Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering advisor at Pathrise. I work with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job.
One of the benefits of applying to many new grad software engineer positions is that a lot of the companies follow similar interview processes. You can feel comfortable knowing that, in most cases, you will start with a recruiter phone screen, move onto a technical challenge and/or technical interview, and then 1-2 onsite interviews.
After you have gone through the entire interview process, you move into an area that is often less consistent: the offer stage. A lot of people experience anxiety when it comes to receiving offers, even though this should be a happy moment, because they just don’t have enough information to know what to expect. So, we wanted to lay out the expectations so that you can go into this phase with knowledge and confidence.
The first step towards feeling comfortable receiving an offer is getting background information to know if the offer is good. According to Glassdoor, average compensation for new grad software engineers is $108k. The low end of the spectrum is around $85k and the highest reported is just under $150k. On AngelList, the average salary for a developer is $95k. This is likely a more well-rounded salary average because it includes startups.
Depending on the type of company that is giving you an offer, you can use this scale to see where your salary sits. But, remember, compensation is more than just salary – it also includes equity, bonuses, and other benefits (ex: PTO).
Big tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are known for offering high salaries and good benefits. When you are negotiating, they might not move the needle much on actual salary, since they are usually giving good salary offers, but that does not mean you shouldn’t try. These companies do often have leeway on their equity, signing bonuses, and other benefits.
With smaller startups, your salary might be lower on first offer, so you should try to negotiate for salary unless they explicitly mention they can’t go higher. In that case, look at bonuses, equity, and benefits so that you can increase your total compensation. When negotiating, use this email template, which we annotated, so that make sure you hit the right points and highlight your value to the company.
You can use this knowledge of what other companies are paying new grad software engineers to leverage your negotiations. Here is a template a fellow used recently to receive a $25k increase in salary by showcasing what he could have made at a different company in the same type of position
Hi [recruiter name],
I wanted to thank you again for the offer, I’m very excited for the chance to join [Company X], especially after getting to know the team! I took some time to talk about the offer with my family, and after doing some reflection I’d like to ask a few questions.
I would love to know if there is any flexibility on the base salary to ease my mind about the decision — my goal is to be at my next company for a long time, so it’s important to me to make sure that I’m set up for success. I’m also about to finish up the interview process with [Company Y] for a similar position (on the [software engineering team]), which starts at $108,000 per year with a $24,000 signing bonus. I am much more excited to join [Company X], but the difference in pay is a significant barrier for me at the moment. Is it possible to increase the base pay to come as close as possible to $108,000, or perhaps offer a significant sign-on bonus to help mitigate the difference? If so, I would have no hesitation signing the offer right away.
Again, I want to reiterate my excitement and interest in working at [Company X] — I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone I’ve spoken with, and from what it sounds like the team is working on some really great things that I know I can contribute to.
Thank you again for this offer, please let me know your thoughts when you have a moment.
With this background knowledge, you should be able to go into the offer stage for new grad software engineer positions knowing what to expect. Utilizing these negotiation tools can help you increase your salary beyond the average.
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, we’ve seen a 5-20% increase in salary from our fellows in the program.
If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with negotiation or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.