Technologies that dictate success in the IT industry are constantly changing. As a professional searching for a new job or gunning for a promotion at work, this could mean that the skills you learned a few short years ago are no longer relevant to the field. To stay ahead of the game, you’ll need to continuously learn new programs and skills throughout your career.
Although it can be exciting to learn a new skill, finding the time to do this when working full-time is often easier said than done. Fortunately, there are several ways to update your skillset while working full-time.
Below are 5 ways to learn a new technical skill while working full-time:
Whether it is a new programming language or a different type of framework you want to learn, books and online tutorials can serve as a great resource. Sites like codecademy, codeschool, and leetcode provide a great supply of video tutorials on learning different programming languages, and practice assignments. In addition, organizations and universities such as Lynda, Udemy, Skillshare, MIT Open Courseware, Coursera, and EdX offer affordable classes that can help you keep your skills up to date with the latest trends.
Getting involved in the IT community is a great way to learn new skills while also building your professional network. Joining sites like GitHub allows you to post code to an IT community and ask questions for coding advice from other users. Users on this site range from novice coders to the most experienced professionals, so you will be able to get a wide range of feedback on your work. Using training workshops as an opportunity to network with the IT community can be beneficial as well. Through both online and in-person IT events, you are able to expand your skillset and discuss the topic with other IT professionals interested in the subject matter.
You’ll need to optimize your time if you plan to learn a new skill, which is why reading up on the top tech blogs can help. Follow IT focused publications such as Computer Weekly, TechCrunch, and Wired. Subscribe to their newsletters so you’ll always have the latest news and trends in your inbox. If you don’t have the time to sit down and read these articles, tune in to an industry-specific podcast.
As you continue to learn a new technical skill, starting your own side project is a good way to measure your own growth. For example, you could build a website, or a mobile application geared towards something you’re passionate about to make it seem like less of a task, and more of a hobby. For working IT professionals, not only can a side project create a way to build new skills, but it can also serve as an illustration of your strengths during an interview. Many hiring managers specifically look out for candidates who are genuinely passionate about learning and evolving their skills. Employers need to trust that their IT staff members will be able to keep their business up-to-date with advances in technology. As a result, it’s vital to demonstrate your commitment to professional growth. In the end, make sure that you’re learning these new skills not because you have to, but because you want to, as it will take you a long way in mastering them.
The best way to learn a new skill is through implementation. If you can apply your knowledge to an actual project, you’ll become more efficient in your new skillset. Taking on new projects at work or on the side is one of the most straightforward ways to further develop your skills. This is not to say that you should take on the biggest project you can find to impress your supervisor or peers, but instead, find an opportunity to lend a hand in a specific area you’ve been practicing or are interested in learning more about. Keep in mind, choosing to take on additional projects should never take away from your core responsibilities, so make sure you’re able to be as productive for your typical projects.
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