(A Guest Blog Article)
Across the board, career coaching has shown to have remarkable benefits for an individual’s career. The Institute of Coaching reports that over 70% of those who receive coaching see improvements in their work performance, communication skills, and relationships.
Executive and senior managers routinely get coaching from consultants hired to help them develop their leadership skills. CEOs including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Eric Schmidt have all worked with career coaches to hone their communication, develop new concepts, and get feedback on their visions.
By working with a coach, developers and programmers can cultivate new skills, receive feedback on their career trajectory, and learn how to future-proof their resume. Coaching can take different forms: from informal coaching, like a coffee chat with experienced peers, to semi-formal mentoring or joining an organization/team that provides mentorship, to formally hiring are all valuable ways to get career feedback. Coaching is critical to freelance developers seeking to stay ahead of the competition. Here’s why every developer needs career coaching along the way.
Develop your soft skills
Tech and coding skills dominate LinkedIn’s 2019 list of skills on employers’ wishlists. Most developers have a relatively easy time finding work: in the job market, 90% of developers have at least part-time work. Very few developers are unemployed and actively seeking a new job. It’s a great position to be in, but it does mean competition for work at top companies will be steep. How can a developer stand out from the crowd?
Soft skills are among the most in-demand qualifications any employee can have, yet many developers and programmers ignore this area of professional development. Linkedin’s list of most-needed skills includes creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management. These are things that can make a freelancer stand out to Silicon Valley CTOs and recruiters who view dozens of coding challenges for one open position.
“In general, people from the technology sector tend to focus on hard skills but are not as focused on the soft skills currently in high demand. Once an employer has figured out they have the hard-techy skills, what will make them stand out beyond that?” says one expert.
Coaching can help developers by simulating real-world projects that hone communication skills, teach candidates to use agile methodologies, and prepare to work in collaborative teams. Companies are seeking to hire: and you can command a better position in the job market by becoming a well-rounded candidate with more than one skillset.
Get guidance on your career path
Because there’s always a demand for developers, it’s easy to set your career on autopilot. When one opportunity ends, inevitably a few others pop up. A tech career coach can help freelance developers and tech professionals undergoing a transition navigate which opportunities are worthwhile.
“A tech career coach can help you figure out how you can get from working on small projects to large projects. They can assist you in planning which types of companies to work at in order to work on large-scale projects. If you are a freelancer, career coaching can help you design a plan to turn small opportunities into larger ones,” writes one software developer blog.
Get your questions about freelancing or consulting answered by someone with experience in the tech industry. A career coach can connect you with a larger network of professionals to help you proactively approach your career path.
Future-proof your skillset
The tech industry is constantly evolving, and as AI, VR, and IoT trends grow, developers must add new skills to their arsenal. However, when you’re in the weeds of work every day, it can be hard to zoom out and predict what skills you will need to develop next.
Coaching can help flag discrepancies like this for developers seeking to future-proof their knowledge and skillsets. “Coaches can use assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of personality and skillsets. They can also help job seekers understand how a skill can be applied in a different way to a new job,” writes TechRepublic.
Coaches keep tabs on macro-trends in the tech world to tell you where you’re falling behind. Some tech coaches will also take it a step further and place a developer in a job. These coaches know IT recruiters and can help you study for the technical portion of an interview. Developers can take advantage of coaching to stay competitive in the job market, grow their soft skills, and ensure the longevity of their professional status.
This post originally appeared in the JetCake blog https://jetcake.com/why-developers-need-career-coaching/ . Dr. Ray Wheeler is a certified executive coach who shares content with JetCake.