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31 July 2023

Career Development

by Željko Filipin


I wrote a draft for this article in 2018. It has remained a draft since then. The last responsible moment to publish it is long gone. I have many notes about the topic, but I do not think I am ready to write a post about it yet. But, since a few people have asked me to share the notes, I will do my best.

I am very interested in career development. I have tried to talk about it at a [Testival meetup] in 2015 and Testival conference in 2016. (Tried means I’ve proposed the topic but it was not selected for the event.) I gave a five-minute lightning talk about it at a Testival meetup and the WebCamp conference in 2017. I led a session at the CITCON conference in 2018 and the Testival conference in 2022.

All three talks consisted of two parts. First, I would ask the audience what they think is a good way to develop a career. I would take notes. Only then, in the second part, would I share my thoughts. I did not want to influence the audience. Every time the result was different. The first two times I gave short five-minute lightning talks. They were short, but they helped me develop my thoughts. The last time was a one-hour open-space session. It was very different in many ways.

There was a few years between the CITCON conference in 2018 and the Testival conference in 2022. My thoughts about the topic are much more clear now. I might even finish and publish the article.

Random thoughts

Some of my thoughts that were not mentioned by others at the events.

You are in responsible for your career

Not your company. Not your manager. You are responsible.

Time to start thinking about your career is now

It’s too late to start when you lose a job. Prepare for the next job while you still have one. If you like the job you have, feel free to keep it for years or decades. Just, don’t assume you’ll be able to keep it for years or decades. Things change. You might be fired. The company might close. Today.

It is very unlikely that you will reach retirement age while still working for your current company

I’ve read somewhere that the average time an average person stays at a job is five years. Plan for that.

You should be the one to decide when to retire

You should not get into a situation where your skills are obsolete, and you have to retire.

Shared Thoughts

These things were mentioned at two events. I did not find anything that was mentioned at all three events.


At the Testival meetup, the audience were mostly testers.


At the WebCamp conference, the audience were mostly developers.


The CITCON session was much longer than the previous two, and completely different. The audience was mixed, developers and testers.


I have read a few very good books recently that go into much more detail about career development than this blog post could.

tags: event