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Career Roadmap

I went through most of my career without a roadmap.  I got lucky because a lot of the things worked out: some of it was accidental, some of it was great mentorship.  Some of it were setbacks that I could have probably avoided.  Over 24 years of doing software development I have accumulated a few lessons I can share with engineers that are embarking on this journey.  The number one lesson: find a mentor who can help you craft a roadmap.

If you are not being strategic about your career, you might waste years bouncing around or stuck in an unhappy place.  Being strategic about your career helps you know when you are making steps that will add up to something. Blog posts or books can’t guide you through this journey.  I would recommend getting a career coach or a mentor who can help you evaluate and steer.

I did want to share a document that can help you get started with that conversation.  You can’t get someone to help you unless you can figure out where you want to go.  The document below, while help you by asking a few questions and get you started thinking about goals for the next 6 months and 5 years:

You can use the document as a framework of a conversation with a mentor or a coach.  I would recommend filling it out prior to taking up someone’s time.  It should not be hard to write down what people you respect and what qualities you find appealing.  It takes a few weeks of observations to figure out what activities make you feel good during the day and which ones feel like a drag.

Some of the folks I have mentored were totally surprised when they really unpacked what made them happy.  They though they wanted to be a high level manager, but then said they can’t go a week without writing code.  That’s a hard combination to pull off in most of the companies.

If you do take a look at the career roadmap, I’d love to get your feedback!


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