Job Search Tips
min read

Making the right career choices

A summary of all the steps you should take while assessing potential career paths and job opportunities in IT.
Photo of two software engineers talking and smiling at the office.
Published on
December 18, 2023
Last updated on
June 21, 2024

People spend about a third of their adult life on work, so all career choices have significant long-term consequences. No wonder those in a position to choose from many employers explore their options thoroughly to make the best possible career choice every time.

For example, IT experts will often seek firsthand knowledge about the enterprise they are considering joining and evaluate which potential career option best aligns with their strengths and personal interests.

From extensive research about specific IT niches through the value of networking to the importance of factoring in personal goals, beliefs, and priorities, this article summarizes all the steps you should take while assessing potential careers and job opportunities.

Read further to make sure you’re steering your career in the right direction!

Planning your career path when entering the workforce

Even though jobs in information technology are often associated with higher education, a degree is not always needed to work in this career field. When trying to get your first job in IT, a lot depends on your specific skill set, including technical and soft skills, as well as your personality traits.

Consequently, first-time IT employees are a more and more diversified group that shares a common passion, goals, and responsibilities but differ in background, experience, and lifestyle. This is why keeping an open mind in this job is so important. Working with people who are different from you can be difficult at first, but it results in acquiring broad perspectives and facilitates creative, innovative solutions.

It is also critical to do in-depth research about various types of careers in this field and factor in the fact that the role you now want may very well disappear during your lifetime to be replaced by some other jobs.

Choosing between multiple career options

It can be both exciting and overwhelming to find yourself in a situation where you have multiple employment options to choose from. In times like that, it’s important to carefully evaluate each career choice and consider various factors before making the final decision.

Some key points to consider are the salary and benefits package, the company culture and values, the training programs and advancement opportunities, office locations and ease of commuting, and the overall work responsibilities.

Trusting your instincts and assessing which job feels like the best fit for your career preferences, professional goals, and personality type is also paramount. Taking the time to weigh the alternatives carefully sets you up for future success.

Type of contract, salary, and benefits

Depending on your location, age, background, and other traits, your priorities in this one can differ significantly. For example, in some countries, there are laws regulating the number of vacation days, healthcare and retirement plans, and some other aspects of employment contracts, while in other countries, employers and employees are able to negotiate such matters relatively freely.

Either way, it’s recommended to learn about your rights and obligations and understand which perks you get are mandated by local regulations and which are optional benefits. By comparing the types of contracts, salaries, and benefits the organizations you consider joining offer, you gain a solid foundation for choosing wisely.

In some cases, this point alone will give you enough basic information to choose the best job opportunity or equip you with factual arguments for negotiating.

Long-term career paths and training

Another critical point to consider is opportunities for professional growth. Learning new things and developing skills by working on exciting projects is especially important for those in the constantly evolving IT industry. When in doubt, use the introductory/informational interview as the opportunity to ask the recruiter about what training the company provides, whether a training budget is available for employees, and what a typical career path at the position you pursue looks like within the company.

Cultural fit and company values

It’s pretty obvious that different people have different beliefs. Things that matter to you can be utterly insignificant to others and vice versa. While it may seem that surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a good idea, in reality, the diversity of thought and worldviews is very beneficial.

When people with different sensibilities work together toward common goals, utilizing their diverse viewpoints facilitates creativity and leads to discovering new, better ways of achieving objectives. For this to be true, however, open-mindedness and respect are required.

Ultimately, when considering multiple job offers, you can go both ways. If you’re the type of person who works best with those who share your personal ideals, look for a company that openly states devotion to similar values.

On the other hand, if you find inspiration in encountering new things and thrive when your ideas are challenged, consider joining an organization where the company culture emphasizes diversity, information and opinion exchange, and cooperation.

Atmosphere and communication style

Last but not least, take into account what your guts tell you. Consider whether recruiters and hiring managers you’ve met are easy to talk to, how they communicate, and if you’d like to spend time with them. If you had the chance to visit the company’s office, think about the general atmosphere there. After all, humans are a social species, and you don’t want to spend your days with people you know you will not like.

Achieving work-life balance

Balancing your personal life and work responsibilities is a concept that has gained substantial traction in recent years, and rightfully so. Personal life has always intersected with work on many different levels, but the popularization of the Internet, widespread smartphone adoption, and the growing popularity of remote and hybrid work blurred the lines between professional and personal space further. While our relationship with work continually evolves, we seek more ways of making peace between our job duties and family, leisure, and self-care.

When making career choices, it’s vital to consider if potential employers fit into your lifestyle and, if not - if you are ready to change your routines and to what degree. Organizations with flat structures and open-door policies are usually more flexible than traditional enterprises, but either way, it’s worth talking to the recruiter or the hiring manager about your individual needs and if they’re compatible with the company culture.

What can you do by yourself?

Furthermore, employees can take individual steps to achieve better work-life balance. By being assertive, learning to say no to unnecessary commitments, remembering to take regular breaks, and utilizing modern digital solutions to their benefit, professionals expand their control over how work and personal life influence each other.

Most importantly, communicating one’s needs to managers and coworkers, as well as to family and friends, talking with others, and seeking their support can alleviate stress and lead to new, creative ways of handling issues while balancing work and life.

Before making any important decision, ask yourself if you’re comfortable taking more responsibility than you already have. Determine potential challenges and make appropriate plans beforehand. Doing so will maximize your chances of being happy at your new job and having an altogether more fulfilling career.

Career planning vs. reality

Career planning is undoubtedly helpful in setting and reaching one’s objectives and aspirations. However, choosing a career is not 100% predictable, and you should remember that even meticulous planning and preparation won’t protect you from every surprise.

Changing market trends, actions of competition, personal circumstances, conflicting short-term and long-term goals, and other factors can and will have an impact on everyone’s careers, no matter how well-prepared they are. There is no foolproof way of guaranteeing making the right career choice every time.

Manage your expectations

It’s rare for a workplace to be exactly as we expect it. Fortunately, these surprises, even if discouraging at first, may lead to developing new skills and learning new things about ourselves.

To really succeed, it’s important to identify circumstances outside of your control and adjust your plans to new realities without regrets or backtracking. Approaching unpredictable issues as challenges to overcome rather than barriers is a sure way of finding less-traveled but exciting ways to reach your career dreams.

On the job search? Consider our openings

If you’re looking for attractive future career options, career advancement opportunities, and an employer ready to invest in training programs and employee wellbeing, consider joining us. 

For over 30 years, Maxima Consulting has been supporting numerous organizations across different industries in overcoming their technology and workforce challenges. This was made possible by many talented employees around the world, their incredible expertise, and genuine dedication to delivering tangible business outcomes to clients. 

To become a part of a forward-thinking global company that values its relationships with employees and strives to facilitate its people’s professional and personal growth, browse our current job descriptions and apply for relevant open positions.

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