When you get your first job as a Software Engineer, it’s pretty amazing. Most people out of college or coding bootcamps get their first entry level jobs. From what I am aware of the people around me who have entered in the tech field, can last up to 3 years in their first job. Developers who look for a new workplace look for a pay that is higher, the culture is popping, and the diversity is real, and the benefits are above average. There is a bunch of reasons but sometimes you’re just ready for the next challenge in your life. I’m the type that needs to change ever so often or I simply start to break down like a machine. I need to hit the reset button and change my environment.
When you have finally locked in a job offer or if you are lucky, multiple, you have just created leverage and the opportunity to negotiate you salary and/or benefits. You should always negotiate anyways unless whatever you are being offered is exactly what you want. No pressure. That’s the great part of finding a new job. The stuff that sucks is telling your current job if you have one. It’s very hard especially if you’ve emotionally invested your time in that company and loved the people you worked with. As a software engineer who left her first job, I have a couple lessons learned that may help you. I’m here to help you make that transition when you’re still a junior developer going into your second job in your career. This can actually apply to any level.
I believe this is the most important. Everyone knows you should give a sufficient amount of time of notice for your employer to find your replacement. In tech sometimes you could be working on projects that you had been expected to be on for weeks or months from now. You could have had a valuable skill set that needs to be replaced immediately after your departure. Keeping your current employer in the loop could be very helpful not only for them but for yourself as well to make sure your last paycheck will be enough until the next job starts. It also can be scary to let your employer know you have been interviewing in other places. For one thing, what if you tell them but then you don’t even get a job. That gets pretty awkward really quickly. If you feel comfortable with that situation, let them know. If not, try to keep them informed once you’ve received an offer.
One other important key item is if your current employer offers vacation days and you have days that you have not taken yet, it would be a great idea to figure out what happens to your accrued vacation time when the relationship between your and company is terminated. Some states require companies to pay out their employees if they offer the benefit, some courts leave it up to the company. It could be an important discussion when getting hired. This obviously doesn’t apply in places where your vacation is untracked or it is still a non-existent benefit.
You want to let the companies you could potentially be working for that you are interviewing with other companies. It helps with moving their interview process to match where you are with the other companies. It also helps with trying to get your offers quickly and at the same time so you can make a proper decision. Some companies like to give a capped time until when you can finally accept or decline the offer. Don’t be scared to ask for extension if you need one.
It can get pretty crazy interviewing with companies and also staying up to date on your current projects at work. Some people can either take their personal day or if you have the luxury to work from home that gives you little bit more leeway to makeup any hours lost in the day. Most interviews that are in office can take anywhere from 2–3 hours.
I realized after talking to many recruiters, they led me to dead end streets. I decided to use my community of Women Who Code Atlanta to assist me in finding the right company. I had decided instead of trying to apply to 30 companies, I was going to focus on one job I really wanted. I worked hard to meet all the potential people I could be working with by introducing myself to everyone at conferences if their company was in attendance, attending any events they held, and constantly showing my interest. When you have that one person who is willing to help you get your foot in the door the rest is up to you. While focusing on this one company, I was able to get an opportunity to interview with another well known company. It lead me down a road I thought I would never be on. It turned into focusing on two great companies in Atlanta. This was definitely and quality over quantity situation.
One thing for sure is if you have companies convincing you they are the best choice, do not take their word for it. Ask people you might know who work there. Ask them to be honest. Ask someone you know you would relate to you on a personal level. For example I am a person of color. I wanted to know what’s the diversity like at that company. When you ask someone for their opinion, remember it is their perspective. Not every workplace is perfect but it’s up to you to find out what you are getting yourself into.
If you are comparing benefits,
These are just a few items you should consider. You just have to ask yourself what matters the most to you.
Lastly, to me mentorship is big deal breaker to me. I wanted to be in a role where I would have a good amount of resources I can get support from. I also wanted to turn the tables around and find my way to give back to others. I am very huge in being in a company that values having debates and discussions about the best way to approach things.
Ultimately, a lot of people’s highest deal breaker could be money. You don’t get into a new job to be paid less unless you are pivoting to something new in your life or you just feel the company is totally worth it. Going back to verifying when those raises will occur can come into play when trying to decide if the salary they are offering you is perfect for you in the present moment or not ideal in the long run.
I hope this helps someone who will be embarking on their journey of finally accepting the right offer, saying goodbye to their current employer, and saying hello to their future at the new company.
I will be speaking REFACTR.TECH in Atlanta, GA about my experience with the technical portions of my interviews. I will go over some common questions companies ask for conceptually and also the most important things to know in when you are coding. I hope to discuss what kind of questions they ask and what they are looking for in Junior and Mid-Level Developers.
REFACTR.TECH is all about growing and showcasing powerful voices of marginalized people and allies in tech. For three days, REFACTR.TECH focuses on technology while creating a safe space or thoughtful and nuanced conversations around diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in tech.
If you are interested in speaking. CFP closes Feb 15! More details here.
Feedback is always welcome. Thanks for reading ❤️