Posted by John Reed on Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 00:00
Happy New Year!
With the holidays behind us, many of us are returning to the business at hand for 2014. It’s a great time of year to perform a career assessment to make sure you remain on track to achieve your professional goals.
Conducting a career assessment is an honest self evaluation of how your career is developing and will help identify gaps that can prevent you from achieving the next level of progression in your IT career. Here are three key steps to start the process:
- Define and document your career goals, both long and short term. What are your career goals for this year? Three years from now? Five years from now? Is it your goal to move into a leadership or management role? Is having a six-figure compensation package an important goal for you? Are there professional credentials that you want to attain? Spend some quality time thinking about what’s important to you in your career and then document them so that you have a written reminder of what you're striving for.
- Invest in professional development. If you're going to make one investment in 2014, invest in yourself. Assess your skill set and identify areas that you would like to invest in from a training and/or professional development perspective. What are the “soft” skills you would like to develop or improve upon that will better position you to achieve your next career step? Look at training and development opportunities around those “soft” skills, such as becoming a more effective communicator, equipping yourself as a better manager of your time, etc. What technical skills are important to achieving continued career progression? Do your research, identify those skills and take a training class; become certified or attend a seminar to build the technical skills that will serve you in the next step of your career.
- Join a professional organization of your peers. I know, you're busy. You don’t have any extra time to join a technical user group and attend their meetings. I would tell you that it’s important from a career perspective to get off the sidelines and insert yourself into your technical community. This is a terrific way to stay current on the latest changes in the marketplace and ensure you stay abreast of changes so you change with them.
2014 is poised to be one of the strongest IT employment markets we have ever experienced. The new year is an outstanding time to assess your career goals and make sure that you're well on your way to achieving those goals by preparing yourself. I would start with these three simple steps.
Are there any other suggestions you'd add to this list? If so, leave them in the comments section below. Thank you.