Raise Your Pay

Code For Cash

You probably would like to make more money. If for no other reason, the constant inflation and soaring costs in critical parts of the economy (healthcare, housing, college, childcare and the like) mean that if you aren’t reguarly increasing your pay rate, you are actually losing purchasing power over time. Even food prices are on the rise.

If you would like to have a decent quality of life over the long term, you are going to have to constantly be trying to improve your pay scale. While you won’t always get immediate results, you should always be considering how an action might impact your future pay rate.

In the long run, you want your pay to increase over time. Stagnant pay is equivalent to declining purchasing power and can make it far more difficult to save money for your other goals. While pay isn’t always the most important consideration, it is a critical one. You need to be structuring your work life so that you are always moving towards higher paying work. However, you do have to be careful about how you do it, as all strategies have a cost.

Episode Breakdown


Working only on slightly out-of-date technology

Some old technology is ok, so long as that’s not all you’re doing. If your employer is not willing to use more marketable technology, you need to move on. Really old technology can sometimes be viable if there is a market.


Pay attention to the impression you are making at work. Take responsibility for your own growth. Start pushing for more opportunities.

Putting off interviewing

Interviewing will give you more information about what’s out there. Even if you aren’t actively looking for work, this will still serve to keep your interviewing skills fresh. This also forces you to keep your resume and personal brand up to date.


Building Your Network

You should be reaching out to previous coworkers and bosses to see how things are going. You also should start attending meetup groups and conferences to broaden your network. This would also be a good time to start blogging and participating in good social media.

Specializing and learning in-demand skills

You should always be learning new things, but now is a good time to focus on skills that have a lot of demand in your area. If you can get your current job to pay for training, that’s great. If you can’t, you’ll have to do it yourself. Part of this training should also be practical application of these skills.

Aiming for better titles and more responsibility

Sometimes you can’t immediately get a raise at your job. It’s ok to temporarily settle for more responsibility, a better title, etc. You can often leverage a better job title for higher pay at the next job. More responsibility translates directly into more experience that people will pay for.

Trying to get consistent raises that exceed inflation

You should be advocating for raises every year and those raises should exceed the rate of inflation. Don’t settle for cost of living adjustments – if you do so, your employer is getting a better deal every year. If your pay doesn’t go up over an 18 month period, start looking. Period.

Quick and Dirty

Change jobs

Changing jobs is usually the fastest way to get increases in salary, provided you don’t do it too much. Be sure that pay isn’t the only thing you consider when you do this though. New jobs should also come with skills and training that you can leverage for your next position.

Move somewhere with higher pay

Some parts of the world have different pay scales. It may be worth considering a move. This works especially well if you are young, single, and have no particular attachment to your current location. You can save at the new place and then downgrade later.

Pick up additional work

If you are looking to expand skills or make more money and can’t at your day job, this is a good option. Have a preference for work that pays double your current hourly rate or teaches you new things. Also understand that side work can turn into additional full-time work.

Book Club

The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding

Joe Kutner

Chapter 8 is titled Making Exercise Pragmatic. Kutner starts off talking about how high-intensity exercise can reduce cognitive functioning. He uses this to point out that you need to coordinate exercise into your schedule to be most effective when coding and exercising. The first section talks about cognitive flexibility and how lower-intensity exercising increases cognitive ability. If you are familiar with the pomodoro technique, the idea of working in short, usually 25 minute, incriments you’ll like the next section. In it Kutner discusses ways to apply this to improving your brain power and physical health. He talks about the benefits of taking a 2-3 hour period and coding for 25 minutes then taking a 5 minute exercise break. During the break do only one exercise for five minutes. In the next section he talks about keeping a log of your exercises. He points out the need to be specific in what you record and to be consistent with logging. Next he discusses playing games to improve your health…this isn’t a COD marathon…though he does mention a programmer who only games from a pedaling desk. The great thing about games like golf, bowling, tennis, or boxing is that they engage both your body and your brain. In the last section before the retro he talks about using social media and mobile apps to motivate yourself. Personally I like SparkPeople as it has various levels of involvement so I can either use it to track my intake and exercise or follow their diet plan and meal preps. I also like how it gamifies nutrition and exercise.

Tricks of the Trade

Either your job is disposable or you are.

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