The skills you learn today may no longer be relevant in five years. It sounds alarming, but when you consider the fast pace of technological change, it’s likely not too far off. It took 45 years, for instance, for the telephone to reach a 50 percent penetration rate – a major adoptive milestone that smartphones achieved in just seven. As this already fast pace continues to accelerate in the wake of COVID-19, keeping your technical skills fresh is critical to ensuring long-term career stability.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to improve your technical skills, with six strategic tips you can use to strengthen your abilities and stay competitive.
the learning advantage
The dynamic rate of change breeds new opportunities for the people who keep refreshing their IT skills, and this is reflected across all career levels. In one survey of IT professionals, 49 percent said they believe the talent entering the workforce today is unprepared, with 71 percent going on to admit that they, too, needed more training.
49% of IT pros think today’s tech workforce is unprepared, and 71% believe they themselves need more training.
From our experience, we know that employers are looking for IT professionals who take the initiative to keep their knowledge base fresh and build new technical skills. And while more employers are recognizing the importance of prioritizing training and development, it may not yet be a given at your workplace. According to Randstad’s research, only 47 percent of employees said their organizations are investing enough in training and development.
just 47% of employees believe their companies are adequately invested in training.
The case is then yours to make that you’re leading the charge to bring innovation to your organization. So with everything else on your plate, how do you approach learning?
First, take the time to think through which IT skills and knowledge you need to acquire. What are the important trends you find interesting around which you would like to build skills? What insights do you need to further your career? Make a list and prioritize your areas of focus.
The best learning approach is multidisciplinary in nature, and it’s best not to lock yourself into just one skill-building tactic. Here are the big six strategies to incorporate into your learning and development mix:
6 tips to improve and refresh your IT skills
take online courses
Some online courses are better than others. Do your research before you invest your time – and money. Our learning partner, Udemy, has an extensive list of IT courses you can browse before choosing.
You can still brush up on your technical skills without them, but depending on your field of study or the requirements of prospective employers, you may need something in writing. Here’s a list of 10 high-paying ones to get you started.
Attend trade shows and conferences that most closely relate to your areas of interest. These are great networking opportunities that can expose you to both new ideas and emerging technologies. Keep an eye out for virtual events or webinars as a socially-distanced alternative.
read trade publications
Identify and read relevant trade magazines and books. A good first step is to create a Google alert and select those sources that consistently provide high-quality information and insight into the technologies of interest.
learn from proven learners
If you work with vendors who provide services in your areas of interest, leverage their knowledge. Get their insight on how they keep their IT skills fresh. Have them recommend resources.
Consider putting together workshops or webinars with your co-workers and colleagues. The best way to learn a new skill is to teach it to others. These sharing sessions with your peers can increase the chances that the curriculum will be practical.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture – your evolving career. Lifelong learning and development of your technical skills is more than a sentimental goal or character-building exercise. In today’s rapidly changing technology landscape, it might be the difference in a fulfilling career – or getting stuck.
Looking for more tips on how to improve your technical skills and advance your career? Visit the Randstad Career Resource Center here.