Since the 2008 global financial crisis, many IT professionals have asked me if this year could shape up to be the right time for them to make a career move, as companies scramble to fill roles amid fierce competition in a very tight market. Candidates also wonder if this is a good time to maximise a salary increase.
The short answer is, there is no definitively correct or incorrect time to consider a career move. Constant job-hopping may suggest to employers that you are likely to move on quickly. On the other hand, spending too long in one role may raise questions about your ambition and motivation.
For IT professionals, apart from generic factors like compensation, work-life balance and the work environment, the most important factor is the technology they are using in their current role. Certain skills are already outdated or soon to become obsolete. One, for example, is Windows XP Admin – many IT help-desk support professionals have significant XP experience. Unfortunately, Microsoft no longer supports XP licences.
Developers and programmers continue to be in high demand but demand for skills in programming languages can change quickly. COBOL and Adobe Flash in particular have poor long-term prospects.
IT professionals need to continuously learn new skills to remain competitive in the market. When thinking about your next career move, it makes sense to focus on learning opportunities and long-term career prospects, and not just the salary package and title.
One of my candidates was a system administrator who moved into a top-tier company as a consultant on an average package, but was able to learn about cloud technologies and infrastructure solutions. His new skills made him very marketable, earning him an offer from a leading global cloud-computing service provider and ultimately a more significant salary increase over the longer term.
Ask yourself: are you learning new skills in your role, and will these skills be in demand in the foreseeable future?
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Keep on upskilling.