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Little background. I'm in my early 20's, my previous work experience is minimal. I worked in fast food for under a year, then I worked at an electronic repair facility for 6 months before being fired (for reasons that I consider unfair, but that's not relevant to this post) and now I've landed my first entry level IT position. My end goal is to be a software engineer or a programmer, considering I've been studying programming since my early teenage years.

My boss chose me for the job, despite my lack of college and experience, because of my interest and skills in programming. It's a small company and I'm pretty much just "the IT guy". My IT responsibilities include pretty much everything. Tech support for our customers,tech support for my coworkers, small amounts of security, network administration, you name it. I'm really grateful for the opportunity and trust I've been given, but after just under 8 months, I'm already contemplating whether or not I should move on.

At the interview, I was warned that for the first 3 months of employment, I'd be working on small projects that are not 100% technical, but after that I would be getting hands-on programming experience along with more advanced IT roles.

The small projects are extremely tedious and involve manual data entry. It's stuff that should be automated, however they do not authorize me to spend work time developing a script/application to automate the process.

I was fine with this for the first few months, but now we're almost approaching 8 months and I'm still being handed large amounts of large projects from other departments that have nothing to do with my skills. I keep making minor mistakes because it involves information that I do not work with myself on a regular basis. These projects are being given higher priority than my IT projects.

And it's not like I haven't proven myself as a competent IT person or programmer. I was able to overcome challenges that previous (Microsoft Certified) people in my position couldn't handle. The customers only call for tech support calls once a week these days because I give long term solutions and explain it to them. I've also been given a side programming project that my boss hyped up (can't give too many details about it, but I was working on something really cool). I built a working prototype in about a month, he was impressed with it. Then I started working on a "final product" and informed him that the project would be ready for deployment as soon as we have the proper data to go along with it. He seemed pretty excited, but never did anything to help with the deployment or obtaining the necessary data.

I've begun to dislike working here. However, I'm still only in my first entry level job and I've only been here for about 8 months. How bad would that look on my resume if I were to leave after only 8 months?

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    You'll have a job offer in hand before you leave this job? – thursdaysgeek Nov 5 at 23:27
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    If you have another job, then it won't be too big of a deal that you're leaving after only 8 months. If you don't have a job, it could make it a LOT harder to find the next one. This could be useful: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/16816/… – thursdaysgeek Nov 5 at 23:34
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    Is it possible for you to set aside some time to automating tasks without explicit permission? If you estimate you would have something fast enough, that could work. Or you set aside 1h for automating, and hopefully after a month you have something to show. Start with the lowest hanging fruits obviously. – Benjamin Nov 6 at 6:20
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    "is it important that I do?" Yes, being unemployed after only working 8 month would look like you were fired, which would be a terrible pattern, and might make it really hard to find another job. Moving after you get another job is fine though. – Robin Bennett Nov 6 at 14:22
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How bad would that look on my resume if I were to leave after only 8 months?

It would look better than being fired after 6 months like last time. Apart from that it's not much of an asset.

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The small projects are extremely tedious and involve manual data entry. It's stuff that should be automated, however they do not authorize me to spend work time developing a script/application to automate the process.

To quotes @benjamin's comment :

Is it possible for you to set aside some time to automating tasks without explicit permission? If you estimate you would have something fast enough, that could work. Or you set aside 1h for automating, and hopefully after a month you have something to show. Start with the lowest hanging fruits obviously

That was absolutely my first thought. Do one one your lunch break, show them the benefit & they will ask you to do more - is how it normally goes; I have done it myself on quite a few occasions.

However, the OP was already given a programming task - which is A Good Thing. A pity that it has not come to fruition, but that happens. Often. In fact, for my first 7 years as a professional software developer, none of the (large) projects I worked on ever went live. They were still paying, I was still learning; I can't say that it upset me too much.

NotIt, you say

I've begun to dislike working here

But you don't say why. If you have outgrown the place, by all means move on, especially if it is into a full time programming position.

If it is because that first real project didn't happen, ask yourself if you learned any new skills, and would learn any more from further projects there. Then ask your boss if there will be any more such projects.

In parallel, take Benjamin's advice and pick a small task to automate on your lunch break, or down time, if you have any. Show the benefit of that and you will get real recognition and praise.

It's not 100% clear from your question what you want. If you can explain that to yourself, then you have your answer.

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You won't be the first person whom a company employed telling him he will do a more advanced job than they actually intended to give him, and you certainly won't be the last. That kind of bait-and-switch is rather old.

They gave you that job because any experienced software developer would tell them to pound sand. If their intention was to have serious software development, they would have hired accordingly, and you would find yourself a junior dev on a full team.

Now, the question is how you can make the best out of that deal.

  1. Don't quit before you find the next job, and have the offer on paper (or in email) in hand (verbal-only offers don't count).

  2. Start looking for a new job right away; just don't quit till you find one.

  3. Do as much software development as you can. The suggestion others gave you, to automate what you can even without approval, is a good one. It's both a good exercise for you and good for your resume.

  4. When on job interviews they ask you about your current job, the question is only how to present what you're doing, more than what you actually are doing. So, you could present your current job as automating tasks that were until then done manually (as in, a kind of software development, even though originally it was given to you as a manual task... but you won't mention that)

As for your side project, your boss looks like the type that likes stuff as long as he gets it at no cost and completely on a silver platter, without any need to do absolutely anything from his side. Generally, such people are black holes - they can suck in any amount of effort you put, never give anything, and rarely (if ever) will anything come out of that. The best you will, most likely, get out of that thing is an item in your resume, that can spice it up, even if it's never really used, released to production, or ever saw the light of day except as a prototype on a demo.

Consider that job as a stepping stone, and the sooner you step up to a better one at a better company, the better it will be for you.

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I have been in very similar situation. I would advise - as other commenters have - don't quit if you don't have another job lined up (i.e. start looking).

I understand that this current work may suck and you may be doing things you see as time wasting (related xkcd) but when you are in a junior role you more or less do what you are told.

In the eyes of future employers, this initial experience is crucial for getting your foot in the door for interviews. A lot of potential employers have rejected me purely on the bases of less then X experience in a similar/junior role (generally 1/2 years),

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Your best bet is to apply for better jobs while you are working there, that way when someone takes you in, you can explain your 8 months of work to future recruiters as "I received a better offer at the next employer."

I don't think sticking around for longer is healthy for you, 8 months in or no. If you don't like it, leave. Just make it look like you left for a better job.

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