In the first part, I have explained my view on how I see the tracks in networking field. In this post, I share my 10 recommendations to excel in your career.
- Have a Plan (Breadth vs Depth First Approach ): Failing to plan is planning to fail. As you saw in the previous post, there are many tracks in the networking field. You need to plan how you want to learn and grow. Do you want to learn about various tracks at “associate level” first or do you want to choose a track and go from “associate” to “professional” to “expert”? I personally prefer the second option. What about you?
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others: One common mistake that many engineers do is to compare themselves to others. This can cause de-motivation as they feel their progress is slower compared to others. Everyone learns at his/her own pace and everyone has different circumstances, experience and opportunities.
- Compare Your Progress over Time: The way I like to measure my progress is to compare my progress over time. With the start of every year, I set a plan for this year. What are my weaknesses? What do I want to learn? Which certifications do I want to attain? As such, you can work and keep-on moving forward.
- Learn How to Rise after Failure: In case your plan fails, gets delayed or you failed to pass a planned certification, don’t feel down. Always stay positive and try to consider it as a learning experience. Try to find what didn’t go well, what your weakness was, and work on fixing it.
- Benefit from Your Commuting Time: Nowadays, I feel time is the most precious resource. I found out that I can stay up-to-date if I benefit from my commuting time. You can listen to audio books or videos and benefit from this wasted time. I will share my favorite lists of podcasts, videos, books..etc. in another post.
- Balance Your Certifications and Work Experience: You will always hear many debates whether certifications are important and still relevant or not. For me, I consider certifications as a learning journey with the end result of being certified. Many people miss the learning experience throughout the journey and solely focus on the end result. This is a pure waste of time for me. The knowledge you gain while preparing for a certification and the practical on-job experience are much more important than the “certificate” itself! Your certifications should complement your work experience.
- Aim for more than “Expert Certification“: Attaining an expert certification doesn’t make you an expert! The more you know, the more you will realize how much you don’t know. Always have the mindset to learn more, search for alternatives, and aim to optimize things.
- Have a “Coach”: Early in your career, you will need guidance and support. Try to find a “coach” to guide you. If you don’t have a real coach, try to be involved with many teams on various projects. You must have the mindset that you can learn something from anyone regardless of his/her position. Also, use twitter to reach out for help / advice from people in the community. Many people are ready to help. You just need to ask.
- Love What You Do: For me, this is the most important criteria to be successful. You must enjoy your work. Choose the type of work you like not only the title or salary. Title and salary are important for sure but you must enjoy what you do so that you don’t feel that you have to work!
- Have the Right Balance: A healthy work-life balance is very important for your career. You must optimize your time to spend it with your beloved ones and grow your career. Your family’s support is necessary for your success. Work hard and party harder!
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