Updated: Jan 22, 2020
You decided to join the Technology Industry, Congratulations! The Tech Industry is the fastest growing sector and with ample opportunities. To such an extent that it can actually make you feel lost and confused. So let’s see how you can create an effective career roadmap to navigate with confidence in your professional life.
If you want to know where you should go in your professional life, you have to know first where you are coming from. It’s like when you use an itinerary planner in your everyday life: you first need to inform the starting point and the destination to work out the fastest route. It’s the same for your career planning. To figure out the best way to plan your career, you need to know who you are and the direction that you wanna take.
1) Ok So what is that starting point?
You are the starting point. Where you start has nothing to do with things that you have done before because those things belong to the past. What really determines your future is who you are right now in that present moment. You are a very important – actually you are the most important factor – for your career progression.
Take a moment to think about who you are. Who is your true (I term it) Authentic self? Your authentic self is a unique combination of your values, passions, personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, emotional and technical skills, knowledge, experiences, dreams and aspirations in life and so on.. Just by gathering information about yourself, you will have a clearer image of who you are as a person and who you are not. You will be able to discern what is relevant to you and what is not. And you will be able to spot the right opportunities aligned with who you are and what you want to achieve, and discard the wrong ones which will lead you to a dead-end.
In the best of all possible worlds, we know ourselves, we are aligned with our Authentic Self and therefore the ideal career pathways appear clear and straight forward. At times however, some may lose belief in oneself. This can happen when we lack confidence or self-esteem or when we experience insecurities. In these cases, we momentarily forgot who we really are. And if we forget who we are, we also forget what we can achieve.
Have you ever try to reach a destination when your electronic devise indicates that you have no signal? When your apps don’t know where you are? That’s the same situation for your career planning. If you lose a sense of who you are, you will not be able to reach any of your destinations by the fastest route.
Knowing yourself and be aligned with your Authentic Self are the initial requirements for any career move. When you know yourself, you can sustain a bullet-proof confidence in yourself, in your skills and in your potential. And when you are aligned with your Authentic self, you don’t feel the need to copy other people because you know your worth and you trust that “your way can be the way”.
2) Right...And where should you go then?
I will make a clear distinction between career goals and purpose. You can have different goals all along your professional life and they will keep changing as you progress in your career but your purpose will always stay the same. That is why ideally, you should find your purpose before setting your career goals, to have a key thread which will give you structure and logic. As an example, you may want to work in Cybersecurity (your career goal) to make the Internet a safer place for people and businesses (your purpose). You may also be thinking reaching a leadership position in the next 5 years (your career goal) to contribute to a better work and ethical culture in Tech companies, or raise the challenges of Human values or Social impact in the Tech Industry (your purpose). Your purpose will be your driver to apply to some specific jobs and the guiding thread in your professional life. Even if the job title or job description presented in a job vacancy is not exactly what you are looking for, you can still be happy to consider applying for it. Not only that position could turn out to be a stepping stone toward your career goals but it would be for sure an opportunity to fulfil your purpose. When the exact career goal that you set up for yourself is not here, your purpose is what will make you keep going, trying, progress and stay motivated. And later on, when you will have finally reached that first career goal, it’s very likely that you will set up another one for the next 5 years. But the core of your purpose, your real motivation will always be the same.
3) Great, now how can you plan build your career roadmap?
Now that you know who you are and where you want to go, you have calibrated your career trip planner to point you toward the right pathways for you. And here are 5 tips that will help you navigate through your career roadmap:
1) Define small stopovers and bigger destinations
Whatever you have already defined your career goals or not, identify tangible smaller targets. Maybe right now you don't know yet where you want to go later in your career and that is completely fine but do not stagnate, stay in motion. Keep learning things of interest and which make you grow as a person even if you don't have clarity on where you wanna go. Keep building your knowledge and your skills to refine your Starting point and you will have a better idea of your potential destination. If you already have a pretty good idea of your target, It's important to break down your bigger challenge in smaller short and medium term goals. In both case you will develop a feeling of constant progress and enjoy having that small taste of success. And if you already have your career goals set up, you can even feel and visualise that you are getting closer to your finish line and that will motivate you to keep going.
2) Make sure you have enough energy for the whole trip.
Your inner strength is made of 3 main things: your self-confidence, your self-esteem and your mindset. This is what is going to keep you energised and resourceful all along your career path. That road is not going to be a linear one. It's definitely heading up but challenges and surprises are going to increase; and that is what keeps the journey interesting! The good news is that you are in power and you have full responsibility to keep your energy level up and running. The only thing which can affect its level is yourself. Have faith in yourself and your skills, be proud and honour the unique person that you are, have a positive mindset which will reveal doors of opportunities rather than dead ends.
3) Keep an eye on the forecast
Whenever you go on a trip, you will probably agree that it's better to look at the weather to prepare yourself accordingly, right? Well it's the same for your professional journey. It's great to know where you go, what you want to do and have a bulletproof confidence in yourself. But you cannot control external factors which can impact your career path. What you can do is monitor them and prepare your response to them. You can keep an eye on the market, trends, latest innovation, skills getting higher in demands and the ones which are getting obsolete…. And prepare yourself accordingly.
4) Refresh the itinerary whenever necessary
If you check your itinerary planner regularly, you will realise that your itinerary is not something engraved in stone. 30 minutes after starting your journey, your physical position has already changed and the options to reach your destination will be different too. And it's the same for you career roadmap. As you constantly change as a person with new skills, new knowledge, readjusting your personality traits, discovering new aspect of yourself and so on, your starting point inevitably changes too. As you are always in motion as a person, your best itinerary to reach your goal can be updated to the infinite at each one of your step and provide you with countless choices. So to keep growing the number of options available to you, make sure to update your starting point and keep investing in yourself.
5) Stay grounded to stay in control
When you imagine yourself navigating in your career roadmap, do you have a higher perspective like if you were using a plane or are you closer to the ground like if you were walking or driving? By plane, you can see the bigger picture and stay focus, ignoring the smallest distractions. But what if the place where you are finally landing is not what you were expecting? You couldn’t see that coming because a plane doesn’t allow you to see the details which can make a difference. While the balance of perspective is important, staying grounded allows you to be closer to the reality of what is happening in your field and give you the flexibility to make the necessary adjustments to reach your goals with no surprise.
So what is your career Roadmap looking like at the moment? Do you have more clarity about what you should do for your career? Before reaching out for external help and read pages of articles from Career advisors, your first source of information and advice should come from yourself because you know yourself best, you are the expert. Stop the endless self-talk, quiet your mind, stay in silence and let the voice of your inner Wisdom communicate with you. Never forget that you are the leader of your own change so check out those 10 best tips to be your own Career Coach.