This article is part of a series authored by Dr. Christine Grant and published in Diversity in Action magazine.

Making a decision for success is essential in long-term STEM career management, whether in cybersecurity our new media arts. Determining the strategies we need to define and then accomplish success is an exercise that requires both reflection and resilience. Strategic assessment of our own career is not for the faint of heart and can be a painful yet essential process. Wise counsel in the form of mentoring, coaching and advising has a vital role in the design and execution of a robust academic career roadmap.

It all starts with a decision – a decision that while being guided by other people has to be rooted in concrete, not abstract, approaches to success. Decision-making is a learned skill that gets better with experience. For example, when I was deciding which college to attend, strategic on-campus visits provided the best information possible. Back in the 1970s, there was no Internet (really – I am not joking) to look up student experiences. There also weren’t cell phones to easily reach students and facility to explore the subtle nuances with a particular institution. You relied on brochures, reputation, guidance counselors and sometimes hearsay. Today there are severy sources of information we can utilize to make personal and professional decisions.