Developer Career Goals (How To Set Them)
A developer career goal is a professional achievement you want to make in the future. It can represent your ideal job status, which can include formal recognition, earning potential and job responsibility. Learning how to establish and reach career aspirations can enable you to advance in the technology industry. In this article, we discuss the steps for creating developer career goals, provide examples of aspirations for different specialists and list tips for reaching your goals.
How to set developer career goals
Follow these steps to establish goals for your career in the technology industry:
1. Contemplate your desired achievements
Think about what you want to accomplish in the future as a developer. Visualize the job title you want to fulfill, the technical projects you’re interested in working on and the impact you aim to have on the field. Your desires make up the foundation of your developer career goals. Once you identify your ideal results, you can plan a series of steps to achieve them. It may be beneficial to recall your reasons for becoming a developer. Consider asking yourself the following questions to realize your wanted accomplishments:
- Where do I see myself six months from now?
- Where do I see myself five years from now?
- What actions do I want to take before I retire?
- What skills do I want to learn?
- What professionals do I want to work with?
- What salary do I want to earn?
2. Learn more about your industry
Background research about the field can make your developer career goals more specific, attainable and realistic. You can predict what you can accomplish based on your current qualifications and access to resources. For example, if your goal is to boost your income, then you might review the salary prospects in your area and the competitiveness of the job market. Research can also unveil the path you can take to achieve your goals. For instance, if you aspire to become certified in a software program, then you can access the certification’s website and online discussion forums to determine the requirements.
3. Gather necessary resources
Your access to resources can affect how you reach your aspirations as a developer. Think about financial tools and support systems that your goals may require. Understanding what you have available to you can help you determine the trajectory of your career. For example, if you want to earn an advanced degree in computer science, then you might figure out if you can afford to enroll in a two-year program while working full time.
4. Build an agenda
The agenda is the timeline for your aspirations as a developer. Think about at what point during your career you want to see your goals materialize. The timeline informs you of when to start taking necessary actions toward your dreams. It can also help you accomplish consistent professional growth.
Consider using an agenda to differentiate your long-term goals from your short-term goals. For example, becoming a technical architect often requires years of leadership experience, so you might envision fulfilling the career through later phases of your career, which makes it a long-term goal. Earning an additional software certification can take six weeks, which makes a short-term goal.
5. Determine how to measure goals
It can be important for your developer career goals to be measurable. You can evaluate your progress throughout your journey and determine whether you’ve reached your goal. For instance, if you strive to develop three software programs within the next six months, you know what to count to see if your goal came to fruition. The measurable component can also help you identify if your aspiration is realistic within the timeframe. For example, if you want to double your salary in one year, then you can review your current earnings to learn how much more money you can make.
Types of developer career goals
Here are 19 examples of career goals for different types of developers in the technology industry:
If you’re a computer programmer, the trajectory of your career may align with the following aspirations:
- Fulfill the role of lead computer programmer.
- Learn how to troubleshoot software applications.
- Develop programs that are compatible with several operating systems.
- Boost time-management skills when working on simultaneous projects.
- Increase salary by 25% in the next two years.
Here’s a list of examples of career goals if you’re interested in working as a UX designer:
- Become a freelance UX designer with a diverse clientele.
- Design the user experience for a mobile application.
- Contribute to the development of a product that responds to user commands within seconds.
- Lead the conceptualization of the user experience for a new project.
- Master new components of UX design.
Software engineers may design the following career goals to become more competent in their roles:
- Learn how to operate, install and repair a new operating system.
- Develop a video game for a handheld gaming device.
- Produce a high-performing product for a client with strict deadlines.
- Master proficiency in a programming language.
- Fulfill the role of a software development manager.
Examples of career goals for IT specialists include:
- Develop a training program to teach end-users about cybersecurity.
- Learn the steps for ethical hacking and perform the process successfully.
- Enhance the security of a network for a major corporation.
- Lead a team of help desk support specialists.
Tips for reaching developer career goals
Follow these guidelines for pursuing your career goals as a technology specialist:
Staying motivated can empower you to overcome challenges throughout your career. You can also remain focused on the goals you’re trying to achieve. Practice techniques that can help you stay productive in the workplace. For example, you can maintain a positive attitude and remind yourself that you can learn from mistakes you may make in the workplace. Consider using positive affirmations to stay motivated as you work. You can also practice techniques to remain focused, such as limiting distractions in your office space and committing to working for a few consecutive hours before taking a break.
A mentor is a professional who has several years of experience in the technology industry. They can provide mental and emotional support to you as you aim to accomplish your developer career goals. Seek mentorship in someone you know and trust, such as a supervisor from a previous role or a professor from one of your engineering courses. You can provide updates about your progress and request constructive criticism on your work ethic. Mentors can also help you persevere through workplace challenges and expose you to employment opportunities that can help advance your career as a developer.
Milestones are small achievements you can make as you progress toward your developer career goals. They can inform you that your hard work has produced positive results, and you can feel a sense of accomplishment for reaching them. Set milestones throughout your timeline to evaluate how far you’ve come. For example, if your goal is to become certified in a software program, then your milestone may be to pass one section of coursework. Having milestones can also help you revisit your agenda to ensure it’s still relevant to the vision you have for your career.
As your career progresses, your industry knowledge may expand, which can alter the trajectory of your goals. Applying feedback to your timeline and resources can allow you to remain productive as you work while still accomplishing positive things during your professional journey. For example, if your mentor explains it can be beneficial to spend extra time learning a new skill, then you might postpone the timeline for a short-term goal to devote more effort to an individual task. Consider analyzing your aspirations as you make progress to determine if they still can materialize your true professional desires.