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Thinking Upside Down
Do Career Plans for Developers Actually Damage an Organisation?
by Andy Dent
May 24, 2010
Your HR department may be very proud of their career planning publications but does the organisation actually benefit from forcing developers to consider their career?


I recently attended a presentation which showed off a comprehensive table classifying developer levels, with skills, expectations, experience levels and leadership qualities. At a quick glance, the company had a similar structure for all the other types of employees.

The HR person making the presentation talked in an excited manner about the importance of career planning, indeed making it sound like a major personal disappointment as well as an organisational transgression if people didn't formally plan their career. It sounded a bit like one of those political Progress is good, surely you're not against Progress? speeches.

I was trying to work out why this all made me feel extremely uncomfortable, with nearly thirty years behind me and at least another twenty to go, I suppose I should regard myself as mid-career. Is there a stigma if I say no, I don't want to set career goals?

What do Artima readers think - does having a formal career planning system for developers help an organisation or can it inflict damage in ways that management and HR don't expect?

Is that degree of formality something that works up to a certain level of craftsmanship but shouldn't go beyond journeyman status?

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About the Blogger

Andy is a free-lance developer in C++, REALbasic, Python, AJAX and other XML technologies. He works out of Perth, Western Australia for a local and international clients on cross-platform projects with a focus on usability for naive and infrequent users. Included in his range of interests are generative solutions, software usability and small-team software processes. He still bleeds six colors, even though Apple stopped, and uses migration projects from legacy Mac OS to justify the hardware collection.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2010 Andy Dent. All rights reserved.

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