Moving Your Career Up the Value Chain: Building Specialized Development Skills in a Global Economy
Stephen B. Morris
IT complexity is growing fast in most jobs. Jobs that traditionally required few skills now demand an increasingly broad range of abilities. This reflects the requirement for broader skill sets and increased worker flexibility. Surviving as a worker today is all about managing extra responsibilities and an ever-increasing range of day-to-day duties.
You can earn more, learn more, and go further in life by moving up the value chain—a broad term that represents the way in which your skills widen and deepen over time. In the workplace, you move up the value chain by acquiring and applying relevant new skills and knowledge and then using them to rapidly solve difficult problems.
You can prepare yourself for the growing levels of commitment and flexibility demanded by your employment. Moving Your Career Up the Value Chain will help by teaching concrete methods of evaluating your current position and striking forward to make improvements. You'll learn how to:
Pick an area of specialization
Enlist mentors for help along your path
Use technology to your advantage
Improve your planning and time-management skills
Practice active learning to develop new skills
Put your new skills to work in the marketplace
They say every journey begins with a single step. It is the same thing with moving up the value chain. There is no single destination in this journey. There are always areas in our lives where some improvement is warranted. Moving Your Career Up the Value Chain will help you find those areas and make the necessary improvements to propel your career—and life—to the next level.
Table of Contents
- About The Author
- What This digital Short Cut Is Not About
- Global Trends
- The World Needs People to Move Up the Value Chain
- A Little About My Own Story
- Formal vs. Informal Education
- You Don’t Have to Be an Employee
- Avoiding the 4-Year-Old Syndrome
- Moving Up the Value Chain: A Journey, Not a Destination
- Becoming a Millionaire—Being the Best in One Small Area
- Many Millionaires Consider Themselves Failures
- Let’s Talk
1. Are You a Follower or a Leader?
- The Transience of Permanent Jobs
- Let’s Talk About Your Job
- What’s Your Value-Add—The “Flattening” Effect?
- Is Your Job Purely Operational?
- Do You Delegate?
- How Often Do You Leave Your Comfort Zone?
- How Well Do You Know Your Organization?
- How Much Time Do You Spend Thinking in Abstract Terms?
- How Much Time Do You Spend Thinking in Concrete Terms?
- Is Your Job Strategic in Nature?
- Do You Use “Dead” Time?
- Do You Use the Power of Small Numbers?
- Can You Learn on the Job?
- Can You Get Past the Brick Wall?
- What’s Your Brand?
- What’s Down the Road for Your Role?
- Putting Your Answers Together
2. Becoming a Specialized Generalist
- Knowledge Is Increasing at an Unprecedented Rate
- Fortune Favors the Flexible
- Is the World of Work Really Changing So Much?
- Using Technology to Improve Products, Services, and Revenue
- Don’t Forget Your Responsibilities
- The New Role of Open Source in Technology
- Getting Ahead by Specializing
- Becoming a Specialized Generalist
- Picking Your Area of Specialization
- Your Reading List
- Learning to Safely “Dip In”
- The Benefits of a Business Focus—Workflow
- Becoming a Champion in an Area Nobody Else Likes
- Talent Begets Talent
- An Exercise for Learning to Use Dead Time
- Mental Flexibility
- Learning to Rely On the One Person You Know to Be Reliable: Yourself
- Mental Toughness
- Your Brain Loves a Big Challenge
- Becoming the Best in One Small Area
- Why It’s Useful to Present Your Work
3. Improving Your Generalist Toolkit
- A Quick Recap
- Written Task Lists
- What’s Your Special Skill That Can Pay Off Your Mortgage?
- The IT Opportunity
- The Value of Rapid Overviews
- Using Your Intuition
- Informing Your Work with Quality Attributes
- Avoiding a Narrow Specialization
4. Delivering on Work Projects
- Impressive Delivery
- Time—The Key Resource
- Getting Things Done on Time and Within Budget
- Write It Down
- Kick Any Bad Habits—Wasting Time or Energy or Not Doing Your Best
- Building Networks
- Avoiding Stalled Workflows
- Finishing Yesterday’s Tasks and Planning Tomorrow’s
- Carefully Planning Work
- The Power of the Low-Tech Written Task List
- Ownership and the Incredible Power of Small Motivated Teams
- Your Own Team
- Learning by Watching Experts at Work
5. Developing New Skills on Your Own
- Being Taught Is Passive; Doing Is the Most Active Learning
- Tenure No Longer Guarantees Anything
- Doing “Unpleasant” Tasks
- If You Don’t Like It, It’s Probably Good for You
- Programming the Subconscious Mind—”Taking the Problem Away”
- The Simple Act of Writing Things Down
- Cognitive Dissonance = Learning
- Learning One or Two Big New Key Skills Each Year
- Learning from Your Mistakes—There’s No Better Teacher
- Games: A Rich Resource for Improving Concentration
- 6. People High Up the Value Chain—Who They Are, What They’re Like
- 7. Where Do You Go from Here?
- Title: Moving Your Career Up the Value Chain: Building Specialized Development Skills in a Global Economy
- Release date: October 2007
- Publisher(s): InformIT
- ISBN: None