How to climb the corporate Ladder in software industry

The fresher starts as an associate software engineer or internship with software companies. An internship is a job training for professional careers. The student can get stipend during the internship period. The companies should allocate the resource for training the student. The student gives the commitment to the given task and completes the task on time. Once complete the internship, the company may consider for the full-time position based on the student’s performance.

The software industry has many job requirements. The resource can start work as a programmer, tester, business analyst, network administrator or database administrator. The software engineer gets more promotion in early days due to more requirement and less resource. But, now the software industry has been changed more. The industry has many skilled resources. The candidate can start a career in any position and may climb the corporate ladder.

Technical or management

The technical candidate is a candidate who works as an individual contributor. The resource may or may not report to him. The individual contributor takes care of technical assignment and executes all the tasks assigned to them. The technical people involve more on technical area rather than management. The management candidate takes care of management activities. The management starts from junior level to executives. The professional activities change based on the management position. The candidate should choose the technical or management position after getting experience in the specific area. The technical or management positions require a different skill set. The technical career requires design software module, develop the component, maintain the codebase, support works. The management career path requires people or process management, deliver the product to end user, resource management. If the candidate is working as a delivery manager, they may track all the activities related to delivery.

The candidate must plan for taking the technical and management career path. If the candidate chooses the technical path, the candidate must improve technical skills. Example, if the programmer wants to continue as a technical path, they should involve more in system architecture, business requirement, convert the requirement to the product. If the programmer wants to choose as management path, they should involve management skills (tracking the issues, estimation, deliver the product on time).

Employee interest vs company Requirements

The employee promoted based on the following reasons.

  • The company may promote an employee based on resource skills and experience.
  • The company may promote an employee based on company current requirement. The company promotes the employee to the next instead of hiring from outside.

The software companies may provide an option to an employee for choosing the career path (Technical or Management). The position may create based on the requirements. The candidate may play a role based on the project temporarily. The employee may get a title as manager and may involve all the technical activities. The programmers may act as a technical leader for the particular project and take ownership for delivering the product to end user.

Skill update

The software candidate should continually learn the new technologies, tools and process. The industry is changing continuously. The candidate must update the skill and adapt to the new technical areas.

Certification

The candidate can get the certification in a specific area. If the .NET programmer wants to climb the ladder to next level, they can invest some time and money for getting certification from Microsoft (like MCSD). If the candidate is working in management path, they can choose Scrum master or PMP certification for understanding the management process.

On-the-job training

The candidate may not be able to learn from books or other training. The candidate must go through the on the job training. The software industry senior management position require on the job training. Each company has a different process to execute and communicate with the different team based on organizational structure. So, the senior management team learns the skills based on the on-job training.

Higher education

if the candidate wants to change the career path from technical to management, they can choose higher education. The technical candidate may move from technical career path to management. It may require a different skill set. If the candidate gets time and plans to more the path, they can more specialize in the management area.

Work management

Every company has three type of employees.

Low performer:

The candidate may lack technical or another skill set. They may not be able to complete the tasks on time. They will not expect anything from the company.

Meet expectation:

If the management team assigns and track the tasks, the candidate work and complete the tasks. They may or may not expect more reward from the company.

High performers:

The candidate initiate and complete the work on time with minimal supervision. They may expect more from the company.

The company may have all three types of performers. The company reward high performers. The low performers should motivate those employees to work harder to achieve rewards. The manager should evaluate the candidate without any political factors. The software company enforces the open door policy. The candidate can skip the immediate manager layer and contact next level management team directly. The companies define the set of tasks for each employment title and define the organization structure. The organization structure may change based on the companies requirement or manage more effectively.

Appraisal

An appraisal is a method by which the job performance of an employee is documented and evaluated. The software company plan and track every employee details with the following information.

Last year performance

The candidate immediate manager reviews the last year performance. The manager may rate the employee’s performance. They may consider all the factors. The employee may come to know about strengths and weakness about his last year tasks.

Plan for next year

The employee and immediate manager may sit together and plan for the next year Appraisal. The employee can overcome the weakness and improve the areas to achieve the next level.

The appraisal process may not affect the compensation directly. The employee compensation may increase based on different factors including the company’s business.

Conclusion

  • Discuss with manager/management team about the process and priorities.
  • Communicate effectively. If you accept any tasks, discuss with appropriate Peron and take full ownership.
  • Understand the organization roadmap and focus on the roadmap.
  • Involve on critical project which the organization monitor closely
  • Always work as a team.
  • Confident about your work and make differentiate from other team members.
  • Get constructive feedback from the management team and correct yourself.
  • Build your professional Network
  • Continuously learn new skills (management or technical)
How to climb the corporate Ladder in software industry
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