4 career tips to guide you in the new year

Photo credit:  Ivelin Radkov, Shutterstock
Photo credit: Ivelin Radkov, Shutterstock

A new year is right around the corner and many of us will create resolutions for our personal and professional lives. Perhaps you want to earn more money, find a job that is more aligned with your interests, or learn new skills. Whatever your goals are, it’s helpful to keep in mind a few tips about how careers have changed and how you can leverage the changes to find a job you love.

Sean Blanda, managing editor of 99u offers four tips on how to navigate your career. In his advice, he emphasizes letting go of what you feel you’re supposed to do in your career, honing in on what makes you unique, and sharing your gifts with others. Here is one tip that stands out to us.

Don’t learn to code, learn how to work with technology.

A common refrain from those in the tech industry is that everyone should learn to code. There are a multitude of organizations (e.g. Code AcademyTreehouse, andUdacity among many others) set up to help mid-career professionals pick up this new skill as well as a growing demand that we include programming in our primary school curriculum.

If becoming a programmer is appealing to you, great. But seeking employment based on any one “hard skill” is an outdated way of thinking. The rapid evolution of technology forces us to constantly reconsider which hard skills are in demand. (And we should). Staying on top of the hard skills needed is a necessity in the short term, but one of the best ways to position yourself for success in the long term is to focus on the soft skills needed no matter what technology you are working with.

“There is often this naive reaction a lot of people have,” says Cowen. “They say, ‘Now I need to take X number of years off, learn all the skills of computer programming and become a programmer.’ Very often that’s a bad way to go. It’s people who integrate technical skills with knowledge of a concrete area and who understand marketing, presentation, and persuasion.”

In other words, if your job gets better with technology you’re in good shape. Think of the doctor that can use complicated computer-aided readouts to produce an accurate diagnosis, or the sales person that can sift through client data to work more efficiently.

Read the rest of his advice on 99u.

What advice is guiding your career? Share it in the comments.


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Former Editor and Creator of Idealist Careers, a publication of Idealist.org. Follow me on Twitter @ajlovesya.
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