One of the biggest contributing factors of salary growth is experience, and the way that engineers can leverage their experience to get the best possible pay will make the upmost difference. After analyzing thousands of job placements across the United States and Canada, we have built a graph that demonstrates the growth of annual salaries by experience level in the tech industry.
You're probably wondering why the above graph illustrates that having "0 years" or no years of experience in the tech industry can get you a higher paying salary than someone who has one or two years. Surprisingly, an entry-level university or college graduate with little to no experience can actually negotiate at 4% higher salary than their peers who already have some experience in the industry.
4 Obstacles that Young Professionals Face in the Tech Industry
Some reasons behind this are:
1. With a shortage of tech talent, there is fierce competition amongst big companies to attract engineers and tech graduates right out of school.
2. If the candidate has little experience, but is already searching for a new job, it's a big indicator that something went wrong, such as termination of employment. It could also indicate that a person is looking for some type of career change (industry, company, technology, location, etc.) and would be willing to settle for a lower salary.
3. Once graduated, many young people try to find success as entrepreneurs. If that fails, a lot of them will then resort back to the job market, where their experience as entrepreneurs partially counts but their earnings at the time were little to none. Therefore, there is more leverage for an employer to offer less.
Start your job search in tech by checking out our job listings in a city near you!
Read the entire report on Tech in Motion Events website, and get further insight into how your experience level can influence how much you make.
Companies (much like singles these days) are always looking for great candidates to join their team, similar to how people are always in search of "the right one." This is especially true when it comes to hiring a permanent candidate or even a short-term contractor.
Whether it's on a perm or contract basis, companies can't afford to waste their time with potential candidates who are not serious about their search. The truth is 40% of employees who quit their job last year did so within six months of starting the position (via INC). So how can you avoid this? Perhaps taking your search for exceptional talent to a recruiting agency, a hiring matchmaker if you will, could be your best option for finding "the right one" to join your team.
Why hire a professional matchmaker? Here are a few ways they can effect your hiring process so you be more efficient with your time and energy:
1. Provide a pre-screening step to make sure applicants are what you see.
Recruiters go through a process when verifiying candidates: they talk to them, meet with them in person, check their references, and run a background check. At Workbridge, our contractors are on a W2 and are treated as our own employees, so candidates need to be able to pass our inspection. Companies can rest easy when it comes to the quality of the candidates good matchmakers are providing.
2. Cater to compatibility so you don't waste time qualifying candidates.
Every recruiter also should screen each candidate to ensure they are a fit for the role. Ideally, they would talk to the candidates about their experience and the position to ensure a match. Recruiting agencies that know what they're doing don't waste a hiring manager's time with candidates who are not a fit, and with an outside perspective can sometimes find the diamond in the rough a hiring manager might have missed.
3. Save you time, energy, and effort by doing the hard work.
Recruiters are responsible for helping the candidate through the process, which includes pay rate conversations. They take on the responsibility of providing benefits information, and even supplying benefits for contractors, as well as explaining workplace insurance and background checks. They are trained and experienced to make the process of finding and bringing on the right candidate as fast as possible.
4. Find great candidates you might not find on your own.
Top recruiters have a large network and diverse methods that make finding these hard-to-reach candidates possible. At Workbridge Associates, we even sponsor networking meetups through our event series, Tech in Motion, in all of our active cities. Why waste time companies combing through resumes to find "the one" (or the few)? The goal of skipping this step in the process is to give you more time to talk to qualified candidates, instead of spending that time trying to track them down.
But before you enter into the recruiting process, or the matchmaking world, consider the following:
- Don't go in with unrealistic expectations.
- Even the best recruiters still aren't miracle workers. Recruiters and hiring managers have the same goal: get your open roles filled with the best possible candidate that you can afford. It helps to have an open mind and hire the person who fits.
- Go into the process with a positive attitude.
- Looking for the candidate that fits the role, matches the company culture, and can get the job done is priority. Finding all the reasons why the person isn't perfect is not.
- It takes money to make money.
- Using an agency has its costs, even though options like contracting make it more affordable. The tech talent market is competitive, and you get what you pay for in terms of quality - whether it's a candidate or the recruiting agency you're working with. However, being up front about costs and willing to compromise could help a good recruiter find a way to work within your budget.
With over 400 highly specialized tech recruiting professionals across North America, our agency experts know firsthand how people think and act during the hiring process. Our 2016 research study debunks the biggest misperceptions for tech job seekers and offers helpful advice on how to navigate today’s competitive job market.
Myth 1: “If I don’t have all the required skills, I shouldn’t bother applying for the job.”
Advice from the experts: “Know where you stand and act accordingly. If you’re less qualified, be prepared to make your business case upfront on your resume or cover letter as to why they should still consider you. Always apply to jobs even if you are not sure since you are applying to the company (not just the job). Other jobs may exist that will be a better fit. Also, job specs can be very fluid in tech and some companies can/will adjust requirements and provide training for the right person.”
Myth 2: “If I’ve been a job hopper, potential employers will not consider for me for the position.”
Advice from the experts: “It’s not the WHAT, it’s the WHY that counts most when explaining job hopping to a potential employer. There are many completely understandable reasons for leaving a job after a short period of time. Make sure to specify any of these acceptable reasons for leaving directly on the resume to avoid any negative stigmas.”
Let us help you discover your dream job - Contact a Workbridge Associates in a city near you!
Myth 3: “If the company has no job postings online, then they must not be hiring.”
Advice from the experts: “The elusiveness of the tech job market means that candidates should never rely on job boards alone. They should leverage their networks as much as possible and also work with a localized/specialized tech recruiter who uncovers these hidden jobs on a daily basis.”
Check out which companies are hiring by applying to one of our many tech jobs online!
Myth 4: “If I’m the leading candidate for a Perm position, I should be able to negotiate my starting offer as high as I’d like.”
Advice from the experts: “As highly qualified as a tech candidate may be, there is and will always be competition. A candidate’s savvy negotiation and education on the marketplace (via salary reports) is expected from employers. But when candidates exhibit indulgence or entitlement in regards to a potential offer, their well-intentioned actions could backfire on them.”
Contact a local Workbridge Associates today and let us help you kick off 2017 on the right foot.
Over the past 27 years, Workbridge Associates has worked with hundreds of thousands of engineers across North America to help find these tech professionals their dream jobs. While the vast majority end up in positions that pay between $50,000 and $140,000, we have also placed many engineers at the $200K-$300K+ range. Based on placements done over the last three years, Workbridge pulled together a guide to tell you what you need to do to get there, with data about the highest paid salaries by location, experience, skill set, and more.
Based on experience, Workbridge has found that you can be the greatest developer with a Ph.D. in Engineering, but a $200K position may not exist in the geographic region you live in. As the report signifies, most of the job openings in the $200K range are located in San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Apply to a job in one of our cities and get one step closer to the salary you're looking for.
While it's still possible to reach the $200K level elsewhere, if you’re not open to relocating to a place where the pay is higher, you may be limiting yourself. For the full report and more details on how you can earn the highest salary, such as skills and experience level, read the full article by clicking below.
Are you an IT contactor? Have you ever experienced sitting in an interview and becoming noticeably less interested in the job because of something the hiring manager said? Interviewing as a contractor is different than interviewing for a permanent position. There are a lot more land mines to look out for.
As a contractor, you think differently during your job search. Your job security is based on weeks or months, not years. Typically, you are not as interested in long-term career development at a company (unless it’s a contract-to-hire position.) You tend to want to focus more on the specific challenges and expectations of the project at hand. You greatly value your independence and will view the employer on a peer-to-peer basis (or service-provider-to-client) rather than an employee-boss relationship. As a contractor, you are a chameleon, fitting into different cultures and becoming a temporary team member. Sometimes, you are contracting with more than one company, so time is your chief currency in the job search.
So whether you’ve been a contractor for years or are new to the game, here are some red flags you should always look out for from an employer when being interviewed for an IT contracting position:
1. They’re vague about the contract length. Let’s say you ask the hiring manager how long the contract period will last. But he starts waffling, admitting that he is not exactly sure or gives you a wishy-washy response. This is a red flag. The reason why the employer is giving you such a vague response could be because he wants you to consume far more time than you actually want to commit to this engagement or, conversely, the employer may not provide a long enough engagement to make it worth it for you.
Advice: Make sure that the hiring manager is specific and clear about both the estimated minimum and potential timeframes, so you can feel more secure about the engagement. If they don’t, maybe this isn’t the job you want to take.
Don’t get stuck in a job you don’t love. Contact us here to find one you do.
2. They disclose the specific contractor pay rates they are willing to pay. First, if the company you are interviewing for is working with a staffing firm, keep in mind that any questions relating to pay rates should generally be discussed with the agency and not the employer. It is the agency’s responsibility to address this. If the employer starts talking to you about money during the interview, this may be a potential red flag. If no agency is involved, it is still not in the hiring manager’s best interest to specify rates early on in the process, especially during the initial interview. If the hiring manager throws out the rate first, it may turn you off from the opportunity altogether if the rate is too low, and leaves no room to explore negotiations. On the other hand, if he or she discusses rates higher than what you expected, then you will probably hold the company to this rate, and if it turns out that they cannot afford you or try to negotiate lower, this will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Advice: Be sure you are the first to provide your pay expectations during the interview. This will put you more in control of negotiations, and will not waste your or the hiring manager’s time if it isn’t the right fit.
Check out these questions you need to ask before accepting a contract position.
3. They discuss their overall budget in too much detail. As a talented IT contractor, you want to work for a company that has a solid and reasonable budget in place for staffing. However, if the employer starts discussing in detail what their entire budget is during your interview, this is generally not a good sign. It is always good to know that a company has a significant budget in place, as it will show that IT is an important initiative for the company, and they value your work as a contractor. But if they disclose too much, you may start to wonder why you’re not getting paid more, and it is just unprofessional on the company’s behalf. And, of course, if the employer discloses a budget number that is very low, you will obviously be concerned about the commitment to IT spend.
Advice: Be cautious of committing to a company that is too open about their budget. Professional employers will often use adjectives, not numbers, to discuss their financial context. So during the interview, if you hear the budget for the department described as “solid," "healthy" or "strong," this is typically a company worth investing your time in.
4. They make promises about contract-to-perm conversions. As a contractor, you will most likely inquire about a potential conversion-to-permanent role. Either you are interested in converting to perm or even really looking for a permanent position, or you are not interested in a permanent position altogether. Regardless, if the hiring manager makes promises about contract-to-perm conversions during the interview process without even having hired you yet, this is a red flag. Their reasoning for doing so could be several different things but the most obvious is that the company is extremely eager to hire a contractor and will say anything to have you onboard. Either way, employers should not make any type of promises during the interview stage, especially considering they have not yet seen your performance and cannot make an accurate judgement of whether you will be a good fit for their company. It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to initially understand where you, as a contractor, stand. Do you eventually want a permanent position or not?
Advice: During the interview, be clear and honest about your interest in becoming a permanent employee. Ensure that the hiring manager gives you a realistic timeline of when the job could convert, is honest about expectations, and explains that any conversion would be based on your performance during the contract period and is not guaranteed. This is a sign that this company has good principles, and is probably somewhere you would want to work in the long run.
Find a contract-to-perm position on the job board and apply now.
Remember, as the contractor you have to select the opportunity you think best fits your needs and desires. You do not want to waste your time working for a company you are not happy at or one that doesn’t align with your values. You can avoid committing to an opportunity you might later regret by pinpointing red flags with the company or hiring manager during your interview process.
Ready to start your tech job search? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love:
"I want to work in Silicon Valley because that is where all tech jobs are at."
"There are no women in tech."
"You can't be creative in the tech industry."
When people think of working in tech, they often have a lot of expectations of what life is actually like. Tom Parzych, Division Manager of Workbridge Dallas, is here to dispell some of the common misconceptions people have.
1. Expectation: You have to live in Silicon Valley to work in tech.
Reality: Any large metropolitan area will offer a stable, and consistently growing, technology market. Technology is where most companies are investing. Every industry and sector needs to hire to invest in their technology. Whether the city has a dominant presence of one specific industry (i.e. - Finance, telecommunication, law, real estate, etc.) or a diverse landscape, each industry will need to evolve a focus on technology in order to help the company evolve. The main reason the perception in Silicon Valley is that it is the only place to work in Tech is due to the fact that the dominant industry is software companies.
Though Silicon Valley is well-known as the tech capital of the world, other rising hubs like Dallas are well on their way to displacing that title. For instance, Dallas was named by SmartAsset as the country's fourth best tech city in which to work. Known as the home of Texas Instruments and mogul Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame, Dallas has its share of fast-growing VC-funded companies with IT Services provider CPSG Partners and real estate CRM developer Think Tech Labs, along with 168 Inc. 500 companies. With 3.9% job growth from March 2015-2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that "among the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the country, Dallas ranked first in the rate of job growth and third in the number of jobs added."* Additionally, the annual Urban Land Institute (ULI) report names Dallas the top U.S. market for overall real estate prospects. In terms of affordability, Dallas exceeds even their much admired neighbor Austin in the ULI Affordability Index.
Start your job search in tech by checking out these job listings in Dallas or a city near you.
2. Expectation: The technology industry is dominated by men.
Reality: This is a common misconception based on historical data and the previous 'IT' field. There are a lot of companies who would like to diversify the make-up of tech departments and often that starts with the opportunity to hire women. There are many programs that now encourage female involvement in the tech industry, including 'Women who Code' meet-up groups and other industry-interest groups that encourage more female involvement in the technology community.
There are more women in the tech industry than you think. Tech companies are making more of a conscious effort to increase women in the industry. After learning that only 30% of Google's employees were women in 2014, they offered free coding lessons to women and minorities to encourage more involvement. As many obstacles women face in the tech industry, there are ways to overcome them and make a statement for future generations.
3. Expectation: Working in the tech industry can be monotonous and there's no room for creativity.
Reality: A lot of people in the industry are extremely creative and are focused on fostering that creativity and challenging themselves to evolve their skill set through solving complex problems, which requires looking at solutions from various angles and points of view.
The tech industry is filled with creativity. When people think of "tech" they imagine engineers or programmers, but they often forget the design side of tech. User Experience (UX) designers are the ones who create the interfaces for your screens and how it affects your experience with the product.
4. Expectation: You need to fit a specific job description with a skill set matching everything that is listed in the requirement section.
Reality: Most of the positions (especially senior roles) are very much based on the overall potential of a candidate. There are so many technologies that environments can utilize and the industry is constantly evolving. Any company would be very hard-pressed to find someone who had the specific stack they are currently working with and they shouldn't want to! Hiring managers aren't putting as much of an emphasis on resume screens, therefore you shouldn't put a lot of emphasis on job descriptions.
Ready to start your tech job search? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love:
There are a lot of articles on the World Wide Web that instruct potential job seekers on what they should do: how to conduct their search, format their resume, present themselves on interviews, and negotiate the right offer. Here, we discuss a different spin by discussing what potential seekers should NOT do in their efforts to find a new position.
There are certain misconceptions that people have when starting the search for the right role and making the wrong decision can sometimes make the search all that much harder. First, I will discuss what not to do while starting your search. Next, I will cover what not to do when formatting your resume. This can be especially critical since this is typically your first ‘in’ with a potential hiring manager. Lastly, I will cover how to not conduct yourself during the interview process, and how to handle some hard-to-answer questions.
Found a job? Not sure if it's the right one? Here are 5 ways to find out.
Do NOT expect the Resume Boards to find your next position...
In the technology field, there are more than enough positions open, which span various fields, niches, and locations. Many are under the impression that this means recruiters, HR, hiring managers, and others of the like are constantly checking the boards for talented resumes. While there is some truth to this, many positions get filled through networking and referrals. I’m sure every programmer, systems analyst, DevOps Engineer, DBA, etc. have gotten calls when posting their resume that are inappropriate for the basic requirements of what they are looking for (i.e. location, title, salary range, contract or permanent roles). This is because anyone has access to your profile and will try to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
In order to find the next position, you must be proactive rather than reactive. Technology is a very different industry than most other industries. You should be sending your resume to companies that you find interesting (regardless of a job posting or not). You should also be connecting with people at those companies through social media that is profession-friendly (LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), this is the tech industry; be creative! You should also be connecting with recruiters that are specific to your location and know the local market or have inside information. Furthermore, since the tech industry is very collaborative and sharing in their training, you should check out local tech-specific meetings and advocacy groups for introductions to others within the tech industry. Get yourself out there, connect with people who likely have similar interests, and market yourself to the open industry…do NOT expect your resume online to do all the work!
Do NOT make decisions for the individual considering your resume…
The first step in most job searches is to update your resume. This can be a very daunting task for some, as ‘selling’ yourself on a piece of paper is nearly impossible. You should have a copy of your resume that you update for specific positions, and use your experience to relay your qualifications for the duties of that specific posting. However, many people ‘screen’ themselves out of even applying for a job based on some ‘requirements’ of the posting. Most hiring managers understand the difficulty of conveying a skill set on a resume (remember: they are people too, and have probably even looked for a job themselves). If you make the decision that you are unqualified based on a ‘job requirement’, you are essentially making the decision for the person who is considering your resume, and that decision is ‘no’.
Now, this advice shouldn’t be taken too literally. I’m speaking to certain job requirements. Such as, if you have 5 years of experience and the posting calls for 7 years of experience, you should give yourself the shot. Perhaps you have had more diverse experience in those 5 years versus someone with the targeted 7 years. Additionally, if the role calls for 6-7 years of experience, and you only have 4-5/7 years, send in your application regardless! Most understand the room for potential and growth, which should be conveyed through your interview process.
Do NOT make your resume a novel
(no matter how much experience you have)…
Any technical resume over 3 pages is not being read. Do NOT make your resume overly detailed. Especially in technology, most of the languages or systems you used 6 years ago may not be relevant to the current tech landscape. Technology is constantly evolving and those who work in the field need to do the same, and more importantly, show that evolution. This is directed towards those who would be considered senior in their career, of course, but you should not have to list every technology you’ve worked with since the beginning of your career. Instead, focus on those projects that are current, relevant, or that you’ve acquired on your own time (through mentorship, side projects, etc.).
When you are targeting a specific role, if the posting calls for a requirement you possess, but most other roles don’t- make sure to put the skill on the resume for that role and move on. For example, if you are a Microsoft Web Developer, your C# experience should be applicable for 98% of the roles you are applying for. That VB.NET experience from 5 or 6 years ago may only be applicable for one posting. Additionally, if you have 4 years of JAVA and 3 years of C#, but want to work in a JAVA environment, tailor your resumes appropriately and apply for those positions. Most hiring managers will pass on those who ‘walk the line’, because it shows some experience in a couple of things, rather an expertise in one or two things. You should NOT just have one copy of your resume, there should be a couple variations.
Do NOT get in your own way through your interview process…
Phone screens are sometimes a necessary evil. While the industry is moving heavily towards first-round in-person interviews, there are still some companies, hiring managers, etc. that conduct phone screens as the initial point of contact. With this being the case, there are certain assumptions you should NOT be making. Within technology, there is a misconception that the recruiter or HR representative conducting the phone call may not be technical or may not really know how to ‘screen’ you. However, more and more technical positions call for someone to interface with people in the company, both who are technical and non-technical. These screens can be a great way to show your diversity and ability to work with different internal constituents. When speaking on the phone with a hiring manager, some assume there is no room for fault or difference. Make sure to conduct the interview in a conversational way, if they ask you a ‘how to’ question, and you get the feeling that isn’t what they are looking for, clarify it with them! Do NOT assume that there are only black and white, yes or no answers.
A lot of people within technology are typically very good at what they do, but can have a hard time relaying this information in an appropriate way. For instance, one should never speak in absolutes and they should be very careful about the verbiage used. Recently, I had a candidate go to an in-person interview with a hiring manager for a local start-up. The candidate was a great fit for the role, and he was really excited about the position. When he met with the hiring manager, he was asked a question: “How would you rate your experience with ASP.NET”. Now, the candidate was a Web Developer with tons of ASP.NET (and he really knew his stuff), and he answered “Expert level”. Fatal mistake. The next question from the hiring manager was about some concepts of ASP.NET, and the candidate got all right but one. When the hiring manager was providing feedback, he said the candidate “shot himself in the foot”. He explained that while he was very interested in the candidate, his concern is that the candidate wasn’t an ‘expert’ and got a very simple (in his eyes) question wrong and that indicated a level of not only knowledge but naivetés that he could not justify. The candidate should have answered with “I’m very comfortable/confident with my experience, but I’m always learning”. This probably would have allowed for a more positive dialogue vs. the one that resulted.
In addition to remembering what to do in your technical job search, remember what NOT do to!
While there are very specific recommendations and information out there on what to do to get a job, there are also a lot of things NOT to do that are sometimes forgotten. These small, but sometimes costly, mistakes can be the difference between you landing the ‘right’ job and the ‘next’ job!
For more job search advice, you should read:
When job hunting, it’s common to see three types of jobs: salary, contract, and contract-to-hire. While it’s more common for people to choose salary jobs, there are some unexpected benefits that naturally align with contract work. When picking a new job, what is really important to you and how can a contract or contract-to-hire job help you meet those goals? Evan Gordon, Regional Director of Workbridge Philadelphia, raises some great points for anyone considering these types of roles.
1. Strong work-life balance
Contract work has a strong work-life balance built directly into its structure. Hours aren’t set at 9 to 5, but instead are project based. This leads to more flexibility. If you prefer to work at night, to spend more time with kids during the day, you have that option.
The other perk is that you are also paid for every hour you work, so if you do work long hours on a product launch or staying late to fix a problem, you are compensated for every hour.
Want a company that treasures work life balance? Check out these job listings.
“A contractor's schedule is more project oriented. They have more flexibility.”
- Evan Gordon
2. Try before you buy
When you interview at a company, how do you really know that this job is the right fit for you? Do you get a sense of your team, the culture, or your boss from a 20-minute interview? While they are interviewing you, are you evaluating them or are you more worried about making yourself look good?
As a contract-to-hire, you have the rare opportunity to learn all about a company before you commit to a full time position. How do you like working with your team? Is there a rich company culture? Do other people enjoy working there? How is your boss? These are all things you can decide for yourself, and if you choose another opportunity once your contract is over, there’s no stigma for leaving the job.
“You can only know what it’s like to work at a company if you experience it firsthand.”
- Evan Gordon
3. Building strong relationships in a short time
The best job seeker is always networking and building relationships. What better way to stick in someone’s mind then working a project with them. As Evan Gordon says, “It’s a small world and everyone talks to each other.” By building a great reputation as a hard worker or team player you not only build up a reputation, but have several people who can vouch for your talents.
“It’s a small world. Everyone knows everyone.” - Evan Gordon
4. Not just the same old routine
After you’ve worked a job for about six months, you begin to feel comfortable in your responsibilities. At about a year, you have mastered the task and begin to make improvements; but as you stretch into two years or even five years, the same old routine can begin to get stale. You have to ask yourself, are you still learning? Is there room for growth?
As a contractor, you are assigned to different projects. You could be building a virtual reality project one month, and working in the medical field the next. Tech has permeated almost every major industry and so contracts can run the gambit. As a contractor you have a choice, not an assignment. Learn, grow, and experiment, what more could you want from a career?
Don’t get stuck in a job you don’t love. Contact us here to find one you do.
“When people get bored, they leave.” - Evan Gordon
These factors are only some of the reasons why a contract or contract-to-hire position could be your next exciting opportunity. As you search for a new job think about the following questions: What companies are tackling projects or issues that are important to you? What do you want to learn at your next job? What relationships will propel your career to the next level?
Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you’ll love: