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Career Development for the Technical professional

Professional development for technical professionals can be challenging when the skills that are in demand change constantly. When I first began developing web applications early in my career I only needed to know some basic JavaScript to validate forms for the medical application I was working on. Today JavaScript has become an important part of web applications with the many JavaScript frameworks out there to choose and use.

As you look forward to 2016 think about what skills you will need in the coming year and beyond. As we look at what job we want to have in the next few years. Sam started his career in mainframe development but, he wanted to get into mobile programming. So he began by reading some books and then taking a few classes online. He realized how he could do this on the side and started making applications for small companies and a few colleges. The small steps paid off as Sam was able to leave mainframe development as he had hoped.

Know where you want to go

Sam did some research to figure out where he wanted to go. It took a little time but, Sam was able to get into the new field he wanted. Diane had been a business analyst for a few years and wanted to move into management. She talked to her leader and they were able to identify ways she could get exposure to management and become part of the corporate mentoring program. After a few years, she got the opportunity she was looking for.

Needed Skills

Sam and Diane needed new skills to get into the new positions they wanted. As you may have guessed Sam had to develop some new technical skills to get into mobile development. Diane needed more soft skill development. As a career coach that works a lot with technical professionals, I see the focus on technical skills and a lack of soft skills. That is why I created the program called, “Success Skills for the Information Technology professional.”

Technical Skills

With the flurry of changes and new versions, there can always be something new for us to learn. For instance, if you are Database Administrator there is always a new version with changes to learn. Also with the cloud technologies that can put something new to learn for all of us involved too. As you look to 2016 what new technical skills do you need? Have you taken some time to research and understand what is the new popular technologies? You have some time before the end of the year identify five new technologies to research. Once you are done you can pick one or two to add to your career development plan.

Soft Skills

Although we are talking about soft skills last they are not less important. The soft skill development of technical professionals is the stuff of infamy. Nick Burns is a character Jimmy Fallon created on Saturday Night Live. The main character is quite abrasive to all the co-workers. I have seen this type of behavior before.

Other soft skills most technology professionals need to work on are collaboration and communication. Technology professionals will understand some of the technical challenges but, don’t always understand the business issues too. Taking time to understand the how the business and technology can work together can help collaboration.

Another challenge can be the communication with other parts of the organization. Many technology people are painfully shy, they try to get around personal interaction. I once worked with a teammate who thought we should email him all the requirements instead of him having to come to meetings.  What soft skills are you lacking?  Get ready for 2016 by developing your career plan.

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