How to build a career, increase qualifications: tips from development team leaders.
Don’t want to stay in the junior position? Then here is the material for you on how to quickly grow into a team leader. Below you’ll see the stories by those who have succeeded.
Head of Mobile Development
Do not get stuck on freelance
Career growth in IT is impossible without a professional one, so the first advice is not to get stuck in a “solo flight” for a long time and work together with more experienced colleagues. After graduation, I freelanced for some time: I had to figure everything out on my own, and there was a lack of knowledge in a number of areas. A year later, I went to a company where there were many high-level developers. One of them became my mentor – hello Leo, if you’re reading this! He gave me just a plentiful of information about how a programmer should work.
Then I decided to switch to mobile development, started to learn Android from scratch and went to the project where I worked “solo” for 5 years. In the end, I felt that without live communication with my Android colleagues, I hardly develop. I again joined a large team where I soon began to solve problems of a higher level. In total, the path from a novice developer to a team lead took me 7 or 8 years. But if there were no “solo” periods, it would have happened much faster.
It is important to be driven, and not to be afraid of challenges and responsibilities. It is impossible to achieve a promotion if 100% of the time you are doing routine things and following other people’s instructions. If you want to grow in position and salary, you need to take on more complex tasks and make decisions on your own, as well as to earn credibility in the team by doing something useful for colleagues.
Make an adequate self-assessment
Complacency and career growth are almost incompatible. As soon as you start to put yourself above your colleagues, they lose their desire to share their experience, and you yourself see no point in learning or correcting the mistakes.
Head of Department
Take responsibility or gain unique expertise
Responsibility grows with advancement up to the managerial line, expertise – in the technical one. In development, these areas are often connected, and an expert with unique knowledge can be responsible for a large project, working, for example, as a system architect in a large integrator or CEO in a startup. This affects salaries and authority.
Pimp out not only your hard skills but soft skills as well
When working on projects, you need to constantly interact with people both inside and outside the team. To do this, it is necessary to develop soft skills: effective communication makes work enjoyable and helps to complete projects on time.
Carve out time for self-development
You need to constantly learn, applying your knowledge in practice as much as possible. It is worth participating in interesting open-source projects or developing your own. I was lucky – I can apply almost all the new knowledge in my workplace. Something new is constantly appearing in development, and even if your stack does not change very quickly, it is always worth studying approaches from other technologies, following interesting publications, and analyzing algorithms.
Be on the Edge
Stay up to date with the latest trends in IT. Follow the labor market. Try to master technologies that will be relevant and in demand. Go through the list of requirements for young candidates and make a list of the general skills that are required. Try to learn them in practice or in theory, so that the question “What is GIT or SVN?” doesn’t send you in a tailspin.
Collaborate with the colleagues
To improve faster, study solutions that more experienced developers have implemented. Pair programming is a great thing: a lively exchange of experience and a qualitatively new result.
Head of mobile products
Try your hand in startups
In a startup, you can create a department, set up processes, and organize work your own way. There, an experienced employee has a real chance to become a boss – he is more trustworthy, although there are exceptions.
Build social capital
I mean networking and creating open source projects. For example, we made one of the first frameworks for the implementation of MVP in Zvooq, and then a community formed around it.
Take the initiative wisely
It took me about 5 years to go from junior to current position. Growth is helped by the desire to understand your subject area as deep as possible, plus initiatives to improve the technologies and workflow. And the management should see this. It is important not only to work productively, but also to be able to adequately demonstrate the results of the tasks performed. An adequate demonstration is a high-quality demo, a description of the amount of work done, a description of the profit that a new functionality, or an improved old one, will bring. I started by modification our bug tracker, and then I started working on features for the ticket system in parallel with the statistics system for tickets (requests from clients). Now I’m solving problems on the speed and reliability of our services.
Get a buzz
You need to want to create something new, to bring something of your own to the project. It’s also important to enjoy your work. Enjoy the fact that a piece of program text that has just been written “comes to life” right in front of your eyes and begins to do the job for which it was created.
What step of the career ladder are you on?