Whether you are already in the career of your choice or are looking for a change, some guidance is always helpful.
Career changeLet us first assume that you want a change of career. Maybe you landed up being an engineer when you actually wanted to be a writer. Or maybe you wanted to be an engineer, became a successful one but now you want to change your career. In either case, a complete makeover is what you need.
Before doing anything drastic ask yourself if you are sure you want to change your career. It is a huge step and you must do it only it if you are confident that it is what you want and that you won't tire of it eventually.
First of all make a checklist of those skills that your new career will demand. Then look for ways and means to achieve those skills while you still hold your current job. It is not very wise to give up your current job even before you are prepared to apply for a new one. Keep track of what's happening in the industry in which you want to plunge. It won't help at all if, by the time you acquire a new skill set those skills are outdated already. See if you can get a part-time job. This will help more than attending a bunch of courses that promise success. Experience has always been the best teacher. It will also help when you start applying for a new job.
To continue in the same career.Being happy in your current role could be rather dangerous. You have to be sure you don't stagnate. Keep track of industry trends is very important. Improve your existent skill set; grab any opportunity to acquire new skills.
Attend as many conferences and seminars as you can that are related to your area of expertise. This is not only a way of keeping with the times but also a great opportunity to meet other people in your field.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open for new software packages etc. that are related to your work. Get your hands on them as fast as you can. Most packages nowadays are so user-friendly that you may not even need anybody's help to use them. Feel your way around gradually and keep the advanced features for later. You could attend a training course for the advanced features too.
Honing your soft-skills, though given less priority, is very important in the long run. Soft-skills include your communication skills, ability to work in or lead a team etc. There are always workshops being conducted in for the improvement of such skills but people ignore them for 'lack of time'. They'd rather play a game of Solitaire. But these workshops can be rather enjoyable if you try them out. And useful too!
Ask questions. Lots of them. It is the only way to gain knowledge. If you don't ask how is the other person to know that you have a doubt to be cleared A lot of people actually feel flattered when asked to clarify a problem.So fire away!