Whether you are still in school or just embarking on your career in the technology field, this is an exciting but also anxious time for you.
I still remember stepping into my first job after my undergraduate education, with unbridled optimism of what my potential could be. I felt I had no limits at that time, and with much hard work and solid engineering education, I could excel and quickly distinguish myself from my peers. And in some ways, I did. I worked exceptionally hard, earning a reputation as a workhorse in my first few years after graduating. And I don’t regret putting in those long hours – it was before I had a family, and I had the desire and the time.
But as I look back on those years, I failed in several ways to “work smart.” For instance, as I describe in my book Success in the Technology Field, I did work to earn a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering while working in my first job. Yet, I had no plan for additional formal learning beyond that education. And egregiously, I had no written career plan on what I wanted to accomplish, whether in twenty years or even in the next five years. I had the drive to be successful, but in retrospect, I had no game plan on how to go about it, other than just to put in long hours, impress my superiors, and try to position myself for a promotion and raise. Now, I am not suggesting that working hard is negative and that one should not try to impress their superiors. But I did not focus on what I wanted, what would satisfy me, and in fact, on finding my passion.
So I urge you, take the time to develop a career plan and write it down! There is a whole chapter in the book dedicated to this topic, but for purposes of this blog, it should reflect both long-term goals (at least twenty years out) but also where do you want to be five years from now. In thinking about long-term goals, they should be goals that get you excited – things that you can be passionate about. These long-term goals can be audacious, but you must be realistic in that you need the innate skills that underpin achieving such goals. You must believe that you can achieve these long-term goals. But even more important, as you embark on your career, take the time to document where you want to be five years from now and what, in terms of formal education, training, and on-the-job assignments, you will need to get you there. If you can do just this level of planning, you will have set yourself on a path of achievement and success.
Success in the Technology Field: A Guide for Advancing Your Career
Success in the Technology Field is a practical “how-to” guide for a career in technology. It presents a holistic model, incorporating skills and behaviors that help you define and attain your career goals, whether you aspire to be an executive, a leading technologist, or a successful product salesperson.