Navigating to your next job in IT, part 1

17.09.2019 | Julia Helander | 5 min read

The buzz around coders and developers is intense these days – as tech recruiters, we know this all too well! With these posts our goal is to help you navigate as a talent in IT through these confusing, and sometimes bewildering, waters. In part 1 of this blog post series we will get introspective to gain awareness of what actually motivates and inspires you and with that knowledge figure out where you should possibly head next.

Firstly, let’s set the playing field straight: There are numerous different roles (and more forming every day) in the IT field. With knowledge in IT, computer or data science, robotics, algorithms and the likes you can do a lot of things in addition to and beyond “coding”. Also, the mindset required in the IT field is one of constant curiosity and lifelong learning, which means you can always learn something new by digging deeper or straying to other interests. What do you have to take into account then, when you are trying to find your next calling in the field?

What motivates me?

Tech

Are you always interested in the newest thing or do you maybe enjoy digging deeper and deeper into the technologies you’re already harnessing? Do you want to be stellar at a specific part in software development or know a phenomenon inside out? Whatever your cup of tea is, it’s safe to say that there will always be more to learn in IT. The important thing to know though is, what you would like to work with next and where that would take you. So when taking your next step in the field, remember to figure out what technologies are being used and if you are willing to learn more with those.  

Mission

What is the mission and purpose of the organization you wish to be entering? Does the bigger problem and contributing to that solution motivate you or are you more interested and focused on the smaller issues at hand? Do you want to be saving lives with healthtech or revolutionizing the finance sector with fintech, or maybe you want to build something relatively simple to make some everyday ordeal smarter and more efficient? It’s important to really take a moment to understand what mission gets you out of bed and on your commute to work every day. We are all different and finding motivation from different things is natural. If you want to save the world – cool! If you’re mostly interested in solving problems and getting paid on time –  totally cool!

Compensation & Culture

Do you want to be compensated solely in money or would you rather receive free breakfasts and other benefits? Do you prefer your colleagues being your gang in the free time too or is everything work-related to be kept in the office? Do you work to maximize the fun in your free time or want work to seamlessly melt into the whole? Are you most efficient working remotely or in a downtown office? Acknowledging how you want to work and be compensated is crucial to truly get what you need to live your so-called “best life”.

Growth opportunities

What do you want to learn next? What kind of team do you want to be a part of? What growth opportunities does the organization offer and how will the organization itself grow in the next few years? For most people, some kind of sense of moving forward and advancing is part of making an experience meaningful. Figure out what sort of experiences and growth you hope for yourself and intently seek out the opportunities and places that can make that happen. 

How and where should I work?

Working for yourself or working for others?

Working for yourself, as an entrepreneur or freelancer, allows you a lot of freedom. You’ll get to decide what you work on, how you work, where you work and who you’ll work with. With a whole lot of freedom, inevitably also, comes a whole lot of responsibility. How much will I earn this month? What will I be working on next? What will I do if unexpected costs arise? Working for yourself most likely will bring maximum monetary compensation, if you’re good at what you do, but the price is responsibility and some instability. But on the other hand: What if I build something amazing?

Working for others and being an employee has its benefits such as regular and dependable compensation, shared responsibility and freedom to switch jobs or quit more easily. As an employee, one likely will have pretty clear responsibilities, boundaries, and opportunities. Of course, in some cases, this can feel restrictive and numbing. For some, it might not seem motivating to go “all-out” when the biggest benefiter will be someone else, e.g. higher-ranking employees or shareholders.

Startup or corporation?

Smaller organizations, for instance, startups, can offer possibilities for more rapid personal development and roles with more responsibility as personnel turnover is larger and possible business growth can be swifter. On the other hand, this often brings increased instability and profound questions such as “will the company exist a year from now?” can be more than relevant. Especially in a startup an “all hands on deck” -attitude is useful, as growing a small business into a stable one requires a bit of extra effort and enthusiasm from all. This of course also adds to a sense of excitement, and possibly fulfilment, as one’s own contributions, good or bad, are more distinguishable.

Corporations or other larger organizations can offer broader possibilities and more structure and safety. When large amounts of people work together for a common goal, everyone has to have clear roles and responsibilities to avoid inefficiency and chaos. This sort of atmosphere can bring clarity and ease to life and energy for creativity and other important things. Working for a bigger goal and even “climbing up the corporate ladder” can be very satisfying and rewarding if you like to focus on something specific and get motivated about the steady climb and big impact. Big organizations also have a lot more money and resources, and with that possibilities and talent, which makes them excellent places for learning from others. Possible downsides can be i.e. stiffness, inflexibility, and excessive hierarchy.

Consulting or in-house?

In consulting companies, the learning curve is usually steep and one’s work environment, colleagues, and projects can vary intensely. All this can accelerate personal growth and learning and one can gain a lot of insight and perspective in a relatively short period of time. At the same time, continuous change can feel stressful and always having new clients to please and situations to solve might be burdening.

On the other hand, working in-house on a product or internal services can have a lot of the same “problems” as in consulting for external clients as one might be consulting for internal clients. Other in-house opportunities can be for example internal admin or R&D responsibilities which can feel like slightly calmer and less hectic roles. Of course, every role and organization is different and sometimes deadlines might be stricter in-house than outside of it. In consulting one is always working on a project, while in-house one often will work on something for the long run; this can give you the opportunity to really dig deep into a specific product and problems and grow into an expert in those.

 

So here you have just a few points to dwell upon before we get to part 2 of the series, which will concentrate on how to actually snag the job you want with guidance on getting your LinkedIn and other relevant profiles on point and writing a great cover letter. See you again soon!

Meanwhile, go check aTalent’s open positions here, register to our candidate pool here to receive job opportunities targeted just for you and join our Telegram channel for current IT positions here.

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In part 2 of this post series we will give you our guidance as tech recruiters on getting your LinkedIn and other releva...

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