Technology ceaselessly evolves in today’s world, hence software and tech developers have been in high demand. In fact, employment for software developers alone is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is because more and more businesses are shifting towards digitization, increasing the demand for professionals to build and run tech infrastructures.

The tech world is vast and can be complex at times. You may know developers to be royalties of the job market, but it’s not always easy to secure a position or expand your career in the direction that you wish. There are many opportunities for career growth as a developer, but it is important to grow in the right way. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a role or on a path you do not want to be on.

There are several ways to expand your career as a tech developer.

Establish Goals

The journey to advancing your developer career starts by establishing short- and long-term goals. This helps set your direction. There are various developer jobs with different specialties, like web, front-end, back-end, embedded systems, and more. As there are many avenues for a developer, it is important to have some direction to hone it in a bit.

You may either choose to pursue your current specialty and aim for a higher-level position or branch out into new paths. This general goal will help you define steps you need to take to advance your career in the long run.

Your goals can include things like the type of company you want to work for, desired income, new skills you want to take on, or a particular industry you want to be a part of as a developer. Put together your ideals but keep it realistic. Align them with your vision on where you wish to see yourself in the future. From there, you can try to visualize it into smaller steps as short-term goals that will pave the way towards your long-term plans. This will make your journey more manageable to track your progress better.

Identify Likes and Dislikes

Another useful way to hone in on expansion options is to identify your likes and dislikes. Some factors may seem minor but are actually big decisions that can greatly impact your career in the long run. So do not overlook the small things, like the people you work with, the working environment, and how things are managed.

Are there certain types of people or companies you do or do not like working for as a developer? Are there certain types of projects that attract you? Specifying your preferences and dislikes allows you to determine what to avoid and where to focus on. It helps you weigh career-related options and make better decisions to grow as a developer.

Research Your Industry

Before taking any steps, it is necessary to know what is going on with the industry. Whether you wish to pursue growth in the industry you are in or expand into new ones, conduct research to see your options as a developer.

Knowing what trends and new opportunities exist for you will help you go after them and give you a competitive edge. Being aware and up-to-date of the job market and the industry demands is beneficial for deciding on your path and even when you are facing potential employers. When going in for interviews or looking to grab new opportunities, you should be the knowledgeable one, not the other way around. Letting them know that you researched the industry well gives the impression that you are ready to engage and be involved.

Learn New Skills

Whatever stage you are at in your career, it is important to learn and enrich your skills. More than any other factors, your skills will primarily dictate the course of your career. Therefore, a reinforced skillset opens more opportunities for growth and advancement.

Consider taking a course to learn a new skill or polish existing skills. Thankfully, with your intimate knowledge of the tech industry, you may not be new to online learning. This can be a great opportunity if you’re employed and cannot become a conventional student. With establishments that offer paid online class help services, you can enroll in a course peculiar to your industry. While learning new skills, you benefit from both worlds (class and work) with little to no compromises or sacrifices.

You can also try participating in boot camps, training, and seminars when you can. As technology is evolving, so should your skills and industry knowledge. Discover and learn new in-demand tech skills, like mobile app development, cloud technologies, blockchain, AI, edge computing and web technologies, among many others.

Being a successful, growing developer means knowing all the latest and greatest technology and trends in the industry. Therefore, invest time in research, learning and honing your professional skills.

Explore New Paths

Developers commonly follow a linear career progression, from junior to associate-level, climbing the ladder towards leadership and senior management roles, then to C-level. This is fine, but it is not the only way to go. You can still consider less conventional ways of expanding your career and meeting new people in your industry.

Try not to be too comfortable in a role and consider switching jobs or seeking new roles to ensure you always stay on your toes. For example, you could try freelancing or start a side hustle to expose you to more avenues as a developer. You can find freelance jobs online or engage in some short-term projects to explore different specialties and new challenges.

Sometimes, doing this lets you do more and discover more. In addition, your accumulated experience can still help you qualify for higher-level roles. If you are up for the challenge, you can even be a developer-turned-founder and start your own developer or tech business as well. If there isn’t something out there to fit your needs and goals, create it.

Your Career is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

The job market for IT-related remains competitive, but there is no shortage of opportunities for skilled professionals. Take your time to think your career through and establish your goals and strategy to ensure you are steering on the right path and pursuing the best opportunities. Hone your skills and do not be afraid to learn and try new career paths and options. This way, you open yourself to progress and career growth.