If you’ve graduated or are nearing the completion of your tech degree, you’ve probably been thinking a lot about how to succeed professionally. One thing to recognize is that success takes time. A big heave-ho isn’t going to immediately catapult you to the top of the corporate ladder.
Also, professional success requires a multi-pronged approach. There are many things that can contribute to the success or failure of your career.
Planning for Success in the Tech Industry
The transition from academia to the professional world can prove awkward and challenging. However, your degree is the first step toward success.
Some graduates, unfortunately, believe that their degree alone will lead to the easy life. This group receives quite the wake-up call when they figure out that nothing in life is easy and that you must work for everything.
Others, however, have the right idea. Somewhere along the line, they’ve figured out that life is an ongoing process of working towards their goals, and they plan accordingly, while others need time to figure out exactly where they fit in the world before eventually succeeding in life.
In part, a rough transition into the workforce occurs because parents and students don’t think about important career-oriented activities during high school and college years. For example, internships and extracurricular activities can help job hopefuls gain an advantage over competing professionals in the future.
In addition, it’s important to note what not to do. As an example, studies show that more than 94-percent of employers intend to recruit using social media. This makes it essential to be mindful of your online activities. Don’t post things that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
There’s an intense demand for skilled professionals across many industries and fields. This is great news for college graduates. However, employers have high expectations for tomorrow’s job candidates.
Business leaders expect graduates to hit the ground running. Training is a huge expense – and one of the first ways that employers seek to cut costs. Resultantly, the workforce of tomorrow is faced with a much steeper learning curve compared to their predecessors. This new environment can make it difficult for graduates to land their first job.
Choose Your Jobs Wisely
Everyone needs to earn a living, but it’s also important to think about the quality of your work experience. You want a job that stimulates your mind and motivates you to excel.
Once you’ve landed a job, do a gut check. In other words, ask yourself how you feel about your work. If you’re sincerely excited and interested in your job, you’ve probably picked a winner. Also, you should feel that you’re genuinely competent in your role once you’re settled in.
Building competence starts from day one. Your probationary period is no time to be shy. Ask as many questions as possible. Forget about appearances and wanting to appear knowledgeable. Employers have much more respect for workers who are willing to acknowledge their weaknesses and work towards improvement.
If you’ve done all these things and aren’t satisfied with the job, it’s time for deep introspection. After a long, hard look at your situation, it may be time to decide to move on.
Start Thinking About an Exit Strategy
It may seem counterintuitive to think about retirement before you start your career, but how can you know where you’re headed if you don’t know where you’re going? Young professionals who’ve started their first job most likely feel as though they have plenty of time to think about retirement. However, time passes quickly, and its just plain sense to make the most of every dollar.
Young professionals should educate themselves about finance and investing at the start of – or even ahead of – their career. After years of hard work in school while living on limited funds, it’s nearly impossible not the pocket as much money as possible with no regard for things such as tax consequences. However, the way that you manage your money has a cumulative effect. Over time the benefits of sound financial management provide compounding returns.
In addition, the economic environment changes over time. The more that you’ve prepared yourself financially, the better you can weather changes and maintain your quality of life.
It always makes sense to seek assistance in this regard as soon as possible. A financial consultant, for instance, can help you walk through different savings and investment scenarios and plan ahead.
In the modern work environment, professionals may change careers several times – and that's fine. In fact, it’s common. What’s more important is that you find a job and career path that’s a great fit.
The right fit doesn’t mean that every day at work will be a wonderful experience. It also doesn’t mean that you should know everything about your job the day that you start. With time, however, you’ll gain invaluable experience, in-demand skills and ultimately feel satisfied with your career.