This is how I (eventually) got into software development. Finished my degree, worked in a library. Realised I was stuck in a deadend job in the countryside at the age of 25. So, quit the library and moved to London with nothing lined up. At the beginning of the financial crash. That was hard.

Eventually found work writing copy which sort of turned into a career in marketing. Changed companies and found myself in a bad place. Hated my boss, hated the company, was desperately unhappy - so I quit without anything lined up.

Did a bit of temping, found a lovely company who took good care of me and for whom I enjoyed working. But I wanted to change careers entirely - I didn't enjoy marketing and I wanted to be more satisfied with my work. So took the plunge and went to a twelve week bootcamp.

It was hard; no money, no security, no idea what was going to happen next. I got lucky and found work about a month or so after I left. That was about four years ago. Haven't looked back.

What led to these decisions? Necessity. It was necessary for me to escape from these things or else I would be miserable, and there was no time like the present to do it.

I couldn't have done it without my wife to be honest. Both financially and emotionally she kept me afloat.

 

Twice as an employee (2010 and 2013) and once as a freelancer (September 2018).

First time because I saw no career prospects though I loved my colleagues and learned a lot from them (first full time job!). Second time I was "forced" to quit because the startup went bust, wasn't a great period, personally and professionally. Third time I quit one of those never ending consultancy gigs because after the acquisition of the agency I collaborated with and a year at the new company I felt everything was going nowhere and my managers were shuffled around too, I opted to quit instead of the risk of growing bitterness. I gave them three times the agreed notice to help with the transition and both parties were satisfied.

I've never thought about this in the past but having free universal health care was (unconsciously) a factor in my freedom (and privilege) to make these choices.

 

Yes. Hated the job.

Was burnt out due to poor management and technical processes that led to a lot of late night deployments, testing, last-minute fixes. (That's how I became so obsessed with automating testing.)

Not to mention, no code reviews, no feedback from senior engineer, miserable pay raises, no bonuses, little transparency from executive management about the company's health.

My departure was preluded by a exodus of the engineering team. Sad to say that within two years, I was the most senior in my team. The final straw was when the technical lead role was given to an arrogant prick who just joined the company but didn't want to be onboarded to the project by someone who knows the entire codebase (and that of the crummy underlying frameworks too) even in her sleep.

Oh did I mentioned that I was conned into joining the company thinking I'd work on analytics but ended up doing front end work most of the time? To be fair, I enjoyed front end engineering, and making things not just beautiful, but also blazing fast before everyone started talking about progressive asset loading and virtual DOM.

I just quit.

But at the back of my mind, I was pretty confident that I have very employable technical and people skills!

I spent some time off afterwards doing gardening for my mom, studying @addyosmani 's JavaScript Design Patterns, and learning Unity in a attempt to build a strategic resource game for fun. Planned to do Masters, but ended up complaining to @picocreator too often about front-end testing (oh hey, wonder where did all these rants about front-end and testing come from), so we founded UI-licious to build a super awesome UI testing tool for the busy developers.

 

2008 was a bad time to work at a startup focused on commercial real estate lending. The founder took out a second mortgage, we started doing more and more general consulting on the side, but it just wasn't enough to keep the lights on or make payroll consistently (especially when our biggest side client started ignoring invoices). Eventually I quit to job hunt full time because I couldn't afford to come to work.

 

Yep, the first time was right before I got into software development. I had been working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and just couldn't take it anymore. The worst part was I spent all that time developing skills (sales & customer service) that I did not feel were a good fit for me. This was still the height of the recession so there were few jobs for people with soft skills, no less soft skills that I didn't want to cultivate as a long-term career. Looking backward I find that I use those skills every day as a developer. I look back on it as the best, worst experience of my life.

I have done this a few times since becoming a developer but because I had a hard skill in a field that I enjoyed overall it would never be as scary as that first time. Taking that leap all those years ago stripped the fear out of it each subsequent time. I also found that the discomfort of imposter syndrome as a developer is nothing compared to trying to sell someone rental car insurance 30 times a day (or collecting their $1000 deductible after returning the car with damage).

 
 

yes, and while I told them it was because of my thesis...

the truth was that we had no projects and I was bored out of my mind. Since I was a student I think it didn't matter too much, nowadays it might be a terrible idea for me to just quit for whatever reason, not only career wise but my visaa D:

I think if it wasn't for the visa I'd be a job hopper but, forcing myself to stay in a place that I "didn't like" has taught me a lot of valuable lessons and I think I've grown a lot as a professional and as a person.

Sometimes things happen for a reason :3

 

I think I've only quit jobs without anything else lined up. I tend to work at a place until it's no longer the right fit, then don't try to stay longer.

 

Yes! Best gamble I ever took. I was in job that I absolutely hated where management was unaware of how to handle client issues and only put blame on the employee working on said client at the time. I did this for almost 2 years. I joined a 6-month part-time coding bootcamp that I would attend after work because the plan had been to quit and pursue software dev. In the beginning I always thought I would go out an do interviews first and get a job before leaving, but eventually work got so mentally taxing for me I just decided I was done and I quit. Gave my boss 2 weeks notice and they tried and tried to get me to stay. I gave myself 6 months to find work before I was out of money and needed to pursue other job types. I quit my old job in Sep 2017 and I landed my first Software Development Job in Oct 2017 and it's been infinitely more fulfilling ever since.

 

Currently in this situation and the first three months has been rewarding while scary. The timing in my life worked out well as I needed a break from burnout and to spend time with family on hospice. I've since been able to catch up on all the things in life that were on the back of my mind; I've re-established an LLC contracting business and have been able to invest in that, I've pruned and polished all of my online accounts and resumes, I've spread out my income opportunities to places like upwork and patreon, and now I feel like I'm just sitting back in my chair waiting for the next big thing to come my way.

I think it's really important to have side projects or passion projects that keep you on your game. I took a 2-month burnout recovery break from coding and spent my time being productive in other ways. I've been able to make time for practising interviews and meeting with low potential employers to get a feel for where I'm at and what has changed since the last time I was looking for work -- ahead of the more important interviews. And I've been able to travel and enjoy myself as well during this time, which is an absolute miracle.

I think it all comes down to timing and the time had come, the universe decided. I am lucky that I had savings to carry me through the first couple of months instead of feeling frantic to get work by next week to pay the bills. If I had left my job and had no options, feeling felt pressured to make ends meet more than I currently do, I know that would make things more challenging.

Ultimately, the biggest factor that lead me to this situation was the salary. I just wasn't being paid enough to be on-call 24/7, working the long hours and weekends that I was working, and feeling like I wasn't being valued at the end of the week. Inevitable burnout is something I charge extra for, but there are a lot of places out there that will underpay and overwork you. Nice desks and monitors, unlimited snacks, company outings with free booze, and a foosball table are awesome but if I can't pay rent can I sleep on the couch at work? No. My time was worth more than I was being offered, it turned out.

 

I'm really close to doing so. Some day, I'm going to make an amazing manager because I have seen every possible combinatorial of what NOT to do. I read about workplaces where there's mutual trust and it sounds like a fairly tale.

 

I guess that the final reason why someone can even think about taking this decision is to have passive earnings or enough savings to survive some months without income.

I did this in the past. I had a good amount of savings and I was in my 20's, so I didn't mind so live frugally. Also, worst case scenario, I could go back at my parents and eat and sleep for free until finding a new job.

My reason was that I wanted to travel. I went to London and found a job there. It was a really nice experience, that leaded me to more travel and better jobs. Now, in my 40's and with a familly, I would not be able to do it again.

 

In late 2016 I resigned from my job, without anything lined up except just a plan.

The thing that lead to that decision were 2 reasons:

  • I felt like I was not growing in my career and as a good human being.
  • and very month I was worried about my finances and making the ends meet, and every month I ended up going on the negative side.

I made a promise to myself I am going to work harder, smarter and a lot to get out of this rat race. I promised myself to retire before 40. The first step was to resign from my job.

And within 4 months I was out with my wife on our mini world tour, everyday I am glad I made that decision.

In past couple of years I have grown 3-4x in every aspect of life. I am going to repeat the same thing again because I am still not close to retiring at 40.

 

Two years ago I quit my job as a contractor for the US Coast Guard. I had some vague business ideas I wanted to try, but mainly I left to take control over my own life. In that respect it's a failure, but I've learned a lot about my ability, or rather inability, to function outside of certain environments, and disproved my theory that the reason my side projects never got off the ground was because my job was sapping all my energy. (Turns out the problem was me all along. 😬👍)

A year or two before I left, I had tallied up my expenses and determined that I could survive for a while without an income. When certain things started to go south at the local facility where I worked, I looked around and said to myself that I was done with this, and set a date when I would give notice. When the time came, that was a hard e-mail to send, and it took me about a day to actually do it.

I consider it the best decision I've ever made, even though I haven't quite figured out how to move on from here.

 

I did it twice: the first time I was tired of editing the spaghetti php code without seeing any improvement. That way I could focus on my graduation work and improve my Ruby skills.
The next time (a year later), I was thinking about quitting and starting working remotely (+ change my primary programming language). Then I was moved to another project which I hadn't much interest to work on, and I quit.
These decisions seemed so hard to me at that time, but now I think they were relatively easy, cause I had much less financial responsibilities then. The next decision to quit was much harder, and I had to find the job first.

 

I've had a lifelong need for expensive medications, so, voluntarily moving to an uninsured status has been a non-starter. That said, propensity to jump was a lot higher when I was unencumbered by marriage, mortgage and pets. Since becoming responsible for others, the whole "is the money/benefits worth the anguish" equation has had a few more variables added to it.

 

Yes, it was last year, I've published here on dev.to:
dev.to/mateus_vahl/i-think-i-will-...

It was the best decision in the year, fortunately, it took me only one month to find a new job.

 

After leaving college and looking for a new opportunity, I somehow stumbled into a web development career. It kind of started out as a hobby and before I knew it, I was building websites for a few of my friends, my friend's friends, and then somebody's friend's business... lol

I wasn't really sure how long it would last, but I was fun so I just decided to roll with it. A few months later, someone reached out to me asking if I could troubleshoot their site. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but it was already broken, so I agreed to take a look and see what I could do. About 45 minutes later, I somehow managed to get it back up and running... Trust me, we were ALL amazed! #ThanksGoogle

I ended up working with them everyday for the next week or so, and eventually they just asked me to join them full time. The next few months were a continuous learning experience, we were constantly iterating, and the growth rate was ridiculous. Sounds great, right? I mean... this was exactly what we wanted to happen, or so I thought. I can't even begin to explain how stressful this can be when you're seeing 70-80% server spikes and working with advertising networks who are pretty much expecting a 0% downtime.

In just 7-8 months we went from making $1500/month at best, to making $23k in our first month after signing with a well known publisher. By this time, the build had become so complex, that I was the only one who understood how it worked. My time was now split between explaining the process, managing the build, while continuously learning how to scale, automate, & build tooling for the team to use.

Towards the end communication became nearly impossible, I was working 16-18 hour days and really just felt under appreciated. When they failed to pay me on time... for the third time, I was done! It just wasn't worth it anymore. Although it was probably the most amount of money I have ever walked away from, this was also one of the easiest decisions I have ever made.

 

Yes! After two years at an agency things got serious. My g/f and I both quit our jobs and blew our saving on 7.5 months traveling. Now we live in a new country and I work for a pretty dope company, so things have worked out 😁

 

That's how I started working in software. My prior work was in financial analytics but I'd been spending lots of time working on learning about software development and building side projects.

I'd decided that I wanted to quit about a year before I did, but knew I wanted to spend some time off working on my own stuff and just unwinding. After a few months I put out some feelers/applications and ended up joining my current job. Quitting without a job lined up was risky but one of the best professional decisions I've made.

 

My supervisor was harrasing me and his manager nor my staffing agency cared.

I called the recruiter and left them a voicemail that I quit. A week later I got a call from the agency asking why I quit without any notice. Turns out the recruiter was fired and no one informed me.

 

Yes. Did not want to be associated with an organization that blatantly disregarded customer privacy / security AND promoted blatant copyright abuse (stripping copyright notices, making ownership claims). Didn't take long to line up a new role. Staying active in the local community is almost always worth it.

 

Decided not to renew my last contract as things had been going for a while and the work was becoming less fulfilling. It didn't help that I was in Dubai at the time taking a break for a few weeks when my contract expired. It felt too good to just not go back unfortunately.

Spent a few weeks doing not much, didn't worry me but picked up 2 new clients after a month. Stuff always works out, it has to.

 

Over and over again.

I quit my stained-glass job in 2007 to go back to university.
I quit my librarian job (like @DavidWickes) in 2010 to move to London (during the financial crash) to work in the art market (didn't pan out as you could expect).
I quit my marketing job in 2018 to learn web development.

France makes it easier than the US to do so. When you work long enough, you can apply to some kind of basic assistance. It's really useful to make transitions work between jobs.

Since I've moved from stained-glass to libraries, to art galleries, to startups... the market demand is more in my favor each time. So I feel confidant I'll be able to land on my feet (or maybe I'm just nuts).

 

Yes! Actually just recently - Feb 2019.

It was related to a long term desire to shift careers from a data/business analyst role to something in software development.

However, a recent assignment as lead to a project I had serious concerns around led me to find an exit quickly from a company I was with for 8 years. Of course having decent savings was also an important factor in taking the sudden leap with a huge doubts about when I'd be able to handle monthly living expenses with whatever came next.

 

I did that at my first job. I was working at a startup and one of the cofounders had recently left due to some fight between them. The work atmosphere was charged, my best friend had quit soon after due to big office drama. I was young, naive, and under a weird kind of pressure. I decided to quit very haphazardly.
In hindsight, it was a terrible move and I wasted many months (possibly years) of my life because of that one mistake.

 

Yes!

I quit my first job out of college with nothing lined up. This job got me into frontend development, but the work split was like 70% database entry, 30% actual FED. I was miserable and had a hard time motivating myself to even open up job sites, let alone applying.

I wanted to start doing the stuff I was doing in my side projects and demos full-time (Vue/Nuxt/etc), so once I was fairly confident in my abilities I quit cold-turkey and started freelancing and applying for FED positions.

I landed a full-time position after a few months of fairly successful freelancing. I can safely say I'm more than capable of keeping up with mid-level FEDs who have been working in the same tools for years.

Disclaimer:
It's worth noting I am young and still living with my parents, so this is certainly not possible for everybody and I understand that.

 

Quit a job because it wasn't what I signed up for as they had a job advertisement for entry-level software engineers.

But it was only when I'm was in the job that they told me that it requires 3 years in knowledge with python plus 6 mths training on the software they had to do development for that piece of software thus I was reassigned to do business development role.

Plus being in a remote team, they have a software that records your activities based upon clicks and screenshots of what is on your computer which made me paranoid in my activities in working while I turn it on during office hours.

So I just say I quit and went on my merry way to look for opportunities and found an internship in the startup I'm currently in.

 

The position was impossible to work in, it was advertised as a "professional work environment with exceptional developers" biggest amount of bs I've ever read. Hired as a network developer no one worked until a few days before the deadline, we were given a project that had to be done within 3 months. Okay wasn't impossible so I got straight to it designing the architecture, writing our requirements for the company to buy, specifications etc. My colleagues, on the other hand, were working on the UI, 2 and a half months in all they had done was watched Netflix, YouTube and some days didn't even come in leaving me in the office alone. When it finally came round to them getting their work done I was bombarded with questions, basic questions that any "exceptional developer" should know. Me as a network dev I didn't touch UIs, in all honesty, I don't like making them, they're just not for me. To get this project finished I had to write 90% of the UI system for them as they didn't know what they were doing, it became very obvious that they had either faked their degrees (or past experience) and followed some tutorials online. Once it came to handing over the Git repo the company asked why I had written the majority of the code, they tried to say that because I merged branches it shown up as I had written all of it...Not really how Git works.

The company we did the project for said that it was clear that I had written the entire project and gave me a huge bonus alongside my payment. Left the company I was working for after that with no plans where I was going to go next. I was just glad that I was out of that place, I don't mind if people need a little downtime every now and again but when you're just watching Netflix for 2 and a half months and doing no work entirely that just took the piss.

 

2001 I left my job as Team Lead in the Customer Support at a national phone company and went for a sabbatical in New Zealand. When back I started learning programming and after some hard months ( hard because I was studying hard and working almost for free) I got a full-time job and since then I switched companies almost regularly every 2-3 years. ( my current company is the exception but since I changed teams/projects and languages many times it feels like it anyway).

Everybody said I was crazy quitting my job like that - but that was what I wanted, just travel, explore new possibilities and rebuild my professional life. In the end it paid off :-)

 

Yes. This is actually how I got started learning development. In September, I found out my wife and I were having a baby. At the time, I made my money playing and coaching poker.

About a month later, I was playing and something completely changed me. This guy came in, under heavy influence of some kind of drug. He sat right next to me. I could see his cards, and it was clear to me that he had no idea what he was doing. He lost $2k in an hour before the poker manager threw him out. Seeing that made me realize that this is how I make a living. Taking money from people who are under the influence, who don't have time to study like I do. It wasn't a life I wanted to explain to my kid, it's not honorable.

A week later, someone contacted me (I kept a blog on my progress) letting me know about Web Development and how he started his journey being self taught. I looked into it and was hooked. It was amazing being able to type these characters and having different formats pop up on the screen.

After a couple of weeks, I decided to stop playing poker and put all my time into learning.

 

Yes, and this is why

  • I was putting in more than I earned
  • There wasn't much room for growth
  • And, I had very little time to engage in other activities I love doing

After quitting, I became serious about giving software development and other things I enjoy doing a chance

Guess what, I am a happy software dev
Learning so nothing new each day

 

Twice. I once quite a job in the US to move back home and go travel around the world. Another time I quit a job to become a freelancer, stay home with the kids and live a life away from the office on the beach.

 

Went from grad school to my first full-time job. A couple of years there and worked on a AAA game from start to finish. Went straight to another AAA project and after about a year was just "finished". Totally burned out. Quit.

Spent a couple of months traveling through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Did a ton of scuba diving and read a lot of books. Went off to Qingdao University to "study Chinese". Did that more seriously than I intended, but also learned Verilog and played a lot Zelda: Wind Waker, etc.

A friend coaxed me out of soft-retirement and I came back a better software engineer and especially a better manager than I would have been otherwise.

Not sure if it's the best decision I ever made, but it's a contender. I highly recommend it.

 

Yes, I did this last year, after much agonizing about how quitting a job without something else lined up is the last thing you should do. I was working as support staff at a hospital where I had been since 2004. I had gone through some college for web development, quickly switched to self-study after I saw how out-of-date the curriculum was and core classes I needed to finish my AS weren't being offered. My hours at work shifted from 11-7 to 9-5:30, which doubled my commute to a whopping 3 hours a day and reduced my paycheck thanks to the loss of evening differential. I had reached the point where I knew I was good enough to work professionally as a developer, but it's hard to apply to things and schedule interviews when your time is completely monopolized from 6:30am-7:30pm.

This completely broke me: i had low energy, and was miserable and cross with friends and family. It soon dawned on me that if I was going to be underemployed, I needed to do so in a manner that would let me move forward more quickly career-wise. I had a healthy amount of earned time, so I formulated a plan to quit my job, focus on the job search, and get local barista work if I didn't find dev work over the summer, and this was exactly how things played out. I work evenings, so I can go to interviews with little to no schedule wrangling. Getting to work is 20 minutes of walking a day instead of a 3 hour slog on public transportation, and I have more time to write, code, apply to jobs, and sleep.

My day to day is hard (but nowhere near as hard as it used to be), and I am so grateful literally every day that I made a choice that might not read as the correct thing to do to some people, but paid off for me professionally, and in terms of mental and emotional health.

 

I did, i hated my job and my boss. I was in love with my team, but i cannot have everything.

 

No, but I definitely wanted to.

My first financial goal once I got a job that allowed me to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck was save up a fund that would allow me to do just that.

 

Always. Twice. I feel like hopping from one job to another is not good idea anyway. So I intentionally take several months off.

 

Twice for me.

In 2011 trying to finish my graduation degree (but I did not completed it :)
and 2 years ago because I got burnout after working for a Financial Startup.

 

Yes, my bosses lied me at the beginning of the recruitment about work conditions at the first renewal. They ensure me better salary and projects but they never arrived...

Classic DEV Post from Oct 6 '18

The Elusive Senior Software Developer

How do you find great developers who aren't looking for a change?

A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny.

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