Top 5 career mistakes that I made as a Java developer
- Mistake #1: Naively believing that I could easily find a job with my M. Eng. degree led to being unemployed for about 16 months. I under estimated the power of hands-on experience and much needed job hunting skills. I wish I had taken on unpaid internships or volunteer work. In many situations the cliche is Experience, Experience, Experience. Here are more tips on how to get some experience on your CV.
- Mistake #2: When I was interviewed for my first IT job, I was asked how I would go about working with a person who is difficult to work with. Only after taking up the job, I realized that I had to work with a such person, and my lack of soft skills and immaturity resulted in leaving the job just after 5 months. I learned the lesson that just being a techie is not enough to open more doors.
- I think of it as this -- If I am paid $50k as a Java developer, then $25k is for my technical skills, and the remaining $25K is to put up with things. In other words for being a team player, having good interpersonal skills, and right attitude.
- Mistake #3: Squandered great job opportunities due to lack of good resume writing and interviewing skills. I also let others around me decide what is best for me in terms of my career path. For example, letting the recruitment agents decide what is best for me, how much I should get paid, and what frameworks and technologies I should learn next.
- An interview is a two way street. As a prospective employer is assessing your suitability, you are assessing the suitability of the position to see if it is inline with your career goals. So, failing to ask the right questions can land you in a dilemma as you want to accept an offer or not. How would you go about choosing from multiple job offers?
- Mistake #4: Fear of change, false understanding of job security, and fear of job interviews made me get into a comfort zone. Didn't realize that the real job security stems from having the right and up to date skills until the software house I was working for closed down.
- Nowadays I make it a point to learn at least 1 new thing a week. With so many quality resources around you, why have excuses to learn.
- Mistake #5: As everyone does, from time to time stagnated at my job without enough work or challenging tasks. Didn't realize that what other avenues I could have explored as a software engineer to open more doors in and outside work. Most good software engineers are self-taught and there are plenty of things to learn and myriad of free and paid resources to learn from. There are a number of paths to take, and some paths are less traveled than the others. The big picture diagram in this section will inspire you as to what you can do as a software engineer.
- You are the captain of your ship, and best placed to decide when to jump the ship? versus when to steady the ship?
Click on the diagram below to see what options you have as a Java developer or software engineer in general.
As a software engineer, there are many avenues to look at depending on your interests, strengths, and career goals as shown in the ensuing diagram. With these avenues, you can not only open more doors to fast track your career by acquiring much needed experience in technical and non-technical areas, but also can open doors to new active and passive income streams.
Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from your mistakes. Feel free to share your mistakes and how you rectified it.
Do something out of the norm to succeed in your career. When everyone is preparing for certfication, then doing the certification is not the norm. Seeking unpaid opensource or voluntary work opportunities is out of the norm. Be passionately committed about what you do, and see where it takes you. This also mean that you need to be patient and keep at your goal. For example, many technical bloggers lose motivation after a few months as they did not get enough traffic. I had to work on my blog for at least 2 years to get a decent traffic.
Labels: Java career