Your career map: how to plan career development in IT

Your career map: how to plan career development in IT


There is one recurring question that all professionals ask at some or another point of their careers: how do I move ahead? What are the possible next steps in my career? Which skills can help grow into a more advanced role? 

Not all companies offer clear career paths and sometimes the lines between the positions can be blurred. However, there are general guidelines about the type of skills that ensure long-term employability in a chosen area of work. And it is extremely useful to have an idea of the general progression your career might take to choose relevant learning and skill-building building opportunities and successfully expand into new roles. 

Focus on your skills 

First thing first, let’s look at the types of skills that exist in the tech world and try to group them into categories:

  • developing 

  • quality assurance 

  • automatization 

  • design

  • writing 

  • business analysis 

  • administration

  • management 

  • marketing

Each of those categories implies a very distinct set of skills that require different specialization and qualifications. However, it doesn’t mean that jobs in the tech world stay isolated in their respective categories and never intersect. In fact, it is the opposite. And the senior roles often lay in the intersection of the roles. 

Possible role transfers 

The logic of your career can be very simple – you join your company as a junior software developer, QA specialist or designer and with the time and gained experience, move into the middle and then, senior positions in your respective profession. However, what if you would like to explore other career options or move into adjacent roles? 

After getting some initial experience on the job market and landing a position of a middle professional, you can start exploring the possibilities. As a middle developer, you have an option to develop your tech skills to become a senior developer, or acquire QA skills and move into automatization QA. As a designer, you can develop into web designer, and acquiring some tech skills, become a middle developer, if that is what you are interested in. Interesting career options await technical writers, who can follow a conventional development path to become senior technical writers, or branch into UX design (by investing into design skills), or business analytics (by focusing on business analysis respectively). 

How to get the coveted management roles 

Let’s talk about the final destination of a career path – the top level positions in the company. How do you become a CTO or CIO, Project or Product Manager? What unites all those roles is the must have – the management skills. Investing into leadership and team management training is essential for those who would like to take the top positions one day. Team Lead is a position that is usually taken by a Senior Developer with managerial skills. Project Manager can be either a former QA Lead or a Senior BA. Whereas Senior Admin usually grows into a CIO. A good background for Product/Program Manager is the roles of System Analyst or Architect. At the same time, Product Manager can also grow into a CEO. 

To sum up, there are many options for young professionals, who look ahead into their careers. Mid-career is the perfect time to contemplate whether you are moving where you want to in your career path, and maybe branch out into adjacent roles. And finally, for those with management ambitions, it is never too early to develop management and leadership skills, which they can use to progress into top roles once they reach senior level. 

13:35 Sunday, 6 October 2019


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