By April 30, 2019

Why You Aren’t Making As Much Money As You Should Be As A Software Developer

You're a developer. You finally made it, learned to code and now you're living the dream of building software and becoming a programmer. Are you making money as a developer? Are you making as much money as you wanted as a software developer?

You have built a few applications and put them in the app store, you have your GitHub constantly updated… You're doing it all right but… It still feels like you can't advance.

“What do I need to do in order to become a senior developer?”

You feel like you could do more but you feel afraid. For example, you don't apply for a senior position because you don't feel like a senior developer…

What if they ask you advanced questions and you can't answer?

In today's video, I'm going to share my thoughts on why some beliefs are holding you back from making much more money as a software developer than you are making right now and how you can shift those to increase your developer salary.

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:

What's up guys? John Sonmez here from Simpleprogrammer.com, and in today's video, I'm going to tell you exactly why as a software developer, you're not making more money and you're not getting the job that you should be getting, and it's really hurting your career.

Welcome to the channel. This is the place on the web for you to learn soft skills, manage your career, and learn how to market yourselves as a software developer and become the kind of software developer that makes a lot more money and is able to get the kind of jobs that they want. Here's what we're talking about today. We're talking about mistakes that software developers make that they don't realize they're making, but you're costing yourselves a lot of money, and I'm going to tell you why. This is an email that I that I got. I put it in this Word document or this Google doc. It says, Hi John, this is a followup on the email I sent you back in October, 2017. I lost my job and in October. Whatever, real estate license, okay, we're going to say, I'm still applying to IOS development jobs, since I put two apps in the app store and “made up a company on my resume.” We'll get to that. I'm still getting responses from companies when I applied to IOS roles.

The reason why I'm growling here is not because here made up a company. It's because he put it in quotes. Perfectly fine. You didn't make up a company. Guess what I have to do to create a company and go in business. I have to say I just have to wish it. I just have to say I'm XYZ company and I'm in business. There's no morality, there's no ethics, there's nothing wrong with this. There's no laws, there's nothing that says that you cannot be a business. You can create a business instantly if you want to. It's only your brainwashed programming that is telling you that you can't do this stuff. You guys are seriously, I know you've been preached, I know that the traditional message is that you go to school, you get good grades, you go to college, you get a job, you work in a cubicle, you work your way up, save money in your 401(k) and retire.

That is bullshit. It doesn't have to go that way. If you want to become an entrepreneur, if you want to start a business, if you want to work for yourself, you want to sell something, you can just choose to do that, and you can call yourself whatever you want. There's no rules to this shit, okay? This is why you guys aren't making money. Let's look at this here. I haven't been consistently studying IOS development since I put those two apps in the app store back in 2017. It's 2019 now, it's been on and off for studying, that's mostly because I wasn't sure what to do with my life, so my knowledge is a little shaky. I just had another call today from a company here in Toronto, Canada. It's for a senior IOS developer role. I consider myself to be an intermediate level at best. Is it wrong to go to a technical interview if it ends up going that far? I could cram IOS development studying into a week, and try my best.

What do you think? If I did end up doing well on the interview and got the job, I'd be worried that they'd “find out” that I'm not at the level I need to be. So my response, this was my response. If you ask me a stupid question, I will reply like this. You are a senior level IOS developer, prove me wrong. So then he responded, Hi John, I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If they ask me a senior level question and I can't answer it, it will show them I'm not qualified. Am I wrong here? I didn't even reply to this. This is my reply to this. I'm not trying to pick on you Jason, I'm sure you're a cool guy obviously. But you do not know what you're doing when it comes to marketing yourself and selling yourself, and your confidence level is just down the toilet, my friend. You've got to work on this shit. This is why guys, I tell you. It doesn't matter. I have developers, I've been training developers for a long time. For over 10 years now. Way over 10 years now.

Go ahead. Have all the technical skills that you want. Be a master at C++ development. Know every single job descrip framework. Every single thing that there is to know technically. You could run circles around me technically. I don't care. It does not mean that you're going to get the job. It doesn't mean you're going to get paid what you should. It doesn't mean you're going to make the money. You have to learn soft skills, okay? That's why I wrote a book called Soft Skills. But my point is this. The reason why I wrote those books, is because … and you might say this. You did 55 courses, made millions of dollars doing that, teaching technical skills to software developers, why did you write a technical book? Because that's what you need to know. You don't need to know the technical shit. That's fine. You need to have some expertise and knowledge, but you need to know how to negotiate your salary.

You need to know how to build a blog and build a reputation for yourself online and perhaps even get on podcasts, and how to market yourself so that you can actually get these jobs. So that you can get these opportunities, so you can become a freelance developer. I've got clients that bill $300 an hour as freelancers, and it's because, not because of their technical skills. They're good, they're competent, but it's because they know how to market themselves. They have social skills. They have the soft skills. Enough of my rant here. Let's actually address some of these things here.

Here's the thing guys, here's the problem with Jason here. Jason, I'm going to talk directly to you now. Here's the deal. You have put two apps in the app store. Do you know how many software developers can actually build a real application and publish it? It is like 5%. Honestly. You're in the top 95%. For sure. Believe me. I have gone through interviews, have interviewed people that are high-level developers with master's degrees from Cornell University, and they can't build an app. They can't actually write code. You actually have demonstratable proof. Are you a senior level IOS developer? Hell, yes. You are a senior level. It doesn't get much more senior than that. Do you know everything there is about IOS development? Are you an absolute expert? No, but you're senior level. You can actually build an app and put it in the app store. You've gone through all that stuff. That makes you senior. And the fact that you've been doing this for that long, it doesn't matter if you're a little rusty. It's fine.

Let's just walk through some of this here. You haven't been consistently studying. Not a big deal. That's fine. You don't have to study. Build stuff. It's fine. So here's the thing. You got this call from a company here in Toronto, Canada. This is the problem guys. Senior IOS developer role. I consider myself intermediate level at best. I don't care what you consider yourself at. They called you up. That's not the way to pitch it, right? The way that you should be thinking guys, about things, is that you could do whatever they need you to do, on demand. When I was in my career, if someone asked me to do something or ask me something, asked me if I could do something, I always said yes. Now, I'm not lying, I will figure out what needs to be done and I will get it done. That's my answer. I will do it for you. If you're going to take this job, it's the same thing. You need to sell yourself. You need to understand, because here's the thing. And you can see this in politics.

I'm not going to actually get into the political examples, because it always creates a divide here, but I want you to understand that it is not knowledge, it is not ability that inspires people to follow you and to believe you, it's conviction. There's a reason why I'm making this video, pointing this pen at you, and talking the way that I am. It's because if I recorded this video guys, and I sat there and I was like, yeah, I'd like to give Jason some advice, but I'm not 100% sure, but I have some ideas on this. And I could be wrong about it, so here's what I kind of think. I can do what you want to do Jason, but this is what I'm think, feeling. You'd be like fuck this guy, and you'd turn off this video and you wouldn't listen to what I have to say. I'm telling you like it is. I know how it is, and I'm telling you, and that's why you believe me. You wouldn't believe me if I didn't speak with conviction.

So it's all about that belief. You have to have this ability. I'm going to try and condense this so I don't give you all of this, otherwise this would be a really, really long video, but like I said, definitely pick up the books that talk about this, and there'll be more content in here. You want to subscribe to Simple Programmer, and there's some exciting stuff that I'm preparing around this, because I realize this it such a problem guys, such a problem. So anyway, the point is this. You can do whatever they need to you to do. If a company has called you up, and they want to interview you for a senior developer role, they must think that you are qualified for it, and believe me, you're probably more qualified than you think, and if you're not, you're going to figure out how to do what they need you to do, and you're going to do it.

Is it wrong to go to a technical interview if it ends up going that far? No, it's not wrong. You're not misleading them. You're going to do the best that you can. And let me tell you something else. There's so many things I want to say about this, but I'm going to try and keep this fairly short. Here's the thing. If you fail, big deal. At least you'll have taken the shot. My goal in life and everything that I do is to get in way over my head, and then swim as hard as I can and get things that I don't deserve. And I don't mean it that way. I mean, I want to earn everything that I get in life. Don't get me wrong. But what I mean, is that I want to do things that I shouldn't be able to do, and figure out which one of those things that I can do. If you feel like you're an intermediate developer, go for those senior develop jobs and then when you succeed at that, and you're actually able to do the job, now you're magically a senior developer.

If you go through the natural progression in course of life, just like everybody else, then you're an intermediate developer. You still feel like you're an intermediate developer. You take the next job. Now you've been doing it for seven years. Okay, I guess I'm kind of like junior senior now. And so now you find that role, and you're always comfortable, it's always just some little step forward. Man, let's take a leap. Let's take a leap. Let's take a chance. And here's the thing. So what if you fail, or you bomb the interview? What if you get to the technical interview? Is it wrong? There's no morality in this. The company gets to evaluate you and decide. If they can get you all the way to a senior level developer role, and do a technical interview, and you don't actually know how to develop IOS code, which you do, that's their problem. They're the idiots. Not you. You're going to do whatever you can. Now don't lie, don't lie, but don't reveal every single bit of information that is going to be detrimental to you. And just do the best that you can. Okay?

So, is it wrong to go the technical interview? No. Of course not. Could I cram IOS development studying into a week and try my best? You better. Do it. Why not? Why would you not do that? Just start studying. Just do the best that you can. Start developing apps. Start working as much as you can to prepare for this as best as possible. You're probably going to do a lot better than you even think. If it did end up going well, I'm interviewing and getting the job. I'd be worried that they “find out” that I'm not at the level I need to be. Then you would get to the level you need to be. They're not going to find out. You're probably already above that level. Most of you guys don't understand how competent you are. If you're watching these videos, you're probably higher level than most people. And then second of all, it doesn't matter. It's good. You want a job that's going to challenge you and cause you to grow. What is it?

You're going to have a job … you got the job, right? They're going to ask you to do something. To write some code, build some forms, to do some thing, maybe you don't know how to do it. Probably 90% of the time, you're not going to know how to do it, so you're going to go and you're going to learn it, you're going to look it up, you're going to figure out how to do it, and then you're going to do it. There you go. Now you've grown, now you've gotten into the role, and so that's I've got to say about that. So last thing here, if that ask me a senior level question, and I can't answer it, it'll show them I'm not qualified. Am I wrong here?

Okay, so two things about this really quickly. All right guys? What is a senior level question? If you know what it is, go and look it up and learn the answer to the question. I don't know what a senior level question is versus a junior intermediate level question. I know when I did interviews, I pretty much just asked the same questions and actually what I did, when I gave technical interviews, is I would have three pages of questions, they would start at easy, they would go to intermediate, they'd go to hard, and as people succeeded, if they kept on getting the questions right and they're doing well, I just kept going to harder and harder questions, to see where do they sputter out all at. That's probably what's going to happen. Most interviewers aren't even that good, they're pretty crappy, so who cares? And so what? If you can't answer it, will it show that you're not qualified? No, but how you answer it will show.

This is why soft skills, why this stuff is important guys, because it's not just technical, because you're going to get asked a lot of questions that you don't know the answer to. So what is the answer when you don't know the answer? What happens if they ask you a senior level question on IOS development, that you don't know? Okay, here's what you do, is you say, I'm not aware of the answer for that, but here's what I think. This is what I think might be correct, and this is why. And so, blah, blah, blah, and then they say, no, that's not right. Okay, well, I'm curious, what it the answer? And then you pull out your little notebook. Okay, something that I need to learn.

Okay, take some notes. Well, thanks, I'm going to research that a little bit more when I get home. Yeah, okay, cool. Let's move on. And you handle it calmly here. In my job, in what I do, there's a lot of things that I don't know. People ask me questions, either stuff I have to work on all the time that I don't know the answer. I can tell you what I think, and then I can look it up and find out. This is how I work. It doesn't phase you. The problem with a lot of people that get a question they can't answer, and they answer it wrong. They bullshit. They're like, blah, blah blah. Bullshit. No, people know when you're bullshitting. Just say, I don't know. I can't tell you that I know, but here's what I think. And this is why. Because what an interviewer's looking for, is are you a smart person. Do you analyze it? Can you solve the problem? You don't have to know the answer, they just have to know that they could trust you to find the answer to do the thing.

That's the thing. So people do that, or they just … when someone asks them a question they don't know, they get all flustered, and they're like, uh, I'm sorry, damn, I don't know the answer to that. Gosh, so stupid. Maybe not to that extreme, but that's what you're thinking in your head. It's okay. Just be cool. Just be fine. So these are skills that you need to learn. And this is costing you money because you're focusing on the wrong stuff. Especially opportunities like this. If you are not going for jobs that are above your pay grade, you are below your pay grade. You are just living the mediocre life. You need to take some risks. You need to be a little bit bold. I'll show you how to do that.

Okay, click the subscribe button if you haven't already, you're going to want to watch more of these videos if this pertains to you, and I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."