A Summer Inventory of Your Career

by Brian Skory

For many of us in the technology field, the summer months provide a bit of downtime in an otherwise hectic and chaotic work environment. For this reason, the summer months are often ideal for stealing a few moments to do a career inventory and an assessment of your career goals. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What are my 1, 5 and 10 year career goals? Many developers become so focused on their day-to-day work that they forget to ask this very important question. But this is a bit like an archer without a clear aim in mind risking the arrow landing anywhere--and possibly somewhere he really doesn’t want it to. Take a moment to jot down, no matter how vague, where you’d like your career to be in 1, 5 and 10 years. Are you still into heads-down coding? Do you want to transition into security? You just might be surprised at what you come up with.

Is this the company where I am going to achieve my career goals?
This is another important question, for just as you probably won’t achieve career goals that haven’t been identified, you just as likely will not achieve them if you are in the wrong job, department, or even company. Few things are as satisfying as knowing that your career goals are supported by your circumstances and the people surrounding you. But if this is not the case for you, then perhaps some thought about a change may be in order.

Half way into the year, what of note have I accomplished?
A critical part of the formula for career success is noteworthy accomplishments, whether to be highlighted to a boss during a performance appraisal or noted on a resume or in a job interview. Don’t lose track of these jewels by forgetting to take the time to jot them down somewhere safe.

What do I hope to accomplish during the rest of the year?
An equally critical component of the formula for career success is laying the groundwork for accomplishing great things. After all, how else will you have accomplishments to brag about to bosses or prospective employers if you don’t plan to have them? Line up plenty of future accomplishments and soon enough at least some of them will be achieved.

A few minutes invested in this activity could be fruitful. Take the time and maximize your potential career success by answering the above questions a couple of times a year.

As always, we at Stout Systems are interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to drop us an email at candidates@stoutsystems.com.

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