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How to find your own direction for development in IT

What questions do you need to answer honestly to continuously develop? Career coach Marina Stasevich has suggestions.

Marina Stasevich, Career coach

Why is this necessary

— At different stages of life, a person is faced with situations in which it is important to make a choice and decide the direction in which to build a career and where to move on. This may be most relevant for junior specialists who are at the beginning of their professional path. It can seem to them that the experience and knowledge that they have accumulated are still not enough to help them decide on a future profession. But experts and other professionals can also face similar decisions. For an experienced professional, there may be the feeling of a "glass ceiling": their previous tasks are no longer enjoyable, and where to go next is still unclear.

How do you get beyond this impasse and learn how to develop in the profession and grow further? To find the answer to this question, it is important to understand yourself well. There are many career guidance tests to help you do this. They can be useful, but to get the full picture, it's worth looking at yourself and your career from different angles. I'll tell you what questions I think it's important to ask yourself and what to consider so that a clear understanding of your career opportunities appears.

What I want to do

— I suggest you start by thinking about what you would like to do if you had all possible opportunities available to you. "Happy hours are not observed" — that's what they say about people who really love what they do. When we are busy doing what we love, we do not notice how time flies by and where our energy comes from. To find such an occupation for yourself, it is worth considering the following questions:

  • What are you really interested in doing?
  • What brings you joy and satisfaction?
  • What tasks in your current job inspire you?
  • What would you do if there were no restrictions?
  • On what topics are you ready to read literature with great interest or listen to experts?

If it is difficult now to acknowledge or identify your desires, remember what you loved to do in childhood and adolescence, what you dreamed about, what areas you were most interested in. Give free rein to your imagination and record in as much detail as possible all the thoughts that come to mind. The more options, the better.

What can I do

— When you have identified your desires, it is important to determine your real potential based on your life and professional experience. In simple words — to find your talents, decide what you know how to do best. Remember everything you have previously studied, list all of the knowledge, skills, and competencies. The following questions will help with this:

  • What do you think you're doing well?
  • What are you proud of?
  • What did your colleagues and managers praise you for?
  • For what achievements have you received recognition and bonuses?
  • What questions do other people most often ask you for help?
  • What tasks do you easily cope with in a limited time?
  • Which people inspire you and why? What do you have in common with them?

To answer these questions, you can use the help of colleagues, friends, and other people who know you well and can highlight what you are good at. Ask them to share their feedback.

It is also worth realistically assessing what other skills you will need to develop to realize your desires.

As in the previous step, collect and record as many ideas as possible.

What to do

— When you realize what you like to do and what is easy for you, analyze how relevant and in demand it is in the market. It is important to understand whether this activity is useful in principle:

  • Find out what the current trends are in the labor market, and which professions are most in demand. Examine which vacancies in the areas of interest to you are published on professional sites, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and others.
  • What are employers willing to pay for?
  • What are the needs and expectations within your company? It may make sense to discuss with your supervisor or HR the development opportunities that your company has.

Once you have collected the information, take a close look at your notes for all three blocks. What trends do you notice? Think about what the three spheres have in common and what their differences are. How can you apply this to finding new career opportunities? What simple actions can you take in the near future to move you toward your goal?

— Introspection according to the "I Want-I Can-I Must" scheme will help you manage your professional development in accordance with your values, desires, and abilities. Work and realization are a joy when we know what contribution we are making and what we are working for.

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