Hopefully by this point you’ve at least managed to narrow your career path down to a single problem domain. Right now you may still be unsure about which technologies and subdomains to focus on, but that’s alright because the aim of this step is to uncover which specialisations are available, then filter them down to the one or two that most interest you. A good place to start is to take a look at what career opportunities exist, then pick out the types of jobs you’d want to do.
Browsing through available jobs within a particular domain is a great way of identifying the smaller pieces that make up that field of work. For example, web development can be broken down into server-side and client-side, which can be further broken down into subdomains such as: database programming, security management, transfer protocol development, performance engineering, and user interface design. You may find listings that combine a few subdomains into one job, and occasionally some that will even incorporate two or more specialisations from different domains altogether. By making yourself aware of all the available options, you can make better-informed decisions about the direction in which to take your career.
Armed with a problem domain in mind, start searching the web for any job listings available within that field. Don’t limit your searches to listings nearby, the aim here is to identify what kind of job you find most appealing rather than the actual position you will be applying for. I can’t say that I specifically favour one site over the others here, or that I am aware of any particular sites you should avoid, but some of the most notable job search engines are: CareerBuilder.com, FlexJobs.com, indeed.com, LinkUp.com, Monster.com, SimplyHired.com, and again, LinkedIn.com.
As you scan over the available jobs in your domain, take a look at the list of requirements for each of them. From these requirements, try to focus your attention onto one or two specialisations that regularly mention subdomains and technologies you’re most interested in, then add the requirements for those jobs to your list from the previous step. If some of these overlap with characteristics already on the list, or if they appear multiple times across different job listings, mark them with an asterisk. If there are items on the list that no longer apply to the specialisation(s) you’re now focusing on, remove them.
Throughout this exercise try to imagine yourself in the job. Imagine yourself working on the associated problems, with the associated technologies, and think about whether you’d be genuinely interested in it. If you find your enthusiasm beginning to deteriorate the deeper you dive into a particular specialisation, you should consider recalibrating your vision to one that better captures your interests.