You've probably heard stories about your friend from school who learned how to program code, and now he's making a six-figure salary. There is some truth to this. If you are skilled in a valuable skill like coding, the laws of supply and demand will inevitably work in your favor.
However, it's not enough just to have a valuable skillset. You also have to know how to negotiate for a high-paying salary.
Let's be honest: companies want to get the best talent for the lowest price. They know there's a certain minimum that they have to offer, or else no one will take the job. But that minimum could be well below the average for your position and your geographical area, which means that they're paying you much less than your peers.
If you want to get paid as well as, or even better than your peers, you have to know how to negotiate your salary.
The best time to negotiate your salary is right when your future employers make an offer of employment. After you've been hired, it's rare to get a raise beyond a yearly cost of living increase (typically around 3 percent). In over two decades of employment I have I only received a raise higher than cost of living once, and that was due to a change in job responsibilities. (Another engineer in the company had just left, and the engineering manager assigned me his product line, a high-profile product they were trying to grow.)
Here are some guidelines to follow when negotiating salary: