Let's say my company hired me to do programming in 'Software Stack A' which I have been doing successfully for around 3 years and I applied for the job initially with a Resume focused on 'Stack A' accordingly.

Now, due to changes in the environment and organisational change, company is branching out into using 'Software Stack B' in which I have been learning in my own time, putting together my own projects (unrelated to the company) and courses etc.

How to convince company that I can contribute and already have knowledge in 'Stack B' and that a person's skills isn't just the sum of their Resume + employer provided training ?

What "evidence" can I show of knowing these subjects without coming off as a) undermining other colleagues or b) having only studied these in response to the company's shift in technology (i.e. I used my own initiative and own time). ?

Edit: I think we will eventually move over to using B fully, but that hasn't been said.

Why I haven't taken the "obvious" (?) option of speaking to the boss directly and saying I can contribute... Because I'm not sure how to word it, so that it doesn't come off as if I have been preparing independently to move on from this company and go somewhere else that uses Stack B (before this decision was made).

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    What personal project do you have to show for your efforts? If you have a personal project to show for your efforts, or even a github repository, that would help a lot. In any case, proficiency certainly doesn't come from a one week long bootcamp. It doesn't really matter how you acquired that knowledge, but that you can demonstrate proficiency with it. – Stephan Branczyk Feb 27 '16 at 19:52
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    What is wrong with "boss I have been working with stack b on my own for the last couple years and would like to work in it if there is an opening" – paparazzo Feb 27 '16 at 19:58

How do I tell the company that I already have experience with Stack B and I am interested in working with it?

You do it like this: Go to your manager and say "I already have experience with Stack B and I am interested in working with it." Be prepared to give more details.

If your manager is not one of the people making decision about who gets to work on Stack B, ask him if he would mind if you talked to the person who is making the decision, and do that.

Be aware that decisions about who works on new technology are not made only on the basis of who has experience in it. You might also be vital to the project you are now working on, and can't be spared. There may also be people who already understand Stack B, or have other knowledge that is vital to the project. So there is no guarantee that you can 'convince' management to let you work on this. But if you don't ask you won't know.


I think you're feeling guilty for no reason. Most professionals are expected to keep pace with many areas in their field, even those outside their immediate work. Developers should be aware of trends and improvements in software design--very much has changed in the last 3 years. The fact that your company may be steering in this direction means someone there has been sold on the idea that things can be done better. You can contribute to that discussion, and the person who is advocating the new stack will be glad to hear it. What could be better? You have a developer in house already who is familiar. It doesn't mean you'll be transferred to work on it, but certainly someone may want your perspective.

  • Yes, guilty conscience... as I was wondering about moving on! – user47059 Feb 28 '16 at 15:03

Tell your current manager that you're interested in working at your current company on Stack B, and you intend to apply for such a position. Find the hiring manager for Stack B programmers and apply for a position, just as if you were not already working for the company. Your current manager cannot stop you from leaving his department, but he may communicate his displeasure to the hiring manager. The hiring manager may not be willing to steal you from your current manager. You can explain that you intend to work in Software Stack B somewhere and although you would prefer do do this at your current company, you are ready to move on if necessary.

In other words, you politely and professionally, without burning any bridges or insulting anyone, try to effectively resign your present position and then turn around and apply for the job you want at the same company.

You don't actually quit, but make it clear that if there is no chance that you will get to use Stack B, then you soon will quit at your own convenience. This is not an unreasonable position to take. You are responsible for your own career advancement and if your managers -- especially the Stack B manager you want to work for -- don't understand that then you are better off moving on.

Of course if they are willing to offer you a metric buttload of money to remain stuck in Software Stack A for a while, then the career landscape changes. Who knows, you may stay so long that you eventually leapfrog directly to Software Stack C.

  • The poster has explicitly said that they don't want to give the impression that they would consider moving on from their current employer, but this is the entire basis of your answer. – Philip Kendall Feb 29 '16 at 14:36
  • @Philip Kendall: WRONG that is not what the OP said. He said he did not want to give the impression that he had already "been preparing independently to move on from this company and go somewhere else that uses Stack B (before this decision was made)." I am proposing that now that his company is moving to Stack B, he should insist on being let in on it. – A. I. Breveleri Feb 29 '16 at 15:03
  • Otherwise I have to interpret OP's question as "How can I let my employer know that I have trained myself in Software Stack B without letting my employer find out that I have trained myself in Software Stack B?" – A. I. Breveleri Feb 29 '16 at 15:07

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