July 31st, 2018 Revature

Learn, Then Earn: The Right Entry-Level Jobs Launch Careers

If you’re a recent graduate hunting for an entry-level job, of course you want a good starting salary. But salary is only one consideration. There are good reasons for turning down jobs that pay roughly the same, especially if they don’t align with your long-term career goals.

Entry-level jobs in the technology sector should set you up with higher earning potential in the future. To ensure that’s the case, consider these questions before you accept a position just for the money:

What Will You Learn?

Experience doesn’t only mean number-of-years in the workforce. When it comes to programming, for example, your earning potential may depend just as much or more on the programming languages you learn. In other words, experience in the technology sector means ‘experience’ with the most in-demand technologies at any given moment. A developer with decades of experience in one language that everybody knows is at a disadvantage compared to the programmer who has a few years’ experience with a language that every company wants but far fewer workers know.

This comes into play when you think about your long-term earning potential. An entry-level job where you make a little less money but learn and master a valuable technology is a worthwhile tradeoff. After a year or two working with that technology, your skills and experience become sought-after assets that employers will compete with to attract.

What Will You Work On?

It’s important early in your career to work in an environment where you can learn, grow, succeed, and even fail. More important than the highest salary is exposure to large-scale, complex environments. Working on impactful projects will set you up for a lifetime of understanding how to tackle any problem. In those environments, you build a knowledge base of what works and what doesn’t, from encountering different scenarios. As your career progresses, that knowledge is extremely valuable to employers who depend on it to keep projects moving efficiently.

On the other hand, if your first job takes place in an unprofessional environment where you work on meaningless projects, a higher salary doesn’t do you any good. You’re not only failing to get the experience necessary to move on, you’ve become used to a salary that you can no longer command on the open market. There’s a term for when you can’t leave because the money is too good, but you shouldn’t stay because the job is bad. It’s called ‘golden handcuffs.’ Don’t make that the case with your first job.

Who Will You Work With?

Employees with superior soft skills are highly valued by employers. They especially want to know that you can work well with others and adapt to different situations. Taking on more responsibilities – and earning higher salaries – depends on your ability to interact comfortably in diverse environments, with teammates inside the organization, as well as external partners and clients.

That’s why, for the sake of your career, it’s important to work in diverse environments early on, where you’ll be exposed to a range of personalities and many approaches to problem-solving. All of those interactions will help prepare you for future jobs where those skills and experiences are rewarded with higher salaries.

Revature Scores on All Fronts

Revature recruits and trains emerging talent for long-term technology careers. Our model naturally creates diversity, drawing individuals from around the country, with different backgrounds and ways of thinking. We prepare recruits with a paid, 12-week training program, where they develop the technology and soft skills necessary to thrive in enterprise-level environments. At the end of the training, we place them with one of our many clients. If you’re a career-oriented worker with an interest in the technology sector, then the Revature Consulting Life might be right for you.