Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ten steps to career success

I started a DB2 on Campus Tour in South America early in March 2011 and have visited 16 universities in Colombia and Brazil with a total attendance of more than 1200 people!.  Today I'm heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and later on to Peru.  At the end of my technical presentations, I talk about career-related topics. Due to time, I only encourage students to "differentiate themselves" as I mentioned in my previous post, however, in the past I would talk about the "ten steps to career success".  In my opinion, these steps are:

Step 1: Set goals and establish a career plan
Step 2: Have the right attitude
Step 3: Find a niche
Step 4: Get other skills beside technical skills
Step 5: Find a mentor
Step 6: Network
Step 7: Be visible (in the good way)
Step 8: Be a smart professional and a team player
Step 9: Persevere
Step 10: Take action

I will cover each of them in more detail in future posts.  I need to go to the airport now!

Cheers, Raul.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Differentiate yourself: Good marks are not enough!

From 2006 to 2008 I traveled extensively in China meeting hundreds of teachers and students in different regions.  My largest presentation had more than 300 students (see figure). It was great to meet such a large crowd and introduce them to DB2.

Though many people attended my presentation, only a bunch of students (2 or 3) approach me to ask more questions, or introduce themselves.
I was not there to offer jobs, but certainly, I was a good contact for the future.

Here's my point:  With so many students looking for work, you need to differentiate yourself somehow.  You cannot just sit at the back and wait for a job to come to you. Even if you have good marks, they are not enough. In fact, more often I'm hearing that extra curricular activities are more important than good marks.  A good mark shows you can study, and are good to take exams. Extra curricular activities show you have real skills readily useful at the workplace. Of course, if you have both it's better!

In future blog posts I will provide some ideas you can follow to differentiate yourself. By the way, here there are some other interesting pictures of job career fairs in China. My wife is Chinese, and she attended some of those job fairs. As you can see, it's very challenging (close to impossible) to impress anyone in those job fairs.

We have a global market, differentiate yourself!

Cheers, Raul.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ten minutes can save you ten years in your career


This is my first post on this blog, and as you can see in the blog title, the focus is on career guidance and work. My biography can be found at IBM developerWorks.

I've been working in IBM Canada since 1997. I have the luck to have a job that allowed me to visit hundreds of universities around the world, from places like Danang in Vietnam to Izmir in Turkey. I delivered more than 300 presentations on databases, my specialty, on more than 250 universities, and I'm glad to feel that I have made a difference, not only to IBM, but also to the lives of some 30,000 students and teachers who have attended my presentations to-date.

As a student I always had in mind having a job like this, and I'm glad I achieved my goal!. But looking at the steps I followed to get here, I realize I made many mistakes in my life. If I had paused, and spent ten minutes to think about my career more carefully, I could have saved ten years or more to reach my goals!

So I created this blog for this purpose in mind: To guide students or professionals in their careers, such as giving advice on how to behave at work, and other tips that will ultimately save you a lot of time.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who is in high school or college, and for young professionals to help them shape their career towards their goals. The blog is focused more on science and engineering professions, and some of my examples mention the DB2 database software because my career is based around this IBM product. We also have a Spanish version of this blog. Spanish, my native language. Having been born in Peru, I would like to help young people in Latin America to get to achieve their goals!

Cheers!, Raúl.

The opinions and advice in this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of IBM