Why Do Software Developers Quit Jobs?

Endless opportunities await software developers.

Software development is one of the sexiest professions out there. This is driven by a multitude of factors:

  • Tens of thousands of available jobs for developers.
  • Aggressive hiring processes by fast-growing companies.
  • Notably higher salaries than most other jobs out there.
  • Comfortable working environments (neat office jobs compared to selling newspapers behind a stand in the winter).
  • Additional perks offered by many companies (free food or snacks, transport cards or vouchers for cabs/Uber, etc.)
  • Remote working opportunities.
  • Different types of jobs across almost all industries.
  • Career growth opportunities horizontally (other IT jobs) and vertically (team lead, project manager, VP of Engineering).
  • An easy way to bootstrap a separate venture – a lifestyle business or a pet project that evolves into a legitimate business.
  • Consulting jobs, freelance opportunities, half-time gigs, variable work shifts at times.
  • Digital work with 24/7 access online which easily opens other opportunities through social media, job sites, forums.

All things considered, software developers are not forced to stay at a job if they don’t like it, so they quit.

They can usually afford the luxury to quit a job and get employed within a couple of weeks – considering that they have a few years of practical experience on the job.

Or join a start-up as a technical co-founder.

Or jump to freelancing (or become digital nomads).

Or switch to consulting whereas they charge a lot for a few hours a week (and spend the rest of the time on R&D, speaking gigs, or even chilling).

I posted a couple of job posts on LinkedIn years ago – one for a developer and one for a marketing expert. We received 106 applications from marketers and ONE application for development.

It’s especially tricky with new hires. Landing a junior job is extremely challenging – which is why most juniors start whenever they can. This is usually a small firm that can’t afford great talent and needs any help they could find. It’s often related to non-ideal work culture (or tech opportunities) and lower salary (since juniors are generally paid to learn).

Tenure is often related to how quick juniors can find the next job at another company for more cash.

This may result in 3–4 job-hops over the next few years. Some people may want to experiment in small teams, large corporations, startups – and see what works for them.

My personal experience is that it gets a bit more regulated for seniors. Expert developers have usually switched a few jobs and have a decent idea of what would their next step be.

They have a long list of requirements but they are not as inclined to switch jobs as often (since the onboarding in a new job is generally not a pleasant process if you’re already experienced and have gained some reputation in the previous job).

The family also plays a significant role. Junior developers may be 18–24, still young, building the foundations of their career. Seniors over 30 are often married, with children, settled down, and looking for a stable job (that could pay mortgages and anything else in-between).

For the time being, there are more open jobs for developers than existing (and somewhat capable) developers. In 10 or 20 years from now, things could be different. But keeping a developer employed is not trivial as recruiters on LinkedIn blast hundreds of employed engineers monthly, trying to land an interview for a lucrative position.