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, it is important you keep a note of minor changes. This would help you learn and ensure that you learn from your mistakes and your progress at the same time.

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

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

This article is meant to 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 a career growth is? It is the overall progress of your career as a growth. A career growth 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 to also 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 position of higher standing.

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 a 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 aligns 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.

Basically, career development is a means to your career growth which is very essential for reaching your career goals. Career development is achieved by building skills 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.

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 career development requires that you must be inquisitive about your career to be able to take the big and small leaps.
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Differences between Career Growth and Career Development

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

  • Career growth intends to take you higher as you progress in the journey to perfect your career; career development focuses on other things other than organizational hierarchy.
  • Also, career growth pays more attention to your goals and ambitions on the long run; Career development focus 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
  • Whereas career growth is the ‘what and where’; career development is all about the how the ‘how’.
  • Finally, career growth can be measured according to the progress you have made over time; career development is not measurable. It instead identifies weakness and makes plans towards improving 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 are merely existing without any goals or visions.

Having a career goal ensures that your life is never this way. However, in perfecting your career, you need to take charge of monitoring your career growth and development.

These are important because-

  • Having a career growth and career development track ensure that you monitor your progress. In monitoring your progress, you would have the feeling of satisfaction 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.

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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 important 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, think about 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.

Step 2- Learn Through Observation

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

You need to keep learning. Both through observation or through hands-on experiences, just learn.

You can learn by asking questions and finding out what responsibilities and skills are important for you in 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 reach out to 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:

Step 7. Set timelines:

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

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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 that relate to your career growth and development or weekend programs that demand 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 would pay off.

How to Achieve Both Career Growth and Career Development?

In pursuing your career, your career growth and career development are very vital. You must combine the two in advancing your career.

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

You need to find opportunities that very easily help you to 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 works, take up workshops and seminars, attend conferences and be sure to make the most out of any opportunity that comes your way.


What if I have career growth without career development?

You cannot have one without the other. Having career development and growth.

How long does it take for a career growth?

Career growth comprises big leaps. It is measured by very obvious changes in your career

How long does it take for a career development?

Career development is any slight change that leads up to your career

How best can I develop my career growth and career development

By learning. Keep learning.

Which is more important between Career Growth and Career Development?

Even though they are both important, you should focus more on career growth.


Career growth and development, though they are different, also work hand in hand.

You simply 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 you can.


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