Top 4 Priorities to Consider Before you Look for a New Job

Transitioning from one tech job to another can be a daunting task. A key variable in the equation is knowing what to look for in the next step of your career. While it takes time to find the right fit, going in with a clear set of priorities will help you search for a new job with confidence and understand what you really want in a new role. Once you know your priorities, you can quickly recognize the right tech opportunities for you, and alternatively, identify the ones that are not a good fit.

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A simple and effective way to determine your priorities is to separate them into three tiers: what you need, what you want and what perks you seek in a new job. What you need will ultimately be the driving force in your decision. So, first spend the time crunching the numbers and identifying what your deal-breakers are before you do anything else.

what you need

Start with pinpointing your needs and add these to your Tier 1 list of priorities. Some things you might need could include a livable salary, health insurance, proximity to home, exposure to a specific tech stack or even a specific industry. When you think about what constitutes as a need, ask yourself, "if this is not included in my new job, will I be OK with that?" If the answer is "no", that particular factor should be included in your needs list. Be honest with yourself and make sure nothing on your needs list is something you could live without.

Next, create your wants list, otherwise know as Tier 2 of your priorities. This list should include variables that can come in handy if you find yourself choosing between multiple roles. Think of your wants list as factors that differ greatly from company to company. Tier 2 priorities could include remote flexibility, exceptional company culture and even opportunity for fast growth within the role. While you don't need remote work flexibility right now, you never know when you might. 

Learn How to Set Salary Expectations for Yourself

This is a great time in the process to think about what you like in your current company. Do you currently have a robust list of paid holidays and unlimited vacation time? Have those elements of your current job been positive for you? Add anything to your Tier 2 list you currently have that you would like to retain. Also, consider what you liked about other jobs you've had and add anything to this list you already know you will value and appreciate in your next role.

Once your Tier 1 and 2 list of priorities are finished, your last step is to create your Tier 3 list. Tier 3 is reserved for all of the nonessential nice-to-haves that can be particularly commonplace in the tech industry. Perks could include free coffee and food (who doesn't love a good snack wall?), complimentary shuttle service to headquarters, casual dress code, tuition reimbursement or even quarterly offsite company retreats. Flush this list out as much as possible, because it will help you better understand a nice-to-have vs. an essential need. 

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Keep in mind, your priorities will shift based on where you are in your career and life. Less experienced IT engineers are determined to sharpen their skills in an array of environments and more senior candidates may want more company control in a specific industry.

If you’re a parent, you’re more likely to rank factors like job security, health insurance, and work-to-home proximity as the top priorities on your needs list. Whereas, an engineer earlier in their career and life without dependents might prioritize a role with frequent travel requirements or one with a cutting-edge technology startup environment and evolving structure and processes. Some engineers prefer long term growth at one company, while others are hungry to garner a wide array of experiences and environments

Knowing your priorities will also give you an advantage in the negotiating phase of an offer. If your needs are met with this role, your counter offer should include items on your wants list to sweeten the deal. Remember, your wants list are the items you can live without, but don't necessarily want to live without.

Explore these popular list items and let us know how they rank in your search. 

Income Potential

Your income is likely one of the most important factors in selecting the best job. First, determine your ‘livable’ number and put it on your needs list. If you know you can’t meet rent, loans, and annual expenses for less than $80,000, refrain from interviewing with a company with a ceiling of $65,000, no matter how interesting the work is. While making more might always be better, know the number you’ll truly settle on, and start from there. Don't rely on bonuses to meet your livable income minimum, as they are not guaranteed.

salary goal

Tech Skills

While there is something to be said for being a talented generalist, if you’re steadfast about working with a specific technology, language or style and will not sacrifice this, add it to your Tier 1 list. If you’re not concerned with working with the latest tech, this can fall to a lower rank. After all, getting great technical experience is the best way to set yourself up for long-term success, regardless of the direction you choose to pursue.

Top salary growth factors for engineers and developers

Commute

No one likes a long commute, but unless you can lock down a fully-remote role, you’ll likely have to dedicate some portion of your day getting to work. If you live in a city without a car, you shouldn’t interview for a job that is not accessible by public transportation. Likewise, if you have a car, you need to make sure there is parking available. Do not accept a job that is too far away under the assumption you might be able to get permission to work remote down the road. Alternatively, if you don’t mind a long commute and can spare the time each day, managing a longer commute might be less important to you than others.

Mission

One of the biggest factors in finding a satisfying work environment is the mission of the company. If you are mission-oriented and don’t fundamentally care about your company’s larger goal, it’s harder to do your best work. If you need to be inspired by contributing to a greater cause, consider non-profits, or charity-based companies to not only do great work, but do good for the world.

If you’re strictly income-focused, the mission of the organization might be a lower priority. This isn’t to say you can’t make great money while doing good, but then you'll have a smaller pool of options to choose from. Many engineers absolve this by joining startups with a health-conscious mission, or starting a ‘side’ program to give back beyond their regular product.

Think You Have it All Figured Out?

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Whether you’re just getting started in your career, or are a proven Python prodigy, advancing is important to giving yourself the best quality life and career possible. At every step, you must evaluate (and reevaluate!) your priorities, goals and capabilities.

Starting to look for a new role? Call us and we'll help you find your dream job.

If you’re looking for more advice and direction in your career, consulting with a specialized tech recruiter can help alleviate your concerns and expedite your path to success. At Workbridge Associates, we are committed to helping you find the best role, with an array of teams that are knowledgeable about your technology, as well as the local market in your city. By offering a unique and deep expertise in the highest demand tech skill sets, we help you not only rank your priorities but work with you to get everything you need out of your next fulfilling tech job.

 

Related: New-Tech-Job, Salary Trends, Job Search Advice

How to Set Salary Expectations (for Technologists)

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So, you’re ready to get back on the market. Perhaps your contract is coming to an end, or maybe you’re just ready to move on, but either way things may seem a little up in the air right now and you're ready to find your next tech role. There is one detail that you may want to lock down soon: how much you expect to be paid at your next job. 

At this point, you already know what technology you’re passionate about, the direction of your career trajectory, and your desired field or industry. Only you can really know what you need to be happy and productive and understanding this will help you know which tech jobs are right for you to apply.

Now it’s time to figure out what salary you can earn as a technologist based on your background and skills. In this fast-paced market, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are 5 essential tips to understanding your salary value in the tech marketplace so that you can set realistic, obtainable goals for your next role.

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Click here to see the Tech Salary Guide and discover what tech experts in your  field earn.

Be Open to Opportunity

Beginning a new job will kick-start a steady stream of fresh opportunities including making new connections, networking, and learning. You already have a strong set of tech skills; however, lifelong learning is a virtue in the technology industry, and knowledge is power.

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Don’t equate the value of a new role with the size of the paycheck; a smart career move in tech is an opportunity to grow and learn professionally. Change will open new doors and a new role will come with new responsibilities and technologies. When it comes to setting your expectations for salary, remember to exercise flexibility and stay open-minded to how the new role will add value to your life. There may be elements of value in a new career move beyond salary, from offering training sessions in a new technology, to newer and livelier work culture, or even a shorter commute.

Salary ≠ Self Worth 

Your salary expectations for your next role in tech should be based on the title, your experience in the required technologies, and your professional skills. Though salary is an important component of a job offer, it does not determine your value on the market. Don’t let an offer that falls below your expectations get you down, and don’t be too quick to write off an opportunity due to salary alone.

If you’ve been working the same role for a while and decide it’s time to branch out, keep in mind that some of your current tech might be obsolete with the fast-growing pace of technology. The tech you want to work with is more important for your long-term goals than a small salary bump. Sometimes taking a step back will do more for your career trajectory than a step forward in pay.

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Transparency is Key

Once you have a good understanding of your goals and desires, make sure to be transparent about your deal-breakers while interviewing. If you can only afford to pay your rent, living expenses, and bills at a salary of $90,000 or more, don’t spend time interviewing for a position with a ceiling $60,000. It’s a waste of your time and the hiring manager’s and you never know who you’ll encounter again in your future endeavors. However, if you are excited about a role but the offer is a low ball, be transparent about your exact needs to encourage the hiring manager to try harder to meet, or even exceed your requirements.

Consult the Experts

No other professionals are as precise as engineers, who understand that details and data can make all the difference. If you want a guide that is completely specialized for the technology field, check out the 2019 Tech Salary Guide. This guide gives highly specialized and localized information on technologists' salaries. The Tech Salary Guide helps you establish a range for your salary expectations and provides you with the data to back it up.

Learn How Your Salary Stacks Up Against 2019's Tech Market

Accept with Confidence

Be ready to accept the right role when it’s offered to you. Of course, to do that you need to know what the “right” offer looks like (see Transparency is Key). There’s an adage that advises job-seekers to never accept the first offer, and somewhere along the way that turned into developers waiting for multiple offers before accepting one. In today’s market, job-seekers have the upper hand and can afford to weigh multiple offers before accepting. However, eventually the offers will stop coming, and since you don’t want to spend forever interviewing, you’ll have to accept one of them. You’ve already made your list of wants and needs, so when the perfect offer comes along, don’t hesitate. 

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Related: New-Tech-Job, Salary Trends

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