Should you stay or should you go?

IT pros must often weigh the long-term benefits of staying at a job they love versus a move to a more fruitful position

For IT professionals looking to move up (or out) of their current jobs and into a higher paying or altogether new position, it's always difficult to know when to pull the trigger and make the leap.

IT pros must often weigh the long-term benefits of staying at a job they love versus a move to a more fruitful position. Employees that can recognize when its time for a change and how they can make sure they are making the right choice is key to truly igniting a career in IT. Industry experts weighed in on these issues and more in a recent Microsoft IT careers Webcast.

Avoid falling behind

After settling into a job for a few years, people tend to get comfortable in their environment and with their co-workers. But at some point they may feel the need to broaden their horizons in an area not afforded to them in their current role. In those cases, IT pros need to ask themselves about the long-term benefits of staying at a job that might be hindering their development.

"You may be surprised to learn that there are great people at every job," Ron McKerlie, a corporate chief information officer and chief strategist said. "Ask yourself, 'if I stay here and my skills get out of date, am I ever going to be in a position where I can catch up again?' If the answer is no, then it's time to move."

Wander around

McKerlie said that IT pros need to put themselves into positions where they are free to grow. And while training and education is a positive step for a candidate to achieve that, the most important thing an IT pro can do is expand their contact base.

"A lot of people think that if they want to move to another area in IT they have to change companies and I don't think that's true at all," Nick Corcodilos, founder of the job search and hiring advice Web site Ask The Headhunter, said. "I would refer to it as 'job hunting by wandering around.' When folks are trying to get inside a company it's really an uphill battle. Many employees don't realize the privilege they have to walk down the hall, stick their head in a door and start introducing themselves to other areas of the company."

Corcodilos said talking to other managers who may be short-handed and in need of extra help, is a sure-fire way to gain attention. "You might want to go in on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and put in a couple of hours of work to help out with a project," Corcodilos said. "It's sort of a form of apprenticeship that can help you hang around the people you want to work. I'd call it an investment in your career."

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