Thursday, April 16

Career development and Growth

This was a very important topic for me and today I had an opportunity to attend a session on the same. Being ambitious, career oriented and hunger for more knowledge is very important. Gone are the days when our parents completed their graduation took up a job and lived with it happily forever after. It sounds simple, straightforward and minimal. No Efforts required. I don't want to judge and I know it must have been damn difficult for them, however I am of the opinion that the earlier generation never thought about Career Growth.

So why is it important now?
Getting a medical or an engineering degree was a privilege in the early years. So the best of the jobs would be filled by only the few. However, now, it is a different ball game. With so many, to profit, Educational institutes and a hell lot of students passing out each year, it is a competitive world out there.

Darwin’s law comes in my mind “Survival of the fittest”. However, now it is “Survival of the smartest”.

With a lot of competition, you cannot just be stuck in a job in your comfort zone and live your life. Within no time, you would find out that employees with desirable qualification, does not matter if they are less experienced, would get wages much higher then you are getting now after serving so many years. Why? Because
  1. Companies are willing to pay for good qualification and desired candidates.
  2. If you don't grow in your career, you are not that important to your company.
How to grow in your career and what I learned by attending the session?
One should ensure they have desired SKILLS and CAPABILITIES.

What are Skills?
As per Wikipedia, A skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with per-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy or both. In other words the abilities that one possesses. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job.

In my case, lets talk about domain specific skills. Front end engineering including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I plan to take up full stack development and am deeply looking at Ruby on Rails. I also have a game idea which I plan to develop using Corona SDK. I was able to work on one project but I haven't worked on it past 3 weeks. Laziness.

A lot of jibber jabber, right? But that is the truth. Everyday it is a new story in the world of Front End. I have to have knowledge of things. So to get the required skills you can do the following
  1. Read online and be up to date with what is happening around your domain. Lots of blogs and websites. Now that I have gReader app installed, it is become easy. Before, I would regularly visit css-tricks.com, HTML5 weekly, JavaScript weekly and during work sometimes I would listen to shoptalkshow or the 5by5.tv.
  2. Practice what you learned.
  3. Take up certifications whenever possible. I had taken a w3 CSS certifications a year back, which was a complete disaster because it took me two attempts to get certified. I am looking at the PMP certification and also Microsoft's HTML5, CSS3 certification. As and when I get to know more about them, I will update on this blog.
  4. Participate in online courses such as Coursera, edX, udemy etc.
  5. Write what you learned. Blogging really helps. It forces me to write and then helps me remember for a long time. Also, I like to write so that is that.
  6. Teach, you can take up teaching others, become mentor etc. Really helps, trust me. (That gives me a good blog post idea about my teaching experience.)
What is Capability?
Let's say you've worked hard to get the desired skill sets. But what next? Are you capable of taking up that job role? Would you be able to take complete ownership of a project, can you be a leader and start making decisions? Can your team mates, people around you trust you? You may be wearing those shoes because you have the desired skills, however are you capable enough to take complete your tasks with those skills?

As per Wikipedia. A Capability is the ability to perform or achieve certain actions or outcomes through a set of controllable and measurable faculties, features, functions, processes or services.

How can you know your capability?
The most important aspect is “Communication”. You are, the way you communicate. Can you get your thoughts out your mouth and into someone's ears? You should know how to Network, ask for help, of course without wasting anyone's time. If you want to grow in your career, you need to get up and show that you are really interested about it. Talk to people, your network, your manager, anyone but make sure your goals are inline to what you are doing and that you have communicated them well.

For example, down the line if I want to take up a managerial position, then first thing that comes in my mind is if I am a good spokesperson. Can I communicate well? I can take that PMP certification and clear it, so I have the desired skill set, however am I capable?

So basically, it all boils down to how you present yourself, are you working towards your goals and are you capable to handle any different but desired role? And to be capable of anything, you should get up and start involving yourself into things that matter. Start from small, but get a live feel of things around. Take up ownership, start teaching what you learned, participate in events that occur in your company, network and most important, try to communicate your mind.

Who is your Inspiration?
This is a very important question and I had a perfect answer for this. When I have to look for inspiration it is M.D (A colleague). True, organized, has good domain expertise and he is the best. I look down upon him for all the positive energy and whenever I have a doubt, a question, I keep M.D in that situation and think what he would have done.

So we have our colleagues, teachers, parents, Manager, HR people etc around us that we look up for an inspiration. However (I learned this in the training, and it is very much true, I feel), the most person who shapes you is “I, Me and Myself”. Yes, it is you as your own inspiration, your own mentor, teacher and the people around you are there just to trigger, boost, accelerate your thoughts. Sounds strange, but I feel it is the truth.

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