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Your career path: direction vs. circumstance

14th July 2011

Look back over your respective careers; can you identify how much was planned in advance and how much was left to circumstance and opportunity?

Have you remained in the same role that you started in? Did you move into a parallel position? Did you change professions entirely along the way? I am sharing these questions with you as I recently asked them of myself, with surprising answers.

I have realised that much of my career path as a “web” developer has been sculpted by circumstance and quite little by actual choice. Aforementioned circumstances have varied from the projects I was assigned to (and the skills I had to develop to support them) through to the maximum radius I was willing to travel when searching for a position in a new company.

I started out as a developer from the get-go but for a long time I was a ‘jack of all trades’ developer (interface, technical, flash, design, etc). Since joining Reading Room I have been working primarily on technical development and now I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything different. I could have started my tenure in the company as an interface developer and have progressed as much as I have as a technical developer but I took the role that was available at the time; this is a very good example of opportunity shaping my career rather than choice.

Admittedly I lacked direction in my early years, being content to simply develop was enough to satisfy me but as my career developed so did my desire to focus my skill set. My years in Reading Room have certainly allowed me to achieve this as the roles cater to specific skills.

From this point on in it will be choice that shapes the direction of my career rather than the alternative as I have a bedrock of experience to evaluate my decisions against. It’s just very interesting to me (now at least) how much I left to chance throughout the years.

So I call you now to ask yourself the same questions I have asked of myself. Where did you come from? How did you get here? Where are you going?

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