I started my first jr. software dev position about 8 months ago. I made the transition from tech support. However, I feel that the role isn’t helping me grow and I feel less and less motivated to be there. I’m not really doing any projects but I am growing in other areas - like research, problem solving & presenting ideas, which is good.
I have to engage in side projects outside of work just to keep my skills up. It’s also a contract position which means IF they have the budget they’ll renew my contact after a year. I’m also very underpaid for the market where I am.
Basically my dream company is hiring senior devs (they hire jrs to but no avail positions right now) but I don’t feel like I’d pass the coding tests (just yet). However they are hiring support engineers and I applied and they’re interested. I was thinking I could have a foot in as a support engineer while continuing my projects on the side and practice their stack, even make some contributions and then apply from within once I feel confident enough.
The dream company aligns more with my values and provides more freedom & opportunity as a whole. I could see myself being there long term way more than where I am now even if I have to start in support. The support role is also $25k more than what I make now - actual market rate.
The support role involves helping people with their websites so it’s not completely left field and I’m already familiar with the product and tools.
I’m just thinking long term. I’m not a bad coder just very new but I could do better just building some stuff on the side and just regroup from there and then give it another shot.
My current job will not provide me with enough hands-on experience. I’m afraid it might stagnate me and plus it’s draining me and making me feel slightly trapped. Just feel I need to move on.
I feel stuck on what to decide.
I don’t want to feel like I’m back tracking but I don’t like the idea of wasting my time anywhere.
Is this a bad move? Would this hurt me career wise as a developer?
Top comments (5)
You have a tough choice there. Since I don't know you personally, nor which companies you are talking about, I cannot give you much advice. But I can share a story of what happened to a person on my team.
This guy started out at my company in a support role, but he has always been more of a technical person than a people person. He did great work as a support engineer and really supported our customers.
One day as I was talking to him, he told me that he would like to become a developer and would be very happy if he would be able to do so in our company, otherwise he would seek another one.
Since he is such a great person, we decided to give him the opportunity and he recently completed his transition to a backend developer.
The key takeaways from this story for me are:
1 - One of the good things of being on the support side is that he got to know the product and the customers' pain points very very well. And this will help him be a very good developer.
2 - He is a great employee and is very dedicated, so we feel like he earned his place as a developer.
3 - Becoming a developer involves a lot of study and dedication. And this guy has been studying Software Development for some time. So we feel that his is putting his share to fill this role.
4 - We are a startup company, so the mobility between roles is very easy.
So I would say that you should follow your heart and you can either join this new company and be the best support engineer they have and keep studying software development on the side, so that you can transition later. Or you can seek a new job as a junior dev and try to join this other company later.
And one last thing, if you do join this company, don't forget to tell them explicitly that you want to become a dev. The guy from this story told me this in an informal chat and it was after that all this happened. It is a silly thing, but if you don't tell them what you want they will assume that you are happy as a support engineer and will never give you the opportunity to transition.
I also want to add that I was in a Bootcamp when I originally took this job. So I’d been heavily studying and applying modern technologies for 9 months prior to that. Now with at least some experience on top and knowing what I really want, it clarified my vision. I can go back and finish bootcamp with a different mindset. I know what direction I want to go in now.
Thank you again
Thank you! This is super helpful. I’ll definitely let them know my goals. 🙂
Glad I could help!
And remember: there are no wrong choices here, because you will never really know what your life would be like if you chose differently. ;)
You’re right. Part of me is leaning toward not giving up. Stay in the dev role and gain as much as I can and just move to a different dev role once I’m ready. It sounds less scary lol 😎