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The Ultimate Guide to Leaving Your Developer Job

Posted by: Charis Fisher 27 Oct 16  | Finding a Job |  Recruitment |  Technology

Take a look around your office right now and have a think about this: roughly 1 in 4 people around you want to get a new job according to a recent job satisfaction survey conducted by the CIPD.

If your software project has a team of 10, that’s at least two people who are considering leaving the company. If you’re one of them, then it can be hard to figure out what your next step is – knowing you want to quit and actually quitting are two very different things.

We’ve created this comprehensive guide so you can figure out your next move as strategically as possible, without stepping on any toes and keeping your best interests in mind.

So before you send that resignation email, here’s everything you’ll need to think about:


Do you have any personal goals you’re not currently working towards? Maybe you want to experience an international environment, perhaps working in a global tech hub like Amsterdam or Sydney. Maybe you want to start a family, but your long working hours are getting in the way.

If there are things you really want to do in your life that aren’t getting done, think about whether this is because of your job. Disruptive working hours, inflexible rules surrounding parental leave and a lower salary than you’re worth are all legitimate reasons to quit: these are problems that could be resolved with a role that’s more suitable for you.

When you’re applying for jobs, always ask your recruiter about available benefit packages to gauge whether the position is right for you. Often there will be benefits you’d never know were possible like the option to work from home two days a week or a subsidised gym pass.


Reflect on whether it’s your company you’re unhappy with, your job role, the industry you’re working in or a mixture of all three.

Changing company

If it’s the way your current company treats you that is causing you grievance, the task of moving will be simpler – just look for your job title or a more senior position in another business in a similar sector.

Switching industries

If it’s your industry, you’ll need to conduct some research and network with other IT professionals in your local area to find out what your options are – Eventbrite and are valuable resources to look into for developer events near you.

Transferring your skills

When you’re beginning to hate the tasks you’re working on every day, knowing which jobs to apply for becomes much more complicated. If you want to switch roles and it just isn’t possible internally, research what kind of skills you’ll need and plan out how you’re going to get them.

Perhaps you’re a Developer who wants to move into the up-and-coming DevOps market – if so, you could look at getting more experience with Agile workflows in your next position (not forgetting short-term contract positions as well as permanent). Linux Academy and Udacity have a range of free courses and certifications in everything from AWS to Azure, lasting from as little as 17 hours to as long as 3 weeks.

If you want to move into a more senior position, will you need to take on any extra training in your spare time to upskill or could you be pursuing better mentoring opportunities at work right now? Do you have enough years of experience in comparison with your competition and, if not, how many more months would you have to work to get enough experience?


It’s a tough question to ask yourself, but have you done everything you can to be happy where you are?

Double-check with HR and your manager whether concerns you have about professional development or benefits could be resolved if this is one of your core reasons for leaving. Try negotiating improvements like opportunities to work more with other departments, better parental leave, flexi-hours or subsidised training before opting to hand in your notice.

Take care not to use leaving your job as a bargaining tool – as Developer and Author John Sonmez explains, threats will only result in negative feelings towards you rather than any real change, jeopardising your position and your income!


Some work environments are dealbreakers, no matter how you look at it. If “yes” is the answer to any of the following questions, finding yourself a better job is the right thing to do:

  • Are you undervalued in your current role and regularly disregarded for promotion?
  • Is a lack of work-life balance severely affecting your health?
  • Is your physical or mental well-being in decline because of work-related stress?
  • Do your coworkers behave in a toxic, confrontational manner towards you? (E.g. leaving abusive code reviews, leaving you out of key meetings, etc.)


Notice periods

The UK Government stipulates on their website that at least a week’s notice is necessary if you’ve been with your company for over a month. For a definitive answer on when and how (in writing or verbally) to tell your boss you’re leaving, check your employment contract as every business is different.

Your direct line manager should be the first person you inform, so they don’t hear it through other people in the office, then you’ll need to consider who else needs to know (examples include a more senior manager in your department or HR). Don’t be tempted to tell your colleagues or boss in advance, however close you are, as this could backfire and result in an early termination of your contract.


Although it can be tempting to provide poor handover notes for your replacement or none at all, especially if you have been severely mistreated by your current company, rise above the situation. Giving the most clear and comprehensive handover notes possible will help you build a strong reputation, as you never know who knows who and who could give you a referral for another great position.

If you need any further career advice or you’re looking for a new opportunity, call our consultants for a confidential, no-obligation chat on (+44) (0) 117 968 9292 or email

Find out what roles in IT & software development you could be eligible for


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