Career Planning 2019-Style

I’ve blogged before about how difficult it is to ‘break into’ a security job. Well, a great opportunity came up at my company & so I went for it.

It was a great opportunity & I learnt a stack. Although I didn’t get the role I went for, the good news is that there is some movement just up ahead for me so I thought it was time I re-looked at my career plan.

First days back at work after Christmas is always a killer. Thoughts such as why am I here, what do I actually do & who moved my cheese fill the mind.

But, I was actually glad to get back to work. 2019 should be a big year for me. I still don’t have quite enough time to learn the banjo but I will complete the 2nd year of computing degree & hopefully move into a different role within our IS&T team.

I put my first real career plan together in around 2013 – up to then I’d been drifting in the wind, safe in the knowledge that ‘working hard’ would get you to where you need to be. Also, I was blissfully unaware of any link around creating your own future. I know that sounds like I’m being a smart-ass but I really didn’t think about it.

This is not a career blog & there are loads of sources of information out there but my basic cycle started when an excellent line manager of mine presented me with a career development tool. He must have seen my face – I was like ‘oh lawd…not another review type career type tick box to take up my time’ – as he quickly added – ‘look it’s your career plan, if you don’t want to do anything with this document don’t.’

It was a realization moment for me. Nothing I hadn’t heard before but it made me think. To cut a long story short, it didn’t answer everything in life or provide a guarantee of success but it did make me wake up & take some responsibility.

The career plan I work with is nothing radical. How you do it is less important that doing it. I work better with graphics & pictures so mine has plenty of pictures.

Firstly you need to determine what you want…from work….I know there’s a link in there to what you want from life but I keep mine to work….don’t laugh but I created a career vision for myself. An over-arching statement about what I want to achieve….

Career Vision: To make a positive difference to my company and society through information technology.

I’m not channeling Michael Jackson or anything but you do have to think big. It’s a vision.

I then break this down into my medium-term objectives – this statement goes along the following lines:

Career Objectives: To become a qualified & experienced technology professional by June 2019, with specialisms in web projects , data technologies, cyber-security & technology-driven business change. To complete courses T227/TT284 by the end of May 2019. To develop the profile, experience, knowledge & qualifications to achieve BCS chartered status by the end of 2021.

Now it’s taken me a while to get here. Behind this I have lists of things I enjoy, potential career opportunities, things I’m good at, training courses I’d like to do etc.

Importantly, I’ve found that you can dream big. Great. But your plan will end up as a composite of your vision, ambition, the opportunities available & of course your own skills. Now you can impact on all of these but somethings are outside your control. In my humble opinion, if you’re crap at numbers then a career in data analytics may not be the right move. If you find ISO & data compliance boring then maybe data security isn’t for you.

Anyhow, I don’t have a magic formula but that’s my approach to 2019. I hope you all had a good break & look forward to more cyber-security adventures in the year ahead!

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