Suppose you have had a feeling for a while that the work you have been doing and the contribution you make to the firm you work for deserve a better position, salary, work on larger projects, and more responsibilities. In that case, it is time for a promotion.
Getting ahead in the software development industry isn't just about creating more code, it is a demonstration that you are a mature, well-rounded engineer and a valuable member of the organization. When joining a new company, most of the engineers actually do not think about the promotion, but focusing more on being faster in performing and learning new technologies. Over time, as the skills, they master grow and the tasks multiply, seniority position becomes both a goal and an ambition.
We have explored ways to get a promotion in the following lines.
Understanding the Promotion Process Within a Company
Before taking concrete steps, find out how the promotion system works in your company. Different companies have different promotion systems for employees.
In some of them, it is enough for your contribution and progress to be recognized by a manager, that you are worthy of a better position. Other systems require recognition of more people, which means that often you are also required to meet the set expectations for a certain role.
Large tech companies usually have job descriptions for every position and defined levels of knowledge, skills, and expectations. In terms of getting a promotion, additional reviews by managers or more may be needed, so that the developer is ready for promotion and fulfills the norms at the next level.
The existence of such formal rules can sometimes be a good thing as it enables you to familiarise yourself with whether you meet these expectations or not, what else you should work on, etc. Moreover, it will be beneficial if your manager is aware of your plans and aspirations for promotion.
First Stop - Your Manager
Although a discussion with a manager about the promotion might be uncomfortable for most developers- it should not be that way.
The manager is the one who is likely to know more about your abilities and is in a position to provide the best feedback regarding your work and performance - where do you stand in comparison to the next level and what should you additionally work on. They are the ones who will best present to you the principle of promotion in the company. It is also in their interest that the people from the team progress.
Even if you're not brave enough to ask for a promotion yourself, talking to your supervisor about your career path and ambitions is a good way to let them know you want more. If you're seriously thinking it's time to take the next step in your career, here are some tips on how to stand out and earn a promotion.
Communicate and Make Your Manager's Job Easier
Besides the fact that you should let your manager know that you want to advance, don't be afraid to openly ask for advice on what you should do to make it happen. Thus he/she would feel partly like your mentor and will care more about your progress.
Make sure that you are seen as a reliable and capable colleague - offer to help them with their duties. Showing initiative and teamwork is always a good way to be recognized as someone who adds value to the business and the team.
Set Personal Goals
Once you understand what you need to work on to advance, set your own personal goals, whether it's learning a new programming language and technology, working under pressure, or acquiring the soft skills that higher positions definitely require.
Work on Multiple Projects
Try to be part of multiple important projects and help them to come to a successful end.
Particular significance brings projects involving multiple teams, as they will help you develop new relationships with members of other teams and spread your influence.
Show initiative whenever possible and take on more responsibility to show your independence in work. If volunteers are wanted for a specific part of the work, apply. Also, try to standardize or automate certain operations to simplify further work of others who do similar work in the company. They will appreciate it.
Track your achievements
Start to record things you have achieved as it happens quite often to forget the work we accomplished and the success we are responsible for. Even your superiors are unlikely to remember everything.
When the time comes to discuss a better position and promotion, all this will be useful, and you might even surprise your manager with the amount of work you do and the results behind you. This will certainly make the process of evaluation easier and faster.
Be an Active Reviewer
Code writing is the most important part of the job in software engineering, but reviewing other people's work is also relevant to your development.
Doing code review on a project in which you are not involved can be very challenging and require reading additional documentation, greater focus, and extra knowledge. On the other hand, you will gain the skills to be easily involved in any project and also improve your relationship with other people.
Connecting With Team Members
Find opportunities to work and collaborate more with team members. Teamwork is increasingly valued and companies appreciate those who motivate and are responsible for good team relationships.
Find ways to come together and encourage each other's growth. Apart from the code reviews mentioned before, this can involve co-programming, sharing information, or mentoring another developer.
Don't miss the opportunity to praise your teammates to the manager. After all, they too may be required to say something about you when considering your promotion - so the favor and recognition may be returned. All of this could signal to your manager that you are ready for the next level.
Besides, talk and connect with those who have recently been promoted or are occupying a role of your desire. You are to learn what it takes to move to a higher level, get advice, and maybe even practical help to progress.
Work on Your Communication Skills
Leadership roles require dealing with people, meaning the more people there are in the team, the more your communications skills will be of importance. Any career advancement is not just about knowing the job, but also the ability to work with people, in a team, deal with challenging situations and work under pressure.
Soft skills and the ability to interact with different types of people are a long-term investment in your career. Prepare yourself by mastering these skills step by step even before you consider or ask for a promotion.
Make yourself open and accessible to everyone. In that learning process, you will work additionally on your leadership skills, which will be recognized. Some of the most important soft skills in tech you may find at the link.
Things to Avoid
On your way towards the promotion, some mistakes could be made but should be avoided:
Take care that in order to prove yourself, you do not go to the extreme and jeopardize your health. Allocate your energy and focus on the right things.
You vs the Others
Your progress does not necessarily mean regression of others. See people around as help and allies, not an obstacle on the path towards your promotion. One’s progress does not eliminate space for others to experience the same and get a better position.
Take care that your aspiration towards improvement does not harm others or the entire team, because appreciating the work of others and teamwork, as we have seen, are always valued.
Promotion Must Not be Your Only Goal
No matter how hard you are trying, even with support from the team and managers, sometimes circumstances do not provide an opportunity for a promotion. Do not be discouraged by it. Your main goal should be your own professional development and acquiring new skills. The moment of recognition will definitely come, sooner or later. Further learning, personal development, and new knowledge are embedded in you and will be definitely proved worthwhile.
Spontaneity or Strategic Move?
Of course, if you do not see the opportunity to move on to a higher position in the long run, consider looking for a new role in another company.
Additionally, both technical and soft skills will be a plus. In that regard, use your spare time to learn new skills and create conditions for further career development. Expand your experience through volunteer work, part-time jobs, and gaining new skills.
Many believe that promotion is never spontaneous or accidental, but a strategic move. What is your opinion?
Previous rows will help you map access in your intention to reach a better position, and if you would like to hear the experiences and opinions of other developers on this topic, start a discussion on the Joberty community.