Typical Pay or am I being taken advantage of


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.

Interns Salary

asked Aug 26 '10 at 16:16
8 points
  • $10/hr for working in the US as internship? You gotta be kidding me? That's how much they pay for outsourcing to India. – Jpartogi 13 years ago

8 Answers


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:

  • What's the ballpark salary of people with similar experience in your company
  • What's the ballpark salary of people with similar experience in the industry in your area. For that matter, if you post some info about what technical skills you've learned, and where you are in the country, people here will be able to give you an idea.
answered Aug 27 '10 at 16:01
1,833 points


  1. With all due respect to all of you that keep on bringing up his HS diploma, what does it have to do with his value? There are plenty of Ivy-leaguers I would not touch with a 10-foot stick. College is really becoming irrelevant, especially in technology. CS degree is a waste of money, no matter what school you went to. Sorry, but I have hired plenty of devs, network admins, etc. and I actually found those without CS degree to be MUCH better (especially in finding solutions).
  2. Good friend of mine is a VP of Technology (a real one, not one of those startup VPs) in a VC-backed software company. He only finished highschool. And yes, he is making real VP money.

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.

answered Aug 30 '10 at 00:28
Apollo Sinkevicius
3,323 points


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.

answered Aug 26 '10 at 22:13
Jay Neely
6,050 points


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.

answered Aug 27 '10 at 09:57
4,815 points


  1. Typical? No, your pay is lower then typical.
  2. Small companies will pay you as little as they can. Big companies get you to work as much as they can.
  3. One of the worst bosses I have had gave me some of the best advice I have ever received. He said ‘If you don’t like working here, don’t.’.
answered May 19 '11 at 07:06
Jim Crandall
1 point


Try using a salary comparison tool such as Payscale or Indeed's Salary Search

answered May 19 '11 at 12:12
1 point


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)?

answered Aug 26 '10 at 16:30
Mark Stephens
976 points


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.

answered Aug 29 '10 at 16:58
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points

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