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People switch between IT jobs very fast

 
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Ranchers

I've been working for a year in the current company I am, and since then I've realized that many people has come in and gone. At least 4 coordinators have left the company, and many analysts also did the same thing.

Do you think switching jobs in a so intense rythm is good for someone who works in IT area? I've heard that is recommended to stay in the same place for 4 or 5 years, more than that people say you spent much time and should try new things.

I like the idea of working with new technologies, environments and people, but things I had difficult when I changed jobs are that you must begin all your relationships again, and studying everything else.
 
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Some people get bored easily and like to move to new things. Some people are better at architecting and design than others.
Therefore after they design and architect a new system, they move on to another new system.
I think there are benefits to working on different projects all the time, but there are also benefits to staying at one place for a few years.

Like you said, developing relationships, mentors, mentoring people and so on are great for career growth. But depending on circumstances sometimes you might get stuck in maintenance and old technology.

On the other hand, learning new technologies is always great, but jumping from job to job sometimes leads to career stagnation. You keep learning new things but since you jump around every six months, it becomes harder to move up in any organization and as time goes on, it's more like you are jumping from similar job to job rather than advancing your career.

Like I said there are benefits to both, but i think the best way to satisfy the need to jump ship often but still advance your career is to work as a consultant or techie with a consulting company. You move around to different projects, learn new things, meet new people, but you stay at one company and can advance your career.
 
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I heard the average time for a IT person at a job is 18 months in the US. Once you gain meaningful experience it's so easy to hop from job to job, I guess people keep jumping in order to increase their salary and stay excited about what they are doing.
 
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A couple of thoughts....

1) I have heard the 18 month job turnover rate, but question what it means. Retail stores (e.g. Best Buy) have annual turnover rates over 100%, are these people included in the number?

2) I think there is a lot of value in staying with a company for a few years. As a hiring manger, I'm skeptical when someone has moved around too much. During the 1990's it was easy to spot the people who were just job hopping because moving every 6-12 months got them a 10% salary raise.

3) All this said, there are sometimes reasons to change jobs rapidly (especially in the startup world). I've met many people who have a sense of corporate loyalty even when clearly their role is not helping their career. People should have a career plan and recognize when a current job/company is moving them off the plan, and act accordingly.

4) If you do want to jump around, it's best to do it as a consultant so people expect you t be job hopping and don't hire you with the expectation of a long term role.

--Mark
 
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I've been told that in the town where I live, consultants tend to average 18 months per employer and full-time employees average about 2 years. In most cases over the last decade or so, you haven't so much held a position as been hired for a project, and when the project wraps up, they toss you on the street.

Support positions are somewhat more stable, but generally considered less glamorous.

I worked for an old-line IT firm where for most of the last 3 decades about the only way anyone even halfway competent could get terminated was to slash the CEO's tires and hit him in the face with a rotten fish. However they're now "up-to-date". They laid me and about 30 other people off. The event was so noteworthy that it actually was written up in the local newspaper as sort of the end of an era. Ironically, the older, more established firms have been less stable places of employment for much longer.

So in the current local environment, you can either be a faithful employee and get laid off or be a job-hopper. Your term of employment will probably be about the same either way. One reason why it became fashionable for emplyment advisors to say that the best time to start hunting for your next job is right after you start the current one.

There are, of course those who think that it's not a very good idea when people with detailed knowledge of the ins-and-outs of a company and its products are so lightly considered, but at the moment, it's not considered worthwhile to spend much time worrying about it.
 
Mark Herschberg
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As long as we're tossing around anecdotal evidence, let me throw in my $.02. I'm currently consulting at a large US retailer. The team I'm working with came over from a well known electronic retailer where most of them had been there 5-12 years. They expect to be at that US retailer for an equally long tenure. Someone who has been there for 3 years is "new" as I regularly meet people who have been there 10+ and 15+ years. I've met some who are nearly (or just past) 30. I've been meeting with consulting firms where people are regulaly there 8-10 years or more.

Now when I work in startups, often the turnover is much higher, but that's partly do to the nature of the business, whereas at the retailer, the culture is much different.

Many of us self-select our companies, consciously or otherwise.

--Mark

[Note: I removed the company names from my posting. Even though I wasn't talking about those companies themselves, but were just giving examples from them, I'm going to hold myself to a higher standard (I wouldn't have problems if someone else had posted the above and used company names).]
[ April 26, 2007: Message edited by: Mark Herschberg ]
 
Jay Dilla
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Sears is still in business? Anyway I think your case is clearly the exception, these numbers like "18 months" aren't coming out of nowhere. I personally only 1 person that has been at their IT job over 10 yrs, and he is a PM @ IBM without a college degree. I'm assuming they are keeping him around because he probably is relatively cheap,etc.
 
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