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Max Ong Zong Bao
Max Ong Zong Bao

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Career Path


Career Path

Whenever a person talks about career, it comes with doubts about the unknown future.

With the constant bombardment of AI or outsourcing will take your job in the news and an abundance of choices on the work or lifestyle you would want to live.

Choosing and picking a career has become increasingly harder endeavour for any aspiring developer or veterans in the software development world.

The Need for Self Awareness

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Gary V has always preached about the need to be self-awareness of oneself so that you could take action and get shit done.

It was the same for me as well when I had started my journey to become a developer.

I was vaguely aware that while in university that I want to become either a salesman or a software engineer for a startup.

So that I could eventually lead to the path to becoming a tech entrepreneur.

Installing Self Awareness

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There is a Chinese idiom " you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink".

As mentors, we must not provide a cookie-cutter template on which career path to pursue.

Since our answers come with it our biases and experiences through our own missteps.

This was something that I need to consider while I was building the slide deck.

When talking about career paths for Junior developer in the mentoring programme.

Fortunately, I had used an exercise which allowed me to embark on my own journey as a developer.

This was called Odyessy Plan created by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans.

Who runs the "Life Design" lab in Stanford to provide the course called "Designing Your Life".

Odyessy Plan

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An Odyessy plan is a 10-year timeline which is a journey of self-discovery or experimentation.

To help you to work towards the lifestyle and work you would like to live.

This is derived from 3 vastly different timelines to provide you with an overview of what is the work and lifestyle you would like to live in.

3 Vastly Different Timeline

3 Vastly Different Timeline

It meant to create 3 timelines with different industries or work that you do.

It is not 3 different timelines with the same type of work.

I ran an example with the audience to not create 3 timelines with the same type of work.

Since I was conducting it to a bunch of junior developers and senior developers.

It goes like this, the first timeline is to be a front-end developer, the second to be a backend developer and the 3rd full stack developer.

The audience had a laugh out of it and it drove home the reason why you should not do it while creating the 3 timelines.

Creating the 10 Year Timeline

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The 10-year timeline is the extended version of your prefered 5-year timeline.

It may include short durations of 2 - 5 years in a different job to gain the knowledge, experience and network.

Called tours of duty by Reid Hoffman co-founder of Linkedin to reach your own intended lifestyle or work you would like to do in the future.

Despite Reid Hoffman's ambition to start his own startup while he was in PayPal.

He decided to stay for a duration of time to learn and absorb the lessons, knowledge and build his network to start his own.

Eventually, he started to embark on multiple tours of duty that lead him to create a startup for himself which was called "Linkedin".


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I hope that by learning to build your own Odyssey Plan.

I would help you to become self-aware of the type of work or lifestyle you would like to embark on as a developer.

I will be attaching my slide deck for a career path in the mentoring program.

Along with the odyssey plan worksheet and the video playlist of creating your own odyssey in the reference section for you.

If you are interested to know more about it.


Top comments (4)

chrisachard profile image
Chris Achard

I hadn't heard of the Odyessy plan before - very interesting concept! I like the idea that you can write out different potential futures for yourself, and that alone will give you a much clearer idea of what you have to do today to make that happen. Thanks!

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

It's really a good way for one to have a general overview of the type of lifestyle or work that they would like to do.

I used it as part of my job search during university.

While I was just starting out.

Which lead me to become a salesman for a edtech startup after my last paper in unversity.

integerman profile image
Matt Eland

Hey, I love this. This is actually incredibly timely for me. I've been coding for quite a long time and am serving as a multi-role development manager and lead developer type of role at the moment. I'm doing a lot of code and a lot of management and loving it all.

However, the Odyssey Plan you discuss isn't just suited to new developers. I'm looking at the back half of my career ahead of me and asking myself what I want that to look like. The skills that got me thus far are likely to be very different than the ones I need ahead as I'm likely in one of my last (if not last) job where I write a significant amount of code.

I purchased the book and will give it a readthrough and go over the worksheet as well.

At a glance, I see a few paths for me:

  1. Keep focused in a coding / lead / architecture / mentoring capacity
  2. Aim for a CTO or VP of Development type of role
  3. Transition into teaching at a boot camp or university
  4. Become more of a developer advocate and speaker and look for a role doing that sort of work.

Either way, the approach is still valid and valuable. Thank you for the presentation.

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Yes that's why I really love about odyssey plan as I applies to anyone regardless your a junior or veteran in industry.

Since we are living longer finding a lifestyle and work that fit you is getting more and important in this ever changing world.