5 Tips for Making Horizontal Career Moves

There are two types of career growth: vertical and horizontal. Many people choose vertical growth and getting high positions; they do not hesitate and never think it is sometimes better to grow horizontally within their profession. This article will tell you how to begin to become an expert.


Vertical career usually means getting a higher position than one used to have before. But is it necessary for everyone? Lots of people enjoy what they do in office at the moment, and they want to develop in this area without any additional administrative load.

This way of building a career is called horizontal; there is no vertical growth, but there are some moves deep into the professional sphere. It presupposes the acquisition and accumulation of knowledge and skills that help the employee become an expert in a particular business. The way of an expert is often better than vertical growth, as there is an acute shortage of high-level professionals in the labor market. Their role is priceless.

Horizontal growth in the professional field is considered to be much more difficult than vertical, as you have to give up many things: leadership ambitions, specific social component, quiet home environment, large monetary rewards in the form of prizes and bonuses – in favor of the professional growth. It is rather the way of a single person.

What do I need to do to become an expert in my field? Here are a few simple tips.

1. Study your field deeply

It is necessary to spend much time accumulating knowledge in your field of activity. However, it should not be superficial; there should be deep expertise beyond the scope of ordinary skills in the studied subject. You’ll have to read a lot of professional literature and find the information that is hidden from many prying eyes.

2. Take the work home

At the initial stage, it is better to take your work home: drawings, projects, technical details (tools, equipment or models). You have to immerse yourself in the work completely. You may have to sacrifice personal life and free time. Everyone knows that it is difficult to simultaneously develop all aspects of your life, and if you still want to become an expert in addition to some area, it requires giving up many things because you will have to pay the lion share of time to your work.

3. Attend seminars on technical issues of your profession

Trainings in self-development are not important, but the meetings of experts in your topic and the discussions of pressing issues are exactly what you need. We must look for specialized trainings, communicate with professionals to get engaged in a discussion with them, to develop new theories and find answers to the questions together. If a unique and well-known specialist announces the selection of candidates for his/her course or organizes a workshop, you will need to necessarily be there. You have to learn new things in your field, communicate with like-minded people, and understand the subtleties and specifics of the business.

4. Make your job the point of your life for a certain period

It sounds dangerous, but this should be done. There is a period of life when you have to commit yourself to work: working days, weekends, business trips, extra hours, and urgent jobs. All of this will help you become an expert in your field. You must be effective at work, think about many questions and problems in the evening, and try new techniques. Specialist forums will replace entertainment portals for you.

Remember the rule: to become an expert in any field, you need to devote 10,000 hours of pure time to this topic. It’s about three hours a day for 10 years, six hours a day for five years or nine hours a day for three years.

5. Focus on the main things

You have decided to be the best in some area, and you pursue this goal. If you are offered a large cash bonus at a different job for accomplishing the same tasks or you are trusted a new mega-project in the same place and you have never done anything like that before, do not hesitate to choose the latter variant. This experience will give you much more in future than the mere pursuit of money.

You have to understand that you should focus on your business rather than on money to become a true professional.

An expert goes beyond the ordinary knowledge of the subject; he/she knows the answer to virtually any question from the field of interest. Even if he/she does not know this, he/she will spend all the free time to learn something and will take the full responsibility because reputation is at stake.

An expert should never be told how and what to do, he/she must not be controlled; he/she can allocate time and effort independently. It is better to challenge the expert and set some unique tasks, disturbing his/her mind. The expert may not pay much attention to his/her character, weaknesses or the social component. He/she lives in a different world – the world of interesting facts and subtleties of specific knowledge, unique skills, which many cannot understand.

And what have you chosen: the path of an expert or a leader?