As a coach / trainer a question I often get is “What should I do next” or “Which certification should I go for after this”. As the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland says – If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.
- Unlike the standard schooling where we go in 5th standard after 4th, in professional education there are no straight paths. So, what could be the answer to this question.
- Here is an effort to look for a solution for this universal problem. This can be looked at from multiple ways.
- One way to look at it is what is one’s target for next couple of years – my suggestion is from three to five years’ timeframe. The oft repeated statement, where do you see yourself, will be a good point to start. Is there a particular role you are eyeing, what are the requirements of that role? For example, if somebody wants to be a Delivery Manager in a midsized IT organisation, what does that role demand? If it involves constant customer interaction, negotiation of contracts, commercial aspects, managing teams – a professional needs to acquire as many skills related to this role as possible. Once this has been figured out to the extent possible, selecting the certifications is relatively easy. If such a role is very niche
- Other way could be to build a portfolio of skillsets which are around your current role and grow from there. As we all have accepted by now, the skillsets which are in vogue today, will not be so in the very near future. Another difficulty with future planning is, we can’t really say with some certainty, which skillsets will be in demand. Hence it is a constant exercise of exploration, learning and readjusting to new realities. Somebody works is involved with transitions then having project management and risk management skillsets would be a good idea. If one is working as a business analyst, s/he can acquire the commercial skills.
- We can be agile in such scenarios. While we should have larger personal goals, we should be ready to make many small adjustments every now and then and even let go some of the things that we planned, as the job market changes.
- Another thing is, being a professional we get lost in myriad things in our day job where we spend more than twelve hours and forget to look out for changes. We should not miss the signs of change. So, talking to the people outside of one’s own organisation, attending community events, trainings or seminars would be a good idea. This may give us the signs of things to come, and we will be better prepared for the professional future. My suggestions would be to do this (attending events outside organisation) every six months.
- As we all know, change is the only constant thing. Sooner we prepare ourselves for the changes in the professional environment, the better.