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A lull in the career - How to JUMPSTART

 
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I am a consultant and I joined my present company 4 years ago. Shortly afterwards got married (perhaps went into comfort zone too), Since then I have worked with 4 different projects in 4 different locations. Recently after coming back from client side I got in touch with my first team.

I realized all these people who were in the same project got a promotion, where as I never insisted on it and the company never bothered.
(There were countless other reasons also like Company buyout, change of project managers at time of appraisal, Change of projects and the biggest of all recession but eventually the result remains the same I did not get a promotion).

Now coming to where i want you folks help.
I have a decent experience of 8 years in Oracle Technologies as DBA/Sys Admin. . But technologies do not run businesses. Its the other way round. Knowing this, I want to learn whatoever are the best available thing that can package my profile. (It should involve to REALLY help clients instead of me just taking care of their Oracle Technologies) and of course deserve that much sought after promotion.

I heard about PMPO and SCRUM. Quite excited about the latter. Are these the right pills
or there are more options that I need to explore.?


What you guys think.


Thanks
Sunil
My Resume : One page pdf (116KB)
My website : http://www.onelife.in
 
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This is a very open ended question and you will be the best peson to answer this based on your intersts, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, etc. Sit down and workout your short term and long term goals. For example next 6 moths, 2 years, 5 years, etc.

In general,


-- Acquiring a soft skill or a domain knowledge will be beneficail to your clients. Soft skills and domain knowledge are harder and takes longer to acquire than technical skills.

-- Soft skills are transferable skills and you can take them to another career or a role. For example, if you decide to become a project manager in 2 years time. Even if you are happy being a DBA, soft skills can not only make you a great contributor, but also makes you a well rounded resource. Techies can be easily replaced, but well rounded professionals are harder to find.
 
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sunil choudhary wrote:
But technologies do not run businesses. Its the other way round. Knowing this, I want to learn whatoever are the best available thing that can package my profile. (It should involve to REALLY help clients instead of me just taking care of their Oracle Technologies) and of course deserve that much sought after promotion.



Hi Sunil,

That's a very critical observation you've made, and one that unfortunately many developers don't understand.

Arulk has mentioned my commonly proffered advice of developing soft skills, but I don't think that directly answers your question. Yes, soft skills will help but so may other hard skills. Your soft skills can help you better communicate with your clients which will help you solve their needs, but then again your clients probably need more than just Oracle skills, including such things as Java skills, and UI design skills, and accounting knowledge, etc. While I would guess that the per unit benefit you get from soft skills has a better return than the per unit return from additional hard skills (e.g. better Oracle knowledge), both will only tangentially take you towards your stated goal.

The solution here is to work backwards and you hit it on the head with your question: It should involve to REALLY [sic] help clients instead of me.

Start with your clients. Who are they? What do they need? What changes are happening to the industry? Opportunities? Threats? Begin by studying your industry. Talk to everyone in it--sales people, marketers, developers, accountants, project managers, etc.--both at your company and at other companies in and around the space. Read the trade magazines in your industry. Set up good keywords for articles in this space. Read the annual reports of your client companies and their competitors.

Next, understand the differentiators between companies in your space. Let's suppose your customers are law firms, frankly the law firm with the better database probably doesn't inherently win; that is databases are not the differentiators in that space. In building a financial exchange or hedge fund, on the other hand, an optimally tuned database can make a difference of millions of dollars.

Note that to understand their problems it's best to look at the entire chain. It's important to understand your customer's customers' needs. For example, if you're a produce distributor you buy from a farm collective and sell to a supermarket chain. But there's a larger chain from the farm land to the harvesting within the farm to the shipping to the storage facility to the purchase and fulfillment to the distributor (you) to the shipping to the supermarket distribution center to the individual supermarket where it is picked by the end customer (or perhaps parents of the end customer) and consumed at home. That's the physical supply chain, a similar chain exists financially where the farmers have to borrow money to plant seed, or sell futures, which then get traded on an exchange, etc. So understand the whole system in which your customer sits.

Once you understand the differentiators focus on increasing your skills in those areas. It may be more than one area, although you might not able to focus on all of them and only one or two will be a strength (probably technology given your background). At that point begin to devise solutions to your customers problems leveraging your strengths (areas of expertise)--that's how you differentiate yourself from your competitors (which includes your peers at your company). Note that those skills may be hard skills (understanding the issues, technological financial, operational, marketing, etc.) or soft skills (e.g. leadership, communication, relationship building).

--Mark


 
sunil choudhary
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Guys,

I am sorry, i forgot to mention that i am on lookout for quick result.
Believe me i have gone through your replies more than 5 - 6 times. and both of them are spectacular advice for long run.

Will your advice change if I told you I am looking out for results in 2 months time frame. [BTW I really appreciate Mark for reminding me the word "diffrentiator" I believe, it can do Magical things ]


Thanks
Sunil Choudhary
 
Mark Herschberg
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Two months may be too aggressive--they may not even have spots open. but I'd start by talking to your manager and HR and other managers and saying "what do I need to do to get promoted to X?" Then do what they say needs to be done. Tell those people what you told us--in doing so make it clear that you're not complaining, but rather are willing to do what it takes to get the promotion.

--Mark
 
With a little knowledge, a cast iron skillet is non-stick and lasts a lifetime.
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