Advice, Software Engineer

How Often Should You Change Job?

If you are career oriented, you have probably asked this question or thought about it a few times. I know I have. 

Allow me to help you answer this question using my own experience. I promise you will nod your head in agreement after reading this article.  Are you ready to find out my magic formula or number?

In the early years in my career, I looked for a new job every 18 months or so. Have a look at my LinkedIn profile if you don’t believe me. After a year and a half, I usually found myself getting bored,  needing more challenges and a change of scenery. So off I went. 

Did it work for me? I have to say yes. As a technical person, I learned so much by changing jobs; it gave me a chance to work with different platforms, different technology stacks and different projects. I learned and grew a lot by working for many different organisations. Other benefits also included increased salary and seniority because it was easier to achieve those by changing jobs than renegotiating. 

But as I get older, I notice that I don’t have the same desire of wanting to change jobs as often as I did when I was young. I think a few things contribute to this:

– I have a better clarity of my career path 

– I choose who I work for more carefully so I don’t feel bored after a year 

– There are enough challenges and also enough job satisfaction for me

I know you are thinking, so what is the answer to the question, how often should one change job? Is it 2 years when you’re just starting out and 4 years when you are stable in life and career? The answer is, it depends. It depends on you. It depends on your appetite for challenges and stability, your confidence, your motivation, your goals and your skills. Only you and you should decide when to change job. 

Many people recommend that you should stay in a job for at least two years and no longer than 4 years but I disagree. If your job is soul destroying or you don’t think it is the right one for you then there is no point to continue. However, on the other hand, if your job gives you what you want, be it career development, stability, a range of opportunities, then you probably don’t need to get another job. Unless of course you are presented with an amazing offer that you can’t refuse. 

So there you have it, the answer to one of the most commonly asked questions in career development does not need any magic formula or number, it is actually a common sense. 

Career Guide for Software Developers