8 things to consider when choosing your next IT job

In programming career forums, interview candidates often ask how to choose from multiple job offers? This is not an easy decision to make and often this dilemma is made worse due to not asking the right questions about the position or role at the interview. An interviews is a two way process where the interviewer(s) assess the suitability of the candidate to the position or role whilst the candidate assesses the suitability of the position or role to his/her career goals. Asking the right questions at the job interviews can not only help you make an informed decision to choose the job of your dreams, but also can help you negotiate your remuneration and market your skills & strengths more effectively based on the answers.

What questions can you ask in the job interviews?
  • If I am successful, what type of projects will I be involved in and what type of technologies/frameworks will I be exposed to?
  • Will this role involve liaising with the business users and mentoring opportunities?
  • What types of candidates succeed in your organization?
  • Is this a mission critical project? How big is the team? What is the rough budget for this project?
  • What are the key tasks and responsibilities involved with the role?
  • Does this involve new development, enhancement or support work?

Here are the 8 aspects to consider with an analytical approach to choose your next job

Give weight to each aspect based on how important it is to you out of 100. For candidate A, remuneration might be far more important than "location and life style choices", whereas candidate B, fancies type of role and opportunities tom learn sought-after frameworks far more than the remuneration.

#1: Remuneration and other monetary benefits: This is an important criteria but not the only one. You need to look long term. [E.g. weight = 30%].

#2: Opportunities to learn and/or work with popular, emerging and sought after technologies, frameworks, and tools. For example, opportunities to acquire new skills like cloud computing, SOA, Big Data, BPM, etc. Getting involved with an agile software development environment. By acquiring emerging and sought after skills, you can stand out from your competition the next time you start hunting for a job [E.g. weight = 25%].

#3: Type of project (new project, enhancement to existing project, support): You tend to learn more on new projects. [E.g. weight = 15%]

#4: Brand name, company culture, and business acumen. Brand name does matter - it helps you to get more interview calls next time you start hunting for a job - but again what skills & experience you will be acquiring matters more. You may get more interview calls but may find it difficult to get through your interview stages if your skills are not enhanced through good hands-on experience. [E.g. weight = 10%]

#5: Type of role (mentoring role, liaising with the business, travel, leadership, semi-technical/ semi business, etc)  and opportunities to grow: Would this role have active involvement with the business users? will I have mentoring opportunities? is it a well rounded role to develop my soft skills? will I get opportunities to demonstrate my leadership skills? [E.g. weight = 5%]

#6: Type of organization (Insurance, Finance, Software house, multi-national, retail, health care, etc). In some types of organizations like finance and insurance you tend get better remuneration, but you will be expected to work longer hours. In some software houses and consultancy roles you tend to acquire a wider range of skills. [E.g. weight = 5%]

#7: How comprehensive the interview was. The more comprehensive the interview was the better chance of working with the good caliber staff. Some companies are more serious about attracting the right candidates than the the others.[E.g. weight = 5%].

#8: Location and lifestyle choices. [E.g. weight = 5%] .

Total weight should be 100%.

Note: Weights are for illustration purpose only and may vary from individual to individual.

You can analytically work it out as follows:

You can give some weight to each of the criteria as shown above. The weight needs to add up to 100%. Now say you have offers from company A, B and C. You give some points out of say 10 to each of the above criteria and then multiply each point by the weight (i.e. importance to you) and then add them all up. If the difference is negligible or not conclusive enough then go with your heart. Otherwise you know which ones to pursue with the salary negotiations. Always think beyond monetary benefit.

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