Changing jobs when working in the IT field

December 26, 2020

Changing jobs in the IT field is not an uncommon thing. In fact, you hear regularly about Junior testers moving up the career ladder, and Manual testers moving to Automated testing. If you’re someone who has reached a crossroads in life and you feel like changing your IT job, then this article will provide you with some tips before you make any major decisions!  

Changing any job can be tiring, and it can cause conflict within a team, but it’s important to manage these stressful events before they occur. This article will provide you with advice on how to deal with some of these issues, and it’ll give you some points to think about.

Read on to learn more about changing jobs when working in the IT field. 

Why change your job?

There are many reasons why we leave a job, these can be anything from general concerns to personal problems.

Here is a list of some general reasons:

  • Better company bonuses elsewhere (medical insurance, gym, food, etc.)
  • Salary rates are higher somewhere else 
  • Opportunities for professional growth are better 
  • Projects or changes in the company don’t suit you anymore 

Personal reasons may include:

  • Team conflicts
  • Bad working environment 
  • Worker or manager’s dishonesty

These lists only represent a small proportion of reasons, and you may have your own reasons for wanting to change your job. 

When working in IT, people genuinely love what they do, and they find their tasks and projects interesting. But, of course, individuals will often change their role for salary reasons, and this is completely acceptable. 

Additionally, those working in IT want to change their job because they no longer like working with a particular set of tools. Not all programmers are ready to work with the same tools for a long time, so if a person feels uncomfortable about that they may think of leaving a project. A new job may mean less pay, but, on the flip side, the individual gets to work on a more interesting project. 

Finally, many people strive towards working in a comfortable office, that is clean, has opportunities to work remotely, and is a relaxed environment. This kind of workplace culture is sometimes enough of a reason for someone to change jobs in IT. Those who crave a particular working lifestyle will move to a job that gives them what they want.

As you can see there are many reasons why someone may change jobs, let’s now take a look at how often people change jobs in the IT field. 

How often do IT workers change their job? 

Like in other fields, individuals do change their jobs often in IT, and there are a number of reasons why they do it. However, it would be quite difficult for us to give you an exact answer as to how often IT workers change their jobs, as this heavily depends on each individual and their circumstances. Below is an average guide of how often individuals working in IT change their jobs. 

Trainees and junior specialists tend to change their job, and their place of work, more often than senior members of a team. Why? They are still searching for the perfect job, that is full of perks, and they want to find one that meets their expectations. They may spend a few months in a role before moving to another, and another after that. 

As you progress to a more middle role, job changes are made, but the decision to change jobs might take more time as more experience is needed.

On average a typical IT worker stays at one place of work for around a year and a half. However, there are cases when a beginner changes their job within the first three months of starting in a new role. This may be because they have had a better offer from another company, or perhaps they don’t feel comfortable at the current company. 

Occasionally, QA Leads, working in a company, get offers from the other companies who have personally looked and invited them to a new job. They traditionally get offered better salaries and conditions to get them to think about changing jobs. For example, a large IT giants name would be enough for some to leave a current role. However, this typically happens when you have a good few years of experience under your belt, and not early on in an IT career! 

On the flip side, some individuals move around very little and are happy to spend years working in one role. Some individuals move up the career ladder within the same company, but others might have no desire to keep swapping between jobs, and move gradually up the ladder as the years go by. 

As you might’ve guessed, this question is not an easy one to answer as there are many factors to consider. We hope that we have answered the question to the best of our ability though, but ultimately individual preferences, environment, and needs determine how often you’ll change jobs. 

Let’s take a look at what might happen if you change jobs too often.

What might happen if you change jobs too often? 

It may be okay for a beginner to change roles often, because they are still new to the field and are trying to find the best starting point. But one should not make a joke out of moving between jobs. 

Some of our aspiring graduates, for example, got a job in one company but changed it within the first few months because they got a new job in a better location, within a good salary. This is accepted by most employers! 

Sadly, there will be other times when an employer might look at your application and think that you are not committed to the IT field, you’re unreliable, you don’t have passion for IT, you’re not organized, and perhaps they may think of you as short-sighted when it comes to your career if they see loads of jobs listed on a resume. They might not be looking to hire you based on these thoughts, so it’s your job to convince them that you are worth interviewing and employing! 

You should aim to show an employer that you can learn new skills, are engaged in work and in team spirit, you’ve been trying to advance your IT career, and that you can accept that all jobs have flaws but you can work with that. Find the positives in having worked in so many jobs, and state them; experience, versatility, got to know yourself better, networking, and passion to learn more. 

If you have a resume that is filled with lots of jobs, then you need to be honest about why there are so many jobs being listed. Honesty is always the best way forward with employers. Don’t hide behind lies, because they can always check up with your references. 

Let’s check out some pros and cons of changing jobs.  

What are the pros and cons of changing jobs?

There are many pros and cons to changing jobs, below are some examples.

Pros:

  • Better salary
  • Less stress 
  • Gives you purpose
  • Future career growth 
  • Learn more
  • Follow a dream

Cons:

  • Stressful 
  • New working atmosphere to get used to
  • Need to establish yourself 
  • Hours may be more demanding 
  • Tiring

Here are some examples, but the list goes on, and you might have your own thoughts on this too! If you’re really considering leaving your current company, read our tips below to make sure you leave in the correct way.  

How to leave a company successfully?

Leaving a company can be difficult, you may have been there for a few weeks, or maybe a few years. You might have been very uncomfortable at work, but you may have built up great friendship with colleagues. Whichever situation applies to you there are some things everyone should do in the end. 

When leaving a role, you want to leave and make the best final impression. You don’t want to leave people with a sour taste in their mouth about you. Leave on a happy note. 

Furthermore, you must also adhere to any employment contracts that you have signed. 

Below we have outlined the four stages you will go through before you leave a job, we have added some tips to help you along the way. 

The four stages of leaving a job:

  • Consider career opportunities
  • Finish tasks
  • Discussion 
  • Case transfer(s) 

 Stage 1. Consider career opportunities

Before you leave a job it’s important to do some research into other jobs that you could move to. Perhaps a new job you like is within the same company but it's a different role. Let’s assume it’s a new project. 

Consider if the benefits of going to this new project outweigh what you’re currently doing. Is the new project safe, does it offer you something better than what you have got now, and is it permanent, for example?  

If you are happy with the answers to these questions then you should prepare a portfolio of your successful projects, so that you can show it to an interview panel when the time comes. 

Talk to your managers about this new opportunity and see if they can help you out. If they think you are ready, and have the right experience, they should encourage your career change/progression.  

Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting and share your thoughts on current opportunities, troubles, and highlight you’re ready to move forward with your manager. Don’t always go down the email, or telephone call route, be ready to chat over a cup of tea. 

Stage 2. Finish tasks

You may have found a new job opening, but sadly you’re right in the middle of your current project. Let’s agree on this one, leaving in the middle of a project is not the best idea and it will cause disruption, but at the end of the day your career progression is equally important.

Tips on handling this: 

  • Don’t sign up to new projects if you think you might leave
  • If it’s a long-term project, consider sticking to smaller short-term tasks
  • Document everything
  • Leave notes on how to move forward
  • Speak to the team so that they are aware of the situation
  • Don’t just drop everything and leave - prepare beforehand

If you leave a project halfway through, the new specialist that comes in to take over your duties will probably begin everything from the very start if you don’t help them out. The company will lose a lot of time and money because of this, and this inevitably leads to negative feelings about you. 

Try and communicate your intentions early on so people understand what is going on. Nobody wants to be left out, and left to pick up the pieces without good reason. Help your team as best as you can. Your team will thank you for this.  

Stage 3. Discussion

You leaving mustn’t be a surprise for your manager. Your intentions to leave have to be discussed face-to-face, not via messenger or an email with your manager. 

A written message isn’t always the best way to communicate your intention, and it isn’t polite enough. Meet up with your manager and be open with them, and perhaps they might offer you a better deal to try and get you to stay. If you’re a great team player, and you’re good at what you do, a manager won’t want to lose you. 

Additionally, speaking face to face with a manager means that you can discuss the future of your work. Perhaps you could recommend somebody from your team to take over your role, which again shows that you have thought about the implications of your move, and you want to make the move as smooth as possible for all involved.

Do your best to keep a good relationship going with the team and your manager, because you never know who you’ll meet one day again. Recruiters usually communicate with each other and they try to get information about potential workers. Leaving a company in chaos may influence the whole company’s impression of you.

Finally, don’t ignore your team, you have to talk to them too. They’ll help you to delegate tasks and they’ll give you advice on your job. Plus, you may have worked with these individuals for years, so they might be sad about you leaving, so think about it from their point of view.

Stage 4. Case transfer

You want to leave in the best way possible, so help your team and your manager by leaving a manual, or guide, for a new worker to follow. It’ll help them to do your job properly, and to your standard. This will limit the disruption at work for all involved. 

As mentioned earlier, if you do know of a good candidate to take over your job tell your manager, because searching for someone, who has the right skills, to finish a half finished project is hard work. Not to mention it can be very costly. 

Make sure that all your duties are complete and have been documented. Keep a record of all you have done, so should anything go wrong, you know that you have a note to prove that you did it right before you left. 

Summary

In this article we have looked at changing jobs when working in the IT field from different angles. As you can see there are many things to consider before you change jobs, including the reason for the change, the frequency of job changes, what might happen when you change jobs, the pros and cons of it, and how to leave a job. 

Our advice is, do your research beforehand, be mindful of your team and manager, and have patience. Don’t be mean to your team and manager, don’t forget you might be one of their greatest assets and they may feel sad that they’re losing you. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes and think about how to leave your employer as smoothly as possible. 

Still not convinced about changing jobs? We’ve got lots of success stories that you can read right here. Check out what they all had to say, because you might be inspired to change jobs after reading their stories.

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