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How to Prepare for Your Eventual Return to the Office

By Lisa Rabasca Roepe
Whether your company wants you back sooner or later, these tips will help you make the adjustment smoothly.

How to Save Money on Your Digital Subscriptions

By David Nield
You don’t have to be tied down to multiple costly services month after month.

11 Ways to Upgrade Your Wi-Fi and Make Your Internet Faster

By WIRED Staff
There's always something you can do to improve your connection at home.

The Poop About Your Gut Health and Personalized Nutrition

By Debby Waldman
Researchers are coming around to the idea that there isn't a one-size-fits-all diet. Some companies are going further to find out what fits you, specifically.

Social Media Helped These Chefs Branch Out of the Kitchen

By LaVonne Roberts
The restaurant industry was hit hard by the pandemic, but some pros went online to share skills, recipes, and just stay connected. Here’s how you can too.

How to Prepare for a Disaster, Emotionally and Mentally

By Lovely Umayam
To start, forgive yourself and help each other.

You Should Be Using TweetDeck

By David Nield
Even if you wouldn't call yourself a power user, the Twitter client's advanced search tools and customizable interface can massively upgrade your feed.

Virtual Reality Lets You Travel Anywhere—New or Old

By Rose Afriyie
VR experiences, whether in-person or online, can transport you around the globe—or even to space.

Handhelds Still Aren't Designed for Disabled Gamers

By Grant Stoner
Valve's new Steam Deck looks fantastic—but for players with vision or dexterity difficulties, it's just more of the same challenges.

Shopping for a Router Sucks. Here’s What You Need to Know

By Simon Hill
How much speed do you need? And what’s a MU-MIMO? We decipher the jargon and explain what to look for.

Score Some Sweet Deals With Your Student Email

By Louryn Strampe
All you need is that .edu email address to save cash on everything from laptops to train tickets.

How to Send Messages That Automatically Disappear

By David Nield
Need to be discreet? Here's how to set up vanishing texts, photos, or videos in most popular chat apps.

Move Over, Topo Chico: How to Make Your Own Sparkling Water

By Parker Hall
Want to save cash and cut your trash? Here’s what you need to make 5-gallon batches of name-brand sparkling water at home.

How to Get Free Kindle Books With Your Library Card

By Jordan McMahon, Michael Calore
All you need is an internet connection, a library card, and a good e-reader to dive into your next page-turner.

Here’s How to Try All the Top New iOS 15 Features Now

By Julian Chokkattu
The next version of Apple’s iPhone operating system debuts this fall, but you can try the public beta—at your own risk.

How to Use Running Apps to Hit the Road

By Suzie Glassman
There are tons of services out there to help, whether you're a total beginner or getting back into it. Here's how to make the most of them.

How to Turn Online Friends Into IRL Ones

By Lisa Kanarek
If you're struggling to make new friends, you're not alone. But tech and little tenacity can help you can find—or build—community. Here's how.

What You Should Know About the Google Play Store Changes

By David Nield
With the first updates kicking in this month, Android apps should be more streamlined and lightweight. Google is also getting a greater level of control.

The best way to grow your tech career? Treat it like an app

By Ram Iyer
Raj Yavatkar Contributor
As CTO, Raj Yavatkar is responsible for charting Juniper Networks' technology strategy through the execution of the company’s innovations and products for intelligent self-driving networks, security, mobile edge cloud, network virtualization, packet-optical integration and hybrid cloud.

Software developers and engineers have rarely been in higher demand. Organizations’ need for technical talent is skyrocketing, but the supply is quite limited. As a result, software professionals have the luxury of being very choosy about where they work and usually command big salaries.

In 2020, the U.S. had nearly 1.5 million full-time developers, who earned a median salary of around $110,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the next 10 years, the federal agency estimates, developer jobs will grow by 22% to 316,000.

But what happens after a developer or engineer lands that sweet gig? Are they able to harness their skills and grow in interesting and challenging new directions? Do they understand what it takes to move up the ladder? Are they merely doing a job or cultivating a rewarding professional life?

To put it bluntly, many developers and engineers stink at managing their own careers.

These are the kinds of questions that have gnawed at me throughout my 25 years in the tech industry. I’ve long noticed that, to put it bluntly, many developers and engineers stink at managing their own careers.

It’s simply not a priority for some. By nature, developers delight in solving complex technical challenges and working hard toward their company’s digital objectives. Care for their own careers may feel unattractively self-promotional or political — even though it’s in fact neither. Charting a career path may feel awkward or they just don’t know how to go about it.

Companies owe it to developers and engineers, and to themselves, to give these key people the tools to understand what it takes to be the best they can be. How else can developers and engineers be assured of continually great experiences while constantly expanding their contributions to their organizations?

Developers delight in solving complex challenges and working hard toward their company’s objectives. Care for their own careers may feel unattractively self-promotional or political — even though it’s in fact neither.

Coaching and mentoring can help, but I think a more formal management system is necessary to get the wind behind the sails of a companywide commitment to making developers and engineers believe that, as the late Andy Grove said, “Your career is your business and you are its CEO.”

That’s why I created a career development model for developers and engineers when I was an Intel Fellow at Intel between 2003 and 2013. This framework has since been put into practice at the three subsequent companies I worked at — Google, VMWare, and, now, Juniper Networks — through training sessions and HR processes.

The model is based on a principle that every developer can relate to: Treat career advancement as you would a software project.

That’s right, by thinking of career development in stages like those used in app production, developers and engineers can gain a holistic view of where they are in their professional lives, where they want to go and the gaps they need to fill.

Step 1: Functional specification

In software development, a team can’t get started until it has a functional specification that describes the app’s requirements and how it is supposed to perform and behave.

Why should a career be any different? In my model, folks begin by assessing the “functionality” expected of someone at their next career level and how they’re demonstrating them (or not). Typically, a person gets promoted to a higher level only when they already demonstrate that they are operating at that level.

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