Programmers perks beyond salary

When it comes to pay, too many programmers tend to focus more on salary, often forgetting about perks. Once you get a job offer, looking beyond salary can create better terms and a more satisfying career. 

Many companies are open to offering perks, and it pays to negotiate with the employer to secure perks that are beneficial for you. Whether you’ve had specific expert-led negotiation training or not, you should expect to bargain contract terms. So, which perks are worth looking into?

Contractor to Employee

Many programmers believe in career mobility and may not want to stay at one firm for too long. These programmers often accept contractor status without much thought. Before accepting your job offer, make your calculations. Compare what you would stand to gain as a full-time employee rather than a contractor. 

Contract positions often net you higher rates in the short term, and lower your overall tax position. So, talk with your accountant to figure out how many dollars you will keep at the end of a year for taking on the risks of being a “let go first and trained last” contractor.

If you’re signing up on a contract basis, it is crucial that you bring up your transition to full-time employee as early as possible. A contract employee may not be eligible for benefits such as medical and dental insurance or paid time off. Discuss with your employer how soon you will be eligible for full-time employee status. Discuss the new terms you should expect with the revised status. 

To boost your confidence, try negotiation simulation with a friend or colleague experienced in negotiations. Come up with a few answers to handle possible employer objections. 

Code Organization

Have you ever been asked to rewrite someone else’s code and then become bogged down for ages? It’s extremely difficult and frustrating trying to trace back the past actions of others when code is not well organized or annotated. While a programmer’s core job is to write code that works well for computers, programmers can often neglect to consider writing code that reads well for humans. 

Talk to your prospective employer about the company adopting code organization principles. It’s beneficial to your time and productivity to work with code that can be understood and refactored by others without bringing systems to a halt. 

Negotiate the ways in which your department will organize functions, comments, and documentation. Having a standardized process makes everyone’s job easier and more pleasant. If the company doesn’t have a standardized process, then negotiate to have the option to decline working on older projects that may be difficult to decipher. 

Projects abandoned by past employees can be difficult to navigate. Abandoned projects may reflect poorly on your overall performance at job appraisals.

Technology Tools

Programming is a technology-intensive undertaking. Writing code for your company needs special tools that you may also want to access at home and on your commute. These tools include high-end laptops, high-speed internet, high data-storage space, and simulation tools. 

For instance, you may need a mobile hotspot for those times you’re traveling or commuting. You may need a fast fiber connection at home to securely connect you to the office. Talk to your employer to cover the costs.

Skills Training

Programming trends change fast. While it’s not practical to become a magpie coder who chases after all the newest shiny trends and the current highest earner, it pays to regularly brush up your skills. If your job leaves you no time to practice new skills, you risk becoming complacent and even obsolete. 

Negotiate for your new employer to provide paid time off for training. Plus, discuss the options for your employer to cover the fees. If your department has a group of programmers, discuss regular in-house refresher courses. Discuss running online learning and code simulations to familiarize with trends. 

Stock and Equity

As a programmer, sometimes your creations are what forms the backbone of the company’s products and services. Whether you’re working for an established corporation or a startup, consider negotiating stock options and equity. 

In recent times, many startups have failed before liquidation. Meaning, anyone holding equity went home with nothing. Though, if you believe in the viability of the product, an equity grant gives you a stake in the long-term success of the company. Calculate your employer’s stock capitalization before you consider negotiating for stock and equity. 

Remote Working

An increasing proportion of programmers no longer fit into the standard 9-to-5 work-from-office mold. Inspiration may hit you at midnight while in bed. Once you get into the zone, you may lose track of time and end up late to home or work. At times, the act of leaving your workstation to commute can make you lose track of your progress and ideas. 

Negotiate the possibility of remote working either full time or on flexible time. Another option would be to work condensed days. For example, you may choose to work 10-hour shifts for four days rather than eight-hour shifts for five days per week. If you have a long commute or a congested office space, a popular route is working from home. A smart employer should be glad for the extra space and your increased productivity and motivation. 

Compensated Time

There is a joke that a programming career is like that of a war soldier. That is, a career filled with long periods of boredom interspersed with short bursts of frantic action. For most programmers, there will be some very busy periods, such as during software releases. You may be expected to work long hours and extra days during these busy seasons. 

If you expect the job will have busy seasons, either negotiate to have all your hours paid or for compensated time—known as comp time. Comp time is paid time off provided by the employer in exchange for extra hours worked.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.

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