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How To Set Big Career Goals & Achieve Them!

From time to time, we get questions along the lines of "how do i become a dba with little or no hands-on experience" from some of our readers.

The common mistake that readers who ask questions similar to this are making, is that they are setting themselves up for failure by focusing on career goals that are way beyond their reach!

Readers who set big goals like these are seriously under-estimating the complexity, difficulty and number of steps involved in achieving their goals.

They are setting themselves up for disappointment and / or failure by over-estimating their capabilities and under-estimating the journey that they would have to undertake to achieve their goals!

It is like first-time gym members with no weight-lifting experience, trying to dead-lift their own body weight, because, that is what they see other weight-lifters doing!

In setting these big gym goals, newbie gym-members forget that their muscles and body are not ready for the challenge and so, they sometimes hurt themselves or get injured.

The point is ... trying to achieve a big goal too quickly can hurt you. It is much better to break your big career goals into more easily achievable milestones.

Here Is How To Break Your Career Goals Into Achievable Milestones

  1. Focus on the journey and not just the destination:

    1. By focusing on the journey, you will learn important life lessons that will help you or guide you when you arrive at your destination.

      For example, working as a database developer first will help you become a better DBA later in your career, because you will be positioned to guide or lead the developers reporting to you as their DBA.

  2. Set milestones or important markers for your journey:

    1. Milestones are important because they signal that you truly are on the path to your destination and they also help you measure how close you are to your destination / achieving your final goal.

  3. Celebrate and enjoy the achievement of each milestone:

    1. Celebrating the achievement of your milestones is important because it will keep you motivated towards reaching your final goal.

Using "My Career Goal Is To Become A DBA" as an example, you can set the following milestones:

  1. Milestone #1: Learn Relational Database Design
  2. Milestone #2: Learn SQL
  3. Milestone #3: Get a Database Developer Job
  4. Milestone #4: Get hands-on experience designing, developing and/or supporting an enterprise database with 50 or more tables!
  5. Milestone #5: Learn Database Administration
  6. Milestone #6: Get an Entry-Level Database Administration Job

Using "My Career Goal Is To Become A Computer Programmer" as an example, you can set the following milestones:

  1. Milestone #1: Learn Relational Database Design
  2. Milestone #2: Learn SQL
  3. Milestone #3: Learn Front-end Programming
  4. Milestone #4: Learn a programming language like C#, Python, Java
  5. Milestone #5: Get hands-on programming experience
  6. Milestone #6: Get an Entry-Level Programming Job

Using these examples of how to plan your big goals, you can plan out your own career goals which may be: getting a raise, transitioning to a new career, learning a new skill, becoming a manager or a director, starting your own freelance business.

Create Your Career Action Plan Now:

  1. What are your important career goals
  2. What are the key milestones for each of your career goals
  3. For each milestone, write down the steps for achieving it and assign a start and end date to it