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5 Ways To Advance Your Technology Career
While some careers require you to follow a defined path to achieve success, in the digital world, you can create your own path. The tech world is made up of incredibly talented people, but few of them have reached their current position going through the “traditional” routes. If you want to succeed in your tech career, it doesn’t always matter where you are now or where you started. What matters is where you go from here.
If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know that you are on the right track? Success for you may be entirely about earnings, or it may be about the quality of life and work/life balance.
Maybe your success is defined by a role, responsibilities or team size? Or perhaps, you evaluate success as doing a job you like and being happy. There is no right or wrong definition of success. The trick is to find yours, and then you can work out what you need to do to achieve it.
Once you know what you want to be doing, who you want to be the boss of, or how much you want to be earning (or all three) in 3-5 years’ time, you can start to plan what your route may be.
The ever-changing nature of tech means that there are few career dead ends, but it can be useful to speak to others in your organization and ask them how they got where they are and where they think your skill set fits. By checking in on others, you can also sanity-check your goals and ensure they are achievable.
It may be cliché, but it is cliché for a reason. When setting goals, make sure they are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and on time. Once you have planned the first destination of your career, you can kick-start the journey.
Ways to advance your technology career: be diverse
Tech never stands still, so it stands to reason that, to achieve success in a Tech Jobs, you need to be as fast-moving and diverse as the industry. By broadening your knowledge base and skills, you can get a better idea of where your strengths and passions lie.
What’s more, by making your skill set more diverse, you will be a preferred candidate when new opportunities evolve. While new skill acquisition is great, it is equally important to ensure that your primary area of knowledge is kept up to date. There are lots of things you can do to improve your diversity and boost your professional skills:
- Further, your formal education – a degree or postgraduate qualification can demonstrate not just your knowledge, but your commitment
- Sign up for boot camp – a host of in-person and online opportunities usually ranging from 3-6 months; boot camps can be useful in honing skills, such as coding, or specific software interfacing, which will allow you to hit the ground running in a new position;
- On the job learning is a great way to embed new skills as well as demonstrate your capabilities.
Read, talk, and listen. You are surrounded by people who can give you knowledge, skills, and insights. Read around your area of specialism, speak to colleagues, and listen to webinars… every single iota of information that you gain is one more than you had before.
Ways to advance technology career: develop soft skills
The stereotype that people in tech jobs are antisocial and tough to communicate with couldn’t be further from the truth in today’s digital landscape. To work in tech, you need to be part of a team.
Great communication skills are vital, as are outstanding leadership skills if you dream of climbing the ladder. These skills aren’t innate, and nor can they be developed overnight. Spend time talking to others. Observe what your seniors get right – and what they get wrong. Network with a range of people to better understand what good looks like regarding communication and leadership and how you can replicate it.
A great way of developing yourself is to look for mentors. Most people in positions of success understand your ambitions and have already faced the challenges ahead of you in order to get where they are. While some may not wish to share any wisdom they have gained along the way, most will be willing to help a fellow ambitious person, so seize every opportunity you have to shadow and learn.
Showcase your skills
The nature of digital means that pretty much any information is accessible anywhere. If you are on a trajectory to success, you need to make sure that everything about you reflects those ambitions.
Keep your social media pages updated and filled with relevant wins. Don’t be tempted to hide your achievements through false modesty; if you are proud of something, make sure that others can see it by sharing links or reposting relevant posts from your organization, mentor, mentee, team, or client. Each post or repost goes towards building an informal yet impactful, picture of who you are.
Ways to advance your technology career: be you
There may be thousands of people looking for tech jobs right now. But no matter how qualified and experienced the other applicants may be, there is one thing that they don’t have: they are not you. Whilst it is a great idea to gain a range of skills and demonstrate your area of expertise, if you head down the road where you are trying to replicate someone else, you are going to lose your sense of identity and, therefore, your air of authenticity.
The digital world may be renowned for taking risks and thinking differently, but creativity and resilience are core qualities. You have a unique skill set. Show that off to the world through all of the above: focus, train, network, and showcase your talents. If you want to, take on the extra work and prove to yourself and the world that you are worth investing in.
Wherever you are in your career, it can help to stop and take a look at not just where you are now and where you want to be, but where you began. Celebrating the wins, no matter how small, will help motivate you toward success.