Why Developers Need Career Coaching

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.

One example? Take the growing demand for JavaScript. In 2018, reports Hackerrank, 73% of developers said they knew JavaScript. This number is a marked increase from 67% in 2017 – and it makes JavaScript 2018’s most well-known language.

However, students graduating from computer science programs aren’t learning JavaScript. Only 42% of student developers are learning JavaScript – it’s simply not taught at most universities. That means most developers are having to teach themselves JavaScript to stay competitive in the current job market.

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.

Professionalize Your Start Up in Six Simple Steps

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Every entrepreneur has had that nervous feeling during the launch period of your business. You feel like an imposter; why would anybody buy my products? It takes a while to feel like you fit in in the world of business, but it does get better. All you need to do, is find a way to professionalize your startup so you feel more legitimate. Whether you’re looking to improve your leadership skills or spruce up your office space, there are a number of ways in which you can professionalize your business for the better.

1. Invest in an Office Space

If you’re ready to take the leap and build your own office environment, now is the perfect opportunity. Renting or buying a cheap space and sprucing it up yourself is a savvy plan, as you can decorate it however you like. Consider commercial window and door repair if your entrances or windows need a little extra attention. Nothing screams “professional” like a brand new office that’s not your bedroom!

2. Purchase a Business Phone Number

You may not have the funds to fully commit to an office space, so why not buy a business phone number? You can purchase a professional address or number for a small amount of money per month. This will professionalize your business instantly and give a good impression to your customers right away.

3. Hire a Branding Expert

Every new business needs a clear brand message, so consider a branding expert to help you get started. From logo designs to brand messages, they can help you get started on something that will appeal to your target market.

4. Focus on Your Website

A smooth and professional website is one of the only ways in which you can make a sale. If your consumers click off your website in a confused state, it’s likely they won’t return anytime soon. Make every stage of your website crystal clear so you come across as professional as possible.

5. Take on Your First Employee

Hiring your first employee is a big step and it may seem far away at the moment. However, this will give your business a true professional vibe through and through if you have a team of qualified and helpful people ready to serve your target audience.

6. Start a Blog

When your business has a blog it becomes a powerful tool to establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can talk about trending topics, open up discussions and showcase your skills in an attractive online format. When you produced valuable content to your audience they will begin to trust you.

If you work your way through this list of start up must dos you will soon feel much more confident in your own work. Being a business owner is all about your mindset, especially when you’re new to the game. Smartening up your strategies and legitimizing your brand will go a long way in the initial months and years. You want your future clients and consumers to trust you completely, so this will help you to gain that quickly and organically.

Leadership Skills Everyone Needs To Know

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There may come a time in your career where you are no longer an employee and instead you are a leader. Being a leader is something which is harder than it looks and when it comes to being a great leader, there are a lot of things you will need to learn. Today we are going to take a look into some of the ways that you can lead your team to success this year with some essential tips.

  1. Be transparent

To be a successful business leader you need to always remain honest. It is incredibly important for you to be honest with your followers and always show that you are willing to share problems with them. Your team is a huge part of your working environment and it is important for you to earn their trust and don’t keep things from them. If you are having trouble with something don’t keep it to yourself, asking for advice shows that you respect your colleagues which can be a great thing.

  1. Show empathy

Every person who works in your team is unique. They all have their own way of working, their own lives, and their own issues. It is important as a leader to show empathy to your workers when they are stressed, down or having trouble in life and this is something to think about.

  1. Know the generation

Most of the time when you are leading a team, you will be leading a younger generation and one which is different to the older generation. Younger people have a different way of working and they want to be able to have trust and flexibility. If you are able to give the young generation a more flexible work ethic, they will work wonderfully for you and they will want to progress with you.

  1. Say it like it is

Being a leader is hard because you might feel uncomfortable laying out those uncomfortable truths to your workers. However, to be a good leader you need to say things as they are because this is the only way you will have effective communication in the team. If you never communicate your team won’t know where to improve.

  1. Think of ways to be unique

Every good leader has a unique style of management and it will take you some time to learn what yours will be. However take the time to try and show your unique style to your followers and it will be a good thing for all of you.

  1. Be human

Back in the day there was this weird idea that a leader should be a totally inhuman entity in the office. This is not the case these days and to be a great leader you need to be human and show that you care about your employees in a real way. Show off your personality and be approachable and this will make all the difference.

  1. Never forget your responsibility

It is important for you to remember that it is your job to lead your workers and be present at all times as a manager. As much as you may want to be the friend of your workers, there still needs to be a few boundaries and ultimately you need to be sure that you put across an air of authority in the office.

  1. Be comfortable talking to CEOs

As a manager you will end up having a lot of instances talking to high ranking people in the company and other companies. Make sure that you get comfortable doing this and remember that although they are high up in a company they are still only people!

  1. Surround yourself with inspiring people

As a leader it is your job to motivate and inspire your team and show them what they could have if they worked hard and tried their best. But who is there to motivate and inspire you? It is a good idea to surround yourself in your life and online on sites like LinkedIn with people who will inspire you and help you to be better at your own role. Inspiration breeds inspiration so be sure to surround yourself with great people.

  1. Have a shadow

When leading a team it is always a good idea for you to give your employees the chance to shadow you and learn from you. As a leader, it is a privilege to be able to inspire and teach the next generation and your workers will thank you for this. Bring along a younger employee with you on jobs to help them see what it would be like for them in the future if they followed in your footsteps.

  1. Share your vision

If you have a vision for your life or the company you manage, it is always a good idea for you to share this with the team so that you can gain some opinions from a different perspective. For example you could hold a brainstorm meeting for an idea you have and this will allow you to get ideas from other people in the office and see if they can come up with other ways for you to get to this goal.

  1. Be a character

When people look back over their career they will always remember the people who led and shaped their career. When you are forging your career as a great leader, it is important for you to lead with your own personality and let your own quirks really show. You are the person who will set the tone for the office so you can really take a chance here to have some fun with it all.

Being a great leader is something which you will learn over time with experience. These tips should help you to grow your skills and find your place in the workplace this year. Go out there and inspire your team and be the best leader that you can be this year and the years to come!

The Hiring Dilemma: Talent vs. Change

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Think you can change someone while dating them? You’re wrong.

But in the corporate world for some reason hiring managers think they can.

Sorry, but minus the resume and experience you are who you are.

For instance, leadership skills can be taught, but that doesn’t make you a leader.

Maybe it’s the ego of the manager who thinks people can be molded, but intangible skills such as empathy, communication and taking initiative come attached (not sold separately).

If people get hired for competency, yet fired for character issues – the focus during interviews needs to change.

Back in 2008 when the recession hit, the first thing to go was training and we’re still suffering for it. But some things just can’t be bought (or taught).

I manage tutors remotely via video conference and even though academic improvement is what parents pay for it’s engaging personalities that breed results.

Take opposite ends of the spectrum examples using characters from Disney’s Wall-E: Eva (heart) makes emotional connections while Wall-E (head) goes for logical transactions. Who would you rather be your tutor?

In this teacher-student context the adage “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” rings true. The receiver needs to feel a genuine interest from the giver. If he/she doesn’t, all information is lost.

In roles that require frequent human interactions the “engineer” type will always lose. On the other hand people with dynamic personalities are both charismatic and build confidence in those around them.

The moral of the story for companies is regardless how much you invest in training, attitude and refined soft skills are nearly impossible to teach. Content acquisition is overrated (plus abundant).

Interviewers need to focus more on “how” a candidate communicates an answer vs. “what” they actually say. Active listening is crucial at this stage.

Talent is inherently innate…and all the money and resources in the world can’t change that.

Naked Leadership: Stripped Down To Its Purest Form

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When’s the last time you got naked?

I’m not talking about the shower, but as a leader.

Leadership stripped down to its purest form is: relationships.

As a former Youth Pastor employed at a church (Non-Profit Organization) naked leadership is void of power and money. Most workers are volunteers which means leverage boils down to what they think of their leaders.

For example, leaders can only ask from their people what they are willing to do themselves. It’s leadership by showing. Do as I say, but not as I do never works.

Today’s managers use coercion to get things done a certain way, but that “carrot and stick” method only works for so long.

In order to truly unlock the potential of those under your care you have to help them realize their strengths then put them in a position to succeed. That means trusting them by offering autonomy with clear objectives. Allowing people to make mistakes and learning from them.

Leading and develop people can be two different things. Naked leadership is about showing people you care before telling them what you know.

Think about your favorite leader. It may be someone you are close to or admire from afar. What they share is their genuine care for the wellbeing of people over results. In order to accomplish that as a leader you have to be secure enough to allow people to fail in order to succeed.

Naked leadership goes back to recess on the playground as a kid. No one appoints the leader, he or she just asserts themselves. That’s just the opposite of positional leadership which focused on titles, not earning the respect of others.

The difference between naked and positional leadership is longevity. Retention is about loyalty as much as it is about pay or perks. How employees act when their leader isn’t around is a true test of their allegiance.

Naked leadership means there is nothing to hide. It can be scary, but ultimately revealing at the same time.

Are you a naked leader?

How Remote Working Can Enhance Leadership

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The fear of hiring remote workers is if left unsupervised people won’t finish their work. But at the heart of that argument is a lack of trust.

As a leader with your subordinate nearby, you still shouldn’t micromanage him/her. Often we don’t manage the way we would like to be managed.

Here is how remote workers can enhance your leadership.

As a manager, focus on the outcome, not the process. Translation: be concerned about people getting their work done, not how they complete it.

Working remotely relies on trust. Leaders trust their workers to get the work done and until they don’t, they’ve earned autonomy.

Remote working is teaching us that location shouldn’t determine practice. If we limit ourselves to talent nearby, we miss out on the global resources accessible by technology. In order to harness the best talent around, managing remote workers is a necessity.

The concept of working remotely isn’t a pipe dream for workers anymore. Once technology bridged the gap between locations, it opened the portal for virtual connections.

Leaders sometimes forget how it feels to be managed. The golden rule applies here: lead others the way you want to be led.

Today’s leader is a coach. You coach by leveraging individual strengths to help optimize the team. Motivating, guiding and supporting are the leadership skills needed to manage from afar. The beauty of managing remotely is that it is built on the foundation of trust.

Trust means respect and what makes us all feel “safe” at work. That’s what we all want from our leaders.