There are lots of articles on the benefits of pursuing a career in computer science. The high salaries are one of the biggest factors. According to the US News Report, the average computer programmer earns a little over $84,000 a year. The top 25% of computer programmers earn over $109,120.
While there are a lot of articles on the merits of getting a job as a computer scientist and tips on getting your first position, there are a lot fewer detailing the process for getting a promotion. This can be a bit of a shock for experienced programmers that feel trapped in the current position. This can even happen among startups looking for programmers.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to increase your chances of being promoted. You just need to know what steps to take. Some important tips for getting promoted beyond your entry-level programming job are listed below. They work whether you are a Java programmer or an expert at mattn.
Understand the dwindling importance of technical competencies as you rise through the ranks of the organization
If you are passionate about programming, then there is a harsh reality that you need to accept before trying to get promoted. You are going to spend a lot less time as a programmer after you take on a more managerial role.
Any business school will teach you about the three different competencies of managers. Managers must be familiar with technical, interpersonal and conceptual competencies. The need for interpersonal skills is constant at all levels of management. However, there is a shift between the importance of technical and conceptual skills as you advance.
Once you move from a regular programming job to a managerial role, your technical skills will become considerably less important (although you still need to use technology to excel). They become even less important as you take on more senior-level positions. Meanwhile, your conceptual skills become even more important. You also need to embrace the importance of communication, conflict resolution, and other social skills to a much greater degree after you joined the ranks of management.
You need to familiarize yourself with the expectations of your new position. If you lack some of the competencies, then you will need to participate in seminars, take classes or see mentors that can help you develop them. The biggest mistake is to think that you can rest on your laurels by being a great programmer. That simply isn’t going to cut it when you want to become a manager.
Understand the process for promotions in your organization
You are going to find a lot of canned advice from supposed career coaches on getting a promotion. This advice is often of little use, because it doesn’t factor for one obvious issue – the process of getting promoted varies between different organizations.
You need to understand your company’s own process for getting promoted. It is important to make sure that you follow all of the guidelines and meet all requirements before submitting an application. You don’t want to sabotage your chances of getting a promotion by coming across as entitled or unwilling to pay attention to the finer details of the organization.
Start living by the professional standards of your next position before you get it
Your employer wants to see that you can transition seamlessly into your new role. They don’t want to hire somebody that lacks the maturity and professionalism to perform their new duties. Although professional attitudes can be instilled by management to some degree, it is a very difficult process. Management would much rather hire somebody that already embodies these traits.
You should start practicing these skills long before you are hired. It will considerably increase your chances of being promoted.
Get the support of your boss and other key management figures
Your current boss and other managers will have a lot of input in the future of your career. Even if they are not on the team that decides your promotion, they can influence those that will.
You will want to get their support before applying for another position. This is important for people seeking to advance in any organization.
However, it can be particularly important for computer science professionals. Computer science is a field for people that are not known for being interconnected with other employees. Management wants to see that you have the interpersonal skills to connect with other members of the management team, so getting the approval of your boss and other executives will make a big difference.
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