How Long is a Technology Career?

Matt Heusser has a great column over at Stickyminds this week. Take a look at A Long View of the ‘Short’ Technology Career.

If you are an older job searcher, and you are looking for a job, one thing you might do is look for a technical job. That’s what I suggest in Manage Your Job Search. Now, you might have to do this as a contractor. But that’s okay. Because if you are unemployed, you want to become employed. And a temp-to-perm situation is fine. If you’ve been employed for long enough, a temp situation is fine, too.

A technology career is as long as you want to make it. It is your job to do career development, whether you are employed by someone else or not. I recently wrote about this in another management myth, Management Myth #9: We Have No Time for Training. The problem with this management myth is that employees believe that their organizations should pay for training, too.

If you want your technology career to last, and you want to be in demand as a technical person by lots of people, you need to train yourself. Participate on an open-source project. Teach yourself a new language. Search out a new project in your organization and ask to be transferred to it, when the time is right. Buy a book and read it. Send yourself to a workshop or a conference. Yes, those last two are expensive. They are cheaper than being unemployed. They might provide you networking opportunities that bring you your next job. How valuable would that be? Do something that extends your career.

Then, if you happen to be unemployed at the difficult age of 50 or older, you have the depth of experience and the network to be a technical employee.

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3 Comments

  1. Jane Prusakova

    Great post, and very true.
    One correction: conferences and workshops are not all expensive. There are plenty of cheap ones (often offered by community colleges, some local organizations), and many are outright free. Obviously, mileage will vary, but that’s true whether one spends hundreds and thousands of $$$, or very little, or nothing except time and effort, to go to a conference or a workshop.

    Reply
  2. Simon Knight

    A great way to make conferences and workshops even cheaper, is to organise them yourself. Or volunteer to help out at one. Or offer to speak. There’s plenty of ways to get training on the cheap. You just need to become a little creative.

    Great post BTW. 🙂

    Reply
    • johanna

      Simon, I can’t believe I forgot about the speaking, especially given how much speaking I do! Well, they say the memory is the second thing to go. I forgot what the first is. Thanks!

      Reply

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