I started as an intern working full time. Fast forward a year, I asked for a salary and got it. I went from 10 dollars to 42k a year, I asked for 45k and he said that's "impossible with our budget." Initially he countered with 40k and I said that's too low. He responded "well don't take it than" but eventually caved in for 42k. My reasoning for 45k was not just an analysis of others, but that I have a degree in it, and regardless, someone with a degree should make 44-45k starting somewhat easier.

The problem is that a little bird told me that this position should be paying 50k. See, I am a "jr qa engineer" which is made up here, I'm the only one. The others are "qa engineers." I am doing the exact same work as these "qa engineers." Often they ask me for help on remedial tasks, making me question what their real salary is. According to Glassdoor and friends of friends, the lowest is 47k and highest 57k. I am surprised at 57k since its a small private company.

To me 42k sounds fair as a lower position, but this made up position makes no sense. I am doing the same work so I should have the same title. Am I just being naïve? He won't make me an engineer because I have 1 year of experience. I'm almost fine with that, but I don't like the idea that he gives me the same work, and expects the same results, as the other engineers for a portion of their pay. I know if I go in and try to negotiate again, he's going to either rescind it or tell me to deal with it. I like him and he's reasonable, but I wish he would consider the fact that I do the same work as everyone else! If I got paid 5k less, fine, but it's almost 10k

This is for a job that is strictly manual testing

  • If people say No, it's not fair, what will you do ? If people say yes, it is fair, what will you do ? Sep 12, 2012 at 21:58
  • its not a matter of what ill do, its just i want to see what other people think. I want to know is it right to pay me less doing the same work, given that ive proven myself over the year, regardless of experience. in fact i felt i would be offered more because i felt he would be impressed at my progression within just a single year
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:11
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    I have a post on meta that is inspired by this question, regarding whether this question is of the type we should accept. See it here: meta.sqa.stackexchange.com/q/177/65
    – corsiKa
    Sep 17, 2012 at 18:44
  • which currency are we talking about here, $, euros?
    – Tarun
    Dec 6, 2013 at 3:12

6 Answers 6


The pay depends on a lot of factors (as anyone would tell you):

  • The work you are hired to do. If you work better than others, you are not likely to get a pay hike right away. Even in a good company, they will wait for a year to see your performance, and you might be promoted sooner.
  • The industry - For QA jobs, a technology company is likely to pay more than let's say a financial company.
  • Geography - Definitely southern CA jobs will pay you more than AZ, and bay area companies will pay even more.
  • Experience and skill set

A good way to find out your worth is go for some interviews if you are able to and find out what other companies are paying.

I believe 42k for a manual testing job with 1 year experience does not sound bad. If you like the work, and if you see yourself gaining knowledge and experience in the direction you want to, then that would be worth more in long term than 4-5k.

For any given job, you can always find someone else working less and getting paid more :-)

  • my only issue is that I got hired as an intern, and at the time there was no chance for full time, let alone salary. I have proved my worth so that when I went to him and said i want to quit(i had no idea he would want me to stay) HE asked me what will it take to stay. I told him another job offered me 57k for a BA job(didnt get hired) and he said he can not even match my 45k request before we even negotiated anything. Than I accept his salary but someone i work with said i should not get paid less than 50k, this someone is like 1 level under my boss so i took his input to heart.
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:12
  • but i agree with you, my experience and skill set might not match my fellow co workers. I know this was his deciding factor. My rebuttal is that those experience/skill sets are not necessary here (such as white box testing). Just because they CAN do it, they get paid more than me, while i can do everything they can do here. BTW thanks for your input i appreciate it
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:16
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    You told your manager that you had another job offer for $57k but that you didn't get it? Sep 12, 2012 at 23:22
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    as i quit i said i want to quit because i am looking for new jobs and have an interview. He basically asked what they are offering and i told him, and he said i can stay here while i look for a new job. And yes i told him i didnt get it, maybe a mistake but i am honest with him, although i did feel it lowered his negotiation with me
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:33
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    I doubt your honesty caused your manager to drop your offer. He was being nice to you by letting you stick around while you went and learned how the market values your services. Anyone can apply for jobs offering $57k (or $100k or $500k for that matter). But unless you are actually offered the higher-paying job, your manager doesn't need to compete against those offers. Sep 13, 2012 at 11:03

You accepted $42K, so it's fair. Otherwise you would have rejected the offer and sought employment elsewhere, right?

The fact that you are doing the same work, or more, than someone else has no impact on your pay.

If you think you are being mistreated, then leave and see if you can find a company that is willing to pay you more. Otherwise, stop worrying about what someone else is making.

Think of it this way - if they fired all the QA Engineers, and replaced them with Jr QA Engineers making 40K, would you expect to get a pay cut?

Your degree plus 1 year of experience may or may not be valuable to your company. Saying "someone with a degree should make 44-45k starting" has no meaning.

If you decide to stay, work harder than everyone else and be patient. In a year or so, you can perhaps ask for a promotion and a raise, and perhaps at that time you'll be so valuable that they will give you a big raise. If they do, it will because you are now more valuable than just a former intern with only 1 year of experience.

You are worth what the market says you are worth. You decided to accept $42Km so that is currently your worth.

  • Pretty straight forward i understand everything you are saying. I dont agree with the fact that its fair just because i accepted it. I am on my knees when i accept it basically. I mentioned I have applied else where with no success which is why i took it, i mean im not MAD, just dissatisfied. I appreciate everything my boss does for me but i cant help but shake the feeling of being taken advantage of, its not a good feeling. Other qa jobs req 2 year min, so i will stay here another year, but my boss said himself, i might not be able to add much more to the resume after another year :(
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:23
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    The fact that you couldn't find a higher-paying job elsewhere should be a good clue. Don't take it personally. Worry about you, not what others are making. Try to put it behind you, work hard, learn all you can, make yourself even more valuable in your company and in your profession. In the long run, you'll be better off if you can avoid this kind of concern. Sep 12, 2012 at 23:30
  • Take it from their perspective - if you're willing to do the job for 42, why should they give you more?
    – corsiKa
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:36
  • Yes i agree now, I have to remember i havent been offered more any where and that i should be thankful. It wasnt until this co worker said i should be earning 50k minimum that i had my doubts, i wish he never even said it. I felt his opinion had solid reasoning as he is the senior qa engineer here. He knows what i do and what i can do, and said im worth that much. But your right, this is the best offer i have on the plate. I am going to work hard and make sure he notices...than ask for a raise even if little
    – user3043
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:37
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    If you think about it, you will face this situation - I can be paid more - all your life. It's very easy for anyone to come up and tell you that. With experience, you will be able to gauge your worth, what you want to do, etc. much better. It's a good question to ask every once in a while, but don't get stuck in that cycle. Hard work and a level of satisfaction will take you much further! Good luck! Sep 13, 2012 at 1:10

First, congrats on reaching out to others in your field. Its important when making decisions to have as much information as possible.

When dealing with pay (or any other testing / job related problem) I've found having a good network, i.e. having friends or more experienced people in similiar positions with whom I can talk to about anything, is a great source of information. They've helped me solve problems, given feedback on approaches and just helped me learn in general. They can also become great sources of referrals for jobs and applicants later on.

Creating that network of testers (or whatever job or skill area you are interested in) means reaching out to others, like you've done here, talking with them, sharing your experiences and building rapport.

Try getting to know those other engineers you work with who are getting paid more. Figure out why they are paid more. Do they know more, are they better negotiators, just got lucky, have tons more experience, etc.? You could learn something; or not. You don't seem to be afraid of sharing your salary information, so tell the your experience when you got hired and see if they'd be willing to share back.


If you want to know whether your pay is fair, talk to a good recruiter. (Not just any recruiter but one who seems to know what they are talking about.) A good recruiter will have a better sense for how your experience, business sector, and locale map to a salary range.

  • 3
    If you are new to the testing field talking with a recruiter is a different experience but one you should definitely get some experience in. Finding a good recruiter is hard and requires simple trial and error. When dealing with a recruiter, understand their job and pay are dependent on placing you at a company. Some are pushy, some are understanding, some will only have a single company to place you at while others will be more patient about finding something good for you. Their understanding of pay scales will depend on the type of clients they have. Sep 13, 2012 at 19:21
  • Who is a recruiter? Head-hunter?
    – dzieciou
    Feb 24, 2013 at 7:29

I would say as you are still learning the ropes in the industry and honing your skills, the $$ value should not be your highest priority. What you should focus is self reflect are you given the opportunities to grow and progress with the variety of technology, tools, projects, processes in line with current testing trends. If yes stick with it as higher paying opportunities will eventually surface as your skillsets are sought after. If no you probably still need to produce a certain quality of work expected of you but be on the lookout as you don't want to spiral downwards in your learning curve.


One other thing that you might consider doing during this next year is to capture metrics on your accomplishments (schedule-related and quality-related) and to capture them along the way so you have good data that spans the entire year. Also, if you've championed any process improvements, capture details about that (metrics before and after). This will go a long way in selling your case for a raise (and possibly promotion) after a year or so.

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