Loyalty still counts, but in the high tech IT world, where everything is changing all the time, staying at a job can look a lot like stagnation. In an IT job environment where hopping from one job to another can make you appear flaky, but staying for 5 years can make you look like a roadblock, what is the best length of time to stick around before moving on?

As in all things, balance in the key. Greg Kuchik human resources director at San Diego-based marketing technology company Zeeto. “If I had to throw a number out, I’d say that three years is an ideal time period,” says Kuchcik. “Any shorter and you may come off as too flighty; any longer and you may come off as too stagnant, especially since the IT/tech industry is moving lightning-fast.” A key element according to Greg is to learn all that you can to improve your skills and learn from your experience. But the three year rule isn’t a hard and fast quit deadline, just the right time to consider leaving your position for new challenges. “You always want your career to be inching forward,” he says.

According to Angela Copeland Angela Copeland, a career coach with a tech background in Memphis, Tennessee, three years is a good length of possibly extending to five years if you can move up in the company. The value that managerial skills can add to an IT resume are hard to ignore, especially in great companies.

Harold Mann who leads his own tech consulting firm offers another insight. “Spending a long time at a great company is great,” he says. “A short time at a bad company is fine.”… “While it’s very trendy for people to bounce around these days, we don’t like seeing lots of jobs,”…”But if they are leaving for the right reasons, they can make that clear in their resume or interview.” Essentially the obverse is the red flag, a short time at a great company, or a long time at a bad company is a resume stain that would be difficult to erase.