Career Advancement for Engineers: Client Success is Your Success

Photo by Rob Peebles

Photo by Rob Peebles

Virtually every professional has dreams of climbing the professional ladder. Engineers are no different.

Making the jump from an engineer working as part of project to a Senior or Lead Engineer is all about broadening your influence and impact across teams and departments internally,or across multiple clients, if your role is client-facing.

Most engineers start off as hands-on doers. We build things, knocking it out no matter what we’re working on. Get ‘er done. Make it go.

If you want to advance your career, you need gain influence beyond your own project work. Here are four ways you can do that.

1. Automate Everything

Great engineers are intuitive by nature. They see problems and they identify remedies quickly. They’re also lazy, and hate to do the same thing over and over. Automate it.

Study your team’s workflow and figure out how you can improve it. If you can, build a tool that adds automation to your workflowand better yet, your entire team’s, not only will you give your company the gift of additional efficiency, you’ll also gain the respect of your peers.

An improved DevOps workflow will change how your company responds to releases or incidents in the most positive way possible.

2. Develop Best Practices

If there’s one thing every tech-based business can agree on, it’s the fact that downtime is to be avoided at all costs. Not only can unplanned downtime be expensive, it can also negatively impact a client’s brand and reputation.

Take a look at the policies and procedures that are in place within your department. Get creative and develop standards and best practices that save time and money, and more importantly, costly downtime and re-work.

Watch out for “We’ve always done it that way.” That may be the case, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue to do it that way.

3. Broaden Your Perspective

You might be tempted to fully immerse yourself into your work. It’s an understandable desire, but it’s not advisable.

The company you work for is much larger than the project or projects you are working on. Do everything you can to broaden your view of your company and your clients’ businesses. That way, you can better understand their pain points, and find ways to address them.

Web, Ops, or DevOps engineers are often uniquely positioned to see more of the moving parts of an organization than colleagues who work in other parts of the company or team. These individuals know how the sausage is made. And they often have the best opportunity to identify the choke points, or silos that can be broken down.

4. Delight Your Clients

At the end of the day, the better you serve your clients, the more likely you will are to earn more responsibility. People are drawn to success. So bust your tail on each and every assignment. You never know when the right set of eyes will be looking over your shoulder.

Don’t confine yourself to the projects you’re assigned. Take a step back, and try to think “outside the box.” You’ll have many ideas. Some of them won’t be feasible, while others will be great. Brainstorm ways to make your organization more efficient or drive more revenue.

Being proactive about your career instead of reactive will open far more doors than you’ll know what to do with. It’s on you to own this and go after it. Nobody else is going to tell you what to do. It’s how you’ll level up.