How to Cultivate Your Career Early-On

I've been with Dewberry for a little more than two years, and in that short time, I've managed to increase my responsibilities and steer my career towards working on the sorts of tasks I'm most interested in. After reflecting on what has helped me advance in my career, I've realized there are a few lessons I'd like to share.

Making Waves

When I first started at Dewberry, one of the things my team lead said to me that I really took to heart was "make waves." Don't say no to any opportunity you may get—no matter if it's extremely boring or incredibly difficult, say yes. This can make it easier to figure out what sorts of tasks you like working on and help you to start seeing what kind of career path you should take. Saying yes allows you to share your skills and knowledge with task and project managers, get to know people throughout your organization, and become a person that people depend on—making yourself a resource. Plus, you may learn something you didn't know before!

Have an opportunity to work overtime on a last minute project? Take it! Some of the most exciting work I have done here involved long days and even nights trying to get an important deliverable out the door, and the lessons learned and friendships gained were unparalleled.

Another aspect of "making waves," is not being afraid to speak up. Of course do so respectfully, but seeing something that could be improved and having the confidence to say something makes a difference. I believe that the vast majority of people that I've come across appreciate it when you share your opinion. We are always looking for ways to improve what we do and provide better products/value to our clients, so if you have ideas, don't hesitate to share them.

Use Your Personal Time to Invest in Your Career

You have to invest in your career in your personal time. Making an effort to seek opportunities that will better yourself is important. I'm in the midst of completing my master's degree, and I just finished a graduate certificate program. It's something I've been pushing myself to do because I've seen a lot of people wait too long to get back into school and ultimately just don't follow through. You don't necessarily need a master's degree or doctorate to move up in your career, but it certainly helps, especially when it comes to figuring out what you want to do.

"I already have a job, what's the point of being involved in professional societies?"

I get it. But this can be a short-sighted outlook. Professional organizations enable you to continue learning and growing in your career, while also providing networking opportunities. I try to attend events, conferences, and presentations as much as I can. I've even been able to present at a few events, which helps get my name out there, as well as our company's name. Currently, I'm on the executive committee of the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee. We've been looking for ways to expand our influence in the state—trying to connect people of all demographics together to use data efficiently, not duplicate efforts, and collaborate.

Where I am Today

By taking the time to invest in my own career through continued education and professional organizations, I have seen my opportunities at Dewberry grow. When I started, I only handled a couple of tasks, and now through increased responsibility, there's more diversity in my workload. I've gone from the point of just being told what to do all of the time, to helping the project manager figure out what needs to be done and collaborating with other staff to determine what can be accomplished in a timely fashion. I believe my positive outlook, motivation, and involvement have greatly benefitted my career and will continue to do so.

  • Sid Pandey
    Sid Pandey
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