What Should My Salary Be?

What Should My Salary Be?

There are two questions that you just don’t ask people. It can create animosity and can even cause relationships to break. One of those questions is, “how much do you make?”

(If you’re wondering what the other question is, it’s, “Who are you going to vote for?” Not a great idea to get into politics with people.)

At any rate, the problem with asking someone “how much do you make” is not just because that’s a personal/private question. It can create a judgmental atmosphere. Have you ever worked with someone who was less technical than you but somehow you found out how much they were making? And it happened to be more than you? How did you feel? How did your attitude towards that person change once you found out?

That’s why you stay away from that information. The issue arises when negotiating salary. It’s somewhat important to know what your “worth” is. How much should you ask for. Is what I am asking for possibly going to remove me from consideration?

Recently, Brent Ozar published a blog titled, “Tell Us What You Make: The 2017 Data Professional Salary Survey“. In that blog, there was a link to a quick little survey that collected information like salary, location, years of experience, etc. Of course it was all anonymous.

To my surprise, over 2000 people took the survey. Of course, the more people that take the survey, the better the information. But the flip side to that is people can fool around and enter a bunch of garbage. For example, there are a few people making over MILLION dollars as a SQL Server Analyst and Manager (see below)

What Should My Salary Be

Really? 1.45 million? I highly doubt that.

Aside from the “Who Wants to Marry a SQL Server Millionaire Analyst”, there are a couple pieces of information that we can derive from this survey:

  • Having a 4-year college degree does NOT guarantee a higher salary
  • Any one technology (SQL Server vs Oracle vs Amazon) does NOT mean a higher salary
  • Job title does not guarantee a higher salary over another, i.e. DBA vs Analyst vs Engineer
  • Number of years of experience does NOT guarantee a higher salary
  • Certifications do NOT guarantee higher salary

So you might be thinking, “what the heck does guarantee a higher salary?” Well, it depends. It all comes down to what you feel comfortable with? The trap that we should not fall into is comparing ourselves to others based on salary/income. My view is, follow your passion (whatever that is) and learn it inside out. The money will follow. Don’t get greedy and think you can ask for 200k when you just got out of college with zero years of real-world experience. Everything within reason.

Speaking about passion; I love SQL Server and just started playing around with Power BI. I will use the data in this excel document to create some interesting charts/graphs and update this post once I do!

Until then, keep learning!

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