Career Advice

Here is a list of career advice that I have collected in my notebook over the years. I recently shared it with an intern at work and thought it would be easier if I could just send them a link to it rather than pasting it in an email.

  • Communication – there is nothing more important to your success than being able to communicate effectively.
  • Mentorship – Have a solid mentor or mentorship network. Provide mentorship to others.
  • You need to know when to ask for help.
  • Problem solving – be more cautious, thoughtful, pragmatic, practical and simple in your approaches to solving problems.
  • Experience – volunteer for new opportunities even if you don’t have the experience. You will rely on your ability to learn, your relationships, and your ability to communicate effectively to be successful in any situation.
  • Create standards in all aspects of your life – don’t do the same work over and over again. Do the research, make a decision, document the decision, and reuse that decision in the future. As new information is presented you can reevaluate your decision to see if it is still the right choice.
  • Never stop learning – information is growing at a faster rate every year. The only constant in life is change. Invest In your education. Don’t be afraid to spend some money to make more money. Learning is the greatest investment you can make.
  • Think Business First, Technology Second – There is no such thing as an ‘IT project.’ There are only business projects with an IT component. Employees who understand the link between technology and its impact on the business are in incredibly high demand.
  • Make your goals known – Make it known at your place of work, especially to those who make decisions: “I want to be a senior developer”. If you don’t tell people that this is the path you want, they probably won’t just assume it.
  • Get your work recognized – This is from a great post by Julia Evans. She says “write a brag document. There’s this idea that, if you do great work at your job, people will (or should!) automatically recognize that work and reward you for it with promotions / increased pay. In practice, it’s often more complicated than that – some kinds of important work are more visible/memorable than others. It’s frustrating to have done something really important and later realize that you didn’t get rewarded for it just because the people making the decision didn’t understand or remember what you did. Maintain a “brag document” that lists everything so you can share it with your manager and your peers.”
  • Writing – writing helps you clarify your thoughts. Writing helps you to look back and reflect on how you have changed. Writing is the most effective way to share information broadly and asynchronously. Share your writing publicly such as with a blog. Document your knowledge, standards, goals, accomplishments, failures, lessons learned, and random thoughts.

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