I have wasted several months trying to get a salary that seems un-achievable. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot! Don’t ask for a salary that you can’t get. Be reasonable, and this will cause less frustration, less wasted time, likely more money, and more happiness.
The gist of it is, what you are likely to get is the market rate. Try higher, and get rejected – unless you are thinking of a specific play you want to make. (A specific play may be: personal relations with a decisionmaker; vendor lock-in; monopoly.)
Glassdoor and some other resources give you pretty exact data on what the salary is for your industry, level, etc. Use that information to set your expectations correctly. Again: your expectation is the market rate, most of the time. No more, no less.
If you are applying non-locally, look at the cost of living adjustment calculator for how much you should be making in that location. But beware! There was at least one respectable company that was headquartered in New York and attempted to have its largest engineering office in Detroit. This does’t seem to be a policy most considerate of engineers’ well-being.
Some companies ask for your salary history. I have the blank policy of not providing it; however, your case may differ. A friend of mine said that he didn’t even negotiate the salary on his latest job. They asked him how much he was making previously, he told them, and them made him an offer, and he accepted. This is probably the easiest way of salary negotiation.
A lot of the times the company will offer you a package and a salary, and you would either accept it if it’s reasonable, or negotiate up. Negotiation is hard, takes skill and experience. If you want higher salary, practice negotiating, but bear in mind that the time is ticking and it’s also better to settle for less than for nothing at all.