What I Get Paid

I think pay equity is a topic worth talking about and today Shanley published a great piece on it:

How Much Do You Get Paid?

I’m going to try to take a first step towards participating in this conversation and publish a short work history with salaries and how I negotiated for them and other random thoughts.

This subject is really interesting to me and while I’m not sure when, it’s something I’m hoping to write more about than just a list of numbers.

I’m hopeful that my friends in this community will try to find their own way to participate. I think we can make progress just by being willing to talk about it.

Update: Worthwhile post from Red Light Politics that talks about the problems with sharing salaries as an approach to dealing with the pay gap How to rebrand feminism and get women fired in the process

Systems In Motion

Ann Arbor, MI

75k plus benefits

Working on site

August 2010 - January 2011

This salary negotiation was effectively just taking what I was offered. I did a good job in the interviews and at the time there were few experienced iOS devs in the area so I got the job easily and was happy to get paid anything as a college dropout sick of running a freelance business. It was a good shop, if small time, and I’d have stayed there for a good stretch if Bottle Rocket hadn’t come calling.

Bottle Rocket

Dallas, TX

95k plus benefits

Working on site

Feb 2011 - September 2011

This was negotiated down from the 100k I asked for as a joke for the amount of money I’d need to move to Texas. They gave me the 5k I gave up in salary as relo money, which in retrospect was a stupid thing for me to accept. I’m from suburban Detroit and at the time this seemed like an impossible amount of money. It’s well more than my highly educated mom makes as a special education teacher in a great school district. It’s double what my dad made working a line at Ford before he was bought out. They definitely got their monies worth though, I’ve never worked so many hours on anything. We just churned out work non stop the whole time I was there and I eventually had to leave because I burned out.

Black Pixel

120k plus benefits

Seattle, WA

Mix of remote and on site

October 2011 - February 2013

I started at BP at 95k (which is what I asked for) as a linear move. I knew by then that 95k wasn’t what I could be making, so I did ask where in the spectrum I was and if I could reasonably expect to see that move over time. The answer was a comfortable yes.

In April 2012 they offered me a raise to 120k as they were happy with my work. This sizable, largely unprompted raise was part of what kept me there longer than I probably should have been.


Mostly from my home in Seattle


In my experience this is towards the high end of normal rates for an experienced dev working directly with clients. In my experience $60-100 is pretty normal for devs working for a contract shop that’s then billing them out to clients (assuming they’re working as an hourly employee and aren’t salaried). $100-150 is fairly normal for people billing directly to clients or for shops that are billing out those $60-100 devs.

(I will work for some clients for much less if I believe in the project.)

A Job I Didn’t Take

My most recent salary negotiation was one I didn’t accept due to my hate/really hate relationship with the South Bay. I turned down an offer for $150k plus benefits, plus relo money, a small signing bonus and 120k in restricted stock units to vest over four years to work on a project which I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about both because that’s against the rules and because they didn’t tell me anything about what I’d be doing (a contributing factor in my decision to pass).

There’s wasn’t much negotiation here. They knew I’d need to be relocated and I asked for something in the 140-160 range, expecting to get the (duh) bottom of that range as the actual offer.