5 Ways to Prepare for Negotiating Your First Offer as a Web Developer

Here’s the deal: 73% of employers in the U.S. will negotiate first-time salaries, according to CareerBuilder. The negotiation gene is ingrained in their hiring cells.

Unsurprisingly, most employers will offer a lower starting salary, leaving some wiggle room. So, you could leave cash on the table by not asking your employer to show you the money when negotiating your first web developer’s offer.

The irony is that 55% of employees never ask for higher pay when taking on a new job. According to, some candidates fear the employer might decide not to hire them, while others don’t want to appear greedy.

Here are five ways to bust those myths before you negotiate your first offer as a web developer.

Know Your Strengths

You may have enough working knowledge of the code at your fingertips. That’s a great start. Did you know, however, that there’s much more to being a great web developer than just being tech-savvy?

If, for instance, you can’t keep your head in the face of glaring deadlines, you’ll likely crumble in a cutthroat workplace. In the same vein, suppose you, more often than not, take constructive feedback as a personal attack. In that case, your chances of throwing patience and etiquette out the window might grow with every project you handle.

Without soft skills to match, technical prowess is like an aircraft without flight instruments.

For example, coupling your coding skills with being a creative problem solver might give you a genuine reason to negotiate for a higher first offer as a web developer. Besides this, negotiations experts teach more skills that can complement your coding know-how, such as:

  • having business sense
  • a passion for learning and improvement
  • the ability to manage time and set priorities
  • the desire to stay up to date on the industry
  • being a great team player and communicator

Since this is your first offer, you might not have a brag sheet to show. However, an honest evaluation and presentation of your soft skills can place you on higher ground from which to negotiate your first offer as a web developer.

Leverage Your Value

The battle for your first offer as a web developer is won or lost long before you take your seat at the negotiation table. After all, the person seated across the table has been paid to talk you into accepting the lowest offer the company cares to offer. You may be a beginner with few accomplishments, metrics, or testimonials. Don’t let these realities get into your head, though. Doing so might make you look down upon and undervalue yourself.

As long as you’ve undergone coding and web design training and have a passion for making a living solving web development problems, you’re likely to have a skill or two to lay on the negotiation table. It might be a college achievement or the results from a real-life project you contributed to during your attachment period.

“Figures don’t lie,” so goes the adage. Therefore, in voicing your achievements, don’t merely stop at making your knowledge of HTML, SQL, JavaScript, or Python known. Instead, dig deeper into the finer details and quote actual numbers.

For example, you can explain how you used your web development skills during your attachment to create plugins for recovering abandoned shopping baskets. When you installed the add-ons on an eCommerce website, there was a 20% sales increase within the first three months. Sharing actual figures makes your claims believable.  

You haven’t worked as a web developer before. So, you don’t have any experience on which to base your facts when you negotiate your first offer. While that’s true, it’s no reason for you to walk into a negotiation and merely dance to your interviewer’s tune. Instead, sift through various data sites such as Glassdoor, PayScale, and Indeed in advance to find out what employers in your area pay entry-level web developers such as you.

Find out whether, besides the net salary, companies offer perks such as:

  • paid time off
  • flexible schedules
  • opportunities to work from home
  • health insurance
  • bonuses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23% overall employment growth for web developers between 2021 and 2031 in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Unless you research, you may not know that employers need you more than they want to make you believe. You can use this knowledge to turn the negotiation tables to your side.

Place Company Wants Above Yours

Placing the company’s wants before your own isn’t the same as turning a blind eye to your needs. Neither does it mean watering your value down. It does mean, however, you can negotiate your offer based on how the company stands to benefit from your skill set.

Negotiation allows you to show the employer that you can feel their pain points and that you’re here to provide relief. This is the winning angle. Center the conversation around how the company will benefit from having you on board. When this value has sunk into the interviewer’s heart, you can then ask for fair compensation.

Trying to justify your figures with your wants and desires might steer the discussion away from the company’s needs. Remember, the company is the reason for the negotiation. Not your need for money.

Decide on Your Minimum Offer

So, you already have a handle on your value. You’ve also done the research and know the fair packages for entry-level web developers. What’s left is for you to settle on a figure below which you can’t accept.

You can work out this figure by finding out how much you need to lead a decent life. Sum up your annual expenses, such as:

  • rent
  • loans
  • utilities
  • groceries
  • car payments

Now that you’re likely to be working, you might want to build wealth through saving. If you wish to save a third of your salary, multiply the total expenses by 1.5.

What if you’re offered a number below your desired minimum? Now’s the time to make your expectations known. If your interviewer doesn’t budge, tell them you’ll be interested in hearing from them when they’ve revised their offer.

Yours for the Taking

Usually, interviewers throw the lowest first offer on the negotiation table. With these tactics, you can talk your employer into letting go of the perks with which they’re playing hide and seek.


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