Sooner or later, every senior Java developer begins to think about how to further build their career. At the initial stage of the journey, when many came to the profession through software testing jobs, everything was simple and clear: job search, answering some interview questions (link), then gradual growth. But what next?
There are three types of programmer careers: vertical, horizontal, and freelance. We will give recommendations for each of them, and it’s up to you to choose.
Horizontal career development
This is the path to experts. You can be an expert, and still not hold high positions. You will be a professional who is respected by everyone, they seek your advice, and ask for help in the most difficult situations. Sooner or later, such an expert becomes a mentor to junior colleagues. But most often such specialists are invited to teach and share their experience.
Experts can remotely join powerful teams to work on international projects. At the same time, by position, they remain just developers, but their earnings are calculated in huge amounts.
Vertical career development
This is career advancement. Interestingly, those developers who choose these types of careers very often make serious mistakes – they stop their professional development. As a result, the CIO of a large company may be less technologically competent than a senior developer who has chosen a horizontal career.
There is a risk in this path – if at the peak of a career, a specialist is not an expert, they might downgrade to an ordinary developer. Therefore, in any case, before choosing a vertical career, you must first choose a horizontal one – this is a win-win path for senior Java developer. First, get recognized as an expert, and only then move up the career ladder.
Launching a startup
Let’s say right away that not every developer, even a very high-level one, can go down this path. To do this, you need to have not only excellent professional skills and knowledge but also a business streak.
Opening a startup is possible in two ways: independently or within your own company. Some managers go out of their way for their key employees, even if at first they do not see much prospect in the project, just so as not to lose valuable staff. But, as a rule, a tandem between an experienced businessperson and a programmer always produces good results.
Another option is an independent startup. In this case, you need to look for investors, study, and explore new areas for yourself. This path offers a huge and versatile growth.
However, building a full-time remote tech career is always much easier.