Negotiating A Pay Rise In Software Engineering?

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
5 min readFeb 9, 2022


5 Progressive Tips on how earn more, make lots of management friends, and influence HR too!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

As a progressive software engineer, pay rises in the permanent world¹ most often revolve around the tedious and soul destroying process known as the annual performance review.

We’ve discussed facets of this macabre dance of death in previous articles, but today we’re going to showcase some generally more impressive (and honest) ways to net that progressive pay rise — generally within the first 5 minutes of a performance review.

You might want to strap yourselves in.

1 — Relative Importance

Often times it’s best just to cut immediately to the chase and highlight the difference in importance to the company between yourself and the chair warmer conducting the performance review.

They’ll thank you for the forthrightness and clarity, let alone your honesty!

By emphasising that your skills and creativity are the reason why the company actually makes money and therefore is able to provide the necessary leeway to carry the dead wood sitting opposite is always a winning strategy.

(That is, unless they’re a blood relative of the CEO or happen to be the chairperson of the local golf club — but that’s unlikely as they’d never be doing grunt work like this so don’t be worried about it at all.)

2 — Skillsets

There’s never a bad time to bring up the fact that your knowledge and experience as a progressive software developer is vastly superior to that of anyone else in the room (whose sole sum of knowledge is managing to open a PowerPoint presentation and, occasionally, changing channel on the company boardroom’s widescreen TV).

In a clear difference to point (1) — importance — skills are what really make the difference on a more personal level between software developers and management therefore it’s of extreme importance to mention this at every juncture possible.

Actual technical skills are tremendously valuable and the more technical they are the more you’ll get in your pay packet at the end of the meeting— just make sure to highlight every single one of them and…



Dr Stuart Woolley
Editor for

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.