Doing what’s best for you

Tech Talk with Devaka

The IT job market in Sri Lanka is as volatile as it can get. Companies big and small sometimes target graduates even before they leave universities. Similarly whatever the reaction or attitude we have regarding the job market, it really doesn’t care. And it will never change – just like traffic. The only option is for us to go along with the “traffic” at our own pace so that it doesn’t bother us.

Keeping that in mind, I wanted to share with the newbies out there some key points that will help to get that perfect start to your career.

Don’t go after the money

Hilarious isn’t it? How can someone NOT look at the money? The fact is, at the age of 21 or 22, money should not be a concern to you. The IT industry is considered to be one of the few industries that offer high-paying jobs. But at this stage, you should focus more on “learning” the industry than making a living out of it. Think of it this way – if you do find what you are really good at, you have a better chance of earning more money in the future!

Pick a field that you will enjoy doing

By the time you graduate, you have some sense as to what the technologies and application areas are in the industry. You should first create yourself a “bucket list” as to what you would like to do and achieve in the next 5 years. Make sure that you pick a job that gives you a path to achieving those targets. Four main areas exist within any software company are Quality Assurance, Software Engineering, Project Management and Business Analysis - so choose. But when choosing, always be mindful of the fact that you can switch tracks at any time. Be certain that the job and the employer offers you that flexibility.

Pick the skill and application area

In software development, the programming languages and the application areas are diverse. There are two aspects to an IT job - the core skills required and what it’s used for. For example, if Web Service is your preference, then perhaps Java or a scripting language should be the obvious choice of skills. If you take scripting languages separately, that itself offers a range of languages you can learn such as JavaScript, PHP, Perl, Python and so on. However, in the long run your “selling” point will be the ability to learn any language quickly and develop web services. In order to achieve this, you need to have a strong knowledge of the basics.

Stretch your boundaries

Going on the same example, web services have grown rapidly over the past few years. Its application has ranged from providing simple web services interfaces to developing new architectures such as Service Oriented Architecture.

The best way to show that you are really good in what you do, is to be current with that particular technology. Be aware as to how it’s maturing and used around the world. Read up on case studies explaining how they are implemented. All the little details will be handy at an interview for sure.

If you’re struggling, get out!

If you feel like you are struggling at work, then the best option is to get out as soon as possible! Enjoying what you do is vital to a healthy career and one that is moving forward rather than stagnating.

Always remember that companies will offer vacancies only because they have a need that has to be fulfilled. The decision of how you should mold your career is completely up to you and make sure you do what is best!

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