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How to Create a Career Development Plan

Managing your IT career helps maximize your happiness and success. Because you invest so much of your adult life by working, you want to make the most of your time. Having a plan helps you set milestones and accomplish your professional goals.

Use these tips to develop a plan for your IT career.

Start with Your Current Role

Think about where you are now. For instance, make a list of your skills, strengths, and experience. Also, include what you enjoy doing most, what gives you energy, and what keeps you motivated. Additionally, focus on whether you prefer leading, collaborating, or working independently. Plus, consider whether you have finished your education or would like additional certifications or degrees.

Include Your Destination

Figure out where you want your career to lead. For instance, think about what you want to be doing in 5 to 10 years. Then, focus on where you want to be in shorter increments. Also, decide whether you will be with the same employer in a more senior role, at another company, or in an entirely new career. Be sure your goals align with what motivates you the most.

Analyze Your Gaps

Use your career goals for the next 2 to 5 years to find postings for the type of job you want. See whether you have the education, skills, experience, and requirements for each role. Next, rate your list of education, skills, and experience against the job requirements. Use 1 to indicate no match between yourself and the requirement and 5 to indicate an excellent match. The lower the rating, the more time and energy you will need to invest in improvement. Then, group together the common skills and experiences you have a solid background in and those that require additional development. This shows the type of education, skills, and experience you should focus on.

Develop Your Career Plan

Use your list of the education, skills, and experience you need to develop to create your career goals for the next few years. Start by creating tasks related to each item and how you will achieve it. For instance, if you want to learn specific software, you could ask a colleague to show you or take a class. Then, organize a timeline for a logical direction in which to reach your goals. Begin with the short-term tasks you can quickly achieve, such as reading a book, before moving to the long-term goals, such as earning a master’s degree. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Give yourself start and end dates with milestones in between.

Measure Your Progress

Hold yourself accountable for making progress toward your goals. For instance, keep track of how your results align with your deadlines. Also, find ways to get back on course when needed. Additionally, revise your deadlines accordingly. Plus, celebrate your successes along the way.

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Move forward in your IT career with help from RightStone. Visit our job board today.


New Year, New You: How to Set Career Goals For 2020

2020 has finally arrived, which means that working professionals across the country are thinking about the personal resolutions and career goals that they’ll endeavor to work towards in the new year. Setting career goals for yourself early on in the new year is critically important: it will provide you with a clearer vision of success towards which you can aspire to, which can, in turn, provide you with real and focused motivation to be at your best on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, it can be tricky to establish goals for the upcoming year that are simultaneously ambitious and practical.

Four tips for setting strong career goals in 2020:

1. Reflect on your values.

The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to think deeply about what you truly value, both in your personal life and in your career. Is your current professional trajectory aimed in a direction that will allow you to continue to build upon those values? If not, it may be worthwhile to set goals for the new year which focus on integrating your values into your work.

 

2. Work towards a balance between your career and your life that you’ll be satisfied with.

It’s important, obviously, to be ambitious in your career goals. If you’re not aiming at a position or a pay grade that is loftier than your current role, then what’s the real point of setting annual goals for yourself at all? At the same time, it’s important to set career goals for yourself that, once realized, will not too dramatically interfere with your personal life. The definition of an ideal work/life balance will vary from person to person, so it’s therefore important for each individual to reflect on what career goals might yield maximum satisfaction for them in the long run.

 

3. Make goals that are S.M.A.R.T

    • Specific. Your goals should be clearly-defined, articulated, and written down.
    • Measurable. You should have a metric or criteria by which you can track your success.
    • Achievable. Will it be possible for you to achieve this goal within the next year?
    • Are your goals conducive to your longer-term professional aspirations?
    • Time-sensitive. Your goals should always come with a realistic deadline.

 

4. Build a plan.

Just like any New Year’s resolution, a career goal for 2020 won’t be attainable unless you break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, let’s say that you’re really aiming at receiving a promotion by the end of this year. That’s a great end result to strive towards, but it can only be realized at the end of a much longer series of daily, weekly, and monthly wins. It’s crucial, therefore, to continuously ask yourself: what can I accomplish this month, this week, today, or even in this moment that will result in me moving closer to the realization of my long-term goal?

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At RightStone, our goal is to help IT candidates achieve their loftiest goals. To find out more about how you can level-up in your career, check out our jobs page.


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