Career planning = career limiting

The world is an incredibly complex place and everything is changing all the time.You can’t plan your career because you have no idea what’s going to happen in the future. You have no idea what industries you’ll enter, what companies you’ll work for, what roles you’ll have, where you’ll live, or what you will ultimately contribute to the world. You’ll change, industries will change, the world will change, and you can’t possibly predict any of it.

Trying to plan your career is an exercise in futility that will only serve to frustrate you, and to blind you to the really significant opportunities that life will throw your way.Marc Andreessen, American entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer.

Mark Andreessen wrote those words in 2009 but they seem very relevant today. If you had asked me what my career goals were back in the 1980s when I graduated from high school, I would have waffled and mumbled something about getting an engineering degree and then going to work for Bell Labs. But the honest answer would have been, "I don't know".

My career has taken unexpected turns over the year since I graduated from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School. I took my entering degree and started working on micro-controllers in the engine diagnostics division of General Motors/Electronic Data System. That experience helped me get work in the multi-media labs at Sarnoff. I got a lot of experience developing C+ code but I also started working with BASH scripts in Solaris. That experience with BASH and UNIX helped me get hired into the newly formed website development team at Bloomberg, LLP. The web site platform was based on UNIX and open source scripting languages. I learned a lot about model-view-controller development and working to deadlines.

Experience with rapid application development in scripting languages such as Perl and JavaScript helped me launch my consulting career. I worked in many industry segments including financial services and pharmaceutical doing web application development and system integration work. That helped me develop an aptitude for rapid learning which helped me land a consulting and then a full-time role in information security. In the 10 years I was at my former employer, I had the opportunity to develop project management, presentation, writing, and strategic thinking skills.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.