I'm based in Japan (originally from the US) and have been working my first ever front end web dev job since 2015.
Due to bad, outdated practices in my current company I want to change jobs, but am concerned about my unfamiliarity with how modern, proper tech companies operate and what might be needed to change quickly and successfully. I've been Too complacent for too long.
I'll get right into it: I've been working as a front end web developer since 2015 and it has in fact been my first job in the industry. I'm originally from the US, but am now based in Japan (been here since 2012).
We'll start this one positively:
The place I'm working isn't a full-fledged tech company, but rather they just have a "creative division" where we make/maintain the companies' sites (some 80-100 of them).
When I joined, it was exciting to actually use my computer skills in an actual job. I was able to pick up good HTML and CSS practices.
Later on, I picked up PHP and MySQL which I had never done before. A lot of it was self study and looking at existing company projects. Lately I've really been refining my JS, too (also self-study, occasionally implement in company projects).
Above all, the experience of working in a Japanese company also got my Japanese speaking/listening/reading up there.
However, I've been quite frustrated with the company and their practices and have wanted to leave for a while. I've been too complacent for far too long. If it weren't for the work visa, I'd just leave and look for work after getting out of there.
Their turnover rate is high company-wide. The creative division I'm in used to be like 8-9 people and is now down to 3. (No hires in the past 6+ months.) I won't go into all the reasons, but in a nutshell: they want too much and give (way) too little.
The thing that pushed me over the edge was last July I was going to negotiate and was expecting a (long overdue) pay increase, but they instead did the opposite with the response of "we can negotiate again in 6 months" (absolute unnecessary, arbitrary length of time) and ¥2,500 deduction (money issue excuse). I almost walked out right then and there, but again, the visa situation.
Apart from that, I've been looking more at what the tech industry is supposed to be like and they definitely don't seem to operate like tech companies in the modern age and have a lot of bad practices.
●Unnecessarily rushed, unrealistic time tables tending to lead to garbage, difficult to maintain code. They're way too focused on getting things rushed out there.
●Pretty much no "team", but rather 3 guys working independently. They don't have a clear, unified way of doing sites so whenever edits need to be made on someone else's site (this includes sites made by people who left), many files need to be checked just to figure out how things were made.
●Adding to the above, they don't use any version control, but instead we FTP into the sites, make backups on the server, and then overwrite whatever files were edited. Before working on a file, we have to check the dates to see if we have the newest file. Looking back on this, it's actually incredible that this system has worked from back when they had 8+ people in the division.
●No remote work option for me, but others DO have it. In a recent meeting, I overheard them saying that "if new hires want it, they can have it". No reason I need to be in the office for this kind of work.
●No desire to at least try to implement newer tech. A lot of their stuff is on old PHP and they won't upgrade to PHP 7 because it's "too much of a time-consuming pain". I honestly don't mind PHP, just wish the newer versions were usable. I also am digging Node.js which I've been doing my own independent things.
●Coupled with the above, most sites tend to use bad, oudated frameworks like Smarty.
●Unpaid overtime (which I won't do; others do do it, so they can get away with it) with a vague "if you do good work, you may be compensated extra in the future". (You can guess how often that happens)
●National holidays are not paid vacation like in other companies.
So, that's the gist of things and why I am trying to change.
From what I've seen, there are far better jobs out there. My main concern is that this is my first job in the industry and don't have any experience changing jobs.
I can do the work, I just feel like the lack of advancement in the current job, its outdated practices, and my unfamiliarity with how modern companies operate might hurt my chances. I know age discrimination can be a thing, too.
So in your opinions, what would you recommend for changing and, as they say in Japan, leveling my career up? I do have the 5 years of experience and have been self-taught since way before that too.
It seems that a portfolio is needed. I never heard of needing anything like this until recently, so I've been putting together something locally. It's been fun. I'll have to figure out how to get it hosted.
What else would you recommend?