Advice for Growing Your Application Development Career – Are You A Rock Star

By Theresa Zandi

Are you looking to see your Java / Application Development career go from point A to point Z? That should be an easy…yes. But, how do you get from A to Z and who gives you the advice to get there? When I speak with Application Developers and most recently Java consultants, we talk about the variety of ways to get there. I hope this is helpful to you in your career.

Create A Plan
I seem to always begin here, but just saying that you want to grow your career and creating a plan to get there are very different. We all want to make advancement in our technology careers, but it requires you to take a step-by-step approach. When you build your plan, I begin with where do I think I want to go? If I am a Java developer that currently works with Angular and want to expand into different frameworks like React, then that is one step. If I am wanting to climb into management, that is a different step. Regardless of the end game, you do need to set goals in your plan if you want to grow your career.

Take the Initiative application development
The biggest drawback for most people growing their Application Development career is actually taking the initiative. When you are working, do you ask for additional responsibilities? Do you raise your hand for the tough projects? Are you being a great team player and mentoring others? If you want to grow your career, then the best piece of advice is to take the initiative to step out of your comfort zone.

Side Projects
Using the example from above, if you are a Java Developer that already knows Angular, then seek out projects that allow you to expand into different frameworks. There are so many companies and friends of yours that wish they had access to a Java developer of your stature. Let them have access to you through a side project. Charge them or don’t charge them, but be sure to make it clear that you are expanding your skills and want to work in areas that you do not typically work in. Take on additional projects at your job by conveying your interest to leadership. Be sure to be clear that you are wanting to learn something new. Side projects are a great way to expand your technical scope and grow your career.

Getting Published
You are a rock star. You know more about Application Development, Java, Angular, React, Node, etc. than most of the people on the planet. Why are you not sharing some of what you know through writing? Start a blog. Write articles on topics that you find interesting or that you have a wealth of knowledge about. You will be surprised how easily it comes, but the effect is that when you are interviewing, managers are going to Google you and now they see, firsthand, that you know what you are talking about. Take some of your articles and send them to trade publications. Share your articles across social media. Contribute to open source forums. Getting published positions you as an expert and when you take the next steps in your career, it will be noticed.

Communication / Soft Skills
In our society today, communication and soft skills are at the top of the list of what employers are looking to see from candidates. If you are a Java developer looking for your next position, employers are going to want to see how you think, how you write, and how you speak. They want to see your problem-solving skills and how you work and play well with others. We all need to work on our communication and soft skills, but if you are trying to grow your career, then it is a must. We have seen a number of technical candidates not receive offers because they are unable to convey their technical expertise, communicate effectively and efficiently, and/or play nicely in the sandbox. Interpersonal relationships are very important, so please don’t overlook them.

Improving yourself may seem difficult, but the fact is, you are not alone. We are all a work in progress and if you are trying to grow your career then start at the beginning.
Do you have other ideas on how to grow your career? We would love to hear them. Feel free to write us or simply add your comments. Let’s all help each other.

About Centurion Consulting Group
Centurion Consulting Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business headquartered in Herndon, VA conveniently located near Washington D.C., is a national IT Services consulting firm servicing the public and private sector by delivering relevant solutions for our client’s complex business and technology challenges. Our leadership team has over 40 years of combined experience, to include almost 10 years of direct business partnership, to the IT staffing, federal contracting, and professional services industries. Centurion’s leaders have the demonstrated experience over the past three decades in partnering with over 10,000 consultants and hundreds of clients – from Fortune 100 to Inc. 5000 firms – in multiple industries to include banking, education, federal, financial, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, non-profit, state and local, technology, and telecommunications.

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