Time To Get A New Job?
I have recently left a software developer position and started working for a new company, a decision fuelled by a number of factors. I wanted to share these factors and maybe some of my readers can use these points in deciding their career paths. In this post I am going to cover the following:
I am going to explain each of the factors and my approach in attempting to deal with them in the most positive way possible. Let's get started!
Factors that made me consider moving on
In the first year or so in my previous role, everything was fantastic. I was learning so much every single day from working on some very impressive applications, being constantly challenged with every piece of work I was assigned and gaining experience in multiple areas of software development. All of these factors were enhancing me as a software developer and allowing me to progress in my career. I have always had the desire to work my way up through the ranks by working hard and constantly improving my skills and ability. This leads me onto the first occasion when I questioned the role and considered looking for something new.
Losing focus on my role
There was a period that I can quite clearly remember where myself and a colleague were asked to perform a task that was required at the time, this was for our main client and was going to be a temporary measure until the final solution was in place. Essentially, we were creating reports manually where as the final solution would automate this entirely. This final solution was going to take far longer to complete and so we had to have something in place in the meantime. No problem I thought, I was more than happy to work on this along with my colleague even though it was far from my usual tasks. We were both working on this task for many months and could not really see the light at the end of the tunnel. The final solution end goal was constantly being moved and did not look as if it were going to be completed any time soon. This was the first time I questioned what I was doing and in fact made me not look forward to going into the office each day. So what did I do?
Whenever you are unhappy with anything in your role you should get some help. I decided to speak to my manager and make it clear about how I was feeling. We had a very frank and honest discussion where I raised a number of points which I have summarised:
- I felt this task was a false economy, what I meant by this was, we should be pouring our resources into completing the final solution.
- It was very far off topic regarding my job title and usual tasks.
- I was not progressing my skills at all.
- I was unhappy
This meeting was very constructive and my concerns were raised with the MD of the company. It turned out my colleague also raised concerns about this matter and ultimately after a couple more weeks with this task some changes were made. The client agreed to changes in the scope and we were no longer required to work on this very mundane task. I could get back to working in the areas I want to focus on and enjoy. The main point I am trying to make here is if you have a concern or are unhappy about anything, please speak to somebody before making any dramatic decisions.
Not staying current
After a couple of years it was becoming more apparent that the company did not really have much desire to use different technologies or frameworks in order to better create functionality or to make development easier. Again, I raised the issues and made suggestions about some frameworks we could use in relation to the work we were carrying out. This time the results were not so successful and no change really took place. I understand that everything I suggest will not be taken into account, however, in this scenario we were really making our lives more difficult by not trying to incorporate different technologies. The fact we were not going to make any changes in this aspect was not the end of the world but it did leave a lasting impression on me. I knew from that day that I was not going to be gaining experience using certain frameworks that other developers in my field were using. This was going to massively hinder me in my career development and was a major concern. The longer I stay in this position the further behind my skills will become.
So what was my solution? Well I obviously could have left the company at that time and found a new job, but to be honest, I really enjoyed working with my team and the application we were developing was very interesting. So I made the decision I would teach myself the technologies that were desired at that time. I used my Pluralsight subscription to learn as much as possible and this alleviated my concerns. I believe as a developer you should be working on personal projects in your own time to constantly be learning and staying as current as possible in the ever moving world of programming.
Work life balance
I am sure many of you will be able resonate with this point. I had a period where I was working late almost every night and with the long commute home I had no time for me. I am more than happy to put in some extra work from time to time but it was getting to the point of becoming ridiculous. This was a company wide issue and a concern for many of the developers. I had raised the issue along with many of my colleagues and the situation did improve but I always felt I could find a better work life balance in a different environment. For the time being I was happy to stick with it for the positives I mentioned earlier.
No promotion opportunities
I worked for a very small company and this was always going to limit my opportunities to obtain certain job roles. For example, I have always had the desire to eventually become a team lead and a more senior member of an organisation. I knew from day one, working for a smaller company would limit me in this area but the more experience I got the more apparent it became this would be an issue for me.
Reasons to stay
After reading the above section you may be thinking why did I not leave sooner, well I had a number of positive points that made me stay:
- I worked with an excellent team. We all got on extremely well and I learned so much from everyone.
- The application we were building was impressive and enjoyable to work on.
- I had a large say in the functionality of the application.
- I was very comfortable in my role.
- I was earning a great salary.
These positives were the sole reason why I remained in the company for the time I did. You may be thinking some of the points should not really be used as a reason to stay but they were. I accept being comfortable in a role is not the best, however, it does make you think if I do leave will I be in the some position.
My final decision
So how did it all end up?
Well as I mentioned in the post, some of the negative issues I noted made an impression on me and these were always in the back of my mind. I decided that I must push myself out of this comfortable situation and for the sake of my career development move onwards and upwards. I won't go into detail but I was offered multiple new roles and decided to go for it, I accepted a new role with a much larger company and it was the right thing to do. I had to push myself the entire time, I had doubts about fitting in with the new role and being able to perform to a high standard but you will never know the answers to these questions unless you go for it. My main piece of advice in this scenario is if you have any concerns please raise them with your manager. Do not make any rash decisions and consider all of the possibilities before making up your mind.
Let's wrap up
These are the key points to take away from this if you are considering a new role:
- Raise any concerns you have with your manager in an attempt to resolve the issue
- Weight up the pros and cons of your current role
- Do not make any rash decisions
Hopefully this post has given you some pointers about your next career move. If you are considering a new role then good luck and go for it! See you next time, Ben.