Article by Conor Mellamphy June 12th, 2024

Five steps to identify your career goals

Where do you see yourself in five years? It’s a question many of us are familiar with.

For some people, there’s a clear path ahead. They know the skills these need to progress, they know the type of role they want to be in and how they’re going to achieve it.

For others… the path is less clear.

So how do we go about answering this question, and how to we begin to identify your career goals?

1.     Figure out what you like

Is there a specific part of your role that you really enjoy doing, and would love to do more of? By working out what you like about your career, you can specifically target and upskill those areas so you can apply for more senior roles that match that skillset.

Alternatively, you could enjoy working in tech but you really love to mentor new starters and you’d love to develop your own team? As a tech manager, you of course need to know the software, but you need to know how to manage people.

Are there mentorship or managerial training opportunities in your role that you could take on? If not, look for ways you could do this in your community through volunteering.

Skills are transferrable and don’t always have to start in your current position if the opportunity isn’t available.

2.     Spend time upskilling and getting qualifications

Aside from the entry-level qualifications you need to start your career in tech, there are a number of additional certifications that can support your career progression.

·         Microsoft 365 Fundamentals

·         Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

·         CompTIA Certifications

3.     Set some short term goals

You don’t need to look to the next five years, you could look at the next six months. By setting yourself short term targets, you will already begin to see your career progress.

Your goals could be as simple as wanting to achieve a certain qualification, or host more meetings.

4.     Look at job descriptions for roles you like that are outside your skillset

By looking at roles you think you would be interested in, but aren’t quite able to match the requirements, you can chart how you want to progress. What qualifications do they need? What personal attributes does that role require?

From there, you can make a list of the possible ways you can progress your skillset to meet the needs of those roles. And remember, even then, you don’t need to meet all of the requirements to be a strong candidate for the position in future.

5.     Keep track

When you look back at the last five years, how much of if do you actually remember? Keeping track of your progression, new qualifications and positive feedback on your work is a great way to recognise how far you’ve come.

We recommend keeping your CV up to date, so that if a role becomes available that fits with your advancing skillset, you’re ready to apply and take that next step.

So how do you go about answering this question in an interview?

There are a few ways you can approach this. But my one recommendation would be go with honesty!

This might look like…

It’s a great question, and one I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past. I don’t know for certain where I’ll be in the next five years, but what I do know is that I’m working on advancing my skillset, and I’m really interested in expanding my knowledge. In the next five years, I hope to work for a company that allows me opportunities for growth, and to progress my career, using these newly acquired skills. So while, I may not know what I want my job title to be in five years time, I know that the next five years hold a lot of opportunity for growth and learning.


If you need any help finding a new role, or want help plotting your career in tech in the South West, get in touch with myself or a member of the team.

Article by Conor Mellamphy

June 12th, 2024

Related Articles