10 Career tips that University doesn't teach you
March 4, 2022
A college degree or online trainings don’t guarantee you a job in the area
It's not about what you know and how you do it, but what you do with that knowledge. Having a degree doesn't make it easier for you to enter the job market, because what counts more and more are the experiences you've had and the soft skills you've acquired over time. Besides that, what is taught at the University often doesn't match with the real needs of your career, making many courses inadequate.
The current labor market paradigm shows us that although certain content and themes are taught in the classroom, the real demands of companies may not be aligned with what is part of most program contents.
Always start with a plan
Don't think about creating something just because you want to or because you want to program in a certain language. Start by analyzing the existing gaps in the market or the client and develop according to what is asked and the utility it will have, adapting the technology that will be used.
Taking a step back in the decision process of what you are going to do, can come up with a better plan and create software that is the solution to the problems presented with.
Remember that other people will always come after you
It’s important that you focus on the tasks and that they are done well, but you should also take into consideration that after you start the project, there will be other stages and other people. So, make sure that the code you write is well structured, coherent and well commented.
After you will always come someone else who will participate in its maintenance and management, so if you leave clear signals in your code about your thought process and logic behind certain programmed dynamics, it will be easier for the next person to continue the development.
Identify the most important and urgent tasks
Once you understand the project and its architecture, start preparing the tasks that are most important and have the greatest impact to be accomplished for that day and for that project. Remember to keep the focus on the small parts that may require the least development time but have the greatest impact on the project, as the Pareto Principle suggests.
There are, however, other methods that can help you manage time and priorities, such as the Pomodoro Technique, making you achieve more productive because there’s more focus on the tasks, less distractions and planned breaks.
Search for sources and help whenever necessary
Even if you can't accomplish a certain task, you can (and should) search for help. Most problems you’ll have are already solved or you had other colleagues experiencing the same problem. So, ask experienced people how they solved those issues or use a search engine like Google. Digital era has brought us many options and sources to find solutions. You can check websites like Stackoverflow, Quora, Reddit, developer groups, and others.
The fact that you have doubts and questions during the development of a project will not make you less professional, it even reveals a sense of orientation towards problems solving that will allow you a sustained growth in your professional evolution.
If you're making mistakes, it's a good sign
Do you know what’s the main ingredient for successful people to achieve excellent results consistently throughout their careers? They have failed and failed a lot. The difference is that each mistake they experience equals learning that they take with them into their professional life, thus becoming able for greater and more complex challenges. If you only do what you know, nothing will go wrong, because if it's something in your domain it will most likely work. But if you want to go further, you must test, make mistakes, learn from it and move on.
Nobody writes perfect code, not even the most senior developers you may know. To reduce the time, you may need to solve errors that may cause the application to malfunction, you should do debugging throughout the project. An error detected early will certainly mitigate the possibility of bugs later on.
Discover and learn new work tools
Your career is constantly evolving and you have realized that what you have learned at University is not enough. So, it is crucial that you add more value and more information to what you already have because it will help you to be a more complete and successful professional.
The digital area is in a continuous transformation and the best part is that most of the time, to make our lives better. Through new processes, new tools and new ways of thinking, we can make our workdays easier, more productive and efficient. Try different tools and software throughout your career so that you can achieve more effective ways of developing your projects.
You can pursue your career at home and abroad
Many people don't know this, but your degree can open several doors and one of them is the possibility to work in another country. You don't need to focus only on the national market because there are several ways to integrate yourself in a company, including nearshoring, through which you can continue in Portugal, but in projects with international exposure.
If you still want to go on an adventure, consider the language, the possible cultural differences, and the processes of entering another country. Nowadays, this change in your life no longer has to be complex and there are even entities that solve all the bureaucracies inherent to the process. Look for organizations based in the destination country that have protocol with Portugal, such as Embassies, Chambers of Commerce, or other organizations.
Teamwork is not optional
No matter how much digital skills you have and a deep knowledge of your technological area, only teamwork will allow you to get further.
Dealing with different perspectives is important to analyze the different hypotheses that exist, making sure that relevant data and information doesn’t get overlooked. This position allows you to improve your critical thinking, preparing you to defend your point of view and develop interpersonal skills.
Having a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader
Do you know why? Because the team instead of seeing you as a leader may just see you as a boss. The difference is in the way you can communicate with those you work with, how you analyze the inputs to achieve the desired results, and the confidence you convey as well.
You need to improve these skills over the course of small projects to better adapt to managing a team.