Just two decades ago, people were expected to stay at the same job for many years, regardless of the field they were working in. When the IT field experienced an explosion in the 1990s, it started to make less sense to stay with one company for twenty or thirty years and retire from there, especially when you could jump from Company A to Company B and make thousands of dollars more per year.
As jobs in the IT field have grown and the pay has grown with it, more IT professionals job hop and it is something that is perfectly acceptable. In fact, the fastest way to move up the chain is to switch jobs in order to gain the most experience. In order to do this, there are some things that IT workers must keep in mind:
1. Be selective in where you jump to
While job hopping is almost always about money and added experience, it is best to not jump to the competitor of your current company unless there is good reason. You could be suspected of taking confidential information to them, especially if you are applying for the same level position. If you apply for a higher position, then it will make much more sense to the company you are leaving.
2. Jump forward and not sideways
For some reason, there are some companies in the IT world that are less likely to promote employees from within. Furthermore, someone who has held the same title for years may be considered unskilled since they have not yet moved up or they haven’t acquired new skills with that company. If you’re going to take the jump, jump forward. For instance, it makes more sense for an engineer to apply for a senior engineer position. If you are a manager, apply for a senior manager position at the other company. Even if you are moving simply because the working conditions at your current employee are intolerable, you don’t want to jump sideways; you want to apply for a position that is a step up.
3. Do not hop too much
Hopping is expected in the IT industry nowadays. What they don’t expect is for someone to jump once a year or less. It is not surprising when someone jumps every 18 to 24 months. If you have only been in the field for five years and there are 7 or 8 companies on your resume’, it is important to have a good explanation; otherwise the message to the employer is not one of dependability.
4. Learn something new at every job
Learn something new at every IT position you hold. Learning something new means one more skill on your resume’ that can land you a higher paying job in the future.
5. Don’t jump to a sinking ship
Companies appear and then disappear sometimes. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a company is doing well or not, so it is best to check their history before hopping over to them. You don’t want to get the job and then be on an unpredictable job search because you were laid off.
So no longer is job hopping considered a bad thing. When your resume’ shows advancement every time you hop, then more companies will want to take advantage of your IT skills.