After coming out of an interview with a dev manager, I left thinking about his emphasis on employment duration. For context, his network engineer has been on the team for 11 years. As developers we are responsible for our own learning (i.e. side projects, new languages etc.). However in a market where real world production experience takes weight and technology expands faster than most business adoption rates of new technology, how is a developer to remain relevant and highly employable if they are working in a stack that becomes outdated simply so they can say on paper they spent X years > 4 working for xyz corp?

*While this question my sound similar to questions pertaining to job hopping appearance on a resume, its focused more on how to balance between relevance and employment duration than fixing a job hopping appearance after the fact.

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    "how is a developer to remain relevant and highly employable if they are working in a stack that becomes outdated" - lifelong learners find ways to learn on their own. Oct 4, 2016 at 15:50
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    Hiring managers want to see you build some expertise and evolve with the business/technology changes. I'd bet that network engineer has not been doing the same thing with the same technology for 11 years.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 4, 2016 at 15:53
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    Some people view this mentality as "old-timey" in the software field. While there are plenty of exceptions, most view someone who has stayed at a company more than 4 years as not having enough exposure to different technologies, and only being experts in that one stack. Completely subjectively, I'd say the average stay for developers is between 1 and 3 years per company now. Oct 5, 2016 at 1:52

1 Answer 1


Open Source. Find a relevant new technology and contribute, or start a project of your own. You'll find that employers will find you through your open source contributions, so you'll be approached for jobs once you've made it clear you can work in the new technology.

It's best to market yourself through meet ups and other places. If you live near a thriving tech hub, there are plenty. You can meet people using and developing cutting edge technologies, learn how to get started through their talks, download code and get started.

Another great method is to build an application for iOS and/or Android and launch it on their respective application stores. You'll learn a lot of end-to-end tooling as well this way. You'll also be able to show what you've built. If you know, for instance, how to build enterprise-level code in old technology, and how to build an application in a new technology, it's a fast path to building enterprise level code in the newer stuff.

The best part is that any open source code you publish through github is visible for everyone to see. It serves as your portfolio. Given you have experience, saying and showing you can build in a technology will have a lot of credibility.

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