When I first began my development career, I was very lucky and very blessed to experience a good amount of success. In my first 2 years on the job, I was promoted a total of 4 times and was able to take on a management position (along with still being a developer) which allowed me to mentor and guide the career of around 10 junior developers. While being a manager, I was constantly asked, "What does it take to get a promotion?". I've always seen that as a great question but in this blog post, I want to tackle the negative side of this question..
Though I think there can be various reasons for why any particular individual is not seeing the career progress that they desire, here are three overarching reasons I believe developers are not getting the promotion they desire or feel they deserve:
In many ways, time spent in a role can be good barometer on someone's skill or proficiency BUT not in all cases. I have found that many developers over emphasize their time in a role over their impact in a role. If you feel that you have been in a role for a while and seem to be struggling to get that promotion, start focusing on how you can have more of an impact or influence in your role. Make sure that your time being spent is producing quality work and something that would justify a promotion. Especially in development, time in role is not always enough to justify advancement. Impact in your role can be huge difference maker so try to begin focusing on that.
This is probably one of the most impactful changes a developer can make almost instantly. I have seen on many occasions that developers are not speaking to their managers to get a clear picture on what is needed for promotion. It almost seems obvious but if you are not speaking to the person who has the most power over your current job role, it's hard to imagine understanding how to be promoted to the next job role. If you don't already have a good relationship with you manager, I encourage you to take some time out of your schedule to sit down and discuss with your manager what you career desires truly are. You never know how big of a difference that could make on your promotion opportunities. Side Note: Taking initiative and speaking with you manager shows your determination to get that next role/promotion. You never know how much of an impact that could have on your manager and their view of you as a developer.
In general, I think we as humans are generally risk averse and honestly I think that makes total sense. But the longer I work in the development world, I find that not taking risks in your career can be a huge factor that stunts career growth. Of course I am not advocating for reckless coding habits or anything like that, I am more speaking of making decisions in your career that are uncomfortable. What I mean is that as a developer you should be taking on tasks that you feel that you may fail, working on technologies that you don't like or aren't naturally proficient in, and/or taking the lead when no one else is willing. If you want a way to stand out amongst your peers, taking calculated risks in your career are a great way to do that. And yes, failing or not succeeding in this risk is a possibility but what you gain for trying something difficult, trying something new, and taking a chance can in many ways outweigh the perceived "negatives" of taking a risk. If you are not sure what a calculated risk may be in your current role, I encourage you to go to your manager and ask them in what way you could help them (either taking a task off of their plate or supporting an initiative they are spearheading). I almost guarantee you'll be taking a risk as they will likely have something for you to do that you don't normally do. 😅
So as I stated earlier, though I think the reasons why any particular individual may not be getting a promotion or getting career advancement they desire can be nuanced, and I think if you start tackling the above issues today, you may see some huge progress in your career goals.
What do you think? Do you think I'm right in my opinions? Or do you think there are other overarching reasons you (or other developers) may not being getting that promotion?
Thanks as always for checking out this blog and I have a great one!
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