) Get paid for 60 hours @ $25/hour
    (2) Get paid for 40 hours @ $25/hour even though you worked 60?
    (3) Get paid for 40 hours @ $25/hour + 20 hours @ $37.50/hour (time and 1/2) as per US hourly wage laws?

    This can make a big difference. My experience is that software is rarely a 40 hour/week job.
  15. Apr 1, 2013 #14
    There are several advantages to working while you learn.....

    you find out what you like to do and what you don't,
    company pays for your education,
    you EARN while you learn and get practical experience,
    Networking with people in the work world [as well as school] can be very beneficial.

    On the downside,
    working AND going to school can be demanding,
    it takes longer to get your degree,
    you don't get much in the way of weekends off.

    I'd not worry too much about whether or not the money is
    great or just competitive...the experience and job content is
    what matters...
  16. Apr 1, 2013 #15
    I have my bachelors in computer science and math

    Well they have something called tuition reimbursement and it has to be a program that is approved. Hopefully i could convince them that computational math is beneficial to me and my performance with the company.

    Option 3.

    I'm not sure if i can handle a full time job AND graduate classes but, i'm going to try my hardest. A friend of mine just got accepted into a phD program and has tuition covered 100% + medical insurance but, he only makes 16k a year to live off of. I don't know that i can - or want - to live like that.
  17. Apr 1, 2013 #16


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    It sounds to me like you have a pretty good plan. You'll be making good money with benefits, and get your MS paid for as well. There's no tearing hurry to finish the MS, so you can take courses at a rate you can handle. This way you'll be getting the advanced degree and getting practical experience at the same time. I'd say go for it.
  18. Apr 1, 2013 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    "US hourly wage laws", by which I assume you mean FLSA, do not require this. $25/hour passes the salary test, and programming requires "advanced knowledge"
  19. Apr 1, 2013 #18
    $20 per paycheck is not a lot unless you're getting paid weekly. You could ask what the employer portion of the contribution is, but it probably isn't worth it.

    My opinion is that this is good entry level compensation for someone with a BS.
  20. Apr 1, 2013 #19


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    Grad school is not a part-time thing. Decide on one or the other.
  21. Apr 1, 2013 #20
    A lot of people do MBA's part time and despite the impression of MBA's it still is considered grad school.

    If he means a science phD thats another matter.
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