Whether you want to make a career switch or you’re simply hoping to acquire some better work habits, these nuggets of wisdom should help you out.
Making a change in your career can be daunting, even if it’s just a small one. We asked some tech leaders for their top tips on what to do and what not to do if you want to be successful at implementing positive changes in your career this year.
The main takeaway? Just because January is over, doesn’t mean you should stop trying to achieve your goals for 2024 if you haven’t started yet. The year is long and it can be tough to get into your stride in January so don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t managed to tackle your to-do list.
Read on for some practical advice from these tech professionals.
“Making a career change requires patience, perseverance and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone,” says Deloitte’s Vipin Tanwar. It can also be “an exciting and challenging endeavour,” adds the director in human capital consulting.
So, it’s not all about to-do lists and worry. Changes are supposed to be positive, so the process of making them should be positive, too. Don’t stress too much.
… And curious
Embrace new technology and ways of working, says Zalando’s Shaelyn Klaus. “The tech industry is ever-evolving and changing rapidly.”
“Key characteristics that stand out are those who are excited, adaptable and eager to face challenges. Thinking outside the box and not being afraid to try something new or make mistakes in the name of failing fast, learning and moving forward” are good things to keep in mind, says the tech talent acquisition cluster lead.
“Before embarking on a career change, take the time to assess your skills, interests and values,” says Tanwar. “Identify your strengths, weaknesses and areas of passion within the realm of technology. This self-reflection will help you better understand what you truly enjoy and excel in, allowing you to align your career choices accordingly.”
Lorna Martyn, regional chair and SVP for technology at Fidelity Investments Ireland advises that people come up with a decent plan of action for self assessment.
“You need to come up with an action plan by completing an audit of your current skillset and understanding any capability gaps between current state and the role you aspire to,” she says.
Her Fidelity Investments colleague, Eimear Coffey, VP for technology management, warns that your skills audit should include what you already know. These are the skills that will stand to you when you’re looking for new opportunities.
“Don’t underestimate what you already know. When transitioning careers, it’s easy to overlook the knowledge and experience you already have. Find the transferrable skills you can bring to your new team – creative thinking, communication skills, leadership skills, even the different mindsets you have because of your unique background can be valuable in your new role.”
Do your research
“Research your preferred roles and speak to people who are working in those areas. Gain an understanding of their career paths, what their day-to-day work looks like, and the skills and knowledge required to excel in the role. Use these conversation ideas as inspiration to set your goals, identify transferrable skills you bring and skill gaps to build your personal profile and action plan,” says Martyn.
Continuously learn and grow
“Commit to continuous learning,” says Klaus. “There are many ways to acquire new knowledge or build upon an existing skillset. Be creative in your approach.
“While online courses, certifications are a great way to enhance your skillset, job shadowing or peer-paired programming give a practical aspect to not only learning something new, but being able to apply it.”
Martyn from Fidelity Investments agrees with thinking outside the box when it comes to continuous learning and upskilling.
“Gain the skills and knowledge required for the roles you would like to apply for. There are many education options out there – it doesn’t have to be a full four-year degree, look for micro-credential courses from reputable providers.”
Tanwar from Deloitte emphasises the need to stay up to date with the latest tech advancements. “Stay curious, adapt to new technologies and enhance your skillset to remain competitive in the job market. A lot of the courses are available for free or at very competitive prices for you to start learning.”
Work on your network
“Building a strong professional network is vital for career growth,” says Tanwar. His advice for how to network? “Connect with individuals in your desired field through networking events, social networking sites, online communities and industry-specific platforms.”
“Seek out mentors who can provide guidance, share their experiences and offer valuable advice. Their insights can be invaluable in navigating your career switch and opening doors to new opportunities.”
Zalando’s Klaus also points out the importance of mentors for making positive changes and helping you grow in your career. She recommends “joining groups or organisations that are related to your skillset or where you would like to grow”.
“Actively participating in meet-ups as an attendee or presenter can assist in establishing relationships within the community. Seeking out informational interviews or a mentor will help you gather insight into career growth and challenges.”