How Often Do Software Engineers Get Raises?

Software engineers have a particular skill set that has increased in demand since it emerged as an independent discipline in the mid-1960s, with Robert Half listing software engineers as one of the 13 highest paying IT professions in 2020. But many might ask, how often do software engineers get raises with a skill so pivotal to the emerging digitally-focused business model? 


How often software engineers get raises is particularly individualized in their field and relies on individual merit, increases in the job market median, and company performance. The employer also has to determine contract-based raise specifications and individual performance-based pay increases.


There are multiple factors involved in how often a software engineer gets a raise, but the good news is there are ways to make it happen. If you have been at your job six months or years, read on to find out some ways you can get that pay bump sooner.

How Often Should a Software Engineer Get a Raise?

When and how often you should get a raise is dependent on various factors on an individual basis. Because software engineers tend to move from company to company fairly regularly (every two years on average), they don’t fall into the obvious rhythms of standard longer-term contracts.


You shouldn’t feel limited to the ‘once a year’ standard of other industries if you feel that you merit a bump in salary. As a rule of thumb, you should expect a raise when:


  • Your performance has saved the company money or provided additional revenue. Your raise request should reflect the value you have brought to your role and the goals that you have met or surpassed and definitive results that you have provided your company. A clear idea of your company objectives and challenges may help you craft your raise pitch by showing how you can help them achieve those goals.
  • The salary and payscale data for your job title is less than the average wage median. Being a software engineer in today’s market, you have a wide variety of options for up to date and appropriate compensation for your job title and salary range. AngelList,, and can highlight competitive salaries for your specific job title according to location and company.
  • Your company has seen an increase in profit. When it comes to raises, timing your raise request is key to a successful pay increase. In these uncertain post-COVID-19 times, some companies have really felt the pinch. If your company has posted a loss for the fiscal year or conducting layoffs or a hiring freeze, your chances of a raise are slim to none even based on provable merit. 

How Do You Negotiate a Raise as a Software Engineer?

With the unprecedented rise of e-commerce and the online marketplace, the role of software engineers has never been in higher demand. If you feel that you have brought worth to your company and deserve compensation for your contributions to your company, you should ask for a raise. 


If asking for a raise is a nightmare you would rather wake from, don’t feel alone. The global research specialist, Robert Half, found that 7% of the 1000 employees tested would rather have a root canal than ask for a raise! When asking for a dreaded raise, there are a few tips that will help you put your best foot forward when approaching your employer for an increase in salary.

Do Your Research 

When approaching an employer about a potential raise, you should prepare your paperwork much the same way that you do in a job interview. Have key figures at your disposal, such as median salary rates for your current tile and geographic location. 


Along with the industry standards based on your job skills and experience, you should provide the hard numbers regarding your achievements in the company, such as:


  • Money saved
  • Deadlines completed successfully
  • Responsibilities that you have assumed
  • Additions to your skill level/education in relation to the job
  • How your position has changed since your initial employment 

Identify Your Compensation Range and Back It Up

Identify how you have come up with your proposed increase and place it in an easy-to-understand context for how you landed on the figure you are providing. Providing the figures to support your proposed raise focuses the negotiation on economic value instead of your personal dissatisfaction or feelings of being undervalued in your role.

Provide Some Leverage

If the company you have been working for has not been forthcoming with raise offers or negotiations, you may provide some leverage to sink home your raise proposal. It never hurts to have a fallback option if your employer will not meet your raise increase requests. 


If you have provided value to your company and fulfilled your responsibilities in an exemplary manner over a measurable period, there is no reason why your application should be declined.


One of the real advantages of a career in software engineering is its significantly high demand in the industry. Providing your employer with the leverage of a company that has agreed to meet your increased salary needs is an excellent incentive for your current employer to re-evaluate the value of your role.

Know Your Worth

Glassdoor has ranked software engineers number seven in the “Best jobs in America” list for 2020 with a Median base salary of $105,563 and over 50,000 job openings currently seeking their expertise. Every industry in the world uses software, and the demand for software engineers is set to rise.


Nothing is stopping you from pursuing other options in some other company that will provide you with your deserved compensation as a matter of course.

Ways to Fast Track Your Raise as a Software Engineer

You don’t necessarily have to stand, hat in hand, and plead your case for a raise. Many successful software engineers have been proactive and staked their claims on promotions and raises through their own initiative. You may try a few suggestions  below on how to get a raise without asking for it.

Keep Learning New Skills

Any technology considered new will be outdated at some time in the continually evolving field of technology. Keep abreast of emerging technologies on the market and update your skillset. In this way, you increase your value to your employer and lend more credence to your request for an increase in salary.

Outperform Your Peers

If you want to get noticed as callous as it sounds, outperform your peers. It is a sure-fire plan to get noticed by those who hold the cards to your raise. If you can fulfill your set tasks well and take on other value-adding projects and do them well, it won’t go unnoticed.

Volunteer for Work Other People Don’t Want to Take On

You can’t go wrong by organizing charity events or work-related team-building exercises, showing what a great team player you are.

Get Involved in High Profile Projects

It’s not always the easiest task starting out, but it is an excellent career move to become part of a high profile project. Not only do you gain experience, but you become familiar with the key players by your increased visibility. 


Growing gaps in the tech sector have caused an increase of businesses eager to fill roles that software engineers’ skills can provide. The constantly adapting technology interface keeps the role of software engineers a constant learning curve and an exciting field to have a place in. 


If you feel undervalued in your role in a specific company, there are plenty more companies out there willing to pay you what you are worth. It’s a seller’s world in the software market, and if you are finding yourself needing to ask for a raise, maybe your talents will be more appreciated elsewhere. 


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