Working in the IT industry is a great career choice. It's a challenging, exciting field and, because it's constantly evolving, there are always new things to learn. Plus, the fast-paced nature of the work and enterprises' increasing reliance on digital solutions means businesses are always looking for top talent. Therefore, if you know your stuff, you'll find your skills are in high demand.
Unfortunately though, not every company has a good appreciation of the importance of IT. While there are lots of good companies out there, there will always be some that don't give it the attention it deserves, and this can lead to disengaged employees and few chances for IT pros to make a difference or progress their careers.
But how can you tell if you're in one of these dead-end jobs? While obviously, waking up on a Monday morning and dreading going into the office is a clear sign you're in the wrong position, there are plenty of other signals that indicate it's time to be hitting the job sites.
1. A lack of vision at your company
Good IT pros want to make a difference and help drive their company forward with the latest tech. But if this ambition isn't matched by management, it can leave the tech department frustrated, as there will be no obvious way forward for their role. If the company doesn't have a clear strategy or recognize the role IT plays in improving performance, the department will likely start to stagnate, indicating it may be time to leave.
2. You can't remember why you're here
Do you remember why you took your current job in the first place? What was it that excited you about the role and the company? If that spark has gone, or you can't even remember what it was that appealed to you, a change could be what you need. Without the key motivation that got you into your job, you're highly unlikely to be able to progress your career.
3. Your firm is stuck in the past
Relying on legacy technology is not always a bad thing. If it works and meets the needs of the business, it can be good to have solid, trusted solutions in place. But when it doesn't work, it can quickly take over an IT pro's life. Spending all day working on repetitive manual tasks that could be easily replaced by automation, or having to devote more time to fixing things that have broken, can easily sap morale.
If your company isn't willing or able to modernize, you could even find yourself becoming less attractive to potential employers, compared with candidates who work with the latest tools every day, so it may be necessary to move sooner rather than later.
4. Leaving looks like a step up
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but sometimes, it does pay to cast an eye over what's available elsewhere. Maybe other companies are spending more on their digital transformation than your current employer. Or, if your firm is investing, you aren't being assigned to the most exciting projects. In such cases, staying where you are could mean sitting and watching while the rest of the IT world passes you by, greatly harming your future prospects.
5. You don't get the support you need
A good manager should look out for their employees and make sure they provide all the support they need to work effectively. This could mean providing training or other opportunities for personal and professional growth, or ensuring their workforce's ideas are listened to and acted upon. Bosses that aren't delivering this - or worse, are actually a liability to the department because of poor people management skills or an unwillingness to innovate - can seriously hold back your career.
6. Your company culture doesn't fit
Having a company culture that doesn't match up with what you want from your job is one of the most common reasons employees give for moving on. A survey by IBM found, for instance, that 40 percent of job changers left because they were unhappy with their jobs, while 18 percent left due to organizational changes that led to a lot of uncertainty. Changes in how the company is managed or having limited options for things like flexible working can all contribute to recognizing that this isn't the right place for you.
7. You're getting bored or distracted
Finally, a big sign for any employee that they should be looking for a new role is if they find the work just isn't challenging them anymore. While all IT jobs will have their fair share of repetition, when this becomes the norm, and there's no sign that anything is going to change soon, it's time to start looking elsewhere.
Dave Denaro, vice president of career consultant firm Keystone Associates, told CIO.com:
You should ask yourself, 'What motivates me to get up each day and go to work?' If you’ve been in your job for a number of years and it hasn’t substantially changed, then it may be time to force the issue.