Often times, introspection is the best way to assess how you are progressing in your career. Even more important when you are in such a volatile and every changing industry as information technology.

How I see it is as people moving between different stages in a spectrum of the career. I remember when I started off, it was all about learning the latest and greatest technology and how I could integrate it to the project I was working on.

As time went by and the grey hair started to appear, it was more about finding a balance of using proven, stable technology whilst still assessing and phasing in the latest and greatest.

I tend to question things as I move along in my career. And one thing was whether it was all about the technology at the end of the day. My answer is it is not. Learning and incorporating new tech is just one part of the job.

Developing your people and soft skills is as important as keeping up with the technology trends. Jack of all trades is a nice adage to explain that succinctly. This does not mean that experts in specific fields are not important. It is all about finding the balance and moving out of your comfort zone if you so wish to.

People skills usually entail being empathetic and supporting of your team members and helping out where possible. No one likes heroes unless they come with a cape and cool super powers. You either win as a team or lose as a team and those are valuable lessons to be learned.  My father once taught me a nice phrase which goes “Be careful on whose toes you step on, on your way up, because you do not know whom you would meet on your way down”. For me, that just tell me that everyone should be respected equally from the janitor to the CEO as you maybe in the highest point in your life right now, but as we know it, the only constant in life is change and everything can change in a heart beat.

Soft skills become even more important as you progress in your career where its not about talking technology lingo, but more about conveying your ideas across to business people in a language they understand. This is not something which is inculcated in our industry in general. Lets be honest, most of us used to or still do hate talking to business people. At the end of the day, even the most cutting edge technology does not amount to much if no one is buying it. Soft skills are not only about presentations and speeches, but also about knowing how a business operates. No we do not need an MBA, yet, its good to know what a balance sheet is, how budgets are made, cost centres and profit centres etc so you would better understand the business lingo when needed to better convey your ideas across.

So keep moving along the spectrum of your career and make adjustments as you deem fit according to what you feel is right for you.

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