CAD Manager's Q&A: Advancing Your Career25 May, 2006 By: Robert Green
What's the best thing I can do to advance my career?
Robert Green responds: I get this question a good bit, and it's always one I struggle to answer. If I had to distill every piece of career advice I could ever give down to a single sentence it would be this:
Be a self-motivated learner who’s constantly striving to improve!
I’m certain that you know which career skills need improvement and which things interest you the most, right? Yet being interested in something or simply knowing you need improvement doesn’t make anything happen. To advance your career, you have to put in your own time, away from the office, to make your list of career advancements actually happen.
I suggest the following steps:
List your weaknesses. Put the highest priority on fixing the things that are holding you back.
List your greatest strengths. Identify what you do best and enhance those skills to make you even stronger.
Map out your improvement plan. Now build a plan that has you improve weaknesses and strengths in matched pairs. By working in matched pairs, you’ll minimize your glaring weaknesses while shoring up your strengths to truly broaden and deepen your skill set. Determine which books you need to read, classes you need to take, certifications you hope to obtain, and so forth. Think of your improvement plan as your career road map.
Get to work. Here’s where my career advice comes into play! You know what you want to improve and how you plan to do it. Now make it happen by tackling your improvement plan with vigor.
Of course, as technical requirements and certifications change, you’ll need to revise your learning plan. You’ll also want to reconsider what to tackle next based on your successes. As the old NASA saying goes, “Plan your work and work your plan.” This approach is just as valid for CAD managers as it is for astronauts.