I am making $12/hr as an entry-level developer (first tech job). Am I being taken advantage of?

I live in the southern United States. 2 months ago, I started my first developer job making Ionic/Angular hybrid mobile apps with no prior experience. I am still in training, but a lot of people I talk to believe I am being payed far too little. What is your thoughts?

Oh, I am also full time, 40+ hours a week in office.


It depends on where you live and what your level of work is. My first internship started at (I think) $14/hr in a moderate cost-of-living area with a healthy tech industry.

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You also have to take into account when this was. Was this in the 80s and 90s, or was this recently?

Cost of living changes overtime.

Although, I am being trained so I cannot complain too much. The training, however, is very informal and consists of me looking at code examples and working independently (with occasional help from guys overseas and my coworker who remains busy with project management).

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It sound like a paid internship. Are they talking about a future? Are there other developers there that started out like you but got promoted with raises? Unless the answer to both of those questions is yes, I’d still be looking .

It is sort of like an internship but not really. I am not enrolled in school right now, and this is a full time job. No one has even mentioned benefits to me yet.

2013? I think.

Yeah, I didn’t mean internship in a legal sense, just in the sense that you’re getting training and they’re paying you less than they would.

I would talk to my manager. What is my future here? What is my career path?

Again, are there experienced developers there making a solid wage or is it just a few fake interns and some overseas help? Look around the room (metaphorically) - is there someone’s job you want? Or is it just a low paid developer sweat shop?



Oh, that is fairly recent. I guess this is normal.

Like I said, it really depends on your area and your experience.


I’m not against a low paying job to get a foot in the door. Maybe that’s what this is. But whether or not you have a future there will depend on them. Maybe you do. Or maybe you keep looking. $30k a year seems kind of low to me, but maybe it’s a stepping stone.

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It is more like $25000 a year.

But like Ariel says, that may be reasonable depending on the geographical location, the specialization, the complexity of what you’re doing, and what your experience is. But your goal should be to move beyond that position.


Do YOU think that you are being payed far too little?

Try to answer this question yourself:

Are you being taken advantage of?

To assess this, consider the following:

How much value is this company extracting from you? Are you making them a ton of money? Are they hiring you out as a consultant at hundreds of dollars an hour, and paying you peanuts?

How much value are you extracting from the company? Are you learning a lot that feels relevant to your future goals? Does this feel like an investment with the potential to pay dividends to you?

Can you afford to live on this job?

Can you afford to quit this job?

Try not to compare yourself to the rumours you hear about Devs making silly sums of money for now. Think about your needs, your happiness, and your future.

If looking at this solely through the lense of how much value you get vs give leaves you with the sense you are being ripped off - that’s important.

Anything else could just lead you to feeling resentment that isn’t particularly helpful or healthy.

That said, if you are getting ripped off, either advocate for a raise, or keep your eye open for other opportunities!


Minimum wage is pretty common for paid interns, and it sounds like you are one. However, I don’t think it would be inappropriate to point-blank ask them what the scale pay is and when you’ll be eligible for it. If they take umbrage at that, leave immediately.


I don’t know if I’d “leave immediately” - perhaps you meant it as hyperbole. I’d still say getting paid minimum wage to get some real world experience is better than sitting in your mom’s basement, eating potato chips, and perfecting your to-do app. But that definitely would be warning flag that these people don’t respect you and to keep looking for something better.

A bit hyperbolic, since they’ll almost always give you a vague answer. I think the taboo against asking about salaries is bullshit, and I think it was primarily so minorities and women wouldn’t notice how underpaid they were. Yes they vary, but any company of decent size has pay grades, and it’s not impertinent for someone brand-new to the industry to ask.

I do suppose it depends how bluntly one puts it and how much umbrage they might take. :slight_smile:


Jackson’s answer is right on the money (if you’ll pardon the pun). On the topic of career/pay progression, there’s a well known problem in the tech industry of pay raises not keeping up with market rates. Even if you are hired at a good salary, it’s pretty common that as your skills increase you can get a significant pay increase by changing jobs. I’ve heard job hopping this way referred to as “a silicon valley promotion” and it’s why developers average 3 years at a company.

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What’s the reason it can not be done from home?

I’m not sure that’s relevant; answer is likely to be “because it’s not a remote job”. It’s got no effect on the wage anyway – remote jobs can pay less than overall country average because companies can (and will) base pay on local averages, but that’s not relevant as wage seems to be minimum wage

Edit, apologies, yes actually it is relevant, because it removes travel cost (+ pay can be pegged to cost of living in a certain area, + Covid 19)

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