Essential Criteria for Evaluating Your Next Tech Job Opportunity
by Ed Daugherty
July 30, 2018
For a job seeker, IT is one of the most exciting industries to be a part of. With a staggeringly low unemployment rate of 1.9%, open positions in the field vastly outweigh the number of skilled tech pros like yourself. Having countless companies and recruiters vying for your attention is a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem. After all, it’s on you to sift through the noise and determine which of those tech job opportunities flooding your inbox is the right one for you. Using the right set of criteria makes that process drastically easier.
Assess the Salary and Benefits
It’s instinct to immediately consider the salary of any potential technology job opportunity, and for good reason. If the figure is drastically low it can be a deal breaker on its own. However, focusing solely on compensation and making it the top factor in evaluating an opportunity can put you in a role that negatively impacts your tech career, work-life balance, and overall happiness. After all, IT salaries are the highest of any other industry in the U.S., significantly higher than even those in healthcare. As long as the salary is appropriate to the market rate for that location and your experience level and background, the focus must turn elsewhere.
Benefits outside of annual salary are underrated and often overlooked by job seekers. Offerings like health, vision, and dental insurance are important, but so are remote working options, flexible scheduling, and a strong vacation policy. Even smaller perks like free coffee in the break room, an onsite daycare, or gym membership can make a huge difference in your day. Studies show that just 19% of tech pros are happy at work, and they are the ones valuing factors other than salary.
Think Long-Term Career
In a hot industry like IT, experience is worth more than a pay bump since cash does not progress your career on its own. Every position you hold should take you one step further down that ideal career path. When you’re evaluating a tech job opportunity, think beyond today. Are the responsibilities a step up from what you’re currently doing? Will the role provide opportunities to grow skills and learn new trending ones?
For example, if you’re an App Developer but want to redirect your career into cybersecurity, is the role in question one that can bridge that gap? Will it give you additional security experience compared to your previous role, setting you up for that ideal Cybersecurity Analyst position in two or three years? Thinking along these lines and making your long-term career a priority over money is essential to landing the right role for you.
Evaluate the Company
When you spend 40 hours per week with your employer, often more than that in many high-pressure IT positions, it’s vital to take a step back and evaluate that company. Even if the money is good and the opportunity seems like a great one on paper, working for a subpar organization can derail all the career progress you’re making. Look at every aspect of a potential employer, focusing on key points such as:
Are they transparent? A great company to work for is one that has nothing to hide. Any questions you have should be answered quickly, clearly, and directly, and you shouldn’t be left wondering what’s happening behind the scenes.
How did they perform in previous economic downturns? Companies that do well when recessions hit are built to withstand adversity and can provide you with job security. Did they have massive layoffs? Or did they get creative to find ways to keep employees happy while remaining financially healthy?
Are they future-minded? Your ideal employer is looking ahead and preparing for the future. They’re keeping pace with the changing IT industry and staying current with innovation.
What’s their culture like? Is it a team-centric environment? Do coworkers seem more like friends, having fun and participating in projects, events, and outside functions together? Alternatively, do people appear unhappy or overworked?
What technologies will you have access to? Hands-on experience with the latest technology is every tech pro’s dream and a great way to advance your career. Determining whether a company utilizes up-to-date programs and hardware must be done up-front before any job offers are accepted.
How to Evaluate Your Next Tech Job Opportunity
At the end of the day, you’re hopefully connected to an IT job that you love and that matters. Assessing salary, considering your long-term career path, and evaluating companies are proven methods to help make that happen. Do your homework and you’ll ensure your next tech job opportunity is the right opportunity for you.
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