The Engineer: Setting Career Goals

Hello Everyone! Hope you all are having a good week, month, year! My last post, I talked about the goals that I have for 2020 and broke them all down by what I'm trying to achieve professionally and personally. This week, we decided that we were going go more in depth to talk about how to set goals in your career.

Setting goals in your career can be somewhat difficult especially in the context of working for someone else. If you're just starting your career, it's really difficult to really say what exactly what you want to do when you really don't know what's all your options are or even have a full grasp of what you don't like or what you do like. If you're in the middle of your career you have more of a grasp of what you do and don't want to do but then you're left wondering what's next? And if you're more senior, you may be asking yourself, how can you make sure you're feeling utilized while making an impact? Here are some of my questions to ask yourself when determining what your career goals:

What do you want to learn?

This doesn't have to be technical skills like programming languages or methodologies it could also be soft skills like mentorship, people development or communication. Making a general list of those things will at least create a solid framework to really help pin-point where you want to go next.

What can you learn within your current organizational structure?

Some of your career aspirations can happen within your current team and you just need to speak up? Do you want to learn managerial skills? As to take lead on a project. Want to build upon a certain technical skill? Make sure you're doing projects that allow you to build upon those skills. Speaking with your manager or even your teammates to see what opportunities within your current team will really set the tone.

What do you want to learn that is outside of your organizational structure?

Your team may not fulfill all your needs but it doesn't have to! Interested in getting a particular certification? Sign up for a course! Want to learn a new technology? Start a side project. You may not have much time to do outside work, but if you do, take advantage of it! Also, some companies may allow foundational time which will allow you to do the work on something completely outside of your realm which is great avenue for you to achieve those goals!

What does the company/team care about?

For all of those aspiring to get promoted, this is especially for you. The more senior you get into your career it becomes a lot more about the impact that you have within the organization. Also, at any level it's important that you understand why you're doing from your level to C-suite level. Make sure you're asking those questions and make sure you're aligning yourself to projects that are interesting to you but also give you the recognition that you deserve!

When making goals for your career it doesn't have to just be you figuring out how you're going to achieve them. Talk to your manager and make sure you all are on the same page and work with them to find the opportunities for you to achieve them.

What are some of your career goals for 2020? Let me know on twitter, instagram or facebook!