For every type of job under the sun, there are many ways that a person can develop. Each job has a set of core competencies, certain skills, and tasks that one must be adept at performing to do the job well. One part of professional development is growing that skillset to become better at your work. If you’re in construction, for instance, an understanding of your building materials and knowing which tools to use in different situations are important to know and be good at.
Professional development is also about more than this. Being adept at your work also implies becoming more efficient at producing your deliverables without burning out, having the capacity to work well with others on teams and projects, interfacing well with clients or your end-user, as well as being able to present and defend your ideas to the people in your orbit.
Having these skills in hand helps an individual to be more effective at their work and in their work environment. In addition to this, professional development is also about advancing in your profession and knowing just how to go about it. Many professions have specific requirements for training, licensure, and accreditation, as well as defined routes for how to advance or achieve success.
The path to becoming a four-star general in the army does not look like what it takes to become a Michelin star chef; becoming a successful screenwriter won’t look similar to what’s required for you to become a neurosurgeon; becoming a stand-up comic might not look the same as starting and growing a successful YouTube channel; parenting your children takes a different trajectory and requires different metrics from being a good writer or academic. Having an awareness of a field and how it functions allows a person to chart a path toward success as they grow the required skills and find their niche.