Navigating Your IT Career Development

Knowing where to start can oftentimes be the hardest part. Below is a step by step guide to starting and navigating your career development journey in IT at Stanford.

Where do your skills and interests lie? What really makes you tick? Identifying the elements of an ideal career fit based on your skills, interests, and strengths is a good place to start in your career development journey.

Questions to consider:

  • What motivates and gives you the most energy in your work?
  • What kinds of opportunities do you look forward to in the future? 
  • What opportunities are available in your current role that will help your professional development and growth? 
  • What are your talents/strengths?
  • What can you identify as areas of opportunity and improvement?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What activities of your job do you like most? 
  • What projects/responsibilities do you want to be part of and why?
  • What do you like about working at Stanford?
  • How does your job help achieve department/organizational goals?
  • What strengths do you use to achieve your performance goals?
  • What opportunities are available at Stanford to prepare you for the next role?

Adapted from Cardinal at Work Professional Development Success Plan

Career paths are unique. They may be linear (think of a ladder) or follow a less traditional route (think of a jungle gym). Whatever yours may be, there are many possibilities to explore at Stanford. Getting a sense for roles that interest you can help you hone in on the types of development opportunities you should pursue to level up your skills and experiences to meet the requirements of that role.

Resources to help:

Now that you've done some self-reflection and explored some potential career possibilities, it's time to partner with your manager to discuss your goals and make a plan. Whether your goals are to earn a promotion in your current role, get a certification, level up a particular skill or something else, documenting and having ongoing conversations with your managager about your goals is key to your success.

Resources to help:

The IT Career Lab focuses on building a framework of experience, exposure, and education, or 3E opportunities. As you pursue development opportunities, you should seek out a combination of the 3E’s in order to maximize your growth and learning potential. 

Over the course of a career:

  • Most development (70%) occurs through on-the-job Experiences
  • About 20% comes from feedback or relationships, Exposure
  • The final 10% is learned through courses and reading, Education

Resources to help:

Now that you are on your way, don't forget to schedule ongoing development conversations with your manager. Aim for a minimum of once per quarter.