I'm currently working as a Webmaster in an art company. I make around £25,000 a year.

In this job, I'm the only one who's IT/Programming literate. I fix all IT issues, manage their website, fix bugs, etc. There's not much pressure, I get my own office and the directors are incredibly nice to me. I've also pushed to get £30,000, which I might've gotten in my next appraisal.

The biggest con in this job are projects. There are none - only very small things like updating content, fixing a bug here and there and there's barely room to implement new things (I've re-designed our CMS and made it much more functional, but the office staff doesn't like change so I've dropped it). We're supposed to re-build our website in Magento but that was pushed to November and may be pushed again.

This other job, which pays less, is a growing digital agency. Their small enough to be personable and big enough to have a lot of interesting projects. I've been offered a job there for £20,000 after evaluation on my back-end skills (PHP, MySQL, Javascript, etc). Here I feel that I'd thank myself in a couple of years, as will have worked in quite a few interesting projects, learned from people that are more experienced than me and possibly grow inside the company, eventually reaching that £25,000 salary, with a much better skill-set.

As for myself, I'm a self-taught web-developer and this is my second year in the industry. I'm 26 and was previously in the hospitality industry. I've studied on the side whilst working in restaurants in hotels and have worked almost everyday on my first year as a web developer in a start-up digital agency.

Based on other's people milleage and today's industry, does it pay off staying in a well-paid job with minimal space to improve (self-study) or to be surrounded by well-educated peers?

  • This isn't worth an answer, but I cant see how you learn much at all being a lone junior developer doing minor fixes. I think you already know what you should do. – ayrton clark May 15 '17 at 10:47
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    You have your own office? I would only leave if they carry my dead body out of it. – John Hammond May 15 '17 at 10:55
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    "Does X pay off" is simply impossible to answer on a site like this. Way too much depends on your interests and profile which makes such a question useless to others. And even if that wasn't a problem there's the matter of us not having access to a crystal ball to protect the future of your industry, let alone that of your career. – Lilienthal May 15 '17 at 13:43
  • @Lilienthal That's fine - wasn't sure if it was fine asking a question like this or not. It's possible to analyse current trends and other people's mileage to provide an informative opinion about the question. There's two good answers below that testify to that. I appreciate your feedback but it would be nice if you use it constructively. My profile is generic - self-taught programmer not sure which path to follow - any one been here before? That's it – User132456789 May 15 '17 at 15:35
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    @FabriceDomingues Well I only have so much space in a comment and I try to avoid saying stuff that the close reason will tell you. Check help center and tour which will tell you the format of questions we prefer here. The issue is that you're asking "what should I do in [situation specific to me]" rather than "What factors should I consider when faced with [generic situation]". Joe's answer touches on the latter but it's not our goal to answer around the question, which is why we close questions that aren't suitable for the Q&A format. – Lilienthal May 15 '17 at 17:50

The first question you need to answer (and it's not one we can help with) is whether you can afford it. Salaries do vary a great deal with location in the UK but broadly speaking (and assuming you aren't in London) £25,000 (possibly £30,000) in only your second year in the industry is pretty good going in my opinion, I'm in an area with relatively low salaries for developers and senior devs with significantly more experience are often earning mid-thirties for example. So if you were to jump ship you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that it may take two or even three years before you get back to where you were in terms of salary and you'd need to be comfortable with that.

As to your main question of whether to change roles or not argument "for" of course is that actively pursuing roles that provide either better prospects for advancement or ones that provide skills and experience to your CV that allow you to apply for roles that offer higher salaries. Staying where you are limits your progress somewhat - from the sounds of it there isn't much opportunity to grow your skillset and while you may well be getting a decent £5k bump soon I'd be expecting that any further increases will be much smaller incremental steps. As a general rule of thumb it's much easier to make significant jumps by changing roles (YMMV).

Staying put does have it's own advantages however, firstly (assuming you get the raise) you're earning decent money right now vs higher potential wages that you may or may not ever get. Also it sounds as if you like working there and the company appears to treat you well. The relatively low demands of the job also give you the opportunity to continue on with your self learning and build your skillset yourself, it's not as good as actual "real world" experience but it would still add value to your CV and to your market value.


If you can afford to take the short term hit and the goal is to get your market value up as high as you can then move on and be prepared to rinse-repeat as necessary over the next few years.

  • Another great answer. Indeed there is uncertainty in swapping jobs (especially with lower pay) but I believe skill-set does translate to better earnings and more job opportunities in the long term. I've also had considered your "staying put" arguments. I'm the type of person who works really hard and strives to be better in our industry. As the first question is answered (yes I can afford it, have planned to move to a more affordable place before this started), I believe I will have to take the jump. PS: I did NOT down vote this – User132456789 May 15 '17 at 11:51

If you were me, would have stayed in the art company, fought for your £30,000 and barely worked in any interesting project, all this by yourself? (don't forget, I'm the only developer)

Or would've taken the risk to go for a lower salary, in expectations to work in bigger things and learn from other people? Be part of a growing digital agency which is the core of our current industry(IT / Web Development, etc), get a proper skill-set and grow from there?

We really can't answer "What should I do?" questions.

For younger folks like yourself, I usually suggest looking hard at the jobs which provide the most potential for learning and advancing, rather than the job which pays a little more now.

Short term gain versus long term potential is an important tradeoff we all make and can only be done by understanding what you specifically value, how hard you like to work, where you want your career to go, what your family situation is, etc.

Over my working life I've often taken less in salary to work in a job where I get to do things that could advance my career. For me, I think it paid off very well.

Your mileage may vary.

(And based on the kinds of words you use to describe the two alternatives, it seems your desires are clear. "Follow your instincts" may well apply here. But also consider that if you landed this one offer, you may also be able to land other, more lucrative offer. You may have more than two alternatives.)

  • Hi Joe. Thank you for your kind answer, it definitely gives some perspective and it's good to have a second opinion. PS: That downvote wasn't me!! – User132456789 May 15 '17 at 10:46
  • I've edited the question to avoid getting the off-topic flag. I've read several questions in The Workplace and this seemed like a reasonable question to pose. Don't know why this is getting so many downvotes – User132456789 May 15 '17 at 11:59
  • @JoeStrazzere Yeah, that's certainly possible. Still, I'm not about to lose any sleep over it. – motosubatsu May 15 '17 at 13:08

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