The inspiration for creating a roadmap for myself came from C. Todd Lombardo and his talk on Smashing TV about roadmaps: Roadmaps are dead! Long live roadmaps!. I have built this roadmap to remind myself how important is to have a plan for a career. It doesn't matter if I don't fulfill every objective, as long as I am keeping track of the vision.
According to Lombardo, there are five primary components of a roadmap:
- themes, and
Making a roadmap disclaimer is essential.
“Therefore you should consider yourself informed that this roadmap is prone to changes. The content communicates information that is relevant only to me. Also, a person cannot be a project.”
Having that said, you are free to be inspired and make your own career plan and decisions.
Vision should answer questions like where are you going, or how the future should look for you, or where do you see yourself in a certain period of time. It doesn't have to be a single thought, it could be a whole document or a blog post or something else.
My current visions are:
- to build more performant, reliable and accessible website for every client,
- to be better in delivering pixel-perfect, responsive and semantic user interface solutions,
- to become a more respectful and acknowledged developer, and
- to start a consulting agency.
Objectives are outcomes that you could measure or compare. When setting your objectives, you should ask questions like what are you trying to accomplish, or what results you are expecting.
My current objectives are:
- devote to all projects equally and with full attention,
- learn more about web tools, techniques, and principles,
- write more technical posts,
- write more career posts,
- attract more visitors to my website,
- build a bigger audience on social networks,
- land more challenging projects,
- increase the hourly rate,
- make a product of my own, and
- sell consulting services.
I am aware that my objectives sound very idealistic, but that is precisely the purpose. Objectives should help you follow the vision. In my case, the ultimate aim is to help clients build better software by making decisions based on my expertise and experience without coding necessarily—to consult.
Timeframes are periods of time in which you expect to accomplish your objectives. Timeframe could be a particular unit, like a day, a month or a year, or it could be an imprecise unit, like now, soon, next or in the future.
Themes are organizing principles how you should work. First, you have a problem, then you define what you need to fix the problem, then you set an objective.
Let's create a theme. The problem is high bounce rate—visitors on my website often bounce after they read or don't read an article. What I need is more quality content and/or call-to-action buttons. The objective is to engage visitors more and decrease the bounce rate.
Lombardo talks about asking “why” repeatedly for a problem that you are trying to solve until you find a root cause of the problem:
- Why do I need more quality content? Because I want more visitors getting back to read more content.
- Why are visitors not coming back? Because visitors mainly come from social networks after I share an article.
- Why don't visitors come from Google? Because the website is not on the first page on search results.
- Why isn't the site on the first page? Because the SEO is not optimized.
My current themes are:
- Improve SEO to get higher Google ranking
- Add more content on the homepage to make a unique user experience
- Update portfolio to make potential clients want to hire you
- Publish an article for Smashing Magazine
- Publish a course about static page generators
I have created a Trello board with the complete roadmap. You could see that I have added the labels “Now,” “Next” and “Later” to define timeframes.
Looking back at what you achieved might be a great inspiration and it could make you think what you want to do next in your career. Writing your visions and goals to a paper, or typing it on a computer, might make you see things from a different perspective.
While I was creating the roadmap for myself, I felt like my career was moving in the right direction. It also made me think that I will never be where I want, but that is an entirely different topic. 🤔