How to leverage your citizen developer role to reach the C-Suite

If moving up the corporate ladder is one of your professional goals, you’ve likely set your sights on reaching the C-suite. Whether it’s a CEO, CIO, CFO, CTO, COO, or any other high-impact leadership role, it can sometimes be hard to see how the work you’re doing today as a citizen developer will lead to you this level.

Don’t despair. You’re further ahead than you think! In your role as a citizen developer, you’re a talented contributor who’s creating effective solutions that meet business needs in every area, including management, finance, operations, and the field.

Want to learn how to maximize your future growth potential and eventually move into a corner office? Read on to discover how to expand your career horizons.

Cultivate a deeper interest in technology

Becoming fluent in technology sets you apart from others in your field who may be less tech-savvy. If you fail to cultivate sufficient technical skills, you may risk being passed over for roles that require this mindset. You may also be held back when it comes time to make informed strategic decisions using technology.

Low-code platforms like ProntoForms give citizen developers everything they need to create solutions on the fly and it’s important to continue developing your technical knowledge. Whether it’s database development, analytics, servers, or learning to code, this can only add to your understanding of programs, platforms, and systems, and in turn, your marketability. You may wish to ramp up several tools, including Google Analytics, SQL, Tableau, Visio, and Access.

Get friendly with process & IT management methodologies

To inspire innovation in your organization, it’s all about having processes in place that position you and your team to achieve business goals. Key methodologies for citizen developers to become familiar with include:

· Design thinking

· Lean Six Sigma

· ITIL

· Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)

Gain cross-functional knowledge

To deepen your expertise, step outside of your cubicle and take on greater responsibilities across departments. Citizen developers who step up to tackle challenges outside of their comfort zones are better equipped to ascend the corporate ladder. Creating solutions to empower your organization’s sales, finance, operations, HR, and marketing departments will prove your ability to glean knowledge from multiple sources and translate this information into action.  

Develop your behavioral skills 

Until this point, we’ve mentioned how acquiring or increasing your hard skills can put citizen developers ahead of the competition. Now it’s time to shine the spotlight on behavioral or soft skills.

Improving the following soft skills will set you up to lead larger teams and take on more complex projects.

  • Decision-making skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Conflict resolution skills

Become the leader you’re meant to be

It’s essential to hone your leadership skills throughout your career to move into a C-level position. Encouraging employees to follow your vision is no easy task. It comes down to cultivating your ability to promote discussion amongst your team, guiding employees through unstable or unclear periods, conveying what you envision the future looks like, motivating stakeholders to think differently, and collaborating across teams to accomplish shared objectives.

You can cultivate leadership skills through activities such as:

  • Guiding and influencing others
  • Taking the initiative in working on or completing tasks
  • Being clear when setting directions and goals
  • Acting as an example for others
  • Being decisive in your actions
  • Possessing empathy
  • Being positive

Conclusion

As a citizen developer, you’re well on your way to working your way up the org chart. You know the business inside and out thanks to your unique vantage point. ­You’ve proven your value by creating solutions that reduce or eliminate issues within your company. Your company’s field service team is grateful that you’ve made their jobs easier and reduced the time spent on completing paperwork. Cultivating the hard and soft skills ­­mentioned in this article will set you up to succeed when the time comes for you to climb the ranks to reach the C-level.

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