Is It Worth Transitioning to a New Tech Stack? Evaluating the Benefits and Challenges of a Technical Career Change

8 Min Read

Making a career change is easy in the technology industry. However, concerns arise when people discover they’ll have to transition to an entirely new tech stack. Here are some potential benefits and challenges you should consider.

What Are the Benefits of Transitioning?

Transitioning to a different tech stack at a new job gives you unique professional opportunities.

  • More Marketability

On average, small businesses have up to 10 separate tools in their tech stacks. While each comes with a login and a learning curve, they ultimately present a great opportunity — they make you much more marketable. Although it might take time to get used to them, you end up with valuable industry knowledge to carry into your next job.

  • Enhanced Performance

Transitioning to a job with a better tech stack — specifically something more modern or consolidated — means you’ll likely experience a performance boost immediately. For example, some service providers offer omnichannel support so you can stay on the same portal to take care of multiple duties, making you more efficient.

Consider how many tools can’t communicate, creating internal data silos between departments. Interconnection can increase productivity since you spend less time on consolidation or duplication. Excellent performance looks great when starting a new job and could eventually translate into promotions or bonuses.

  • Increased Salary

Salaries in the technical industry are nothing to scoff at, but you may get a significant pay increase for a tech stack transition alone. For example, programmers using Django will increase their pay by nearly 50% just by switching to Ruby on Rails. It’s less standard than something like Java, so it’s more valuable.

The best time to change careers is when your sector is thriving or experiencing a labor shortage. Perhaps you need a new challenge and feel you’ve learned all you can in your current role. Since roles in the technical field have some of the highest demand in any job market, it could be worth adapting to a new tech stack for a significant bump in pay.

  • Earlier Adaptation

Over 50% of workplace skills will need updating in the next five years to accommodate a rapidly digitizing professional landscape. Chances are you’d transition to a new tech stack soon regardless of if you change careers, so you should weigh your options. Leaving gives you the upper hand because you can negotiate and set new expectations.

  • Potential Upgrade

A potential technical upgrade is one of the most significant benefits of transitioning to a new tech stack. Legacy tech is much more challenging to use and manage than its modern counterparts, so it would make your work life much easier. A lighter workload is ideal when you regularly deal with seemingly endless alerts and tweaks.

What Are the Challenges of Transitioning?

Transitioning to a new tech stack can be time-consuming and increase your daily workload.

  • Lengthy Adjustment Period

The learning curve you’ll have to deal with is one of the most significant challenges of adjusting to a new tech stack after a career change. For instance, consider you’re a DevOps engineer switching from C# to Python. While these programming languages are generally easy to learn, the transition still comes with obstacles.

Your mind will often subconsciously revert to habits, making adapting challenging. Unless you’re proficient with each tool, you’ll need to quickly figure out your new workplace’s intricacies to keep up with your co-workers. Because of this, your workplace performance may take a hit.

  • Potentially Worse Tools

Although you’ll have to adjust to a new tech stack for most career changes, it can still feel uncomfortable. Some people in the industry won’t even take a job if it uses different tools specifically because it can be a challenging experience.

Businesses are often slow to overhaul their tech stack because of operational and financial barriers. Even though your current job may have the latest software available for employees, there’s a strong chance your new one won’t.

Imagine you find the perfect job — great pay, good culture, and excellent benefits — only to find it uses tools you don’t prefer. You may dislike them in comparison to your old tech stack. However, you should ask yourself if it’s actually worse or just unfamiliar — starting from scratch rarely feels fun and exciting in the tech world.

  • Lack of Employer Support

The business you transition to may not support your learning endeavors, considering most employers prefer candidates with the proper training. Many won’t question you about your proficiency with their tech stacks because they assume you’re already familiar. While some have particular requirements, you might fly under their radar.

Although moving forward without saying anything is tempting, your lack of experience will show once you start and are behind others. While you could get by on basic knowledge and tutorials since the demand in the tech industry is high, it makes work uncomfortable and unfulfilling.

  • Use of Legacy Tools

Things like cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things increasingly align with modern tech stacks, meaning legacy hardware may soon become obsolete. However, simultaneously upgrading everything is expensive, so businesses often only partially upgrade to be more cost-effective.

It could feel disheartening to start your new career only to find you must adapt to legacy tech over the new tools you used in your previous role. It shouldn’t eliminate the career as a possibility for you, but it can be challenging to adjust when you’ve grown used to the convenience of modernity.

Is It Worth Transitioning to a New Tech Stack?

Transitioning to a new tech stack is only worth it if it aligns with your goals, so the answer has many variables. Most of the benefits come from the assumption you have room for learning or will be working with better tools, while the challenges mostly stem from the likelihood of legacy tech’s presence.

It’s probably worth it to make a career change and adapt to a new tech stack if you need motivation, a pay increase, or a change of scenery. On the other hand, it may not be the right choice if you think you won’t be able to keep up with your co-workers once you make the switch. Ultimately, only you can decide if transitioning is worth it.

Consider Your Options

Learning a new tech stack can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it can give you a higher salary and marketable skills. Weigh your options to see if the transition is a dealbreaker or if you can live with it.

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As a business technology writer for ReHack Magazine, April Miller is passionate about researching and spreading awareness of the latest technologies impacting the business world.