Many of us see the word success and think of a big salary or an important job title. Instead, success should be seen as a set of criteria that you define and that represent a career capable of supporting the personal life you want. A career plan is a plan to achieve that kind of career.
Let’s begin by quickly defining some terms so that you and I can be on the same page. I define job as a set of tasks that form a role you’re paid to do: a software developer, a data analyst, a systems administrator, a network engineer, a security specialist, and so on. A job is an arrangement in which the employer offers compensation to someone and that someone performs the requested job tasks. If you weren’t doing the job, someone else would be. In other words, your employer owns the job. That means your employer bears a lot of responsibility for the job: they have to provide you the tools you need, they have to tell you which tasks need to be performed, and they get to define the standards that you have to adhere to when performing those tasks.
Your career, on the other hand, belongs to you. Your career encompasses all the skills it takes to obtain, keep, and perform the jobs of your choice, and you may have several different types of jobs over the course of your career. You are responsible for your career: you get to decide where it is headed, and you have to pay for any of its upkeep that falls outside the scope of your current job.