How to resign from your job as a software developer

Need help leaving your current position as you have just accepted another job offer?

Resign from your job as a software developer, gracefully!

The big day has come! You just signed a job offer from a new employer – congrats!!! Everything about the opportunity seems to be an upgrade from your current arrangement.

  • Bigger salary
  • Different professional challenges
  • Room to learn new technologies
  • Possibility to make it up the corp ladder
  • Fun and qualified teammates
  • Cool perks
  • Possibility to WFH / have a Flex schedule

However you are now faced with the difficult task of quitting your current job. Kind of scary, isn’t it?

Things just got real.

While going through the interview process you were half aware that this moment was going to come as there was always an uncertainty about you actually getting the job and perhaps avoiding this exact situation you’re currently in. Now that you’re here, you probably realize all the changes that will occur in the following days and weeks – you have to announce your resignation, change your routine, make new work friends, say bye to your current work buddies, etc. It is especially hard if you actually like your job and the people that you work with. Try to keep in mind what made you undertake a hiring process for a new opportunity in the first place, as getting cold feet is a perfectly normal natural thing.

Here is a step by step guide to ease you into this new and EXCITING transition.

Step 0: Prep the set-up

  • Write a resignation letter and print it OR a write resignation email and save it as a draft (don’t forget to put your personal email address as BCC).
  • Research the pros and cons of accepting a counter offer because you WILL more often than not be offered one.
  • Make up your mind whether a counter offer is something you’ll consider and if so, what it will take for you to accept one.
  • Prepare yourself mentally – envision yourself quitting your current and starting a new job. Get excited about a fresh start!
  • Be prepared for any questions or objections that your manager will ask you. Be prepared for them to get emotional and for you to have to stand your ground by being firm and decisive. It’s important that you do not to feel any guilt about moving on to something better, it’s not a personal but rather a business decision after all.

The harsh reality is that on the software development job market, in order to stay relevant you have no choice but to be a bit selfish.

Step 1: Schedule a meeting with your team lead or HR

Don’t barge into their office or call them out of the blue to start a 30 minute conversation. Send your team lead / supervisor / HR a calendar invite or call them and ask them when they’ll be free to have a conversation with you.

Don’t tell your colleagues just yet

It is good practice to let your immediate superior know of your intentions to leave first. This, unless you have 1 or 2 work buddies you usually share all your work related frustration with, then, by all means. As long as you trust them not to propagate the news to the rest of your team / superior / HR before your official announcement.

Step 2: Break the news

Once you’re one-on-one with your immediate superior / HR, don’t beat around the bush. Rip the band-aid and start the conversation by announcing your intentions. Don’t overthink it, just keep it simple and straight to the point.

Tough conversation starter examples:

  • “Hello X, thanks for meeting with me on such short notice, I’d like to inform you that I will be resigning from my current role”
  • “Hello X, I’ve been offered an opportunity I want to pursue”
  • “Hello X, I wanted to tell you this in person, I have accepted a new job offer this morning”

Some of the key do’s and don’ts to incorporate into this conversation are:

  • DON’T burn bridges, even if you strongly dislike your job, boss or certain colleagues. You will gain absolutely nothing by “fact spitting” and “mic dropping”, short or long term, aside from maybe having a story to tell (not worth it unless you’re an excellent story teller).
  • DON’T be negative, criticizing the current work environment, legacy spaghetti code, bad practices, tech debt, outdated tech stack, etc. should have been done while you were still committed to working for the company and envisioned yourself BEING the change. Constructive criticism is essentially a call for change, do you really care about changing a company that you’re leaving?
  • DO be grateful, no matter how good or bad this job is, it contributed to your training and preparation for the new challenge you have just accepted. Thank them for the opportunity.
  • DO give the reasons why you’re leaving, once again, without being negative or offering criticism. Don’t talk about things you dislike that made you accept a new position – talk about the things you’re excited about in your new role instead!
  • DO offer help with the transition, be it training someone new or mentoring one of your colleagues on application modules you were responsible for. This is always appreciated and will do your colleagues a big favour. If you’re on very good terms with your employer, you can even offer your help on your free time, as a consultant (if this floats your boat of course).
  • DO give a two or three week notice. Just so that we’re clear, this isn’t a legal requirement unless your employment contract states so. It is however how you retain good relationships with your past employers which isn’t something you want to disregard.
  • DO bring your resignation letter if you chose to print it on paper instead of sending an email.
  • DO make sure that you’re on the same page. At the end of the conversation, make sure that they’re aware of the last date you will be with the company. Bonus points if you paraphrase what’s expected of you in order to make the transition as smooth as possible for the rest of your team.

Step 3: Hit send on the email that you pre-wrote

Once again, make absolutely sure that you send it to your personal email address as well in BCC

Step 4: Announce the news to your teammates

Your current teammates very well might become your colleagues in the future or even your references for your next gig. Be sure to verbalize how much you’ve enjoyed working with them and thank them for all the learning opportunities they have provided you with (if that’s the case of course). Offer to stay in contact through social media or LinkedIn if you got along with them.

Although rare, be prepared for certain colleagues to change their attitude towards you because you have decided to move on. Here’s a piece of wisdom – if they’re your friends, they WILL understand and congratulate you and keep in touch. If they’re just coworkers, it’s outside of your jurisdiction to be managing their insecurities.

Step 5: Now that everyone knows

For your notice period, try to keep it as business as usual as possible. You won’t be expected to surpass yourself and clear all issues in Jira by yourself, however, keep in mind that your last two weeks is what your now almost-ex colleagues and superiors will remember you by.

Don’t be this guy

Step 6: On your last day send a goodbye email

This is done on your last day of work, send a goodbye email to your entire department (or company if SME). Once again, offer to stay in touch through social media / LinkedIn if it’s something you’re comfortable with.


There’s no good or bad time to resign really, but there’s a BETTER time to do so. If possible, try announcing your intention to quit your current position towards the end of the week – preferably on Friday towards end of day. This will give yourself and your colleagues / superiors the weekend to digest the news and once you come into work on Monday to complete your two / three week notice period, it will be slightly easier to process for everyone involved without hindering the teams productivity.

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