He who knows others is learned;
He who knows himself is wise.
~Lao-tzu, Tao te Ching
We all need to understand what our strengths and weaknesses are. Do you know where you do your best work? What type environments do you enjoy. If you have free time what do you like to do. I have met quite a few computer programmers and software developers that enjoy tinkering with new program languages or a new software tool in their free time. This is a case where we can see these people have found a great use or their talents.
Recently I was at a software conference called No Fluff Just Stuff and Kenneth Kousen discussed this important topic of Personality Profiles in particular he was talking about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. He spoke about the four scales on which they look at in looking at your personality.
Extroversion – Introversion
Sensing – Intuition
Thinking – Feeling
Judging – Perceiving
Understanding where you are on these different scales can help you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you move to the next step where you can match your abilities with the opportunities you have available to you.
There can be a stereotype of IT people that they are all introverts and avoid human interaction. That is short sighted and doesn’t take in consideration all the roles in IT. Business Analyst gather requirements from various stakeholders must be comfortable talking with people as well as Team Leaders who lead meetings and collaborate with their staff.
One good question Mr. Kousen asked in his presentation in regards to the first scale is where do you draw your energy? Extroverts live for interaction where introverts will become tired in these same situations and will need time alone to recharge their batteries.
On the Sensing and Intuition scale, this relates to how you look at information, do you need step by step directions or do you need a big picture understanding to develop a pattern. Thinking and Feeling breakdown in the fact that the thinking approach will make decisions based on facts. One who is uses the feeling approach will make a “gut” decision, they like to experience both sides of the decision.
The last scale in the personality profile is the Judging and Perceiving. This breakdowns on how you make decisions. A person with judging traits will look at something and make a decision very quickly. A perceiving person with hold off on making a decision and will have more of an open mind.
Kenneth told us a story about two co-workers he had. The first person had judging traits, they had a clean desk and would work on one thing at a time. The second person had perceiving traits and would always rarely commit to a decision and had a very messy desk. Where do you fall in these scales?
Another part of your inventory is looking at your career experience. Perhaps you’re like me and you have worked in another field and have skills that could help you when you get into IT. Sometimes people may have bounced around to a lot of different jobs and are looking at a career change. Look at all the jobs and pick out some of the things you liked and some of the things you didn’t like. Note those as you begin to explore opportunities coming up.