Key aspects to ensure your career growth

Beyond Senior Java Developer: Securing Your IT Career 

In the framework of Devoxx Ukraine 2022: Secure Our Future, multiple speakers, including experienced developers, architects, and Java champions from various countries, shared their expertise with participants of the conference. Bruno Souza, Developer at SouJava, and a keynote speaker at Devoxx Ukraine delivered an online presentation for Java Developers on how to secure career growth and be successful in the IT market.  

We face challenges in our lives every single day. Whilst sometimes we cannot control some situations, we can control how we react to them and what we do to fix or plan certain things. Securing our careers is one of the most urgent issues in a turbulent and very dynamic world, to which we need to adjust promptly. Hence, to plan for our growth, we need to identify our career opportunities – be it technical or management career – and ways to improve to become better specialists. 

In order to ensure your recognition and career growth, you need to build the following key components that will guarantee your success and recognition: 

  • reputation; 
  • trust; 
  • visibility.  

Once you build a good reputation in the IT sector, you will be respected in the market, and other specialists will be willing to work with you. Having a solid reputation is fundamental, and most often it is not the good work you do, but your good image that defines your major successes. Once you have an established reputation, you will be treated with respect and understanding even when you make mistakes. Additionally, when you are recognized on the market, you will get great job offers from various companies and will choose the best options for yourself. A good reputation combines multiple aspects, including high quality of work, well-developed skills, and making sure people know about you.  

As a rule, you have a good reputation, because people trust you. Trust is another key element to secure your technical career or be successful as a manager. It is based mainly on communication, honesty, good work, and readiness to help other people. When you share what you know, people will be aware of your expertise and will trust you for that. Once the other specialists need something you know, they will come to you and not someone else. Your recognition and success, based on established trust, will pave the road for your good reputation. However, it is important to understand that people cannot trust you if they do not see your good work.  

Ensuring your visibility is fundamental, as others should be aware of what you do. If the other IT specialists do not see you, you will not get all the necessary recognition and trust. Your current company is the best place to increase your visibility and improve your reputation, as your colleagues know you and your work, and it is easy for you to get their trust. However, it is also crucial to get visible and build your reputation outside your company. Hence, you can work with amazing people in your team and company and expand your limits to the scale of your city, country, or the whole world. Once you have established trust and reputation outside your company, you will get amazing offers from other workplaces and can choose to work for them, if you would like to.  

In order to establish trust and a good reputation, you need to gain and practice skills, required for a certain technical or management position. However, as soon as you develop such skills, you need to become visible and pave the road for your career growth. Ensuring visibility also implies networking and talking to IT specialists at your company. You can discuss their success stories and ask for advice on what your future endeavors should be to reach their level. Once you become visible, you start building your reputation. You can be assigned additional tasks, which will show that you have talents for more advanced positions. It is very beneficial to draw attention to the IT experts you would like to work with in the future. You can bring yourself into the spotlight by joining their open-source projects to provide help for them initially. After seeing your expertise and aspirations, they will develop trust in you and might offer to work together further on. 

An efficient approach that will help you build an amazing career is the Golden Circle Concept, developed by Simon Sinek. It is represented by three circles inside one another that include the main questions that define your future career. The inner circle contains the question “Why?” and by answering it you will understand your purpose and motivation for your career growth. The circle around it has the question “How?”, and helps you define specific actions and processes that need to be taken to realize your “Why”. The outer circle contains the question “What?”. Once you know why you do things and how you do them, you can answer what your end result will be, and pursue the career that will suit you most. 

Quite often, we think that technical issues are the biggest challenges in our careers, and we focus on them. We usually have good knowledge and technical expertise in software development and programming. We know how to work with cross-functional teams and solve technical issues. However, oftentimes, we do not apply the same strategies to our personal development and career growth. In order to secure your IT career, you need to reflect on your aspirations and achievements and define your goals and areas that need to be improved. It is important for you to understand whether you want to grow as a manager or retain your technical career. Additionally, you should also identify the obstacles that might possibly prevent you from achieving your goals – be it a lack of knowledge or certain skills.  

Communication is important to build various processes throughout your technical and management career. In order to scale communication inside the team, it is recommended to apply Conway’s law. It states that the system conforms to the organization – whether your team works as a development monolith in the same room, or whether it is a microservice with a distributed team. According to Conway’s law, communication means utilized in the team will have an impact on the project architecture, as well as the quality and the way we develop a certain software product. The approach adopted to building communication in a distributed team is like the way software development is scaled when certain processes are divided into parts and assigned to different teams. In microservice, you have several teams consisting of a certain number of people working on their own piece of software. The more specialists are engaged, the more developed the functionality, and the more sophisticated the product gets. However, the initial communication will happen among the people in smaller teams, and then those teams will be interfacing with other teams. This is the baseline of communication in the microservice structure. By building multiple distributed systems operating in parallel, we use the required manpower to develop diverse solutions and serve our customers.  

Working in a team of people at a company is supposed to be safe and compared to a family feeling. In cases, when you do not like your company or certain processes when you do not feel safe to ask questions or make mistakes, and when there is no trust, you will not be able to do good work and advance in your career. If such situations emerge, you need to answer the question “Why do you do certain things?” and seek safety at the workplace. You need to connect with people and companies that believe in what you believe because this will create the expected sense of security. This underlines the importance of being visible on the market so that you get to choose the company, whose values match yours.  

The IT sector offers a variety of options for career growth in the technical and management spheres. The career growth path is individual, and only you know what suits you better, and what your preferences are. Nevertheless, the reputation-trust-visibility formula lies at the core of every career success story in the IT industry, and therefore, should be applied by you, if you want to advance in your career. When you have these three important components in your arsenal, you become very competitive in the market. The more visible you become, the more you will improve your skills, and the more people will trust you so that you can build an impeccable reputation! 

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