Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an article which is behind the whole “Quit your job and join a startup”, it’s really down to my experiences as a whole and why I decided to leave what was seen as a solid job with good money to do something which made me happier.
I wasn’t enjoying my job
When I started to move up the ladder through promotions and higher salary bands, I wasn’t really thinking about where my career was heading, everything started out so well and I enjoyed the ride up so much that I had neglected what was round the corner for my career aspirations. Through a series of events, the company I worked at was in turmoil and for the last year I worked there before deciding to leave I was responsible for work so far removed from my job title and what I wanted to do in my life that I had to stand back and think “What am I doing this for?”
My plan of action
So when I came to the realisation there really wasn’t anything left and the fact I had to serve a 3 month notice period (many large organisations use this to keep you there), I started to formulate my plan of action.
To start with I needed to save money, if there was any risk of not being able to find a job, I had to be secure in thinking that I had at least 4 months of money for all of the outgoings I had. I cut back on all unnecessary spend and started to be an avid reader of Reddit’s /r/frugal to get ideas of what I could cut out of my outgoings, without having a large impact on my life.
Now that my finances were on track I started to do some research into the positions that existed on the market. I was in a bind initially, I had started to leave the development world and shifted into higher level planning around technical architecture. This is where I decided to make the tough decision to actually go back to development where I was at my happiest. The timing was right, with development positions in high demand the salaries were looking good for what I wanted to move back to, Front-end development.
Am I good enough?
During the 3 months of my notice period I had really started to question what I knew and if I was actually good enough for other positions. Front-end development had evolved since my involvement, with a barrage of development, building and testing frameworks I was lost and unsure what I should try to learn in the time I had available.
I came to the realisation that I needed to spend time on a personal project to pickup the skills required for the majority of the positions on the market. I cannot stress enough how important side projects were as well as a code portfolio and it’s something I aim to continue even in my new place of work. This has been echoed previously on medium articles such as this one: Every Developer Needs a Code Portfolio.
By adding my side projects to GitHub, I actually avoided various code tests and got invited to a few interviews, so it provided me with knowledge as well as saving me time when interviewing for positions.
Where do I go from here?
Ironically I did get a job at a startup, not by a direct choice it was more so what was available on the market at the time as well as the type of project I wanted to work on.
The next steps for me are to always look ahead to current and future technologies, try to implement what I can within my current place of work and if that is not feasible, create additional side projects to learn these all important technologies and best practices to keep up to date with the job market trends.