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Computer company salaries - what to ask for/expect

(21 Posts)
JS64 Fri 12-Aug-16 22:32:07

I've had an email from my DS who is doing an internship for a computer security company. He worked for them last summer too and has just graduated (got a first). They want to hire him and have a large project in mind for him to tackle - it's stuff which is quite incomprehensible to me smile

He is not motivated by money but they have asked him what salary he wants which has totally thrown him - he is really not the type to negotiate and is finding this quite stressful as he doesn't know what to say and wasn't expecting this. Can anyone give us any idea of what the range might be and what he should ask for? I think he did something quite whizzy last year which got highlighted on the company blog if I have understood correctly. They pay him £30K pro rata as an intern which seems a lot to me but I guess he should ask for more than that! What about other stuff like health insurance? Is that a normal thing companies like this offer? There does seem to be quite a lot of money swilling around but I might have got the wrong impression.

Any info/advice would be much appreciated; I have only ever worked in the public sector where there is no room for manoeuvre and the numbers are smaller.


CBW Fri 12-Aug-16 22:37:02

Look for adverts for similar jobs for comparison. Can he talk to a recruitment consultant?

daisychain01 Sat 13-Aug-16 05:36:00

not being funny, JS but if your DS has a first in Computer Science, shouldn't he be in front of a laptop doing basic Internet research on salary ranges.

For a start salary ranges vary massively depending if he is city based esp London, or a major city through to less urban settings. Also companies range from large multi nationals to smaller single site organisations.

He needs to consider those criteria based on the company he is in and the type of work he will be doing. Also I am supervised a company asking him to name his price. They should have a role spec for his job and tell him what they will start him on, and how their awards structure works, not the other way round. Specially if he is inexperienced and a novice IT practitioner.

daisychain01 Sat 13-Aug-16 05:37:39

Also I am surprised at the company asking him to name his price that should say smile

daisychain01 Sat 13-Aug-16 05:40:39

I would give him a reality check. There is no big pot of money swilling around. Any money available is given to people with unique skills and large dollop of drive and experience.

Companies want their pound of flesh more nowadays than any point in modern history ( I have the war wounds to prove it!)

JS64 Sat 13-Aug-16 08:17:04

Thanks CBW and daisychain, he was rather surprised to be asked to name his price too, that's the problem! It is a rather unusual company who do things a bit differently in general, but it seems to be working for them so far. This job came up because someone has a idea they think should be developed and they think he can do it, it isn't a matter of him applying for a standard graduate job. I think he is going to email various people to try and get some information or advice. He is an unusual chap, very good at what I call hard sums but less good at practical life. He hates uncertainty and putting himself forward, just likes beavering away at something interesting.

There is some information online about salary ranges but not for this company or for his role. They do seem to have a rather lucrative and unique product from what I know and their intern rate seems higher than the norm. I have no experience of this sort of thing which is why I wondered if I could find out any clues to help him! MN can be a great source of info smile

I think him emailing his contacts is his best bet. He will have looked online but similar companies are a bit coy about actual salaries - "excellent" seems the standard description. He would hate to say too high a figure and seem greedy or too low and be unrealistic. But hey that's real life and he'll just have to mangage. He's lucky to be going into a buoyant sector. As for big pots of money, that's just the impression I got from a few things he said - but then I work for the council so my view my be skewed as we have been cut to the bone!

I think he's left it that they will make him an offer and he'll take it from there. By then I guess he may have got some info from his contacts. He'll be googling negotiating salary this weekend! At least it seems he'll get more than his intern rate which is pretty good for a first job.

cantshakeitoff Sat 13-Aug-16 08:20:29

I'm in a different field of engineering where graduates are usually paid £25-£30k in the SE so was going to suggest that.

However if he was previously on £30k when not yet qualifies he should probably go in at £35k.

He needs to do his research.

WhisperingLoudly Sat 13-Aug-16 08:30:57

If I understand completely rector he hasn't so much been asked to "name his price" rather than been given an opportunity to sell himself low - a common error for new graduates.

First thing (after basic Internet search) is to get in touch with a recruiter, the employee/recruiter relationship is a weird one: needs some investment but mutually beneficial in the long run and he'll likely find one who is willing to give him some idea of appropriate salary expectations.

This will also help him in negotiation e.g "I want £50k, [competitor company] were paying £40k for a similar role last year but I've a year proven experience and you know I'm a good fit" is a much better approach than "I want £38k because cost of living is high".

Depending on what he is doing £30k could be very low and there is no harm in going in high - it's much easier to negotiate a higher start rate than pay rises once in employment. They know him so even if they think his request is crazy they won't right him off on the basis of an OTT pitch.

WhisperingLoudly Sat 13-Aug-16 08:32:38

"Completely rector" should be correctly. FFS!

JS64 Sat 13-Aug-16 14:48:22

Thanks cantshakeitoff and whispering for the replies. The been given an opportunity to sell himself low bit is what I was wondering about but I thought I might just be being unreasonably suspicious! He's got 2-3 contacts who have the potential to be extremely helpful so I just hope they aren't on holiday. It is just possible the guy he spoke to wasn't sure what to suggest either - think he might be not have massive experience in the nuts and bolts of hiring. It's not a formal interview situation. The company structure seems to be rather flexible but the work is extremely interesting I am told.

I would hate to have to negotiate my pay and he is shyer and more modest than me but I suppose he'll just have to learn to play the game. Anyway if this doesn't work out well there seem to be plenty of other opportunities for him and he's getting very good experience.

EBearhug Sun 14-Aug-16 15:18:17

You won't get far looking at other job ads. They'll mostly just say "competitive".

Look at sites like and

Also try to find out if the company has a particular salary policy - e.g. national average + 5%. Lots don't (at least publically), but if they do, take it into account.

IT salaries can vary massively, according to employer (I get paid a lot more on the private sector than I did doing exactly the same thing in the public sector, and it's still a lot less than I could get if I worked in banking.) It also depends on skill set - some skills are worth more than others. Security is quite hot at the moment; they already know what his work is like and he's now got a first. Obviously he hasn't got masses of experience yet, but I should think he could push for quite a bit more than £30k. Also, consider things like number of days leave, other benefits (private health, gym, pension,) and flexibility. Though if it's for an internship, not permanent, not all will be available.

He needs to know what the lowest limit is that he'd accept, but don't tell them. He also needs to know what he expects, having done research and he should probably start with asking for a bit more, then there's room for negotiation. He's in a strong position - make the most of it.

I hate salary negotiation, too. It's pretty normal in IT, but most techy staff never get taught how to negotiate - plus it perpetuates salary gaps.

EBearhug Sun 14-Aug-16 15:19:38

It's not a formal interview situation.

That doesn't mean he won't be judged on what he does and says. It's all part of the recruitment process.

QueenJuggler Sun 14-Aug-16 15:33:44

Tech industries tend to pay interns the same as graduate starting salaries. So he should be asking them for £30k, plus a bit more, because if you don't ask, you don't get.

Private health and CI insurance, bonus scheme, generous holiday etc.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 14-Aug-16 15:37:40

My best mates son did an internship at £35k for the summer and he then started at 60k on graduation.

After 2 years now on £85.

He really needs to do his research about this and go in with a decent negotiable figure. If it's London then what my mates son got is not uncommon (though seems like fortunes to me!)

ImperialBlether Sun 14-Aug-16 15:44:56

I think he should say, "You first," then double their original figure.

QueenJuggler Sun 14-Aug-16 16:30:17

LaurieCake £80k in tech for a graduate without any post-grads quals in tech is pretty much unheard of. MBAs from the smartest business schools might pull that in (Harvard, MIT, Stanford), but I've never heard of anyone in a London tech company getting that as a newly minted grad. Even Google and Amazon trainees get around £40k, not £80k.

QueenJuggler Sun 14-Aug-16 16:30:58

Sorry, typo there, should be £60k not £80k.

Banking might pay 60. Tech typically doesn't.

HermioneWeasley Sun 14-Aug-16 16:37:44

If they're paying £30k for interns, I'd suggest £40k plus 30 days hols (plus bank holidays) and some sort of project delivery bonus or profit share when the product goes live. Also think about other qualifications he'd like them to sponsor or tech conferences he'd like to attend. Do they do company cars or car allowances? Company mobiles, laptops etc?

Things like health insurance are taxable and at his age he's unlikely to need them.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 14-Aug-16 16:38:18

How funny, I was actually talking about Google. grin He's a coder and that's the salary he got there.

GeorgeTheThird Sun 14-Aug-16 16:41:39

Don't know anything about the sector but £30k pro rata as an intern suggests he should start at at least £40k to me.

QueenJuggler Sun 14-Aug-16 21:17:40

Laurie I think someone may be embellishing there. I am very, very well aware of what Google pay new grads, and I am intimately acquainted with what coders get paid. Google grads starting with an undergrad qual don't get £60k - not as basic. They may well get it with bonuses, but basic salary, not in London.

Mountain View pays a lot better than London. That's because actual coding happens there. London is almost 100% a sales and product marketing office. Very little coding happens there.

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