This post is inspired by Ted talk of Raghava KK where he talked about his personal 200 years plan and motivating people to think of having their own plan as well. Obviously this topic is broad in nature with combination of what you want to achieve in life, what you can contribute to world for which generations would remember you, etc. etc. But from personal life to professional life, I thought to try and draw a parallel line for those who are at early stage of the Technology career path and ask them what their next (200 years :)) 10 years professional plan is?
I wish I could recommend longer duration plan but unfortunately we are technology Architects and though we can have some plan it definitely cannot be more than 10 years. So let me ask you – What is your 10 years technology career plan?
If you are an Architect and do not have any concrete plan (do not worry – you will find many around you in similar situation) your career is at the mercy of circumstances around you. Circumstances would include random opportunities you get into, demand-supply situations where you just meet tactical demand of an hour, your boss’ views on your capabilities, ongoing interests you may develop on hyped technologies, personal limitations, and so on so forth… Are you serious about being an Architect? If you are, you have to spend “some” time defining where you can invest your time and accomplish concrete things in next say 10 calendar years.
Obviously every individual must have very personalized career plan but here is an attempt listing down few areas which you may want to have in your plan –
1. My previous post on 10 steps learning pyramid for Architects and Technologies identifies few learning areas and can be considered for planning exercise as appropriate. The “introspection” aspect can help in understanding as-is state and help in areas to be improved.
2.Do you have a role model whom you would like to be in next 10 years? If not, have someone acting as your role model. Your mentor, industry leader, accomplished technologist or some technology tycoon could be your role model. Follow mentor and dream regularly to be like him/her.
3.Decide whether you want to be a generalist or specialist? Sooner you close this dilemma better for you. You cannot be both! Both the paths are time and energy consuming so plan your journey now.
4.In case you believe in industry certifications, you will have to plan appropriate certifications aligned with your journey and put efforts to achieve those.
5.Understand business as much as possible and in depth as possible as you can. The common complaint on Technologists is they are biased with technology and do not understand business point of view. Sooner you understand business, better for you to build career aligned with real world.
6. Get global experience to meet and understand client requirements first hand. Be closer to client as much as possible.
7. Build Technology thought leadership through hands on experience. As you grow in corporate ladder it gets difficult to get hands-on experience, but try to be as closer to technology. Read latest technology happenings along with your morning news-paper, discuss with smart colleagues, build your point of views based on certain facts and participate in technology meetings as many as you can.
8. Build external network – how many people you know in the industry as well as how many of them know you? External network is important not just for job search; it is must for mind share and meaningful discussions as well.
9. Be a great mentor to the ones who need you. As you grown in next 10 years, you can be a mentor to others. Try to be a great mentor and help someone else build their careers.
10. Participate in Open Source Software (OSS) movement and own / participate in certain projects (based on your organization policies and rules). It can give great joy knowing what you are creating is being used by people around globe.
11. Be part of certain industry leading organizations as a member or forum owner to learn outside view of where industry is going.
12. Most of the organizations have specific designations based on experience levels and seniority levels. Designations and roles you perform are different things. Plan your journey for role than designations. Designations are deceptive, roles are not 🙂
13. Stick to company as far as you are enjoying what you are doing. It is hard to define happiness but define your own happiness level and be focused. With concrete plan, right organization and right opportunities you can build strong career.
14. Be loyal to the technology career path :)… there will be interruptions, attractions and deviations but stick to your journey and you will not repent after 10 years seeing where you are.
15. Philosophical thought but valid one – Rat race is everywhere. You should not get into one to get tired at the end of 10th year. Even if a rat wins race, it is still a rat and not a lion. You should be the one who people would respect with what you are and what you can do. Not at what level you are and what designation you hold 🙂
What else would you recommend to have in the plan?