Heather Payne, founder of HackerYou and Ladies Learning Code, has climbed the career ladder on her own terms. At only 29, she is the CEO of the HackerYou College of Technology and one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. “You can accomplish a lot even as a young person,” Payne says.

Here are five career lessons from Payne to help you reach success in your own career:

Upgrade skills in your spare time

Employers expect young people to arrive on the job ready to go. Upgrading skills in their spare time is taking on a new importance. When she’s hiring, Heather likes to ask interviewees what they have been up to outside of work. It’s a great way to gain insights into how a person spends their time, as well as their work ethic and ambition.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

One of Payne’s mantras is “your twenties are for learning and your thirties are for earning.” Payne spent her 20s seizing new opportunities, through different jobs but also by learning new skills outside of work. Everything she learned in her 20s helps her today with running her own company.

Make an impression by working hard

Payne has worked in management roles since she was sixteen years old, when she was promoted to management at her local McDonald’s. She takes the view that a good employee doesn’t need to be managed. Instead, they are too busy taking the initiative to work hard and to surprise and delight their peers.

Think long-term when making decisions

“I make every single decision with a long-term view,” Payne says. She believes it’s better to make a decision that is good over the long term over one that will give her a short-term benefit. For example, she paid a talented designer to design her personal website, rather than trying to come up with a design herself. She knew it would give her personal brand a level of polish that would serve her for years to come.

Ask for the salary you deserve

Heather can’t stress enough how important it is for young people, especially women, to negotiate their salary — every single time. That’s why Heather helps every HackerYou bootcamp graduate negotiate their salaries when job hunting. “It’s important to practise negotiating from day one. The impact over your career can be huge.”