Ask a tech worker: How much job-hopping is too much job-hopping?

Aim to stick around longer than a year, but don’t stay too long, tech workers told me.

Two chat bubbles in front of a building: Ask a tech worker image

Tech workers have differing views on job-hopping.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Tech workers have more reason than ever to change jobs these days. In the race for talent, companies are offering more money, expanding already-plush benefits and adding flexibility. Job-hopping has always been part of the culture in Silicon Valley, but the current market is creating even more incentive to jump ship.

But employers — even in tech — still want to hire candidates who can commit and help scale a team or an organization: The cost alone of hiring a new employee can amount to as much as 20% of their annual salary, according to Ideal. And a resume with too many brief stints might raise eyebrows down the line. In this market, are job seekers even worried about it? On a balmy day at Salesforce Park this week, I asked tech workers I met about their views on job-hopping.

Ed Kraay, an agile transformation coach at Salesforce, took a relatively conservative view.

“You need enough relationship-building so that you can get things done,” Kraay said. “If you change your job every year, people look down on that, probably, because you’re not able to really do the things you need to give back.”

Some companies even expect employees to return their sign-on bonus if they leave within a certain period of time.

But there’s also a risk to staying in a job for too long. More than a decade in the same job can bring scrutiny, Kraay said.

“My last job, I was at for eight years, and it felt like almost too much,” Kraay said. That said, there are some situations where such a long tenure can work, like if the company transforms a lot over that period, he noted.

Generational differences play a role here, and the data shows that younger workers tend to job-hop more often. Research from CareerBuilder released in October showed that millennials and Gen Z spend less than three years in each job, on average, compared to five years for Gen X and eight years for Baby Boomers.

Much remains to be seen about Gen Z’s tenure in jobs, since the oldest members of that generation are only in their mid-20s. Some expect this generation to be more risk-averse and cautious about professional expectations than its older counterparts, according to CareerBuilder’s research.

Lee Murdock is still new to the workforce and said she’s changed jobs twice in the last two years. Now an associate program manager at Salesforce, Murdock said employees should stick around for at least a year before moving on.

“I think people should do whatever they want, but as far as career success, [less than a year] is not enough time to really integrate into a team and show results that you can take forward,” Murdock said.

Murdock pointed out that some companies require employees to stay on a team for two years before transferring to a new internal role — a clue about the longevity that employers still expect.

There are always exceptions for great job offers, she said.

“It’s an employee’s market right now, and folks should take advantage of that,” Murdock said.

Research from the Conference Board found that almost a third of professionals who have left their organization since the start of the pandemic now make more than 30% more money.

Gopi Karunamoorthy, finance manager at the ecommerce software maker Recharge Payments, agreed that job seekers should take advantage of the market.

“The longest I’ve ever stayed at a company is two years,” Karunamoorthy said. “Especially in San Francisco, in tech, there’s a lot of opportunity, and if you want to change, you have the right to choose.”

Karunamoorthy said he’s not worried that his record of frequently changing jobs will, at some point, get in the way. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if a job is the right fit before a few months in the role, he said.

“Hopefully, the interview process is good enough that you know what an opportunity’s worth and if it’s right for you, but it’s hard to judge in an hour or two hours,” Karunamoorthy said. “So you find out three months down the line, and go somewhere else.”


Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep ReadingShow less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep ReadingShow less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories