Sainath's Advice on Sunday, August 29, 2010 :
Firstly, this kind of discomfort / frustration is good - laid back people do not experience this. Only those who wish to progress experience this. There is nothing wrong if you set high expectations, or set the bar high. But also learn to be patient and give yourself a fair chance to achieve your targets.
All serious software professionals have been bothered by these questions some time or the other repeatedly in their careers. And you are not the first person who has missed a job due to a small percentage gap of this type - sometimes I wonder who is the bigger loser, the hiring organization or the potential employee. But we cannot change pre-defined rules. The only thing we have total control over is our own thinking.
Setbacks such as these need not derail your efforts and enthusiasm, check the link below. The higher the degree of success, equally great are the hurdles crossed. No one ever had a free ticket to high levels of success.www.youtube.com/watch?v=adLxTDJgXUw&feature=related
Firstly, decide once and for all about your broad career path - do you want to opt for something safe like a bank job/government job (in my opinion there is nothing such as job security, rather, there are 2 types of people - type 1 gets paralyzed by fear, type 2 also experiences fear but learns to handle the same with time) or do you wish to build a career in software?Option 1 : The so-called safe Government job / Bank jobPros:
- Rate of change not as fast as IT - upper cap on number of new things to learn
- Stable job
- Consistent salary
- Tension-free life
- Live with the regret that you could have made it big-time in IT
- Lesser financial rewards
- Probably monotonous
Please take a sheet of paper and write down more pros and cons in this fashion and come to a final conclusion as to what you would like to do. Once decided, stick to the decision - do not indulge in daily decision making."Always think on paper."
- Brian Tracy
And finally, take complete personal responsibility for whatever decision you take.Nobody else is responsible - not parents, not spouse, not friends, it's only you."The greatest lesson of life is that you are responsible for your life."
- Oprah Winfrey, talk show host
Assuming that you choose to continue in software, this is what you should do. Think deeply about where you would like to see yourself 5 years down the line. 5 years is not far off, it is not too close either. Make your own "5 year plan" like how Governments do. Please make sure you go through the link below and come to an informed and clear decision on whether you really want to become a Project Manager in the long term.www.dotnetfunda.com/advices/a54-which-is-best-either-technical-or-management--side-for-career-growth-in-it-.aspx
Again do the same exercise of writing down the pros and cons and evaluate your decision. If you have indeed done this whole exercise on paper, you are better off than 90% of people who never take a decision and drift through life, don't take responsibility for their lives and keep blaming others, the economy,changing technology, etc for their plight.
If you have not done this, do not read further. Please go back and complete this exercise.
Let' s say that you have firmly decided that you wish to become a Project Manager in 5 years time. The target is set, the end point is clear, now you need to perform the action necessary to achieve the same.Identify the key milestones:
Step 1: Software engineer
Step 2: Senior Software engineer
Step 3: Team Leader / Tech Lead
Step 4 : It is usually at this point that a person finally needs to decide his direction - whether technical (leading to Architect) or managerial (leading to PM)
Set a timeline by when you wish to achieve Step 2 - write down a realistic date for achieving the same.
Now list down all the tasks you need to do in as much detail as possible - typically this will involve listing all the in-demand technologies, design methodologies,etc. This will have 2 categories - longer shelf life (OOAD,UML,Design Patterns) and shorter shelf life (for ex. WPF,WCF, etc), these need to be revisited again atleast once in a year to check if the targeted technology is still in demand.Pick up 1 of the listed items - let's say you have chosen OOAD.
Targeted knowledge area: OOAD
Estimated time required to learn the same : 20 hoursAvailable time :
Mon to Fri - 1 hour everyday
Saturday & Sunday : 10 hours (5 hrs per day)Estimated targeted completion date :
Start date : 30th August (Monday)
Completion date : 11th September (Saturday EOD) - I have deliberately added a buffer of 5 hours to factor in interruptions.Is it painful to plan in this fashion - of course, Yes. Painful, difficult and frustrating. But is success predictable when you work like this - of course, Yes, once again. Planning in detail in this fashion will take atleast 1 whole day - but you can be assured of results as you have a complete roadmap in hand.
"Self-discipline - The ability to make yourself do, what you should do, when you should do it,whether you feel like it or not."
- Kop Kopmeyer
"After the loss to Boogerd, I went back to training. I rode, and I rode, and I rode. I rode like I had never ridden, punishing my body up and down every hill I could find.
I rode when no one else would ride, not even my teammates.
To win the Tour I had to be willing to ride, when no one else would ride."
- Stage 4 cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, 7 time Tour De France winner in his book "It's not about the bike"
If you are willling to put yourself through this grind, your growth as a software professional is assured. Your reporting managers will be forced to promote you or risk losing you to some other account / organization. Do this consistently for 5 years and your long-term goal of becoming a PM will be easily achieved. More importantly, you would have rightfully earned the same.
Please let me know if you require more clarity on how to plan you career - but only after you have made an honest attempt to entirely grasp what I have stated above.
LAGHATEROHAN said on Monday, August 30, 2010
Thanks a lot Sainath sir, i shall try my best to abide by the guidelines suggested by you. Incase of any doubts further i will get back to you. Thanks a lot once again..