Job Search Tip of the Week #8 (2017)
Caressa Moy | February 20, 2017 | 9:00 am
The Case for the Perpetual Job Search
Part II: Should You Stay or Should You Go?
How can you tell if you should stay or you should go?
As we mentioned last week, it’s not unusual to see web engineers and software developers to switch jobs every few years to keep up with the rapid rate at which technology changes. For IT and technology professionals, “job hopping” at its core is the belief that exposure to new technologies, problems to solve, and work environments makes you better rounded and more valuable to employers. However, keeping up with technological advancements and staying competitive in the job market doesn’t necessarily entail constantly changing companies.
The key to maintaining your marketability is to evaluate what you’re getting out of your job, and recognize when you have a good thing going and when it’s time to move on. Does your employer…
- Offer tuition reimbursement or continuing education? A company that sponsors on- and off-the-job training, workshops, conferences, and certifications wants you to avoid feeling “locked in” to a particular type of work, a sentiment that often spurs employee exits. It’s a good thing if you’re provided new opportunities to immerse yourself in new technologies, projects, or development teams. Check out some of this year’s Boston-area technical conferences:
- Boston Tech Summit – March 10
- DroidCon Boston – March 10-11
- New England Software Symposium – March 17-19
- Xconomy Presents: Robo Madness – March 28
- Agile Games – April 3-5
- Mob Programming – April 6-7
- An Event Apart Boston – May 15-17
- User Experience Professionals’ Association (UXPA) Boston Annual Conference – May 19
- AI World Boston – December 11-13
- Consistently review/adjust your salary? Keeping your salary in line with industry standards demonstrates recognition and appreciation of your value. For general reference, the technology industry’s average salary ranges for 0-3, 3-5, and 5-8 years of experience are $50,000-$70,000, $70,000-$90,000, and $90,000+ respectfully. You can check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find average salaries for specific occupations within the Computer and IT industry. We encourage you to monitor job and salary trends on your own or ask a technology recruiter so you’ll know exactly how valuable your skill set is and and what skills to learn to increase your job market value. Armed with this information, you’ll have the confidence you need when it comes time to negotiate a salary/raise or better benefits!
- Fill upper management vacancies with internal promotions rather than outside hires? Some companies promote based on tenure rather than technical skill level, which isn’t always ideal and can slow your career advancement. A company that tends to promote from within demonstrates a belief in its people and their potential. A good way to find out if your employer invests in its employees and promotes internally is to talk to coworkers and HR, or check online reviews.
- Still use the traditional waterfall methodology? As a software engineer or developer who strives to find which one of a multitude of possible solutions best solves a problem, you should be wary of the “This is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. By working in an Agile/Scrum software development environment, you’ll be exposed to the perspectives of professionals other than those on your development team. This enables you to see the bigger cross-functional picture and think more “outside-the-box,” abilities of a more proficient problem solver.
- Have you on cushy maintenance mode, with no new projects or clients on the horizon? There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back.” In other words, you stagnate when you tread water (aka, hone your skills but don’t develop new ones) and progress when you constantly challenge yourself. Being stuck in an environment where you’re only utilizing one skill set decreases your value to both the organization and the job market.
- Plan on going mobile? If your company isn’t, it probably won’t go far. This is the era of mobile consumption and productivity. Is your company focused on optimizing their software for mobile use? Consumers are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to research, purchase, and use products on-the-go. Your employer should encourage the software engineering team to dive into hybrid or mobile application development and learn new languages and frameworks such as HTML5, Xamarin, PhoneGap, Ionic Framework, Mobile Angular UI, Kendo UI. Also, has your company embraced distributed teams and work-from-home solutions yet?
Ask yourself: Is my employment situation allowing me to develop my skills so that I can advance in my career, whether it be here at this company or elsewhere? Assess your options for growth, and proactively seek ways to avoid plateaus in your personal and professional development. However, if you find yourself going outside of your company more often than not to find those opportunities, it’s time to move on.
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Photo Credit: “Traffic Light Tree” by William Warby