A new year always presents a good opportunity to take a step back and see how we can improve. After all, there’s much to gain from making subtle improvements to your health, career, and all-around happiness. If you work in the tech industry, then you’ll likely have a great opportunity to step things up and push your career forward. Most of the time, doing so involves little more than some time and effort. In this blog, we’ll run through some useful tips that’ll put you on the right path to professional satisfaction.
You can’t get anywhere without a dose of ambition. If you’re content to stay in the middle lane, then that’s where you’ll stay. It’s all too easy to become content with what you’ve got. Yet, while it’s important to show gratitude for all you have, it’s also recommended to set high standards and aim high. Just by elevating your expectations, you might find that you end up somewhere that you otherwise would not have gotten to. It’s not about reaching the top of your industry; it’s about reaching your full potential.
Work With a Mentor
It can be difficult to know where to take your career. Just as with everything else, from time to time, we’ll need to call on the expertise and experience of other people. Of course, it’s not as if you can just ask anyone for advice. The vast majority of people won’t have anything valuable to offer you, especially those people who are in the same position as you. It’s better to get advice from people who have gone further than you. Finding a mentor can be a highly effective way to step your career up because it’ll allow you to draw upon the advice of someone who has been there, done that. You’ll have nothing to lose from a mentor and a lot to (potentially) gain.
Conduct Some Self-Analysis
You can’t figure out where you need to go until you know where you are. It’s easy to look outward and try to find new opportunities, but before you do that, it’s worthwhile looking inward and conducting some self-analysis. This will tell you what you’re good at and what you’re bad at, and will help to identify the career move that will be right for you. It’s all about conducting a little bit of self-reflection. The better you know and understand yourself, the easier you’ll find it to make a move that’s in line with who you are.
Boost Your Qualifications
You’ll have the enthusiasm you need to step up into more senior roles. But do you have the qualifications? While you may have confidence that you can do any job that you apply for, employers will want to see some evidence that you can walk the talk. Your case studies will be useful in this regard, but it’s also recommended that you look into boosting your qualifications by taking a course like those available at the STL Training website. This won’t just give you something to put on your resume; it’ll also give you the training you need to have confidence that you’re ready to step up.
Ask for Feedback
There’s a limit to how much we can understand about ourselves from the inside. While you can train yourself to perform self-analysis, it’s always possible that there’ll be something that you miss. And that thing that you don’t see might just prevent you from pushing forward. As such, it’s a good idea to get feedback from others, especially your coworkers. Their input can often be more effective than feedback from your supervisors, purely because they have a more intimate understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Plus, you’ll likely be close to them, which means they’ll be more likely to tell you the truth. Your coworkers should be your harshest critics, and that’s handy because they might just tell you something you really need to hear.
Don’t Be Afraid of Leftfield Opportunities
Many people think that in order to step up their careers, they need to apply for jobs with a bigger company. But this isn’t always the case. It depends on where you are in your career and what you’re looking for. It can be beneficial to work for a prestigious brand, but if you’re still in the learning part of your career, then it’ll likely be better to work for a smaller company. Working with a startup is often recommended because you’ll have more responsibility and take on a greater variety of roles. In some cases, it’s even worthwhile taking a pay cut (which is likely when working with a startup) if the position will bring other advantages to your career.
You may also look at emerging tech fields, which offer great opportunities because they’re still in their infancy yet show promise of longevity. Some emerging tech fields include the Internet of Things, data science, and blockchain technology.
Throw Yourself into Networking
The more people you have in your network, the better it will be for your career. It can help in a variety of ways, but the most common and direct way it can benefit your career is your exposure to new opportunities. Speak to people who currently occupy the positions that you want to have, and they’ll invariably tell you they wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for someone in their network. Networking won’t open every door for you, but it’ll open enough throughout the course of your career.
There are different ways to network, and not all of them are large, formal events. In fact, most of them aren’t. If you’re new to the world of networking, take a look at Meetup — if you live in a city, then you’ll likely find plenty of tech-focused networking events in a casual setting.
There are many, many opportunities in the tech world. Indeed, there are more positions that can be filled. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not looking for any position; you’re looking for the right one. Finding a quality job that will be a progression can take time, and you’ll need to be selective. While you might be eager to push your career forward, it’s best to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. In many cases, the best career decision we make is saying no to an opportunity. You don’t need to say yes to everything.
Work in a Culture That Suits You
A job is about much more than the actual task that you’re hired to do. It’s about the overall culture of the company. You’ll find it much easier to reach job satisfaction if you’re working in an environment that suits you well. As such, before deciding to take a new job, take a look at the overall culture. What sort of leadership style does the company promote? How do they want or expect their employees to work? If your working style is at odds with that culture, then it’ll be better to wait because if you accept the job, then you might find that you’re looking for a new position sooner than you’d like.
Podcasts, Websites, Talks
There’s much to be gained from having your finger on the pulse of your industry. It’ll help ensure that you’re getting up to date with the latest trends and movements. Having this knowledge can prevent you from joining a sinking ship, give you an understanding of the in-demand skills, and just generally help you to think bigger about the industry and your role within it. There are a bunch of tech-focused podcasts, websites, and conferences. Find one that’s relevant to your specific niche, and set some time aside to listen to what the experts have to say. In the process, you’ll be on your way to becoming something of an expert yourself.
Build Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand can be your ticket to the big leagues. Tech recruiters often look at a candidate’s social media profiles and are impressed when they see that someone is using Twitter or LinkedIn for thought leadership. So what is a personal brand? It’s about letting your thoughts, opinions, and personality shine through in a consistent way. Indeed, do this well enough, and you might just find that you don’t need to look for positions since they’ll come to you.
And finally, let’s think about positivity. This is an attribute that can take you far. Indeed, two people could have the same level of talent and experience, but if one person was negative and the other positive, you would have to expect two different outcomes. Plus, being positive will make you more likely to be empathetic, which is a soft skill that is increasingly in demand in the tech world. Don’t worry if you’re naturally positive; it’s one of those things that you can learn.
January presents a great opportunity to think about upgrading your career. Take the tips that we’ve outlined above, and you’ll be on your way to better pay, more prestige, and greater job satisfaction.