Have you noticed some developers in your organization are always chosen for ‘high-visibility’ projects and some are just never considered?
If you are one of the developers consistently working on high-visibility projects, congrats, you have already optimized your career. Just stay adaptable and consistent, and you should have a rewarding career.
But If you are not consistently getting high-visibility projects, this article can help with a tip or 2.
What are high-visibility projects?
A high-visibility project is contextual and can have different meanings in different organizations. A generic example would be any project whose success is vital to the mission of the organization or company’s business. High-visibility projects, depending on the nature of the business, tend to have fixed deadlines and are usually stressful. Ex: I was lucky to be part of projects that were key to the acquisition/divestiture of certain businesses at my current organization. Failure here could have resulted in a dollar loss.
High-visibility project is not equal to good work. It just means that the project is critical to your business. Some developers are OK with not working on these as they could be enjoying their regular work. Which is perfectly fine.
But some developers yearn to work on these projects but don’t often get opportunities.
So in no particular order, here are some ways you can attract good work.
This is the bare-minimum requirement.
To be assigned critical projects, you either have experience delivering them or have built a reputation for delivering projects ( even if it is of a lower scale).
Build a track record for being consistent, and reliable, and for delivering quality output in any level of assignment you have worked on. Especially at the beginning of your career. This will lay a solid foundation.
If you are at the beginning of your career and do not have many projects under your belt, you can still follow the below points.
“80 percent of success is showing up”
Showing up doesn’t just mean arriving at a place — it means being prepared to put in the work.
The idea is to increase the recall factor of your name, and personality. In other words build a brand.
Some ways to do this
Speak at the staff meetings, ask questions
Take part in hackathons, present/speak at technical forums
You can only show intent to work on desirable projects only if you are aware of it.
Use 1x1s with your manager to get an idea of what’s coming
Use mentorship to not just talk about careers but also about the strategic decisions the org/company is making. This is where you will be to connect the dots about certain decisions.
Build the habit of subscribing/reading wiki pages or newsletters of the organizations of interest. We usually tend to ignore them - but they are sent for a reason.
If you are aware of the project to come. Make a head-start by...
Compiling documentation and wikis around the project or building one
Creating HLDs and LLDs with the knowledge you have gathered. Don't worry about getting this wrong or if it'll be ever used. You will only get good at this.
Volunteer for tasks from your senior(s)/lead/manager around the project
Don’t be a time sucker
Critical projects usually tend to have time constraints. A high-performing team will weed out anybody that is leeching on their time.
A time sucker is someone who easily takes up valuable time from co-workers with asinine requests, questions, or favors. Don't be this person.
Sometimes you could be blocked by genuine issues and want clarification from your seniors. Ensure you have done your homework around the issue or have put in some effort already.
The above tips were drawn from my experiences and may or may not apply to everyone.
What do you think about these tips? Please share your feedback and additional tips that helped you in your career.
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