From junior to specialist

Introduction

In this article we are going to talk about group of junior specialist. This is about people who already have job but on junior or under-middle positions.

This article is for the people who are on that stage but willing to move forward quickly and get maximum opportunities in the way of professional, career and financial growth.

We should also say my message is for people who fill uncomfortable in their current role. Only these kind of people who fill day to day need to grow will actually grow. These kind of people is our target team of listeners. These kind of people are ready to move forward and they are ready to listen and learn HOW TO move forward.

So let's see further how we can improve your career.

Getting started with job search

I remember I was young specialist who was constantly willing to improve my career position. Let's be honest but main goal was to improve financial characteristics of the job position. Another point was of cause to move up in career position. The main issue I had was how to do next step. Where to find new job and how to make sure new job will be better than the current one. So the main idea of this chapter is how to start the search.

Currently, there are many ways to find new job. We can surf internet job portals or we can publish our CV and keep it up to date. There are also many freelance job portals where we can find part-time job just to improve our skills. All this are well known and clear and there is no any secret here.

The key thing is the way we are going to organize our search of new job. If you decide to move forward with career improvement you need to start with strategic plan.

In this plan (which has to be written on the paper, phone note, etc.) you need to answer several questions:

- What type of new job you want to get. You need to ask yourself how you are comfortable enough with your current job. Do you want to change it dramatically or you’d like to try something else (e.g. move from QA to development and vice versa)?

- What is your salary expectation. Obvious question, but the main thing here is to be realistic. Do not dream - be realistic. Let's say you have $1000 now. In your plan you should say you wish to get $1500, sharp, +-$100 (not $8000 or more). If you put unrealistic goal here, you’ll most likely fail with that and which is more dangerous, you will give up and will not try to improve.

- What you need to improve. Look at your skills and competencies – see what you are not good enough is. See if you can improve those. Let's say you are just junior QA, and just manually testing web apps. If you learn some of the testing automation tool you can get better and more interesting position of automation QA.

- Do you want to change time schedule (e.g. switch from hard daily schedule 9am to 6pm to flexy hours).

- Are you ready to relocate. This is modern world and many opportunities may arise where relocation is required. New job place can be in neighbor city, neighbor region or even different country. You have to answer this question BEFORE you get offer! That way you’ll be ready to answer such question in most efficient way, so will be no surprise.

- Are you ready to work remotely. This kind of question similar to the previous one, but again you need to think about it before you get such question. OR maybe you’d like to get remote job. So ask yourself what is your intention to remote working.

- Are you ready to downgrade appliance or your skills but for higher salary. This is kind of interesting and you would think not that realistic topic. But I should say it happens very often. When recruiters search CV databases they look at particular skills and there is very big chance that somebody will offer you a job with better salary and the stack of skills you are absolutely great with. So in this case you’ll need to decide do want just upgrade salary but do not grow professionally. There is also another option here, you may be offered a technology to with which you know but do not like. So think about what do you do in such situation.

- Finally, define list of sources of information where you'll be getting job offers. How you are going to communicate to new employers and how much time you can spend on the daily basis for interview.

Again, you need to have this plan written and remembered. You need to follow it on the daily basis. Having this plan ready and which is more important having YOU comfortable with it and with answers you give to the above questions you can start searching for new job.

Interview

Let’s imagine we've got our strategic plan, we followed it and we finally got some interview offer. This is really trilling moment especially in the case this is your 1st, 2nd or 3rd interview in your life. I have to say there are thousands of large articles written mostly my recruiters and about this particular topic. But, I'm willing to give here short list of important items in order to prepare to interview and in order to pass it.

It's very important to be in the right shape before the interview and to follow several simple principles preparing to it and passing it actually.

So in preparation we would need to do the following:

- Gather some information about the company who invited you. This could be one of the questions on the interview just to see how you are interested about this new job. So search over Internet and try to get some more info about the company which is inviting you to pass interview. If you know more than just in the profile that will show yourself as person who are really interesting about this particular place of work.

- Think about your strengths and weaknesses before the interview. Be ready to answer questions you are not comfortable. Be ready to show maximum information about something you really good with.

- Make sure you can get to the company place in time. This is for the case if the interview is in the office. This sounds trivial but It's very common situation to come late because of number of reason. So build you route to the office and estimate time taking city traffic into account. Do not be late! But do not be too early as well. Ideally be 10 minutes before time.

- Have your own list of questions you are going to ask. That, again, will show you as the person interested with new job. Just prepare 2-3 questions – it’s easy enough and easy to remember.

Ok, now let’s see what we do being on the interview. These items are important no mater you do face to face interview in the office or you do it over skype, phone, etc.

Let's see some key items are really important here:

- 1st of all - RELAX and CALM DOWN!!! Take a deep breath and get ready to listen to the questions attentively. This really important, not easy, but important. If you are nervous you could simple loose the sense of the question and give wrong answer. So, again, relax and calm down.

- If asked about your self - give 1-2 sentences about your personality (name, age, marries hobbies, etc.) and then describe your professional experience using some project or task you like the most. Using that you'll motivate yourself to show your skills in the best way implicitly. Do not talk too long, 5 minutes’ maximum.

- Remember about NDA - never disclose sensitive details of the project. Tell about common principles used and well-known public technologies. Under no any condition tell a single word about algorithm or even part of the code that company or you developed and patented further.

- If you know answer to the question very well - try to show that in the most efficient way. Give maximum information in short period of time. BUT, if possible you can pull time of cause and talk. Remember that time of interview is limited. But be carefull, watch your party attentively - finish your speech if you fill he/she started boring.

- If you do not know the answer - never give up immediately. 1st of all try to think logically and "loudly". That way you will show you have some analytical skills and able to solve issue. If you absolutely not aware about the topic you can admit that BUT with mandatory promise to improve in that area, learn, read, etc.

- Do not try to catch your party. Remember, that person is asking you is also a human like you and may not know everything in the world. Interview is not exam in the university - this more like dialog between two professionals in order to get know each other.

- Be polite, do not use bad words or slang and keep reasonable distance. Other way, do not try be too friendly.

- If you fill you are not going or gone well you can propose to do some test exercise (right some small program, do QA test, investigate public web site searching for problems etc.).

- If it's online interview, use web cam and do NOT TYPE. It can be treated as you are searching answers in the Internet.

- Finally, be sure to thank about time spent and promise to be in touch and opened for the further contacts.

One important thing about interview process. Not many but some companies may try to give you to pass some psychological tests. This is very concerned practice from many points of view and it's up to you follow that or not. You can simply reject that saying that it’s an unnecessary penetration into your personal area. If you agree to do that test, try to be absolutely honest because most of those test have so-called "scale of lie". So if you lie, they will know that. You need to understand the main purpose of those testing - some of the companies (not all of cause) are trying to find very loyal personnel. The personnel which can be payed less and will NOT complain about that. So it's all up to you whether to work further with such company or not.

Making a choice

So here we are in the very lucky situation having several job offers. I would say you are more lucky if you have just one offer and you like it and you are absolutely comfortable with it. But, again, let's imagine you have several offers. Do not think this is some kind of fantastic situation. It's not, and you have to be absolutely ready to it and which is more important you need to be ready to do right choice.

Let's see several criteria of how to choose the best one:

- So obvious things - how far is that from you home, what are the office facilities, what is social package, vacation, holidays, bonus, etc. These are all clear and play important role in your choice. So you'll take it into account.

- Salary. Oh, yeah. Most of the juniors would think this is the most important. This is almost true. Almost, because it has to be correlated to other parameters mentioned above and mentioned below. So if you are given great salary, but only 10 days of vacation - count it carefully and remember that vacation is also a money. Even if you do not think of that explicitly. This is a money of the company spend on you.

- Professional opportunities. Look carefully on the stack of technologies you are supposed to work. Some you may know well - ask yourself do you want to grow that direction; do you like it at all. Opposite scenario - you are given something you are very well on, but for a very good salary. Do you think that is good opportunity, is it really growth or just minor improvement? Again ask yourself whether you want to go that way.

- Career opportunities. Are you given higher position on start? If not is there a solid prove you'll get higher position soon enough. In other hand, is that really important for you. Does company give clear plan of career growth? Some of the big companies have processes of individual development, that is good sign that you may grow your career in such a company. Of cause, be realist, company can promise lots of the things, but reality may differ.

- Be rationally sceptic to anything company offers in advance. You can only trust more or less to the things which are written in your contract. If you are promised something verbally (bonuses, purchase of company stocks, etc.) be thankful, but keep in mind that may never become true. Just do not be disappointed and do not fill abused if you are not given what was promised. Again, you can trust only what is written on paper and signed.

- Be careful with NDA and any other additional legal agreements. Some of the companies may ask you to sign contract under which ALL the code you write is the property of the company. This is reasonable, but only at the time where you actually employed. So you work 8 hours a day or something like that. You work on the company's laptop. So code is written during working hours and on company equipment is the property of the company, no doubt. Everything else you do outside is your own property - try to get contract stating that.

- NEVER sign any paper which brings you full or partial responsivity of the company affairs against 3rd-paties. You work with this given company and nothing else.

- So before you do your choice try to get all the documents you are going to sign, think about all advantages and disadvantages, think very well and long enough and then make your choice. Good luck!

Conclusion

So here we are at the end of this article. I hope I brought something useful and new and hope that will help you to improve your career. Please do not hesitate to leave your comments under video. If I collect enough advises and comments, I may publish another version of this material.

I have to say this is not single video material, I have many more to describe and place for discussion. My next blog post is going to be about those who want to become IT specialist. So about the people who work in near areas and fill like they can become software developers, IT managers or QA specialists for instance. I promise that will be interesting session.

Good luck and by!

P.S. Whether you have any comments or questions please do not hesitate to contact us.