So I have this philosophy that you have to ask for and specifically work toward promotions. I have been promoted many times since I have been at SAS and I believe I have asked for every one. My usual M.O. is to start asking my manager what I need to do to be promoted as part of my yearly review, once I’ve reached enough years experience to qualify for the next level. Typically my manager will give me specific things to work on and I’ll work on them and I’ll bring it up again the next year.
Promotions generally only happen once a year, nowadays. It was different in the past but now it’s very regulated, all things having to do with changes in compensation happen in the spring.
At Senior level, I thought I had probably topped out. There are levels beyond Senior but I have generally regarded them as unattainable – in fact, I didn’t think I would reach Senior until it happened, because I have always thought my technical skills are lacking.
I actually no longer feel that way about my technical skills, and had started to think that I might reach Principal eventually if I did not wind up in a management position first.
I remember the first person I knew who was promoted to Principal. It was a long time ago. He was very young to reach that level, but it was absolutely deserved: he was the person who introduced Java to the all-SAS MIS department. As in, everyone in the department was coding in SAS before he came along and introduced Java as a viable alternative. 20 years later, most developers in the department are Java coders, so his leadership had a deep and lasting effect. To me that is the very definition of a Principal developer, someone whose technical skills and leadership in combination marks the organization for a long time to come. I don’t know if all Principal developers really meet that criteria anymore, but that is still the ideal of Principal in my mind.
Sooooo…. yeah. Flying in the face of my strongly held belief that promotions have to be pursued and asked for, I got a surprise promotion – out of the normal schedule – to Principal. Today is my last day as Senior.
In the past, promotions and raises have often messed with my head (cough*impostersyndrome*cough). I feel pretty good about things right now. I doubt anything will actually be different on Monday. Hope not.
My husband bought me the Superwoman t-shirt (and matching socks!) to congratulate me. I heart them.