When I started in my career, it seemed that there wasn’t a good way to grow your career. Myself, and many others, somewhat fumbled around, looking for jobs with bigger databases or more money. We thought that learning to be the best at a particular technology was the way to grow your career. That or go into management, something very few of us were interested in.
Most people I worked with took a job with the expectation that they’d be there forever. When that didn’t work out, they started applying for other jobs, hoping the next one would be the last they’d need for a long time. Managing one’s career was something you did by updating a resume and asking your friends if they knew of any jobs, along with the random learning that comes from new projects or reading magazines.
I’ve been amazed in the last 4-5 years to see so many people taking a more active role in their own careers, spending more time on a regular basis managing their careers. I have been giving a presentation on The Modern Resume for a couple years and I find more and more people interested in attending and finding new ways to formalize their professional development. Not everyone will actually make the effort, but new tools like social networking sites make it easier, and I regularly find more people that are spending time on the professional development in their lives.
I recently submitted a pre-conference session to the upcoming SQL Rally event next May with Chris Shaw that deals with Finding Your Dream Job. I am still surprised that it was accepted, but it seems more and more people want to get career related information along with the technical sessions at various events. Voting is open for the sessions, which will be an interesting test in and of itself. Are there enough people that will pay for a professional development session alongside the other technical sessions submitted? Grant Fritchey has a great one on Query Tuning and Brian Kelley has one on security. Tough competition.
Whether or not Chris’ and my session is accepted doesn’t matter. I’m excited that the topic is even under consideration, and that there are two other great sessions from Joe Webb and Kevin Kline. I would urge you to vote, and vote honestly. Let us know what you truly think is worth paying for and valuable for your career.