It’s a Good Time to Be In Technology…
Many technical folks would agree that the market has never been better and, from my point of view, this holiday season has been the best yet for hiring. There are multiple jobs and offers for each candidate. This is due to the emerging growth in the technology market that started in October of last year and continues to pick up even more this year.
As Technical Recruiters, our job is to pick up on emerging trends. Recently an Account Manager and I were speaking about the market and an interesting point came up. Her client mentioned that they needed to start recruiting for a new engineer because their incumbent had been there 3 years; meaning it was time for him to move on. Our client wasn’t viewing it as a negative, but more as an inevitable fact.
In the software industry, due to the quick changes and emerging technologies, people need to change jobs more frequently than in other industries in order to stay current. There are plenty of reasons why some people stay longer than others but a noticeable trend in our industry is that most candidates look to further their careers every 4 years at the outside. This is not especially detrimental to your career but, of course, how you go about making the switch to another job is most important
Before considering getting on board with this trend; there are three things that every professional should ask him/herself before taking that leap:
- Am I keeping up with current technologies? Look back to see how much gainful experience you have gotten through the years or even months you have been at your company. Some companies offer training or have new projects in the works so that you can stay relevant, so before taking that leap see if there is something your company can do to continue your education. If not, there are tutorials, conferences or even local meet ups you can attend to learn more about emerging technologies. I recently spoke to a candidate who was looking because he felt he wasn’t keeping up with new tech because his company had antiquated systems. I asked him if he had expressed this concern to his manager and of course he said no. I advised him to know before he considered that move – you never know what a company is looking to do in the future. As many companies are headed towards mobile and big data, there might be interesting projects in the pipeline and the fact that you took the initiative to ask might make you more highly visible and even the lead on the project!
- Is there room for growth? Not only is keeping up with technology important but so is career progression. If you feel you have hit a plateau in your current role and there is no opportunity to advance, then considering a company that promotes from within would be a good idea. You want to be with a company that is going to allow you to grow. If there is no growth there is a high potential to be silo’ed in a position where your skills won’t be as easily marketable or transferable to a new role. I worked with a previous candidate who was a Software Developer working on an application that was developed using a proprietary language. There was no way he could use that skill moving forward so he took the initiative to ask if there were any other projects where he could get more experience and show his versatility. Making sure you stay on top of your skills and continue learning is crucial.
- Is my compensation market rate? Since the demand for certain technologies is higher than others, keep competitive by speaking with a recruiter who knows what the market is looking for. This helps determine if this is the best time to make a move. For instance, there is a higher need for .NET Developers than for COBOL Programmers (although believe it or not there are still jobs out there that require COBOL). I have spoken to plenty of candidates who chose to leave their position around 2007-2008 and regretted it because the market was horrible; however they didn’t know and thought it would be easy to pick up another job. They found out the hard way that it wasn’t the best move and now their job history is really bad, which is sometimes a red flag for hiring managers. However, unless you’re grossly underpaid, money should not be your main motivator, which is why this question is listed last. You never want to leave an opportunity just because you think you can get a higher salary or rate elsewhere without talking to your current employer first –again knowing when to ask is always key. Think about the time and effort you put into your work and whether it is worthy of a raise. Don’t forget, many companies have performance bonuses at the end of the year.
After considering these questions, decide whether or not it is in your best interest to move forward with your search. One question Recruiters and hiring managers will most likely ask is why you are looking to leave your current employer. There needs to be a compelling reason and if there is, the next question asked will often be have you spoken to anyone at your company about your concerns. It never hurts to be professional and express any issues you might have with your current employer as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your position; the worse they can do is say no.
So, if your current company isn’t doing their best to make sure you have the resources and environment you need to be happy, then you should consider your next move. The technology market is only getting better and so should you!
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