Welcome back to our DREAM series.

DISCOVER – who you are, your values, goals, personality traits and tendencies.
REFINE – your focus, what areas of software tech should you learn or work in?
ESTABLISH – building your personal brand.
ADVANCE – your career to the next level.
MASTER – the skill of learning and staying relevant.

As a programmer seeking to one day be considered an expert in your field, you must decide what technical areas on which you want to focus. Focusing on one area means you don’t focus on another. The good news is, you get to choose the technical areas that interest you most.

Are you passionate about web-related programming? Client-side or server- side? Do you want to focus on mobile development? Android or iOS platform? Or maybe you want to use C# and Xamarin and write cross-platform mobile apps across both platforms and Windows Phone as well.

Ask yourself: where is the world heading? Choosing languages and technologies are important, but so is understanding what role your personality and strengths best fit. At a high level, do you want to be a programmer or manage programmers? If you want to remain in a hands-on role developing software, do you want to follow the architect or engineer track? There are many ladders for you to climb and you need to choose the one that aligns best with your interests and strengths. For a more in depth search into varying paths to take, click here to read the entire chapter.

The important takeaway here is not so much which specific technology choice you make across these different areas, but rather that you are evaluating them and keeping abreast of where the industry is headed. You don’t choose something new for news sake, but you are aware of what is gaining traction and the reasons why it is gaining steam.

As you experiment with different roles and progress in your career, you should identify the conditions under which you work best. This will make for a better overall work experience and increase your likelihood of success.

Don’t solely consider the opportunities that fall into your lap. Be proactive; take the next step and better your career or progress towards a goal you set for yourself. That goal might change over time, but it’s crucial that we always have one to help guide us as we navigate through our careers. How can we really quantify our progress if we don’t know what we’re supposed to be progressing towards?

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