Reach Your Career Goals: 4 Ways to Step Up Your Game Next Year

Upskill to a new career represented by blocks

It’s time to get your career goals in order. Whether you want to finally learn how to code, land your dream job, get a promotion, or make a career change into tech, setting goals will set you up for success. 

But, what’s the most effective way to set goals for your tech career? And, what goals are appropriate if you’re just starting out? We’ll explore all of this and more so you can make “new year, new me” more than just a catchphrase. 

Here’s what we’ll get into today: 

  • How can I join the tech industry this year?
  • How can I set SMART goals? 
  • What career goals should I set in order to be successful in tech?
  • Is Kenzie Academy right for me? 

How can I join the tech industry this year?

Can we let you in on a little secret? Anyone has the potential to get into tech. Our industry is one for innovators and world-changers. And, tech leaders are realizing that having a college degree isn’t the only path to becoming an innovative human being or tech professional. 

That being said, figuring out where you currently stand and where you want to be a year from now can help you set actionable goals. Think about your dream tech job and consider the skills you’ll need to get it. Are there any certifications your dream employers are looking for? How can you learn the necessary skills to be job-ready? Here are a few steps you can take to get a clearer picture of what you want so you can set attainable goals for your tech career. 

Do your research

Before you sit down to come up with new year’s resolutions, you should do some research to get clear on what kind of goals you should be drafting. You can start by thinking about what tech role you’d enjoy doing most. Take some time to research different career options in technology and see what piques your interest. 

Thinking of UX design or software engineering? Check out these blog posts to learn more about these professions: 

Explore educational opportunities for your chosen role 

Once you’ve conducted your own research on the different jobs available in tech, you can start to consider the various educational programs and learning methods available. Thankfully, tech is an industry that’s fairly open to different types of education. What matters most is that you have the technical and soft skills needed to thrive in the role. So, go forth and explore the educational options available to you in your chosen tech role. 

You can land a job being self-taught or with a traditional bachelor’s degree. Or you can pursue a certificate to get the best of both worlds. 

Does the idea of pursuing a traditional degree program sound pricey and time-consuming? Does self-learning seem too intimidating? Bootcamps are a cost-effective and structured way to learn in a relatively short period of time. No matter what tech position you’re hoping to nab, there’s likely a bootcamp program for you. So, be sure to consider them in your search!

Make a game plan 

After you’ve researched the jobs and educational programs that might interest you, it’s time to make your game plan. You should create a step-by-step plan to get you to your dream tech career, which brings us to our next point…

How can I set SMART goals? 

Before you set any vague new year’s resolutions, consider instead setting some defined goals. Resolutions have gotten a bad rap in recent years for being unrealistic and making people feel bad when they can’t reach the unrealistic outcome they were hoping for. Let’s skip all of that and make sure we’re being smart about our goal-setting practices. 

We know you want to set smart goals, but have you heard of SMART goals? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. It’s a framework that empowers you to set goals you can actually accomplish in a specific time frame. SMART goals really help take the guesswork and wishful thinking out of the goal-setting process. So, how can you set SMART career goals? Use these steps to make your career plans a reality.


How specific is your goal? Getting specific can give you a better idea of how to measure the success of your progress and how long it will take to complete. A specific goal would be: “I want to learn to code so I can launch a career in tech. I will learn HTML, JavaScript, CSS,  SQL, MongoDB, React, and Django.” 


Is your goal measurable? A measurable goal motivates you because you can see proof of your progress along the way. You can even apply metrics to more abstract-sounding goals to make them measurable. So, if your goal is to learn to code, you could measure your progress by the number of new coding languages you learn. Example: “I will learn 1 new coding language each month.” 


Is the goal of learning to code achievable for you right now? Are there any preliminary steps you need to take to make it so? Someone who wants to learn to code could research different learning methods and create a game plan to make their goal happen. Will they teach themselves how to code? Will they learn via a bootcamp or coding school? What’s the admissions process like to get into the bootcamp? Do they qualify? These are all questions you would consider in order to make sure the goal you’ve set is one you can actually achieve.  


Will the goal you’re setting help you achieve larger life goals? Ask yourself how it’s relevant to the bigger picture of your life and career. Going along with our example, someone who wants to learn to code could be working on the larger goal of starting a career as a Software Developer. The goal of learning to code is relevant because it will give them the skills needed for their career. 


In what time frame should you accomplish your goal? A solid goal has an end in sight. Be realistic when choosing a time frame. But also, don’t choose a date so far off in the future that you’ll procrastinate on the goal. Someone who is learning to code could choose to learn within a year. This will give them enough time to figure out what learning method they’d like to use, sign up for a program, and hammer out several projects. By the end of the year, they could be ready to launch their career. 

What career goals should I set in order to be successful in tech? 

Setting career goals will help you find success in tech. If you’re just starting out, the idea can be a little overwhelming. But, knowing your career goals can help you make decisions for your future. It will also help you in the job interviewing process as you’ll show potential employers you have confidence and know what you want out of your career. Here are a few goals to set in the new year: 

Create a personal brand 

Personal brands are oh so important when it comes to creating the career of your dreams. In the Internet age, we’re all online, so you’ve got to create an online presence. Personal branding can be established through an online portfolio, a LinkedIn profile, and a GitHub account (or any combination of these). Your personal brand can even influence things like your resume and the way you write a cover letter or introduce yourself to potential employers. 

Pursue a certificate or degree program 

In a relatively short amount of time, a certificate program can give you the skills you need to work in tech. Want to get into tech in the next year? Most certificate programs are 6-9 months in length so you could finish your program and maybe land your first UX design or software engineering position by this time in next year. Talk about #careergoals! 

Find a mentor 

Mentorship can be essential for a few reasons. Mentors can help “show you the ropes” of the industry. You can learn from their mistakes and successes. And, they can introduce you to other people in their network and maybe even help you land your dream job. 

At Kenzie, we don’t take the importance of tech mentorship lightly. That’s why we’ve created the #MakeTheHire mentorship program. In #MakeTheHire, we match Kenzie learners with tech professionals who work with them during their job search. They assist learners with mock interviews and portfolios while answering their questions about industry best practices. If you want to advance your tech career, you should make it a career goal to find a mentor. 

Build your tech community 

Alongside mentorship, having a tech community can be a game-changer for those just starting out in the industry. Like mentors, people in your network can introduce you to new opportunities, potential business partners, and future bosses. Having friends in your industry can also expose you to new and different programs and skills people are talking about and learning. Your community can keep you privy to the latest industry trends. 

Don’t forget personal goals too!

While setting career goals is important, you’ll want to establish some personal goals too. These can range from learning a new hobby to working on your mental health or a personal relationship. One way to strive towards work-life integration is to create self-awareness around all aspects of your life. Attaining work-life balance becomes easier when we’re working towards happiness and success in both our work and personal lives. 

Is Kenzie Academy right for me? 

If you’re thinking of getting into tech in the next year, you should consider signing up for an upskilling program or coding bootcamp. At Kenzie Academy, you get the certificate and skills needed to kick off your career as a Software Engineer or UX Designer. 

Software Engineering

In Kenzie’s Software Engineering program, you’ll learn to build websites and applications through individual work and team collaboration. You’ll be immersed in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SQL, MongoDB, React, and Django. The 9-month full-time program is taught by industry practitioners. Graduates of the program currently work in positions like Software Engineer, Mobile App Developer, and Front End Designer. Check out some of our alumni stories to learn more about learner outcomes and where you could be in 9 months. 

UX Design

Interested in merging creative practices with problem-solving skills? A career in UX design could be right for you. In the UX Design Career program, you can get certified to work as a UX professional in just 6 months. At Kenzie, you can build your portfolio through a series of group and individual projects. You’ll design web and mobile apps based on user research and the fundamentals of both user interface and user experience design. You’ll graduate with the skill set needed to work as a UX/UI Designer, Web Designer, and Mobile App Designer. Since our program is part-time, you can enjoy some schedule flexibility and keep your day job. 

What are your life and career goals for next year? Let’s discuss how you can achieve them — contact us! We can’t wait to see how you slay your career goals in the new year. 

Ready to jumpstart your career as a UX Designer or Coder? Learn more about our Software Engineering, Full-Stack Web Development, Cybersecurity and UX Design programs, or check out our free beginner’s coding program Kenzie Free.

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