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Choosing a Career

By Steve Jones,

This was a short week in the US with the Thanksgiving holiday. This is a time when many people in the US have a long holiday weekend and often get together with family for some time away from work. It's also a tradition for many people to "give thanks" to the blessings and people in their life. It's a good time to reflect and appreciate the things that go well for you.

That doesn't mean that many, or even most, of us aren't looking to grow our careers. For some of us, that may mean moving into a new field. Is that a good decision? Will we like the day to day work? Those are tough questions, and while you might be enamored with some technology as a hobby, when you do the work every day, things aren't always the same. I've certainly seen this with friends and colleagues that have dramatically changed the lives into a completely new field. What is fun a few hours a week may not be as interesting when it's a 40-50 hour a week grind.

At SQLServerCentral, we often see posts where a community member asks if they should learn x or y. Should they move into a new career, or what's it like working as a person that does z? Those are good questions, and I ran across a nice blog post from Dev Nambi on what it's like being a data scientist. If you're interested in data science, this is a nice list of notes about his job, but even if you were thinking about becoming an HA specialist, or Power BI report writer, or something else, the post talks about things that make impressions with his job. I'd like to hear more about how others would answer some of these questions about their own work. I need to do some of this myself.

There are also a few very good items that I wanted to highlight. First, Dev notes that you don't learn everything in school and there is more to work than is learned in school. That being said, there are core concepts to understand. I think this is true in most fields. We need some good base knowledge, but there is more than that knowledge. We need to learn how to put concepts and requirements together, as well as continue to ask good probing questions about the task.

The other item that is pointed out a few ways is teamwork. Communication skills, including body language and humor, are important. We are social creatures and while I think having a variety of skills, views, and ideas is important, we need to get along with each other. We need teamwork within an organization, but for our careers, we also need a team of people to help us. That's our network. Those skills are important for all of us, no matter what the job.

If you want to move into a new role and grow your career, you have options. You can use schooling, you can try to grow in your role, or you can learn things on your own and apply for new positions. They all work, but they all have some drawbacks as well. They also all require effort and motivation, so if you want to make a change, set some learning goals, and start working. Making strides in a direction will help you grow and get you closer to your goals.

 
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