I have recently noticed that coasting has become quite an overall trend – people don’t really need any advancement, simply doing their job and getting their decent income. Programming is much about doing your job for years without changing the titles just because climbing the corporate ladder distracts you from your core job.
Does it mean that not changing your ranks means no need to evolve? I doubt so. That’s why I analyzed the ways to climb the career ladder even without any changes in your title signed on the door.
Visibility and awareness.
Heard anything about personal brands? Good for you if you did, as this is the thing that helps you get a salary raise first in a row. You might be the best among the seniors, but you cannot get promoted if no one knows your name let alone your merits. Teamwork is much like politics, so don’t be surprised if one more talkative guy will once simply get your results and use them for his presentation. So, how can you raise awareness?
Always be in touch with your manager, keeping him/her informed of your achievements or any questions you may have. Make weekly reports, don’t hesitate to speak during sprint calls, and be proactive when issues arise. Some say it bothers managers, forgetting how familiarity with the team perfectly simplifies control and management. Ask for a performance review yourself, and you’ll be surprised how many questions will simply be discussed and resolved in a call.
Don’t hesitate to share your expertise – taking part in onboarding and training sessions help you rearrange your own knowledge, reassess your skills, and show yourself. Yes, by mentoring fledgling colleagues, you present your own leading skills. Doesn’t that sound like a straightforward way to a leadership position?
What you benefit a lot from is public speaking. Contribute your opinions during meetings, conferences, and group calls – there is simply no better way to train yourself on public-speaking, especially for a second language user. Don’t hesitate to disagree; nay-sayers are important when it comes to big decisions. But keep some boundaries in mind as no one needs conflicts.
That’s where we come to the second important step – always come with a solution in your pocket. If it works, you will be that one golden goose to make managers relieved and get the answer they were craving; if not – you can keep it in your head till the next meeting. There’s never too many good solutions.
Sounds dreamy, but it’s always a trouble-shooter who gets promoted or at least enjoys some salary raise. Don’t hesitate to spend an extra minute thinking over a problem others refuse to tackle, as that might be your final point to make the scales tip to your side.
Being proactive with solutions means having those techniques and approaches in mind, and they don’t simply get born there. Should there be only your higher education that matters? Let’s be honest – without a decent scope of practical workshops, tedious conferences, engaging networking sessions, and continuous certifications, it means that you simply were patient enough to get your diploma. That doesn’t make you visible or adds some serendipity to your skills.
If your company pays for some online courses, it could be your chance to choose the certifications you want, and the ones necessary for your development (hopefully the latter is the same as the former). Don’t forget to present your skills and expertise, thus improving your awareness.
Hard skills don’t form your whole universe, so don’t just concentrate on them – improve your soft skills, get some public speaking courses, visit several time-management and self-motivation sessions, especially if you set sights on some leading positions. Getting to know some political strategies for reading about team building will do you a world of good in future even if you choose to stay put.
Have a chance to present your knowledge? Enjoy it fully, as that can be useful for those of your colleagues who haven’t looked in that direction yet. For instance people could ask why you’re creating your own blog when there are numerous developers doing the same. Now simply count your subscription on Telegram or Medium and think what if all of those specialists thought the same? We’ll definitely lack some awesome ideas.
We are all scared to be responsible for some extra job without being extra paid. And that’s where the crux of climbing the career ladder is – in the long term choosing more responsibility over choosing more money is a winning strategy. Of course, if you get decently paid.
If you are ready for some well-respected and probably paid responsibility to take, look off the beaten to the places where no one wants to get lost. Some legacy, refactoring, or missing tests – you won’t face much competition. But imagine you get some fruit out of this swamp and present it as an achievement of yours. That’s where responsibility turns into recognition, and I hope you have already realized why the latter is vital. A thing worth mentioning – be careful with proactive mentoring and extra tasks, watch that they do not overlap with your main tasks and keep an eye on your leisure. Sacrificing all your weekends might not pay off the way you expect. Proper time management and a couple of ambitious goals to motivate yourself will do.
So, to sum it all up, no matter how big your company is, promotion exists in various manifestations, from a mere annual bonus to numerous leading positions. Whether you choose to grow, or just use it as a motivation to develop, don’t hesitate to reassess yourself and compete for at least your yesterday-self.