Don’t let your career become a prison. Use it as a launching pad for achieving your dreams.
If you would like to change career but feel like you can’t satisfy the specialized requirements on job postings, here is some good advice for you!
[Ask IT Career Coach] is a Career Advice Column for IT professionals looking for answers to their most challenging career situations.
Why Is Changing Roles So Hard?
Changing roles is hard because Information Technology (IT), Web, or Software Development Managers want depth of experience in specific, narrowly defined or over-specialized skills.
For example, you may be a strong HTML developer and yet fail at a job interview because you don’t have HTML5 on your resume even though you will easily learn it, if hired!
Or you may be an e-commerce business analyst (ba) with 5 years of experience and yet you can’t qualify for an “e-commerce ba job because it requires an agency or advertising background”. This type of job description seems to imply that having an agency or advertising background is essential in a business analyst role!
Is Your Career A Silo?
IT careers have not always been silos. Software developers have been known to gather or document requirements for their projects (business analysis), create software manuals or help files using specialized programs (technical writing) or create and execute test plans (quality assurance).
But because of the siloing of IT roles, our personalities are now limited by our careers instead of being expressions of them.
Don’t Let Silos Stand In Your Way
Transitioning careers is harder than it needs to be because of this narrow, over-specification of skills.
Your career is not bound to your college education. You are better of assuming that college is a training ground for improving thinking, probelm solving or analytical skills. College does not dictate your life work!
You are more than your resume. You succeed at work because of your intrinsic personal abilities which transcend job descriptions. Your resume only proves that you can get things done. Your resume does not determine what you can or cannot do!
The ability to succeed at a job is within you. It is not limited by over-specialized job postings. This means that you should believe in yourself and let that confidence drive your career transition.
For example, if you are a software developer used to gathering requirements for your team, believe that the same intrinsic personal traits (good communication or documentation skills) will help you transition into a full-time business analyst or technical writer job.
I am saying that you musn’t let your current job become a silo. Use it as a launching pad to your dream career.
Software Development As A Launching Pad For IT Careers
Believing in yourself means that you focus on building bridges between your current and dream career instead of focusing on the restrictive or limiting words frequently used on job postings.
with all this in mind, here is how you can transition from a software developer to a business analyst role.
Expand the scope of your day to day computer programming tasks to take on more business analysis tasks.
A good number of software development projects lack full-time business analysis resources. Take advantage of this opportunity to become a business analyst. Here is how:
Volunteer to gather, elicit or document the requirements for your software development projects. Don’t stay within the silo fo a typical software developer job role.
Learn UML and Use Cases which are skills that are common to both business analysts and software developers. This helps you build a bridge between your current and desired skills.
Bridge the gap between your current programming team and stakeholders. Become the go-between who interprets requirements to software developers or explains the programmers’ concerns to stakeholders.
Distinguish yourself by studying or training to be the best informed business analyst on your team. Many software developers have fragmented or incomplete knowledge of what business analyst do. Don’t be one of those.
For example, some software developers know a little bit of Use Cases or UML, But having fragmented or incomplete knowledge doesn’t get the job done.
When an opportunity for a full-time business analyst resource opens up in your company apply for the position and ask the same stakeholders you are working with to recommend you.
If a business analyst position does not open up in your firm, document all the work that you are doing and apply for a full-time business analyst position at another company.
Don’t let your career, education or job postings become your silo. You have to believe in yourself and learn how to build bridges between your current job and the career you want.