Investing in Education: How to Choose Your Career Path
Making a life-altering decision is always going to be difficult as it brings a degree of anxiety and stress. But, making good decisions for yourself does not have to be hard. You just need to have a game plan and follow through.
These are four easy steps to help you choose your career path.
1. Know Yourself
Know your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and personality traits. There are online tests that help identify your personality type. For example, the Myers-Briggs personality test indicates 16 personalities such as extrovert-introvert, sensors-intuitive, thinkers-feelers, and judgers-perceivers.
The test helps pinpoint what kind of careers are best for your personality type. It also takes into account core values and key motivators. There are other free career tests online capable of giving you accurate results of what careers would be good for you.
2. Make a Short List
After having a more in-depth knowledge of who you are and where you would fit, you should make a list of at least 10 possible career choices. You could check for careers that repeat in test results and careers that have similar origins.
For example, test results could narrow down a list of 20 compatible careers. If being a web developer or software engineer is listed, you can become one after getting a computer science degree.
So, choose careers that have similarities between them, or the ones that need skills you already have. The idea is to narrow it down to at least five or 10 paths. You’ll also have to consider the institution where you’d like to study. If you’re going for a bootcamp, here’s a list of best coding bootcamps and data science bootcamps where you can choose from.
3. Do Research and Interviews
After having the shortened list, you should start researching. Some of the things you have to know about are salary, potential job satisfaction, career growth opportunities, and workload. A good option is to look for conferences or conventions where you will be able to network with other professionals in your area. This will not only help you build connections but also have the opportunity to interview them on their field experience.
4. Choose Your Career
With all the steps above, you can now make an informed life-long career choice. Once you have done that, evaluate the skills you already have and the ones you have to learn. With this, you should plan how you are going to acquire additional skills. This includes the type of education and how to afford it. There are different ways to start a career: you could go to college, which is the most expensive option, training courses or learn on your own if your career of choice allows it. Also, always remember that this decision is not set in stone, you can always change your career further along.
NOTE: Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.