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What is the Difference Between Career Growth and Career Development?

This article thoroughly discusses the difference between career growth and career development.

In your career, you must keep a note of minor changes. This would help you learn and ensure that you learn from your mistakes and progress simultaneously.

You may have career development without reasonable career growth. This would not benefit you in the long run though, because what us the point of taking steps toward self-improvement without a measurable result?

In finding a balance between career growth and career development, you would progress faster.

This article will tell you the difference and similarities between career growth and development. I hope you find it enlightening.

What is Career Growth

You are wondering what career growth is? It is the overall progress of your career as a growth. Career growths are the roles and responsibilities you take towards reaching the peak of your career.

Your career growth can comprise getting a new employment, pimping your skills, getting a promotion, or getting to a stage you have previously highlighted for yourself.

According to Kevin Wu, founder and CEO of Pathrise, an online tech mentorship company based in San Francisco, he also identified career goals also to mean-”…moving into a role that better suits your goals, taking on a project where you can showcase your knowledge, and receiving positive feedback from your managers.”

A career growth has to do with your advancement from your current position to a higher standing position.

For instance, if you have step-by-step goals you have set out for yourself for your career, and you move two steps higher, it is safe to say that it is career growth.

What is Career Development

Career development refers to the process you undergo while evolving to your career. Career development leads up to your career growth.

They are the small decisions you make now that align with the needs of your career. Career development can occur on an individual basis or at the organizational level.

Career development, unlike career growth, deals mostly with short-term goals.

Career development is a means to your career growth which is essential for reaching your career goals. Building skills achieve career development in the short term.

Learning a hard skill like programming, or a soft skill like effective listening, could all be a part of your career development plan.

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Similarities between Career Growth and Career Development

The similarities between career growth and career development identified are-

  • Your career growth and career development go hand in hand. You can barely have one without the other.
  • Your career growth and development both require you make progress or learn something new, no matter how small.
  • The more you take charge of your career development, the more you can influence your career growth.
  • Your career growth and career development share the same ambitions
  • Your career growth and development requires that you understand your weakness and strengths and that you take the necessary steps to leverage or correct them
  • Also, your career growth and development requires that you learn from your mistake if you are going to get to your career as soon as possible.
  • Your career growth and development require that you must be inquisitive about your career to take the big and small leaps.

Differences between Career Growth and Career Development

There are specific differences between career growth and career development. Some of them are-

  • Career growth intends to take you higher as you progress to perfect your career; career development focuses on things other than an organizational hierarchy.
  • Also, career growth pays more attention to your goals and ambitions in the long run; Career development focuses more on the present.
  • In boosting career growth, you have to have the necessary strategy and correct planning; career development does not require strategy because it is not long term
  • Career growth is the ‘what and where’; career development is all about the how the ‘how’.
  • Finally, career growth can be measured according to your progress; career development is not measurable. It instead identifies weaknesses and makes plans to improve the weaknesses.

Why are Career Growth and Development Important?

Imagine having a life where you wake up and look forward to nothing. Where you have nothing to do, and you merely exist without any goals or visions.

Having a career goal ensures that your life is never this way. However, you need to monitor your career growth and development to perfect your career.

These are important because-

  • Having a career growth and career development track ensures that you monitor your progress. In monitoring your progress, you will feel satisfied and reap the rewards.
  • It is important to have both career growth and development to ensure you do not neglect one at the expense of the other. If you focus solely on growth, you’re only looking forward and neglecting to take pleasure in the here and now of your profession. Also, growth is rarely achievable without development, as the latter is the driving force behind the former.

How Do You Foster Career Development and Career Growth?

To ensure you get what you want out of your career, you have to find a way to foster your career growth and development.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how you could make this work.

Step 1- Develop a Game Plan

In anything you do, it is vital to have a game plan. Not only is this essential to keep you aware of the progress you have made over time, it is also essential in ensuring that you keep track of the activities and monitor them as you go.

In making a plan, consider where you are now and where you want to be in the next 5 years.

After you have done this, think about the step you would take in getting there, set up the pros and cons of each stage, and be ready to make changes if a plan does not fall in place.

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Step 2- Learn Through Observation

After you have made your game plan, do not make the mistake of thinking it ends there.

It would be best if you kept learning. Both through observation or through hands-on experiences, learn.

You can learn by asking questions and finding out what responsibilities and skills are important for getting to the heights you intend to attain.

Step 3- Focus on taking initiative

If you want to move into a leadership role, offer to take the lead on a project with a cross-functional team.

Pick up freelance projects or work on teaching yourself a new coding stack at a boot camp. You could also consider starting a blog to track your progress

Step 4- Find Support in Your Network

In finding support in your network, you can ensure that you constantly have people to contact when you are confused or stuck.

You can build this networking through getting a mentor, attending workshops, or even conferences. Having people who can readily help you is also important in boosting your confidence.

Step 5-Get out of your comfort zone

 You can barely achieve any of these goals you have written down if you are not able to step out of your comfort zone to make the difference you need in your life.

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying things you have not tried before would go a long way towards helping your career, its growth, and its development.

Step 6- Search for Solutions

Always try to find a smarter and easier way of doing things. Problem-solving skill is a skill that would help you massively in building your career and in seeing to its growth and development.

Find more innovative, practical answers to the challenges you face at work. Doing this will push you to develop and improve your abilities.

Run after skills, not positions:

READ ALSO: How to Deal with a Coworker who is Trying to Get You Fired in 2023

Step 7. Set timelines

In setting timelines for yourself, you would realize that you work faster and more efficiently.

You would get to where you want to be at a faster pace. Ensure you have made a clear timeline for yourself to ensure that you work on your time management skills too.

Step 8- Never stop learning

In learning, you must not always do it formally. You can learn through your fellow employee, going for workshops and training. Do not slack on the values and skills you have.

If you want to learn formally, you can attend online classes related to your career growth and development or weekend programs demanding less time and effort.

Follow the trend. Master any new technology that shows up in your career line. After a while, all the knowledge you have acquired will pay off.

How to Achieve Both Career Growth and Career Development?

In pursuing your career, your career growth and development are vital. You must combine the two to advance your career.

One works on your personal development, the other on your professional development. They are both very necessary in creating a successful career.

You need to find opportunities that can easily help you do the two together. Events or seminars that help you combine the “personal you” with the “professional you” are essential to bringing career growth and development together.

Ensure that the speakers can relate to you and can affect you in both ways.

Take up volunteer work, take up workshops and seminars, attend conferences, and be sure to make the most out of any opportunity that comes your way.


Although career growth and development are different, they also work together.

You cannot have one without the other in your journey to having a successful career.

These differences and similarities are for your use and you should use them as much as possible.


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Ajah Excel is a team growth and performance expert with over nine years of experience in blogging and personal development.
He leads a team of 36 crazy, restless innovators with an enviable work culture at Silicon Africa Technologies Limited – a fast-rising tech firm from the SouthEast.
Excel is the founder of and WriterGig.
He is also the co-organizer of TEDx Ikenegbu and convener of Social Media Fest.
He is a vibrant learner who yearns to share his knowledge to educate and inspire young Africans.
He has a B.Tech in Information Management Technology with certifications in growth hacking, effective communication, leadership, team, and personal development, to mention a few.
Ajah Anayochukwu Excel is a passionate public speaker, creative writer, and brand storyteller.

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