“Always deliver more than expected” —Larry Page, Google co-founder
To begin, I want you to write a brief personal summary of your workday. It’s likely your list looks something like this:
- Sat at my computer and logged on
- Read my emails
- Updated my status
- Began work on pending items
- Throughout the day I wrapped those items up or I had a roadblock and will continue tomorrow
- Encountered a problem and the apocalypse began
- Had some meetings
- Logged out and went home
This is a nice routine and you are used to it. Obviously you have some different days, but, for the most part, this routine works.
However, let’s imagine your scrum master or tech lead suddenly leaves! I’ve seen it before. Are you currently ready to take over for them and do you have the necessary knowledge to get started? If your company’s director needs someone that understands the “know-hows” of your project, would you be the one they choose? Are you a good fit for the open position?
It’s time the start thinking like a senior engineer.
Did you know that recruiters often look at attitude more than technical skills when choosing the right candidate? It doesn’t really matter what your current responsibilities are or if you just got started at your company. If you have the right attitude, trust me, the opportunity of a lifetime could be just around the corner. With this in mind, how can you think like a senior engineer and achieve your goals?
1. Don’t let life surprise you
We don’t realize how many opportunities surround us. Some of them happen suddenly, but some of them not. Pay attention to your environment and which opportunities are there for you to grow. A senior knows where the opportunities are and how to grab them.
2. Copy patterns
Don’t wait for chances to come to you. Take a look at someone who is in the role you like. Analyze which aspects of their role you like, talk to that person, and get some advice.
3. Don’t be average
What do your professional habits say about you? Yes, you go about your workday as expected, but what do you do each day for your personal growth?
You MUST believe in yourself! Don’t worry if you don’t have enough experience in some areas. It’s never too late to get started on learning something new and challenging yourself for your personal improvement. Share your ideas for enhancing your project then research and propose those ideas. Maybe they will not work the first time, but this doesn’t mean they will not work some day. Good companies are always open for suggestions to improve.
4. Get rid of the conformist in yourself
Conformity keeps people safe. Some people are bored with their jobs, but are they doing anything to change it? Get rid of the conformist habit that may be killing your career. Remember, nobody can take the place of the best version of yourself.
5. Keep learning
Don’t stop learning. Try to improve your habits and routines. Think about short-term goals and how to reach them, build your own career path, increase your knowledge, remember your habits and build your next career stage.
Although this isn’t a cookbook with a simple 5-step recipe on how to become an awesome engineer, these tips will help you take the bull by the horns and move forward in your career.
If you are thinking like a senior, what do you need to do to become the engineer you want to be?
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