Sunday, April 11, 2010

Five Things You Can Do to Boost Your Career

The economy is starting to recover in spots. Are you ready for it? How well positioned are you to take advantadge of the recovery?

When things begin looking good again, will you be in survival mode, treading water until your strength gives out? Or will you have positioned yourself well enough that you maximize your return?

Here are five things you can do today to position yourself as an 'overnight success' in the next year or two.

  1. Join your local user group. Whether you're into Java, .Net, Ruby, or Agile, there's probably a great group in your neighborhood already. is a great place to start looking for one.

  2. Join a few national mailing lists. Both Yahoo Groups and Google Groups house thousands of mailings on topics from Agile to lean to test automation and more.

  3. Attend local miniconferences. Here in RTP we've just had a TED conference, an Agile Coach Camp, a few other evening events, and more. We've got Citcon (CI and test automation) coming, as well as a one day Intro to Agile mini-conference. And those are just the ones of the top of my head! What's going on in your area? Contact your MS evangilist, or tool vendor of choice and ask them when they're coming to town.

  4. Speak up! Be active in your local user group's mailing, or your national list. Ask a few softball questions. Ask for help. Answer someone else's questions. But don't sit on the sidelines. Lurking is fine until you learn the group, but get in the game.

  5. Pick your favorite tool and write a How To article. Then post it on your blog. (Don't have a blog? Then visit and you'll have one in five minutes!) There are lots of people who want to learn how to use tool X or technique N. Write it up and post it.

At the end of the day, and of every day, you've got to decide if you've got a job or a career. If it's "just a job", then by all means, just survive and try to make it through to the next paycheck. But if it's something you want to truly succeed at, don't hide! Get out and reposition yourself!

Blatant commercial plug You can find even more tips on tuning up your career in Career 2.0: Take Control of Your Life.

You can also check out Land the Tech Job You Love by Andy Lester and The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development by Chad Fowler.

The information is out there. Will you use it?