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What is Career Development?

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Question: What is Career Development?
Answer: Career development, a major aspect of human development, is the process through which an individual's work identity is formed. It spans one's entire lifetime. Career development begins with a person's earliest awareness of the ways in which people make a living, continues as he or she explores occupations and ultimately decides what career to pursue, prepares for it, applies for and gets a job and advances in it. It may, and probably will include, changing careers and jobs.

It is important to note that career development will occur naturally, as one matures, but with intervention, one can forge a happier and more successful path. Career guidance and education, or other means of managing one's career development, can prove to be very helpful. This intervention can begin as early as elementary school and should continue through adulthood.

Factors that Influence Career Development

Career development is influenced by several factors and their interaction with one another. These same factors also affect other aspects of human development. They are:

  • Personal Characteristics: Personality type, interests and values all play a role in career development. It is therefore, imperative that we pay close attention to these traits when choosing a career. A thorough self assessment will help us learn about our personal characteristics.
  • Socio-Economic Factors: Socio-economic factors may serve as a barrier to career development. One might not easily be able to prepare for a chosen career due to his or her family's financial situation. There are ways to overcome this, however.
  • Physical and Mental Abilities: Some of us are better suited to some careers than we are to others due to our physical and mental abilities and limitations.
  • Chance Factors: Chance factors are life events over which we have little or no control. These can influence the careers we choose and how we progress in them.

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