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Accelerating Your Career


Accelerating Your Career

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Accelerating Your Career

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Raju Lalvani
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The first step would be to master the current development platform you are working on before spending time on other skills. With each development platform gettiing bloated with features it takes years to get a grip on the platform
jay-h
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I really agree with the advice to work on a practical skill outside your area.

It's too easy to become completely walled in a silo. If you wait till you've 'fully mastered' your field, you will never get the opportunity to expand (and to land on your feed when the landscape changes). The ability to understand and functionally contribute to cross discipline issues is more valuable to employment then simply a deep knowledge of one domain.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
lshanahan
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Maybe it's little old me, but I was surprised at the very least at the statement: "Having knowledge about the way your business works, the way they use data, or solve a problem, could be valuable in your existing job."

To me, that simply isn't "valuable", it's downright critical. I'm a relative newcomer to the development/DBA world, but I've always taken to heart something my wife tells me over and over: "I don't care how it works, I just want it to WORK and help me get done what I'm tryng to do." End users really don't care if you have a beautiful 4th-normal-form transactional database feeding into a Kimball-style dimensional data warehouse, they just want the sales figures for last quarter so they can get the forecast done for the boss.

People are the ultimate consumers of data. Maybe it's because I'm more of the self-taught "accidental" DBA with a great deal of end-user support experience (both in IT and out) that usually the first thing I ask someone who comes to me with an issue is: "What are you trying to do?" It helps me understand not just the problem, but some of what a person does in thier job and how they do it. It also helps me weed out situations that aren't technology related. I have no problem telling someone that they really have a procedural problem and not a technical one, and nothing I can design will help. Or I may tell them they really can accomplish what they're trying to do in Excel rather than the complication and expense of developing a database (or whatever).

IT in all its various forms, is about one thing: PEOPLE. You can take years and master all the platforms you want, but if you design a solution that doesn't help your users do thier jobs without jumping through hoops, they won't use it. Besides, working on a concrete problem is often a great way TO master various technologies.

It may be a little corny, but there was a movie that came out a number of years ago called "Robots". A phrase repeated over and over in it was, "See a need, fill a need." In my present job, we have several independent systems and I've been working with ways to use SQL Server and SSIS to find ways of cross-checking the data in them because I found so many errors and inconsistencies. My boss - who didn't know I was doing this - actually came to me the other day and asked me to compare certain data across a couple of them. My solution wasn't anywhere near production-ready, but it was far enough along I could hand him a report within a couple of hours. Now we're looking to develop this further and use it on a regular basis to catch these and correct them proactively instead of waiting for a problem to develop.

I realize people work in situations where they may not have this kind of flexibility at work, but I'm certain there are opportunities in the community or elsewhere you may be able to put your skills to work. Working part-time or as a volunteer with a local school, government or non-profit is a good way to get out of the rut and expand both technical and non-technical skills. I'm sure others could come up with other ideas.

I yield the soapbox...

____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
Steve Jones
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Raju Lalvani (4/23/2013)
The first step would be to master the current development platform you are working on before spending time on other skills. With each development platform gettiing bloated with features it takes years to get a grip on the platform


You don't need to master any platform, IMHO. Any particular job seems only to use a fraction. However you do want to get good at your craft.

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Steve Jones
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lshanahan (4/23/2013)
Maybe it's little old me, but I was surprised at the very least at the statement: "Having knowledge about the way your business works, the way they use data, or solve a problem, could be valuable in your existing job."

To me, that simply isn't "valuable", it's downright critical. I'm a relative newcomer to the development/DBA world, but I've always taken to heart something my wife tells me over and over: "I don't care how it works, I just want it to WORK and help me get done what I'm tryng to do."


People are important, but learning the business and working in different departments isn't critical. The vast majority of our workforce doesn't do this and many do their jobs well.

However, if you want to get your career moving faster, then you need to do more. More could be working with people in your group, or it could be working in other parts of the business.

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Miles Neale
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A number of years back I spoke with a consultant from company X. He asked what I was doing to further my career. I told him and his reaction was to hammer on me to be far more active in driving my career where I thought it should go. He said that he spent about 50% of his work time preparing for or looking for his next step and that he felt that if he spent more than 2 years in one place that he was a loser and was going no where.

I have seen many over the years gain a position with their mouth and "image" that their skills and abilities cannot keep them. They rise quickly and often fall just as fast or stagnate. Better to rise according to your skills and abilities and sustain the growth forward. It is not that you rise quickly, it is that you build the foundation of skills, abilities, wisdom, and maturity that will be solid enough and broad enough to support where you really want to go.

I also have seen those who keep building the foundation without seeking the upward mobility that is offered to them. We must keep our eyes, ears, and options open to move upward as we should. We owe it to ourselves and to those who know and love us.

M.

Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!
lshanahan
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Hey, this is just little old me over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery, but I've seen far too many end users whose job is made harder by the solution they have to use and find other, easier ways to get the job done. There have also been times I've mentioned users' struggles with a given solution to a developer and they are totally clueless that anybody would find it difficult or that it winds up causing extra work.

For the most part, everything IT does or creates ultimately affects someone and how they do their job, whether we work for them or beside them. Sure, people can do their jobs *well* without the exposure, but as the editorial points out, data is often dealt with as a "widget" with little thought as to someone actually will end up using this widget.

To me, part of doing my job well means understanding (as much as possible in a given situation) my customers, internal or external, be they my boss, my co-worker, another department or a paying client. This goes a bit beyond just participating with other departments (which I wholeheartedly endorse).

Again, just my little $0.02.

____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
JJ B
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Ishanahan: Exactly!
jay-h
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Miles Neale (4/23/2013)
...he felt that if he spent more than 2 years in one place that he was a loser and was going no where.



There are pros and cons to the short and long term views, sometimes stability is a criteria.

Interestingly I was having a discussion with a co-worker just a few minutes ago, and she dug out an old photo of her here back in 1977, also in that same photo is another worker who is still in this department. And they're not the only ones.

...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
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