Dear Mentor:

As a degreed software engineer, what are my career options?

I am a software engineer with 5 years of experience in the consulting industry as a developer in C, C++ and Java. I am also an MS in Computer Science from the US. I would like to know the various career options that I can take up from here. I am open to changing my field too.

Career Choices, Springfield, Illinois, USA

Dear Career Choices:

This is a very broad and open-ended question. All the choices you can imagine are open to you, but each requires effort on your part, to a lesser or greater degree. The easy answer, as they say in consulting, is that it depends. Well, it does depend on your ambitions, goals, and interests. So, you have to narrow down the field a bit, before you can start formulating and evaluating your choices.

We can outline at least some relevant choices for you.

  1. Maintain status-quo and continue what you are doing. This choice helps you climb up the technical ladder, although you will get involved more on the technical management side as you progress.
  2. Pursue further education. You can pursue a Doctoral degree in computer science. The choice will lead to a career in academia or in research & development in the business sector. You can also consider pursuing an MBA. You will then be involved with management decision-making and operating a business. This business may or may not necessarily be technology-oriented.
  3. Become an entrepreneur. If you create a product or service for which you can successfully determine where and how to compete, you can be a successful business-person.
You can come up with many other choices, not the least of which contain variations on the theme for the choices noted above. Needless to say, choices are numerous. You need to develop some selection criteria to determine the right choice for you.

You may also find it instructive to learn from "how they did it?". You can study how someone else who you admire - be it a friend, professional colleague or certain well-known business executive - achieved his or her success.

You can certainly visit the iMahal Interviews in which we highlight various definitions and destinations for success, and the many paths that can lead to each destination.

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