What motivates software engineers to pursue new opportunities?

According to data crunched by Triplebyte, “opportunity for professional growth” is the biggest motivator, ahead of software engineer salary, better work/life balance, and “impressive team members.” (The company, which tries to streamline the technical hiring process, asks every engineer on its platform about what would excite them most in their next position.)  

For most software engineers, professional growth is necessary for a healthy career. “It's not uncommon for us to see skilled programmers left on the sidelines for the sin of sticking with PHP or Perl for a little too long,” Triplebyte wrote in a note accompanying the data. “For all that software engineering is a lucrative and comfortable career in some respects, a smart and career-aware engineer knows that their long-term employability is more precarious than it might look at any given time.”

Of course, as Triplebyte points out, professional growth can mean any number of things. Some companies might direct engineers to great online-learning resources and call it a day; others might hire in-house tutors to walk engineers through a new programming language or tool. The urge to learn isn’t restricted to tech professionals at the very beginning of their careers; at all levels, there’s a hunger to gain as much knowledge as possible.

Whether or not they’re on the hunt for a new job, software engineers have lots of avenues for learning new skills on their own. Fortunately, the number of (often free) educational hubs is proliferating online. For instance, Code with Google provides access to Google’s various computer science courses (such as machine learning, Python programming, and data science). 

Or if you’re interested in expanding into machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) (and why wouldn’t you be, given how important those things are becoming to most software engineers?), everyone from Google to Bloomberg and OpenAI all offer courses of varying intensity; for instance, if you’ve mastered the underlying mathematical concepts and want to really plunge into the intricacies of machine learning, check out Bloomberg’s online video course.

Even if you don’t spend your free time in online courses, education is absolutely vital to your career, especially given how quickly things change in tech. Up-skilling is the surest path to job security, especially for software engineers.