“Why should I leave?”

Photo by Andrew DesLauriers on Unsplash

My Engineering Timeline

Thomson Reuters : 2012 (Not covered / University industry placement)
Net-A-Porter Graduate Scheme : 2014–2018
SkyScanner : 2018–2019
WhiteHat GB : 2019-Present

Net-A-Porter

Background

I joined NET-A-Porter (will be subsequently referred to as YNAP) in 2014 as a graduate. Over the course of 4 fantastic years I established myself as a Software Engineer thanks to the tutelage of the incredible people and mentors I had there, and due to the different paradigms, logic/business problems, and experiences I was lucky enough to be exposed to there.

  • I don’t have the skills for another job (imposter syndrome at it’s finest)
  • I wouldn’t manage to form meaningful bonds with other colleagues like I had done at this one
  • Other jobs would expect far more from me, NAP was quite comfy
  • “I’d miss the people too much”
  • What if the technology isn’t as cutting edge? NAP was happy to test out bleeding edge if it made sense
  • I really don’t have the skills for another job (again)

Hints of danger

The good times lasted for some years until things started to change shape. After some large scale business and technical direction changes, my day to day work wasn’t as profound as I once found it to be — I won’t go into specifics here but I stopped being interested in the type of work that was coming my way and the type of work I foresaw the company (and subsequently myself) doing. People started to see this shift and began leaving, this shouldn’t be shocking to anyone and it can’t always be attributed to company issues, some people just want a change of scenery after a few years.

Moving on

So I started looking for another job in September 2017. Luckily YNAP put me in a good position CV wise thanks to some of the incredible work some of my colleagues were becoming known for in the tech world and I received an influx of interview offers from plenty of different companies; this is my imposter syndrome talking too, in actuality I had done some good work, won some hackdays, created some fairly successful side projects, was pretty well trained and had been told I was a good developer. I turned down a few offers when I realised they weren’t offering what I wanted (or thought I wanted?) tech/product wise. I was also scared, I kept making excuses for the companies that were offering me roles or interviews and kept putting it off for a few months.

SkyScanner

I joined and immediately began working in a small, autonomous team that was focussed on re-creating a part of the mobile applications in React-Native. The team was highly motivated, had some good knowledge of the domains and stack we’d be working on and the project seemed quite cool.

  • New technology requirement ✅
  • Substantial salary bump ✅
  • Good team ✅
  • Backend work? ❌

Initial thoughts

When I first got there, the team (newly formed from new hires without strict JS backgrounds) was finishing off an MVP of a React Native prototype they had built to see if the stack stood up to the project requirements. It made sense, required less engineers for a multi-platform native application, the project didn’t require any niche platform functionality that RN couldn’t provide and we could still make it look good. After a few months of learning React-Native (very small learning curve if you’ve done React on web) and creating the new version of the app it turned out that the team needed a backend system to proxy and aggregate the calls we were making for our app.

So what did this job give me?

Confidence and clarity (and a pay raise).

WhiteHat

As of writing this I’ve only been at WhiteHat for 1.5 months, it’s a challenging environment and I’m having to learn faster and more effectively due to the startup nature, and due to the fact that the entire tech stack is built in Elixir, Elm and PostgresDB, and aside from what I’ve gathered from ES6 and Redux, I’ve never done any functional programming.

Take aways

Moving jobs is scary. Especially if you’ve been there for a while and resonate with the people and the memories you’ve had there. But if you’re finding yourself no longer challenged, no longer interested, no longer learning or no longer caring about the work that you’re doing then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

Your turn

If you know exactly what you want to be working on, what excites you and you’ve gathered or are working on the skills needed for it then you’re half way there.

TL;DR

By moving jobs you release yourself of the fear that other jobs won’t be as good or that you won’t make as many friends or have as good of a time. You might not, but each time you move you’ll expose yourself to new ways of thinking, new tech stacks, different work cultures and a bump in salary because let’s be honest, people care about money because money is important. Move and you’ll get more than staying (generally).

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Chris Gregori

Chris Gregori

Senior Software Engineer @Multiverse — ex @Skyscanner & @NETAPORTER