Career growth is not always a promotion. (Progress sometimes feels sideways or even backwards.)

Musing for:

Career growth is not always a promotion

I don’t have the data to prove it, but I suspect that the most rewarding careers don’t follow a published or traditional “career path.”

A Software Engineer’s published career path usually follows one of two tracks. The first is technical, leading to Staff Engineer and Architect roles, while the second is managerial, leading to Engineering Director, VP, and CTO roles.

But some of the people most satisfied with their career progression took very different paths:

➡️ Software Engineering to Security

➡️ Engineer to Project Manager

➡️ Manager to Individual Contributor

➡️ Support Staff to Engineer

➡️ Software Engineering to Quality Engineering

➡️ Quality Assurance to Security

➡️ Software Engineering to Solopreneur

What was it that brought such fulfillment to the people making these transitions? Was it that these sideways or backwards steps are inherently more fulfilling than those along the traditional career path?

Certainly not.

What distinguishes these transitions is that the people taking these steps made their choices deliberately.

They didn’t rely on an external roadmap to tell them their next step.

But many in Software Engineering and IT don’t have a clear picture of where they want their path to lead them.

Finding that kind of vision often demands a view of life that goes beyond your career.

If you’d like help finding your life goals and figuring out what kind of career path will help you get there from here, I’d love to talk.

Visit to schedule a complimentary conversation with me.

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