Here is how I plan to grow at my Tech Job without a Degree
I just took a step up the career ladder.
So, recently I completed my CSM training and for those who don't know what CSM is, it stands for Certified Scrum Master, and what’s even more awesome is that I also passed the CSM exam. Well, in a sense you're now reading the work of a Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master.
Now, if you're new to the tech industry or if you didn't understand a single word of what I've just said. Allow me to explain what it means. So, Scrum is one of the most famous or I guess I can safely say the most famous Agile framework which helps the development teams work together efficiently. As opposed to the Waterfall methods Agile Project Management frameworks focus on regular incremental deliveries (every 2-4 weeks) that continuously provide value to the end-users instead of taking months or probably even years to complete and release a product.
Let's take an example for easy comprehensibility.
You and your team are working on your next project which is to build an email client similar to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Now, if we go by the Waterfall approach the development team might take up to six months or even more to build the entire email client and then the stakeholders will only get to see the complete functional end product at the end of these six months, right? It’s only after these 6 months that you’ll get to know if what you’ve built is actually what the stakeholders wanted. On the contrary, if your team uses one of the Agile frameworks, let's say Scrum, your team will now be able to provide small incremental deliverables every 2-4 weeks to your stakeholders. In the first iteration, the development team might decide to provide the compose email functionality, the second iteration will be built over the first iteration, so at the end of the second iteration, you have your compose email plus the delete email functionality, and it goes on until you’re finished developing the product. The point being, your stakeholders are involved in the development process since the very beginning, they will be there to give you regular feedback, this way you'll always know that you're building the right product that will exactly fit their need, and if you were to fail, you’re going to fail fast. This is just one of the many advantages of using an Agile framework.
Now, the Scrum Master plays a vital role in properly implementing the scrum framework to fully realize its potential and to maximize the value we get from implementing it.
Wait let’s back up a bit… To better understand why I’m sharing this kind of information with you out of nowhere, I need to first explain how I see growth and career advancement in my tech career. In my opinion, if you want to grow at your tech job, so if you don’t want to stay a developer all your life I believe there are 2 ways to achieve that which lead to 2 different trajectories;
i) You gain experience as a Junior Developer then you become an Intermediate Developer, now in a few years you go towards a more Senior Developer Role(and/or Team Lead), again after a good amount of experience as a Senior Developer, you may be aiming to become a Software Architect or Director of Engineering, the essence is to expand your technical horizon.
ii) Now, the other way is to blend your technical skills with good project and people management skills, and what you have is a recipe for a great Organizational Leader. You are a planner, a problem solver, and a helper. This is what I aspire to be.
Now, if just like moi, the latter field interests you more you again have 2 choices to follow-through;
i) You go to a B-school spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to graduate with a degree. Next, what you want to do is look for a job with either as little as 3-4 years or no prior industry experience at all. Who do you think companies will prefer?
ii) Therefore, what I plan to do instead and what I’d also recommend others to do is no matter what degree you have bachelors/masters whatever, you go out there start working to get hands-on experience and see how things work in the industry. Next, what you want to do is hone your skills for good, ask your company to help you get certifications in your area of interest(that’s exactly what I did), and you know what 9/10 times companies are happy to see their employees grow and they will be happy to sponsor you! Explain to them how you can add value to their business by learning new skills.
Remember, it’s always “give and take”, always!!
Thanks for reading! Also, I’ll be waiting to see in the comments section what path do you see fit for yourself?