Do You Manage Your Career as a Day Trader or Long-Term Asset Manager? 

It’s not surprising to see people jumping from one job to the next in the IT/Tech industry.  The demand is high, vacancies are high, and the available qualified talent to fill these positions are low by comparison.  Although the economic variables work to the IT Professional’s monetary favor, this doesn’t eliminate the need to develop a career plan designed to achieve both short and long-term professional goals.

If you think of your career in financial terms, there’s 2 management strategies you can deploy:

  • Day Traders: Like buying and selling stock in very short windows, this strategy leverages your IT/Technology skill sets and services and makes them available to the highest bidder at any given time
  • Long-Term Asset Managers: Deploying a long-term growth plan that allows the needed time to develop skill sets, services, and leadership skills to grow in value and stature over time.  This is similar to purchasing a home, property, or investing in a business – the value generally appreciates in value over the number of years of ownership.

Your career is something that only you own.  Your decisions control your career destiny, and those decisions become your portfolio/resume which outlines the sequence of those decisions, as well as the accomplishments achieved because of those decisions.  The following provides some perspective of the risks and opportunities for each strategy:

Day Traders

Few people would argue there’s a significant appeal to watching your income sky rocket in your early professional years by switching positions as each recruiter calls with a compensation offer that’s greater than your current position.  The short-term gain can be significant and “appears” to offer a get-rich-quick approach; however, the long-term impact can have a very high risk.  As mentioned, your resume is an outline of your decisions. It doesn’t take more than 2-3 job changes, within short windows of tenure, to establish a perception that’s difficult to explain –  your loyalty to a company is only as good as the next great offer to cross your desk, and the acquired skill sets haven’t had enough time to mature into reliable experience.  The “Day Trader” will typically seek high compensation reward at the risk of compromising the later years of their career.  Alternatively, the “Day Trader” will sometimes use this approach to incentive the current employer to make a counter offer.  Although, the later approach can work, there’s significant data to show the strategy typically results in a departure in 12 months or less.  Use the approach with a high degree of caution.

Long-Term Asset Managers

In this current high demand environment, there are few IT professionals that won’t see an above average income at nearly every stage of their career as compared to other industries.  The Long-Term Asset Manager will typically seek a more methodical and holistic approach to managing their career.  Their career plan is focused on refining skill sets, contributing innovative solutions, nurturing leadership skills that position their portfolios/ resumes as more of a story board – describing an IT candidate that will add value to the business.  Decisions to join a new organization comes with a high degree of scrutiny, which weighs the pros and cons of staying with a current employer or making a move.  Their decisions are deliberate and calculated against a greater set of variables. This strategy will typically generate a slower, more consistent growth in income, without the risk associated to the “Day Trader” approach.

Although we can’t control all variables that evolve throughout our career, we almost always control the decisions that determine our career paths. Those professionals that opt to manage their career as a Long-Term Asset will usually reap the greatest long term rewards – not just from a monetary perspective, but overall lifetime satisfaction.

After nearly 20 years of experience we uniquely understand the importance of career planning and management. Our clients trust this experience, as do the candidates we represent and place.  Talk to one of our IT Staffing Professionals at CultureFit to learn more.