I am an advocate of actively managing your career, as well as taking time to think about what is important to you. I say this because most companies where I’ve worked have not had much of a progression path. They might say developer I and developer II, but the requirements and skills needed are often very nebulous and poorly defined. As we approach the end of the year, I ask those of you that want to drive your career forward to think
Redgate has tried to do better. We had skills maps (reflections), and now we’ve moved beyond this to a progression framework. Ours is based on one from Songkicker. I don’t know what the details of our framework are, but I did read through the framework, which I like.
If you look at the PDF, I was especially the Skills section, consisting of 7 skills: leadership, mentorship, technical skills, communication, emotional intelligence, delivery, and business knowledge. There are example behaviors after this, with differences between roles. A Software Developer (1) ought to ask for help during a standup (communication), or explain product team goals to a starter (business knowledge). This contrasts with a Software Developer (2) where the same items suggest delivering a presentation (communication) and ask a PM for clarification on a piece of work’s priority (business knowledge).
While the review of many of these items will be subjective, there seems to be some guidance that helps someone understand the types of skills that they might need to gain or improve if they want to move to a new role. I also like the progression of roles isn’t necessarily into management, which wasn’t the case when I started my career. Often there weren’t senior technical roles that paid what management did.
While you can’t make your organization change their job titles or career paths, you might plant the bug in HR and management’s ears that having some sort of skills list and examples of what is required for promotion. It can help them better choose the people that will help the company grow, and help you decide how you can grow with it.
Of course, if management chooses to reward and promote those they like, then you have learned something as well. You can play that game if you choose, or make plans to find a better organization by building the skills some other team might value.