I have an internship for a small engineering company in the USA. I have been working about three years now. What started as an internship turned into a full-out job, and I have worked to take a total of two projects public. I support my software and help on other production tasks throughout the company. My pay is 10.25 an hour.
This was my pay when I started out and no one had expectations of me. After three years, I am wondering what I should be looking for.
I should point out that I am not even a college student yet. I have a high school diploma, but I don't start college until this fall. Should I expect a fairly low pay (for the field) because I am young and don't have a degree? Or should I be paid by the value of my work (two releases, product demos, support calls)?
NOTE: I moved this from StackOverflow, they suggested I move it here.
The only way this can be even close to OK is if you're working 10 hours a week or less. If you're working full time or close to it, and have been working there for three years, and have accumulated a good skill set, they should raise your salary by quite a bit.
I've been in a similar situation where I hired a talented guy that has just graduated from high school, and in the first year, his salary grew by 50% or more. And he didn't start that low either.
You are learning some important lessons here, beyond software development. You need to keep track of industry salaries, and that if you're not careful, people can take advantage of you.
Try to find out:
That all said, in my company we pay more than that to a part time sales assistant with no experience. Read up what BATNA is, figure out what others are getting in the market for bringing comparable value, and get your money. And yes, start looking for another job.
It depends on your local market, but I'd imagine that if you have a decent amount of experience on your resume, even without a college degree you could get hired for much more than you're being paid now.
But it's difficult to tell from what you've said how much you've actually accomplished. When you say that you've "worked to take a total of two projects public", are these your projects, or are you making small contributions or what? How does your work input (and output) compare to that of other developers at your company? Can you show a measurable business impact from your work (sales made, products that have earned revenue, customers retained)?
In any case, if your salary hasn't changed in three years, it's definitely worth talking to the boss and asking for a raise. The above should help provide some context to how much of a raise you should actually expect.
What value do you bring to this company? your age, diploma, etc have nothing to do with how much you should earn. If your work is bringing value to this organization then you should be paid accordingly.
What could you get elsewhere or doing something else? Are there any other perks/factors which add to the value (flexible hours, working from home, free food, equity,etc)?
Aside from "value" you bring to the company, how expendable do you think you are for the company? How significantly would their operations be affected if you just left? Try to frame it that way. Tell your boss you're taking time to do other things, including college. S/he'll realize s/he'll need to sweeten the pot to keep you if he really wants you.