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7 Types of Career Development

Career development is the lifelong process of growing and refining your productive contributions to society, also known as a career. The following are the basic elements of career development with a guide to each.

Self Knowledge

The process of discovering what you want, what you don't want, where you have potential, where you are weak and where you might be able to stretch yourself.


Planning includes the dreamy process of deciding your end-goals and the more grounded process of identifying actionable steps that move you closer to these goals. This also includes the process of aquiring information about industries, organizations, professions, business models, opportunities and career strategy.

Training & Development

Developing your knowledge, skills and talents by learning, practicing and gaining experience.


Developing in your career by delivering value and improving your productivity over time. This is the basis for promotions, rewards and recognition. If your an entrepreneur, productivity is the basis for revenue.

Competition & Politics

Internal competition for roles, responsibilities, recognition and rewards. External competition with other businesses may also be relevant to developing your career.


Career strategy tends to begin with high expectations. This initial excitement may progress to a period of problems and intense work known as a trough of sorrow whereby goals may feel out of reach despite significant effort. This is often followed by a crash of ineptitude whereby a significant series of problems causes you to doubt your strategy. This may trigger change to strategy. If your strategy is sound, the crash of ineptitude will subside and you will progress towards your end-goals. If your strategy is flawed the trough of sorrow can continue indefinitely.

Organizational Career Development

Career development may be supported by an organization as part of performance management.
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