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There is no short answer to this, but what I would like to start off with is the whole market-related subject. I call BS on all surveys and forums where you can put your skills in and see your market-related salary. You are an individual and your worth compared to someone else can’t be a measuring tool.

Example. I meet recruiter John who has 5 years recruitment experience and a qualification, but has an arrogant attitude and hates teamwork. He is worth nothing to me. However, John could be worth double his salary in some big corporate.

There are 2 important factors here.

  1. What is the skill worth to the company? A senior developer at a HealthCare institution compared to a software dev house will have completely different values.
  2. What makes you stand-out? Are you an asset to a company? Do you have skills that your peers don’t have? Are you just an average “market-related” kind of person?

Developer A, has no tertiary qualification, is self-taught since 13 years old and loves coding. A is humble, sincere, easy to get on with, knows his strengths and weaknesses. He can put a value on his contribution. A will get what he is worth.

Developer Z, has a degree from *Rhodes (just an example), 6 years solid work experience, is fully aware that the market is short of developers so wants R90 000, current salary R55 000. He adds no extra value, has no additional knowledge compared to his peers and has an attitude that any team would despise. Z looks like a fool at every interview overselling the skills he doesn’t have. Ends up being “bought” by some mediocre company to then have his career die a slow and painful death.

So, what is your worth?

Look at what knowledge you possess.

Examine your attitude (be honest with yourself, no-one likes an Ahole).

Are you an asset or just a screaming prima-dona?