In some careers, there’s little need for additional learning after one completes their college degree. Just one or two short courses can do. That’s not the case in the IT space though. Technology that was relevant 5 years ago may be teetering on the verge of obsolescence today.
IT professionals must therefore be on a constant quest to ensure their skills are up-to-date if they want to remain competitive in the job market. The following tips can help make sure your skill set is always relevant.
Schedule Learning Time
Set aside some time each day or each week during which you learn something new. Whether it’s an operating system, new framework, new dev tool or a new application, new learning keeps your knowledge fresh, skills sharp and ensures you are always on the cutting edge of the tech industry. Experiment with new technologies and examine the logs to see how you are doing (you could use log management with Loggly for instance).
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race. Work never really ends and you’ll always have something in your in-tray that demands your attention. Making time for learning is however what will ensure you’ll continue to have meaningful and better paying work over the long-term.
Learn from Leaders
Follow subject matter experts, industry leaders, bloggers and newsletters that regularly dispense new industry knowledge. That could be by subscribing to their email newsletter or following their social media accounts.
There are potentially countless people you could follow and this can be a little overwhelming. For tips on where to start, talk to a work colleague, current or former instructor, or your mentor. You’ll learn new trends and technologies that will allow you to better plan your future career path.
Attend Trade Shows and Tech Conferences
Before the internet became ubiquitous, conferences, exhibitions and trade shows were indisputably the principal forum where major developments in any industry would be revealed to stakeholders. While plenty of breaking news is now shared on the worldwide web, conferences are still relevant today.
In fact, events are often the most significant source of learning and insights for techies. There’s a depth and detail that isn’t as readily available or accessible via an online news article. You have more opportunity to interact with the experts and ask questions on things that aren’t immediately clear.
Enroll for Online Courses
Tech is a demanding line of work and you probably won’t have much time to attend an actual class after work. Fortunately, the tech industry is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of online courses. These can not only sharpen your knowledge on current technical topics but provide a path to industry and technical certifications.
Today’s online courses are quite sophisticated with some using virtualized environments that enable more hands-on learning.
Join Professional Organizations
Professional organizations such as ISSA and ISACA regularly organize training weeks or incorporate fresh knowledge in their newsletters. As a member, you’ll have access to a broad range of reading and training material at little to no cost.
Since the membership is so diverse and influential, many corporations, seasoned practitioners and industry experts will be keen on sharing new learning with these organizations where their ideas can be thoroughly interrogated.
International professional organizations usually have national and local chapters where members will occasionally meet to network and exchange ideas. You’ll be a better techie for it.
Learn from Workmates
You are always around them and have probably grown to consider some of them as friends outside of work. And perhaps for this reason as well as the fact that your work in the same environment, it’s not always easy to see workmates as a source of new knowledge. Yet they can be.
So before you spend time and money looking outside your organization for sources of new industry information, do not ignore the people that you work with for hours each day.
There’s no end to learning for anyone who has chosen a career in tech. These tips can help your quest to acquire new knowledge easier.