Taking the next step in your career is an exciting but often overwhelming experience.
Whether you’re a bootcamp graduate looking for your first step into the industry, or a Senior Engineer ready to take a step into management, there is a lot you can do to aid your professional growth.
Here at Tillo, we’re very fortunate to have an Engineering team that puts continuous learning at the heart of their culture and outlines what each individual needs to do to take the next step up. I caught up with some of our Engineers to get their advice on leveling up in tech.
As you progress your career as an engineer, you'll find that your ability to communicate across all levels and departments of a business will become ever more important. Taking opportunities to represent your team by speaking in meetings or presenting a part of a project to the wider company can really force you to hone and improve your communication skills. In terms of work, the more senior you get, the more you'll need to be able to see the bigger picture of a project; understand how all the different pieces need to fit together, where the dependencies are, what to tackle first, and so on.
Find ways to involve yourself in the planning stages of a project, perhaps by taking the lead on breaking down some of the work involved into smaller tasks and taking an active role in project update meetings. As part of seeing the bigger picture, it also helps to grow an understanding of different areas of the business - get to know different business stakeholders so you can understand their "why." Grow the ability to be able to assess different approaches to solving a problem and when each one might be best applied. Know when to compromise but also know when to push back.
Never stop learning. Know where to find answers and how to seek them. Being senior is not about knowing everything but knowing the best path to finding the answers and accumulating knowledge when you do.
I'm not so sure about the more or less of, but one thing that I think really helped me cement some of the key fundamentals of programming was having a side project that I had a real level of interest in. Building my own application allowed me to experiment with solutions and ideas far more than following basic step-by-step tutorials. That said, there are so many more online resources available now than there were when I was getting started; I can imagine if I was starting now, then I'd definitely be watching a lot of YouTube videos, for example.
There are many benefits of growing your network, including opportunities for learning and future career development. Attending local user groups can be a fantastic way to get started with growing your network. Getting to meet people who do the same job as you but maybe at a different level or different industry can really widen your horizons in terms of seeing different approaches to solving problems and getting to learn about aspects of programming that you may not run into on a day to day basis, all of which helps your career growth.
Naomi will be speaking at the PHP South West user group in Bristol on 12th July.
I’d recommend telling them about yourselves, your interests, and what motivates you. They aren’t looking only for developers but for people who are going to be part of a team. Technical skills can be learned, so don’t be afraid of not having relevant commercial experience when applying.
I follow several people on Twitter, and I am subscribed to some newsletters that regularly send updates, but chatting with teammates is definitely the best way of learning about new stuff.
The best opportunities to progress I’ve found so far is being proactive in terms of picking up new challenges at work, and when I have the chance to do pair programming with more experienced team members, there is always great knowledge sharing. I also have some online courses on my list that I can do at my own pace and are related to technologies other teams work with and seem relevant skills no matter what programming language I work with, such as Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, and Linux.
Ultimately your career progression is in your own hands, but it helps immensely to have a supportive employer that puts a focus on Learning & Development, as well as having a team that you can go to for advice.
If you’d like to be part of Team Tillo, take a look at our current vacancies!