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I was hoping to get some help with a situation I've been struggling with lately. I'm not asking for help to figure out if I should take the job, but rather how taking the job might affect my employability.

I've been offered a position at a very well recognized (international) charity (think `Google of charities, in terms of brand-awareness) as a managerial position (technology) with an amazing sounding title. I'd be the default liaison between the charity and third-party software suppliers (their main stakeholder). I'd also be the de-facto on-site teacher (teaching non-developers coding etc) and help with managing the supplier's teams during the development of our requested software.

All in all it sounds like a great deal; I get some managerial experience in my field, a great title and get to have worked for an amazing charity.

However, it's a 6 month contract.

So I'd basically have to be looking for something new quite soon after having started. Which honestly is quite off-putting.

In addition to that I have a full-time job that is 'ok'. I'm not very stimulated, but it's great pay for where I live (I live 2 minutes walk from home) and the three guys (elderly gentlemen) all treat me very well. I should mention that I live outside of London and the position would be in London.

What I would like to ask is how employable I would be considered to be with 2 years development experience and 6 months of managerial experience from a widely recognized charity? Specifically in London (so think huge competition for jobs).

Could I potentially be shooting myself in the foot by considering to change from being a hands-on developer to taking a managerial position? And what would the chances be to get a future managerial position after just a 6-month contract?

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    To those VTC, He's not asking for advice. He's asking what potential harm could be done, which is on topic. – Chris E Jan 9 '17 at 19:51
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You wouldn't be shooting yourself in the foot. Because:

  1. 2 years prior experience - This is in the worse case that the job didn't workout and they didn't extend your contract after 6 months. Since you stayed in your previous job for 2 years before this, you don't look like a "job hopper" or "impact seeker". For someone looking at your resume, it's just that your last opportunity didn't play out as well as you hoped for.

    1. 6 months contract can easily be extended - If you do a good job, and judging by your excitement, you probably will, you should be able to secure an extension of your contract.

    2. Net working opp. - If it's the Google of charities, the networking opportunities alone would be invaluable.

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IMHO, you might be perceived as someone who can't make up his/her mind. A more natural progression for a developer would be to become a team lead, or development manager. Your new gig has none of that - not even close. So you might get the shiny shiny title for the shiny shiny company, but if the contract is fixed for a six month duration then it's more than likely that you're going to go back to earning your salt as a developer. In the mean time, you've basically lost six months of keeping abreast of the hottest new developer tech that will keep you at the top of the game.

This "management" position will not translate to managing flesh-and-blood developers. It's really administrative if you're not in charge of any bodies.

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I can't speak specifically about the UK, but I've got a ton of experience in contract work.

I personally don't see it as shooting yourself in the foot. It sounds to me like an excellent opportunity. If you were in the States I'd tell you to give consideration to the effects of losing your insurance, but NHS negates that, correct?

It sounds like you want to take the opportunity. If I were in your position, I would, especially because of the visibility of the charity being in itself a CV enhancer.

Additionally, it's an outstanding networking opportunity where you can make contacts that will likely help you throughout your entire career. And if you do well, the contract could extend or itself lead to other positions. You sound young (based on your experience) and it's easier to explore such things now than when you have a well-established history of decades. n't Again, as for shooting yourself in the foot, it wo. You can simply describe why you left your last permanent position as "an opportunity too good to refuse" and with the recognizable brand of the position, they'll believe it. And it sounds like it might have the added benefit of being true as well.

The biggest disadvantage to doing contract work (like I do) is you do get people believing that you can't settle on one thing or that you jump around a lot. Even with that, I tell the truth and it's usually not a problem. In reviewing what I've written, I want to emphasize the networking value of this. As your career gets longer, you'll find that who you know and the contacts you've made will provide more value to you than 6 more months at your current job ever would.

  • Well, how much of an impact would the transition from being a hands-on developer to a 6-month project manager (Digital Technology Executive) have on your CV, though? As @codenoir mentioned above I'll not be managing a team of developer, but rather external teams of developers - but only on a very high-level. – geostocker Jan 9 '17 at 19:31
  • 6 months really won't hurt you. There are other things you can do to keep up your skills if that's what you're worried about. 6 months really is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Management is a skill and useful one to have. The bottom line is this: do you want to do it? Then do it. I was out of work for 2 years one time and a year another time. I now work at the largest telco in the world. 6 months at a big name org is a lot better than a 2 year gap. You'll do fine. :) – Chris E Jan 9 '17 at 19:48
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As long as you can justify the change to future employers, then I wouldn't worry. I have left Full Time jobs after 6 months etc before because they weren't right for meand my career hasn't been affected by it.

The bit that may be interesting is the management bit. It seems to have come very early for you (which isn't a bad thing). I also wouldn't worry about the "jumping around" stick too much as it's development in London, it's a very competitive industry. If you can justify the moves, then it's fine in my opinion. Here are some things you need to consider after your contract ends:

  1. You could end up remaining a contractor and possibly only need to work 6-9 months in a year, would you be OK with this (i.e. the pressure of having to find work, accounts, setting up a ltd company etc)?
  2. If you couldn't get "management" jobs, would you go back to being a developer?

Personally, I would take it and see what happens. If it's a great organisation, it sounds like (although quite odd considering your experience), something that would at lease set you apart from other junior developers in 6 months time, when you are back on the hunt for a Full Time role. You never know, your contract could be extended/you could be offered a full time role after your contract.

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