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A year ago the company where I work founded a startup to develop an IoT device, and since my hiring (August 2019 as a Junior Full Stack Developer, I am 19) I have been working on its mobile app as the only Android Developer, but still employed in the "big company" (not so big actually because the IT department consists of 12 people).

When I arrived there I didn't know Android Programming at all, but in these months I have learnt quite fast and my boss keeps saying that he didn't expect this "quality" from me because I can handle all the stuff that my company needs. I am very happy about this of course and I enjoy a lot what I am doing. I am also very interested about this new project and I keep asking question/participating during the meetings, etc...

The problem came about a month ago, when I was talking with some coworkers in the startup's office (we share a big apartment divided in two by a corridor) and the Firmware Developer asked me: "If it were possible, would you join us as a F.Dev?" I sincerely answered that I loved the project and that I would enjoy working with them but I was happy to work as Android Dev, not to mention the fact that I was (and still I am) the only one, so I couldn't leave "the boat". After this conversation in the following weeks they sometimes repeated (even if in a kidding manner) the question and I almost always answered that I couldn't clone myself, that I like both the jobs, etc.. This situation continued until last week, when the CTO and the F.Dev. of the startup called me in a short meeting and asked me seriously if I'd like to join them. They told me they would be very happy, that a Jr. Firmware Dev is strongly needed and they are sure I would be awesome, etc... Of course I was flattered about all that, and I said that in the followings days I would think about it.

After many days yesterday I made the decision and I thought that it was the time to share all of this to my supervisor, the IT manager of my company. Shortly, he said that he knew that already because he listened many times when the startup's workers were joking with me. He told me he was glad I told him spontaneously, and he was fully conscious about my good intentions but that situation, if not handled correctly, was dangerous for our department. Maybe some executive could think that he was not controlling the division, or that the workers are escaping his department, etc... I acknowledged all his reasons and I felt quite ashamed because I wasn't thinking my genuine and true interest for that project could cause such a large amount of problems. He told me also that I am important for this division and he is thinking to hire another Jr. to work with me instead of a Senior, to allow me to work along and somehow teach him. The discussion finished and my boss told me that I was free to choose and the decision is mine, of course he needs to know what I will decide in order to search the correct profiles for the company.

Before that talk I was almost sure that I would have liked to change position to learn new things and to help develop a project I am very proud of, but now I am quite scared about the consequences. What would you do if you were in my shoes? I like both jobs, but if I remain here I would have a primary position (and I hope so that will bring to a raise, since I am the responsible for the app, and I think that this responsibility should not belong to a Jr. Dev who also in the future months will have to teach other Jrs.) while in the other side I would learn many new things I'll love to do , and this makes me feel kinda sad, because I am feeling like I am wasting a nice opportunity.

Thanks for your attention and your help, sorry if I have made many mistakes with verbs and grammar.

EDIT

Guys, thank you kindly for all your wholesome support and help. I have understood that I have nothing to be ashamed of and the final decision is up to me. Joining the startup would make me learn a lot of new things that I'll love and also it wouldn't mean that I have to stop doing apps, maybe in my free time for fun. The only problem (which of course I have to solve on my own) is: should I make this change or should I keep my (maybe) future lead position in Android (with the following raises)? Thanks again for your time and sorry for the long question:)

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    "What would you do if you were in my shoes?" We can't answer that question for you. Only you know. What would you do if your boss wasn't a factor? You would join the startup. Right? – Stephan Branczyk Jan 31 at 16:24
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    I disagree with closing this question. The questioner deserves to have someone else's take on what happened to him. – O. Jones Jan 31 at 19:18
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Firstly - Hey, congrats!

Nextly - unless your boss has a big 'C' next to your title (ie: they're part of the management team), he/she has no business telling you what is best for YOU. And even then, they still shouldn't be, haha.

Anyway. You're in this for your own career, and nobody is going to stop you from going up there. Not even your current manager. If your passion lies in firmware dev, go there!

He told me also that I am important for this division and He is thinking to hire another Jr. to work with me instead of a Senior, to allow me to work along and somehow teach him

Oh, boo hoo. Now the tears come out from your manager. The problem in the first place was that you were a solo resource trucking along in Android.

The company will always love what is 'convenient' for them, NOT you. I wouldn't even remotely consider this option of staying and getting a junior dev. I believe working in a team that suits your interests is better for you.

At the end of the day, it takes a fire to be lit under somebody's butt to make action happen. This problem existed already in your organization, but it isn't your butt that is being lit on fire! The fault lies with the management team and your current manager for not planning ahead.

As developers, our appetite for more knowledge and hunger for furthering our ambitions is what keeps us marketable. As managers, keeping the devs locked down to generate continuous revenue is what keeps THEM employed.

In conclusion - don't pay any mind to what your boss says in terms of the guilt-tripping and promises. Do the move that is best for you.

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  • Hi, thanks for your answer, I really appreciate all that compliments. The main thing that stops me from changing is the fact that in the new team I will be a Jr. like now, while in the current position I am quite close to become the main "actor". You are right tho, I think they are very satisfied about this situation because they now are "enjoying" an indipendent Android Dev while paying a Rookie. – m3m_l3ak Feb 1 at 16:17
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tl;dr

  • You, sir, have nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of. No shame. Seriously.
  • Always work yourself out of every job so you can take a new one.
  • Next time you want to change jobs, ask the executive in charge of the new department for advice about how to tell your boss.

You're early in your professional career and people you know are recruiting you to work with them. That is great, maybe even beyond great. Of course you're tempted by something different.

And to make it even better, these people all work at the same company, and are serving the same business objectives. So you don't have to change jobs. You said you would accept one of those offers.

You accepted for the absolute best reason: you want to learn, and broaden your expertise.

And, here comes your boss saying, "hey, no, wait, I need you here. The company needs you here." It is his job, and the job of his fellow managers, to decide how to use your services. They probably talked about company priorities and concluded you better stay where you are for now. We expect managers to do that kind of work and make those kinds of hard decisions.

So what's next for you as you continue doing your present work. You do it. You do it so clearly and well, that you can easily hand it over to somebody else. Always work yourself out of every job you do.

At some point the company will revisit their priorities. And at that point your situation may change and you'll do the new thing.

You're doing fine. Keep on!

I am a little concerned about how your manager explained it to you. He told you it would make him look bad if you left his team. That's dysfunctional. He sounds like he's afraid of the rest of his team. But that is his problem, not your problem.

It's also totally incorrect that he'll look bad. In any company I've worked in managers look GREAT when their people are in high demand.

You didn't cause this dysfunction, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. But you can ask for help. Next time you want to change jobs ask the executive who's hiring you to work it out with your present manager.

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  • Hi, thanks for your kind and expert answer, but I thank you even more for your encouraging words. I am almost sure to follow the same path you said in the answer but the F.Dev yesterday told me that his boss (Startup's CTO) will keep hiring in the next days. I have fear that maybe when my company will revisit their priorities the place won't be there for me. – m3m_l3ak Feb 1 at 16:28

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