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How to create a Career Roadmap [with examples]

Posted on 07 July 2021

How to create a Career Roadmap [with examples]

​12-minute read

 

A career roadmap is a person’s unique, personal development plan for their career.

 

Have you ever sat back and thought, what are you actually doing with your career? You realise you have fallen into a comfortable state that pays well but isn’t really moving you closer to your dream end role? Or, you have a rough idea of what you want to do with your career but are not really sure what steps are needed in order to the end result?

Implementing a detailed career roadmap should help get you back on track. Use this article as a starting point into planning your career, feel free to refer back to it whenever you need to and if you need support, reach out to one of our recruiting partners today.

 

What is a Career Roadmap?

Let’s start at the beginning and identify what a career roadmap actually is. The best way we could sum it up is ‘a career roadmap is a person’s unique, personal development plan for their career.’

A career roadmap when completed correctly will help identify skills, experiences, qualifications and traits required for you to reach an ideal position with a variety of roles in between, it will also help you:

  • Avoid taking unnecessary jobs that do not bring you closer to your end goal.

  • Identify gaps in knowledge and experience, allowing you to stay focused on personal development.

  • Factor in all elements of a career move, not just salary and perks.

  • Offer clarity on where you are going, helping you alter and pivot easier if required.

 

Mapping out your career can be a daunting task, you might be at the very beginning and therefore find it difficult to look three years into the future, let alone forty! We will break down each of the six steps as clearly as possible, allowing you to come back and continue adding to your plan over time. The key here is detail, so no need to rush this in afternoon, take your time with each step and check back to move on when the time is right for you.

 

Step 1: Lets talk about your ideal end role.

The first thing you need to do when creating a career roadmap is identify what your ‘ideal end role’ is, that is effectively your dream job.

Once you know this, you can start building a sequential list of all the positions that can help you achieve this end result.

Don’t worry about working out how you will achieve these yet, this step is really about visually seeing a career laid out in front of you.

 

Example #1

Dream Job: CTO

Starting point: Frontend Developer

Possible roadmap:

  • Frontend Developer

  • Senior Frontend Developer

  • Full-Stack Developer

  • Senior Full-Stack Developer

  • Technical Lead

  • Team Leader

  • Engineering Manager

  • Head of Development

  • Director of Engineering

  • CTO

 

Step 2: What skills and experiences do you need?

Once you have identified the most optimal job title journey to reach your end goal, you will then need to one-by-one fill in what skills, experiences, qualifications and traits are required to move into that position.

This will be the most time intensive step in your career map, if you use the previous example, you will need to research nine sets of skills, qualifications etc. therefore we recommend starting with the first step up and continuing so that you end on the ‘ideal role’.

Depending on the organisation you work for, you may be able to use an internal rubric to aid you in your research, this will be accessible if you work in a scale-up or corporate organisation. If you do not have access to this, then your next option will be to network with those within the community currently doing the job you are looking to achieve.

Networking will help you not only see the hard skills required but understand more of the soft skills that are not usually populated on job specifications, it is also a good way for you build industry connections for the future.

The last way to help research skills etc. would be to find relevant job descriptions that are live today as a way to discover what organisations are currently looking for, but take note this might change over time but we will cover this later in the article.

 

Example #2

Senior Frontend Developer

Minimum Qualifications:

  • 4 years working in HTML, CSS and JavaScript

  • Experience in at least one of the core tools (Angular / React / Vue) for at least 18 months

  • Ability to coach / mentor junior developers

  • Excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills

  • Independent thinker

 

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of DevOps and backend tools (Node)

  • Understanding of Redux, GraphQL, TypeScript etc.

  • Adaptive and creative, with a growth mindset

 

Step 3: Time bound your moves

With an understanding of what is required in each role, your next step is to time bound each career move. This is not an exact science, sometimes things get in the way but by allocating a certain time period to each role, it means you can stay focused on progression to the ideal end result, and not be side tracked by salary incentives etc. (unless this is what you want from your career roadmap).

Once again, using the previous example, we will time bound several of the positions ahead of step 4:

 

Example #3

  • Senior Full-Stack Developer

o   Time – 3 years

  • Technical Lead

o   Time – 4 years

  • Team Leader

o   Time – 5 years

 

You may decide that after two years as a Technical Lead, you are ready to move on but your time allocation will be based on what skills, experiences, qualifications and traits you need to learn before you can move on. Be realistic with your time allocation, it will help you in the next step.

 

Step 4: Milestone each position

Milestones will work similar to your skills etc. but here; we are setting smaller goals that keep motivated at each stage. If you have allocated five years for one position, the milestones will keep you on track to progress each year with clearly thought-out areas of improvement based on your research.

Once a milestone has been reached, your next one will provide the next goal and so on and so forth. A mile stone can be anything that moves you further along the current position, for example if you are working as a Full-Stack Developer, a milestone in that position might be to learn more about Infrastructure, specifically AWS over a set period of time.

 

Step 5: Seek guidance where possible

Where possible, seek guidance from mentors to help boost your knowledge and drastically speed up your career roadmap. A great mentor will guide, support, teach, coach and offer opportunities you didn’t know about.

 

Step 6: Iterate if needed

It is important to note that career roadmaps are not linear. Even the best plan may need to be iterated at some stage, you might find you need extra time in some positions than others, or that personal circumstances mean you have to move sidewards or down for a period of time. Your career is your career, do what is right for you but having a roadmap allows you to make informed decisions at each stage of your career.

 

Your career roadmap is your own personal career GPS, b flexible where needed but not having one in the first place might mean you end up in the wrong place altogether.

Example #3

The end result will look something like this for each job…

Senior Frontend Developer

Time – 2 years

Minimum Qualifications:

  • 4 years working in HTML, CSS and JavaScript

  • Experience in at least one of the core tools (Angular / React / Vue) for at least 18 months

  • Ability to coach / mentor junior developers

  • Excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills

  • Independent thinker

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of DevOps and backend tools (Node)

  • Understanding of Redux, GraphQL, TypeScript etc.

  • Adaptive and creative, with a growth mindset

Milestone 1: Sign up for a React.JS course and launch a personal project using the tool in 6 months.

Milestone 2: Become a mentor internally for junior developers and externally for a coding bootcamp to develop my communication skills.

Milestone 3: Develop my TypeScript knowledge with a course.

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