Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
What are the expectations you have for your career? And we mean real, tangible things that you can expect from choosing a particular professional field: Autonomy? Flexibility? Knowledge? A better living standard? The chance to grow as a person? Trying as many new things as possible? This is a line of thinking you should consider when building a career portfolio; the definition of a meaningful career has changed and choosing the correct workplace can make a world of difference for a professional looking to put their talents to the best use.
Why choose a career portfolio?
And one of the most significant changes in recent years is how the idea of the “career ladder” has slowly started to disappear thanks to a completely different job landscape, where spreading out skills and options has begun to be seen as the best career move possible. A “career ladder” in software development is typically referred to as starting as an entry-level programmer, working on coding and bug fixes. As they gain experience, they may move up to more senior positions, such as a Lead Developer or Project Manager. However, more and more developers agree that taking on new challenges and continuously learning new technologies is essential for success in this ever-changing field, with no “right” path to take when climbing the career ladder in software development. Rather, it depends on each individual’s skills and preferences.
This has resulted in the idea of forgoing career ladders, and instead focusing on “career portfolios”, or the idea of acquiring a varied list of skills, interests, and experience, tailored to your affinities and what you want from a professional field. But what does a career portfolio look like in practice and how to choose a workplace where you have the flexibility to experiment and learn new things?
The squiggly line to your full potential
We have talked before about how software development is already a pretty open career path, where the central concept (solving complex logic puzzles) can be applied almost anywhere. And with new technologies and approaches emerging all the time, those who want to succeed in this field need to be able to quickly adapt and learn new skills, which is why more and more developers are warming up to the idea of flexible career paths.
“Having the opportunity to move between different roles and teams here at Scio is how to help ensure our people remain agile and responsive to change”, says Helena Matamoros, Human Capital Manager at Scio. “We know the importance of providing the opportunity to try new things and different approaches. In software development, it’s very important to encourage innovation and creativity, no matter where you are in your career.”
Nevertheless, where to start with this flexibility and craft a portfolio that showcases your talent, skills, and interests? After all, as the world keeps changing at an ever-increasing pace, those who embrace change will be the ones who thrive. In the words of the Harvard Business Review: “A career portfolio approach solves these problems and takes career development to a new level. It’s not only a tool for individuals to rethink their professional identity and reach their full potential.” So, as a starting point, you can ask yourself the following questions to plan your portfolio.
A) How much free time will you need?
An excellent way to define your career progress is by deciding how much time you are willing to devote to learning a new skill. The best way to go about it is to develop a yearly plan divided into quarters, months, weeks, or even days, decide on specific goalposts and work towards them. Depending on your job, your time might be at a premium, so knowing what’s the best path depends on your skills, talent, and amount of time available, critical to growing and becoming good at something new.
B) What are your interests?
As we said, a good portfolio comprises stuff you are personally interested in, but also makes good synergy with the career path you are currently following; for example, if you like being with people and think you have leadership qualities, why not work on your soft skills to be a Team Lead? Or a project manager? After all, these roles are more about getting close to people, listening, and empathizing, but still, they need a solid understanding of tech to the scope and plan effectively.
C) Does your workplace allow for flexibility?
However, this might not be a smooth experience if you aren’t part of an organization that values this kind of growth, the number of which is growing as more people see the value in following a squiggly line. Organizations like Scio, for example, not only allow developers to explore different areas of software but actively offers courses and workshops (under the Sensei-Creati Program) that actively want developers and everyone else to grow as they see fit. Hence, researching which kinds of opportunities a company offers before joining is always the best idea.
Focusing your career on yourself
A lot of people think that the best way to further their career is to focus on external factors, like networking, making money, or climbing up the corporate ladder, but the truth is that focusing on yourself and building up a portfolio of diverse interests and skills has no comparison, especially in the software development field. When you invest in your own professional growth, you become more skilled and knowledgeable, which makes you feel more balanced and successful.
After all, you are the only person who knows what you want out of life, and when you make career decisions based on what you think will make other people happy, you’re not likely to end up in a job that makes you truly satisfied. On the other hand, if you stay true to yourself and pursue opportunities that align with your goals and values, you’ll be much more likely to find a fulfilling career.
“There’s plenty of reasons why a company should offer growth opportunities for their employees, and not only because it helps productivity or retain talent”, continues Helena about the philosophy of Scio. “It’s important to understand that many job seekers are looking for more than just a steady paycheck. They want to work for a company that will invest in their development and help them reach their full potential. It also boosts morale and motivation among everyone, When people see that their company is committed to helping them grow and develop, they feel appreciated and valued. Ultimately, growth opportunities are good for both employers and employees alike.”
In the end, focusing on yourself is the best way to set yourself up for a successful career, and it’s in your best interest to collaborate with an organization that sees the value in a wide range of skill sets and affinities in their employees. Software development today is more diverse than ever, and the “ladder” upwards is just one of many options available to take during a career. So, if you want to make a name for yourself in the software development world, focus on building a great portfolio. It’s sure to pay off in the long run.
The Key Takeaways
- The way careers work nowadays is pretty diverse, not just as a rigid path straight up, especially regarding software development.
- Building a portfolio of talents and skills is becoming more common and more desirable, and this flexibility is an important feature of any organization looking to grow.
- The skills you acquire should synergize with each other, but a company interested in the development of their employees already offers the workshops and options necessary to make it work.
- Developing a person’s full potential is one of the core tenets of Scio, because that’s how true innovation and advancement are achieved.
Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!