One of the great advantages of working in the data and analytics sector is the freedom and flexibility that comes with knowing your skills are highly sought after. Demand for professionals working in data, development and cloud-based tech is predicted to remain strong in 2022, as businesses recover from the pandemic and kick-start digital transformation projects.

But that doesn’t mean you have to rest on your laurels. Instead, it’s a great time to think about where you’d like to see yourself a year from now, or even five years down the track. The dynamism of the data and analytics field means there is always something new to learn and development opportunities to pursue.

So what better time to take a beat, consider your options and set some career goals for 2022? Here’s some tips to get you started:

Reflect On Your Achievements

Before jumping straight to longer-term plans, it’s worth reflecting on your key professional achievements over the past 12 months. This process can be a grounding exercise and an opportunity to think about how far you’ve come in the last year.

Try listing out any KPI targets you’ve met, successful completion of projects or new technical skills gained. Perhaps you’ve received an award or recognition for an aspect of your work. Also think about any soft skills you’ve developed, which could include taking on management responsibilities, coaching staff, making effective presentations and networking. After gathering this information, it’s worth updating your CV and LinkedIn profile with your most recent professional achievements, and, if appropriate, create an online portfolio to showcase your best work.

As part of this reflection exercise, document your current strengths, challenges you faced and areas where you think there is room for improvement. This can all help inform development opportunities for the year ahead.

Create SMART Goals

Like any business or project plan, career objectives will be more useful if they’re both realistic and quantifiable. A reliable formula for setting goals is using the SMART method: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.

Aim for a mix of short-term goals (to reach within several months) and long-term (in 12 months or longer). For example, if you’re a Solution Architect you may want to brush up on your knowledge of a specific cloud platform such as AWS, Azure or GCP through an online training course. Or if you’re a Developer, you might have a long-term goal of working in fintech so you could aim to find a short-term contract to get your foot in the door and gain some sector experience.

Once you’ve recorded each of your goals, you can break them down into incremental steps. Set a timeline for each target, so you can track your progress and milestones as well as identify when you’re falling behind. Remember, the process is just as important as the destination. As you progress through smaller milestones on the way to a main goal, be sure to reward yourself for each small win as this will keep you motivated.

Seize Development Opportunities

Learning and development will likely form part of your career development plan, whether it be formal or informal. There are plenty of free or low-cost training opportunities to support data and analytics job development, particularly related to technical upskilling.

But don’t forget informal development opportunities as well, such as mentorships, networking and taking on different projects in your personal time. Within your organisation, reach out to colleagues and leaders who may be working on assignments you could get involved with as a stretch project. Keep an eye out for promotion or secondment opportunities and ways to collaborate with other teams or departments.

These activities can not only help you add more credentials and experience to your CV – they will also demonstrate crucial soft skills needed in today’s data disciplines such as a willingness to learn and experiment, relationship building skills and self-motivation.

It’s also useful to keep up to date with changes in your industry and discipline, by signing up to mailing lists, attending networking events and conferences and following thought leaders on social media. Improving your overall knowledge of the industry landscape can inspire new ideas for progressing your career.


Effective career planning is a process that takes time, consideration and self-reflection. It’s important to think carefully about where you’d like to see yourself in 12 months time and document some structured steps to help realise your goals.

Our data and analytics recruitment specialists can help you on your journey, using their extensive knowledge of the market and industry. If you’d like to chat to one of our team about your next career move, get in touch today.