For me, I worked minimum wage jobs for many years. Even as I went to school for programming, I was kind of envisioning maybe needing to stay in retail if it didn't work out.
In my first coding job, I made $42,000. Holy crap, I remember that felt like an amazing amount of money. I suddenly didn't need to agonize about grocery bills. It was life changing.
For a while, I didn't feel comfortable negotiating salary because I had this complex of "I should be grateful" and I also just wasn't very aware of what other programmers made at all. I thought maybe this was pretty normal.
But then I ran into a situation, later in my career, where a coworker who did the same work I was doing and had the same experience was making twice what I was. That did not feel right at all. It was a very strong lesson on how quickly you can advance as a programmer in terms of salary, and also taught me that negotiation and getting other offers is important.
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