For those working in the world of technology, different standards can sometimes apply to career patterns.
In some fields, moving from job to job quickly within a span of a few years can be at looked askance, but in technology this can sometimes be viewed as normal. Many workers in tech fields feel the need to keep their skills sharp, and not every employer is constantly deploying the latest technology.
In other industries, stints of a year or less in each job might be viewed with suspicion. In IT, however, employers often want employees who have a broad array of experiences with many different technologies, operating systems and software. In this context, a potential employee who has 10 jobs listed for the last eight years may actually be more attractive than someone who only lists one or two for the same time period.
For many people in tech fields, it depends on what kind of challenges they’re seeking and the types of expectations their work teams demand. Some workers prefer to be attached to extremely long-term projects that come with multi-year timelines. Jobs such as application development, web development and data management may qualify in this manner.
However, some people like “quick hits” of activity that produce a release or a prototype at a highly accelerated pace, and then they can move on to something new and fresh. For these types of workers, moving from firm to firm in order to keep up with cutting-edge tools and techniques can be viewed as an asset, especially if it’s clear from a job seeker’s resume that they’ve been acquiring new skills and knowledge at each workplace. Jobs such as systems administration, deployment engineering, QA analysis and desktop support all likely fall into this category.
While some firms may spend liberally to acquire the latest and greatest software and hardware, other firms can move at a more glacial pace and adapt new tools conservatively. At the latter types of companies, in order to keep skill sets evergreen, a certain amount of job mobility on behalf of some IT workers could be expected and even respected.
In the world of IT, it’s strongly recommended that you keep up with changes in the industry and the most recent tools. Even if you prefer to stay at one firm for an extended period of time, you should push peers in your company to stay abreast of new practices and methods and take courses on the side to get educated about new systems and protocols, so you can stay competitive if you ever want to change firms. It pays to know what’s going on in your industry and to learn new skills, even if they aren’t necessarily applicable to your current position. If you ever feel that you’re stagnating in your present role, that may be a sign that it’s time to move on — no matter how long you’ve been at your job.