It’s that time of the year when you start to take stock of the year and maybe even your life. The New Year is a chance for a new beginning, a time to set or rethink your professional and personal goals.
What are the things that you would like to accomplish over the next one to five years? Are you interested in gaining skills in a new area for you, such as virtualization, cloud computing or big data? Will certifications help you get a new job or advance in your current one? Do you want to get more involved with the SQL Server community by speaking or writing? Are you interested in management or making a lateral move to a different company?
Once you have determined your big goals, you need to break them down into smaller steps that I also consider goals. For example, say you have no speaking experience but have the goal of speaking at a major conference like PASS Summit. That is a wonderful goal. First, you need to get some experience speaking at smaller venues like user groups and SQL Saturdays. You also need to come up with a great topic and develop the presentation. You could start by setting the goal that you will present six times in 2014 with the bigger goal of speaking at PASS Summit always in mind.
In addition to breaking your larger goal into smaller goals, you have to figure out just what is needed to accomplish the goal. If your goal is to learn a new skill, are there classes you can take or resources on the web that will help you? Is it possible to get some hands on experience, even if unpaid? If your goal is speaking, then you might consider joining a group like Toast Masters.
The other really important aspect to achieving professional goals is networking. There are other people out there who can tell you about their experience, give you some pointers and possibly even provide an opportunity. In this day it is very easy to network with the SQL Server community on Twitter (#sqlhelp) and at SQL Server events. Twenty years ago, the way to find a job was to look at want ads. The last time I found a job that way was in 1997.
I am thinking about my goals for 2014. How about you?