I work as a system administrator/architect at a partner of a big IT company, been there for almost a year. Almost a month ago I was allocated the task of studying for a specific certification needed so that my company can take a certain project, and I got the certification and we got the project.

Now, I got the chance to shift my career into a path I am much more interested in with a better salary too. I have not signed any loyalty paper nor do I have a clause that oblige me to stay for a certain amount of time or pay anything regarding the certificate.

Is it be unprofessional of me to tell them that I want to leave and that I no longer want to be a system administrator?

  • 4
    Check your contract - some companies require you to pay back education and training you receive if you don't work for X amount of time after receiving it.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:47
  • why can't you shift your career path within your company? Is that not an option? Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 18:00
  • I wouldn't call it a training, it's a requirement to take a project if it wasn't needed they would have never done it. To try and make the picture clearer we took a project to implement an IT system at a big company, to provide the support after implementation our partners requires 2 certified consultants in a specific database administration module. So i got the certification and now we are authorized to support in that module, but does that mean that whenever one of the 2 consultants leave we are not authorized anymore? that is the big question i don't have answer to atm.
    – BDOW90
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


Many companies have conditions around training and certification, as it is seen as an investment, so if you leave immediately after becoming certified, the company effectively loses that investment. So a common condition if you leave within 3 months of receiving training is that you pay back the cost of the training.

In this case, your company could potentially lose the project, so it becomes even more of a sensitive issue.

That said, if there is no condition in your contract, then it just becomes an ethical issue for you - if you being a certified employee is a requirement for the company to keep the project, then you leaving may be considered unprofessional, yes.

So you need to ask yourself if that would harm your future prospects, relationships with your old company that you'd like to retain, etc.

  • Would be a good idea to approach my boss and ask about this? i don't want to make it sound like i am pressing for a raise, i just really want what is good for my career.
    – BDOW90
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 18:43

"Unprofessional" is an opinionated word. Many would see it as unprofessional, others may not.

Lacking any contractual obligations related to the training, there may be nothing preventing you from leaving. But from the employer's perspective, you would be burning a bridge because they invested in you and you left. The employer would definitely see it as unprofessional.

Depending on how connected people generally are in your area and whether this sort of thing is common around there, taking the certification and running might hurt your reputation and make it harder to get good work in the future.

  • You can soften the blow by offering voluntarily to pay back the certification, help your replacement to obtain the same certificate, etc. You could give a training course on the main subjects of the certificate. Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 5:56

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