The tech job market may be looking up, but how do you know when it's time for you to start dusting off your resume? eWEEK speaks to experts about when moving up requires moving on.
A few years ago, when tech jobs were sparse, nobody had the balderdash to speak of leaving their current jobs to pursue brighter opportunities.
To have an IT job at all seemed like a gift, one not to be treated carelessly.
Yet, by most accounts, the market has changed for the better and in the years that have passed, a somewhat restless IT workforce has emerged.
Many know the market is rife with opportunities, but are nervous that theyll make the wrong move at the wrong time, and find themselves back in a precarious employment situation.
There are good and bad reasons to leave a job, as well as good and bad times, experts told eWEEK. Why you want to leave is as important as what you are leaving for, if not more so.
Most importantly, they said, its hard to undo a bad choice, so do your research, and always err on the side of caution when things dont add up.
1. You know its not your fault
From Dilbert cartoons to happy hours at the bar across the street from the office, discontentment and disgruntlement in the workplace is a tale as old as time.
Most people have at one point or another complained that they werent making enough money, or their work went underappreciated, or they felt their career wasnt going anywhere.
But, experts told eWEEK, none of these are good reasons to quit a job unless all other options have been exhausted.
Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology in Menlo Park, Calif., a provider of IT professional services, encourages IT professionals to err on the side of caution when changing jobs because they felt frustrated at their last ones, especially when that frustration is due to a lack of promotions.
"The real look-in-the-mirror honesty test is as opportunities have presented themselves, have they been presented to you? If they havent, why not? Have you tried to interview for other opportunities," said Lee.
Most experts also cautioned against leaving a job for more money, warning that such a move may not take all factors into account.
"An employee has to assess whats important to them. Its more than promotions and money," Robert Messina, managing director at Spherion Professional Services, a recruiting and staffing firm based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., told eWEEK.
"Do some self-assessment and ask what you have done to make yourself more marketable for promotions both internally and externally. If the answer is nothing, what makes you think the results will be different somewhere else?"
IT pros are encouraged to have an open dialogue with their superiors about what theyd like to be getting out of their jobs, and what can be done to ensure they can meet their goals.
"Its incumbent on the employee in the employee review but also throughout the year to sit down with your boss and say, here is where I am and here is where Id like to be," Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh Services, a provider of talent and outsourcing services based in Philadelphia, told eWEEK.com
"Work with your boss, network through an organization and let them know what you could be doing for them."
Yet, if all the self-assessments, career planning and conversations with managers havent led to any changes or more opportunities, most agree this would be a good time to move on.
Click here for 10 avoidable interview mistakes.
"If you can honestly say youve done all of these things and your company is not recognizing this, thats the time to look," said Messina. "But, I cant stress enough, you need to do things all along to make yourself more marketable, too."
2. The change will allow you to progress along your desired career path
Every workplace advisor underlined the importance of professionals creating a career plan for themselves.
"In this day and age, corporations are not like they were 20 years ago in that you create your own career path now," said Dean Lucente, vice president and recruitment expert at Yahoo HotJobs.
A plan for your career can be like a map, where you work backwards from when youd like to retire and what position youd like to have by then, figuring out the steps you will have to take to get there, said Yoh Services Lanzalotto.
"Lets say you want to be a CIO and thats the last job youd want to have. Youre 35 and youve got maybe 20-30 years left to get there. What are the jobs you want to be in to get into that role? The reason I recommend that map is that it makes it easier for you when these opportunities come up," said Lanzalotto.
Lanzalotto reminds people that IT professionals with the right mix of job skills will always have job opportunities, but those with a good plan will know when its time to jump into one.
When things get stagnant.