How to empower your software development career?

Where are you, here and now?

Managing your career is simply like riding a bike – to keep the balance one must keep moving.


For many talented software developers this means changing projects, teams or companies they work for. We all know this drill: new project – new technology, new company – new salary, that’s how it goes and, at first, everything seems fine.

However, if you are a software developer, you shouldn’t measure your career progress only by the variety of your technological stack and increase of salary offered by the company. There are people who followed this “I want more” road and end up:

    • quite satisfied with their salary level but without further perspectives. It usually comes with the impression “it all went so well, so why has it stopped now?”;
    • quite unsatisfied with their level of tech skills. Switching from one language (or project) to another too frequently may have this side effect: the stack you touched is impressive, but you cannot label yourself as expert;
  • quite unsatisfied with their salary – this situation may actually be the most frustrating of all.  It’s frequently accompanied by impression of injustice, i.e. when one of colleagues, with less experience, earns actually the same or more money than you do.


Therefore, to be sure that your software development career is right on track, we recommend to measure the increase of your autonomy and/or decisiveness in the project, as well as few other characteristics of your working environment.

Wings need space to fully spread

Naturally, when you take the first steps of your career, joining new development team as a junior or intern, you may expect quite low level of autonomy given. However, even at this point, it’s possible to recognise if the environment will really support your professional growth.


Simply, just ask yourself those questions:

    • Do you have a dedicated “buddy” to discuss any issues that you face dealing with everyday tasks?
    • Is he or she willing to listen and implement your propositions? Or must you apply the solutions given only by him/her?
    • Do you have access to training platform or other sources of knowledge?
    • Do you have some slack time to use them on the job, or are you supposed to report each & every minute of work time to the project?
  • To what extent are you allowed to organise your time at work? Beware, that’s a tricky question. Obviously, too much control may kill autonomy and creativity. However, if no one cares what you do, something is not fine either.


At Idego, we do our best to find just the optimum level of support given, especially during the first year of career. We pay attention to what’s mentioned above and also adjust the complexity of tasks to the inevitable growth of skills.

How? The answer is simple: we talk on daily basis to synchronise about where we are on our journey together. And this method, let’s call it: natural communication, is not only applicable for interns and juniors.

Plenty of opportunities

What should change, how may you recognise that you’re not treated as junior anymore? And how to follow the right track?
Plenty of software developers, no matter if they’ve chosen to specialise in front-end or back-end, decided, or were almost forced to change a company to make actual career progress.

Fortunately, it’s not always necessary. At Idego we follow couple of methods to empower the career of our team-members and let them take things into their own hands.

First thing is obvious (at least for us): if you’re working with Idego since the beginning of your professional life, and you advance to a role of regular software developer – you know that. We communicate it transparently and follow with the raise of your salary, as well as discussion about new project perspectives.

However, if you work elsewhere, there are more signs that allow you to check if your company provides the optimum conditions for your career progress.

 

Let’s identify a few most important ones

    • Sorry pal or gal, but you’re getting older. Life is putting you (or soon will put you)  in front of new challenges, not necessarily related to programming.
      At this stage, it’s quite important for you to handle both: your private and professional development. Hence, you need: flexible working hours, capacity for working remotely and trust that you’ll get the job done. So, check if your environment provides you with such conditions.
    • Are you being encouraged to actively learn new stuff? This may take various forms, i.e. you may receive support to become an active member of community (does your company participate, organise or sponsor community events?) or you may be provided with access to the knowledge sources that you individually choose (sometimes it’s training budget, sometimes you just have the way to point out the need – and it gets answered).
    • What’s your impact range? Are you supposed to code only? Or designing the solution (autonomously or with a team) is also a part of your job? Are you able to create new stuff, or you’re stuck with bugfixing legacy code?
  • Last but not least: to what extent may you share your knowledge with others? Is it encouraged? Does it feel natural or requires “special occasion”? Or maybe you have the chance to play the role of a “buddy” for some newcomers?  
    It’s quite important question, as the capacity to have first experiences with leading and teaching others may be enormously powerful opportunity for your further career. Even if you decide that the role of the team leader is not for you – such awareness will pay off when it comes to next career choices.

 

It’s really worthy to spend and hour or two, from time to time, and evaluate your working environment by asking yourself those questions. Well, it’s also valuable if managers, team leaders and decision makers do exactly the same, taking a closer look on the environment they’ve created.
At Idego – we recommend it!

Seniority is about responsibility

That’s what should happen when your enter the senior level of software development career. There is a variety of paths to take: technological, managerial, business, even sales (if you’re fond of it). But there is one common thing: your impact range and responsibility scope should get wider and wider.

You may be the one who introduces new standards to the company. You may be the master of the process. Or the one who keeps the team aware of the top notch technologies and solutions. Whoa, you actually may be the one that creates them!

However, there are also some questions that may help you check, if answered with some recurrence, if your working environment really supports your professional development.

    • Does it feel natural to speak about the risks, and suggest or implement improvements?
    • Is there anyone or anything that actually challenges you?
    • Is it simply OK to ask for advice and consult solutions? Or should you just get things done and have all the knowledge in the universe because you’re a SENIOR?
    • Is it possible for you to have optimum work – life balance?  Hint: there are plenty of formulas for work – life balance, but you must choose your own, optimum one.
    • Do you have somebody with whom you may set your next career goals and actually move forward to achieve them?
  • And most important one: are your ideas and solutions really taken into account?

We hope that you find those hints and suggestions useful, no matter your current career level.

At Idego we are asking ourselves the same questions, as creating the environment where software developers may empower their career is not only simply cool and good thing to do.  It is also straight and best way to provide our clients with solutions of great quality.

Do you want to empower your career with Idego? Check out our openings and apply!


Maja Augustynek
Maja Augustynek
People & Culture Manager
More blog posts
Estimate project.
Need a succesful project?