Thursday, October 11, 2012

Preview of my "Refactor Your Software Career" talk

On Oct 24, 2012, I will be presenting a talk, "Refactor Your Software Career" to the Agile Groupies meeting in Ann Arbor at the Forge. I'll be sharing my journey from stagnant software developer to my current position at Pillar as a software craftsman and agile consultant, along with specific actions I took to get there, and strategies that anyone can apply to improve their career path. I'll also touch on barriers to taking this kind of action and what helps to get past those barriers.

But a key component to my talk will be what I'm calling "Transformative Networking". My idea is that you can simultaneously improve your marketability (raise your skills and experience) and increase the number of people who might want to hire you even while you continue to work at a job that doesn't offer growth or networking.

Transformative Networking involves engaging in activities that share as many of the following attributes as possible:

  • creating real value (like volunteering or teaching)
  • in your desired field (volunteering is good, volunteer coding is better)
  • with others (solo coding a website for a charity isn't as good as being on a team doing it)
  • in person (there's no better way to present yourself than by working with someone in person)
  • with people in your target companies (if you want to work at a company, let their employees get to know you)
If you engage in activities like this (and my talk will include specific examples of ones I participated in), you can not help but increase your skill sets and get noticed.