Needed: Input on testing fit for your career
I think this could be an extremely useful resource. In 80k’s job satisfaction post, 80k makes a very convincing case that it is useful to explore where your strengths are through doing side projects and work assignments (after first doing cheaper tests like informational interviews), but 80k does not go into much detail about how to actually go about identifying these projects/assignments.
In practice, I think that’s it’s actually very hard to identify work opportunities to try out different careers.
I’m a software engineer 2 years out of college who is in the process of exploring other career paths. I’ve spent a lot of time researching online how one can find opportunities to test out different skills. I think two promising options are:
- Do a corporate cross-functional rotational program. These are commonly offered to new grads by old-school American Fortune 500 companies (e.g. Ford, CVS, etc.), but I found several programs within the tech industry:
- Axon LDP (https://www.axon.com/careers/bdp)
- Lets you rotate across business roles for 6 months at a time: product management, marketing, sales, business development, finance
- Yext Upward Program (https://www.yext.com/careers/upward)
- Lets you rotate across business roles for 6 months - similar roles to Axon
- Bookbub Rotational Program (https://www.bookbub.com/careers/open-positions/3766842)
- Lets you rotate across product management, marketing, analytics roles for 4-6 months per role
- I've found several other opportunities, but I think these are the most promising. I actually made it to the final round of the Axon + Bookbub programs, but was ultimately rejected. I wish there were more cross-functional rotational programs in the tech industry!
- Do management consulting
- I don’t know as much about this opportunity, but I’ve heard from my cousin who worked in this field that there are great opportunities to determine strengths. Assuming you are performing well, you can have the flexibility to choose a range of projects, and these diverse projects can allow you to test out different skills.
- I gather that you can do projects that focus more on analyzing data (testing analytical skills), other projects that focus more on drafting presentations and speaking with clients (testing communication and interpersonal skills). You can work on projects that focus on improving internal software tools - sort of like product management.
- Also I’ve heard there is a strong culture of feedback in management consulting, where there is tons of opportunity to get feedback on your performance from coworkers, which I imagine can be very helpful for identifying strengths.
- Finally, with management consulting's excellent exit options, there's a better potential than most roles to move into another role that might align better with your strengths