Whether you’re in a traditional IT support role or you’re forging new paths in emerging technologies, one thing all IT professionals have in common is that they can’t stand still. Technology is moving faster than ever and you need to keep pace.
Here are five easy ways you can keep your tech knowledge up-to-date and relevant:
1. Learn New Tech Skills
Every IT pro knows they’re working in an industry that requires continuous professional development. Fortunately, the tech world supports ongoing learning so whether you decide to learn a new programming language, pick up a new OS skill or train for a new certification. From webinars and e-learning to classroom-based courses, the big names in tech invest a great deal of money into skills development to keep tech progressing worldwide, which results in a wide range of training and certifications for every discipline in IT.
2. Practice and Play with Personal Projects
There’s no substitute for real-world experience and practical use of your new-found knowledge. If you can’t utilise the latest tech or tools in your day-to-day job, consider taking on some personal projects and play with new languages and applications in your spare time. Whether you’re planning a career move or setting your sights on a promotion, all project experience will give you an edge (and a few good responses to curveball interview questions, too).
3. Read More Quality Content
It’s all too easy to miss out on what’s going on outside of your day job but you risk suffering from out of date knowledge if you don’t step out of your bubble every once in a while. At the very least, you should keep abreast of the latest news in your specialist area although it’s recommended you read around and outside that subject to update yourself on emerging technologies and applications. Whether you’re on the commute or grabbing a sandwich, reading an article or two is a much better use of your time than mindlessly flicking through social media feeds and dog-surfing videos.
4. Connect and Share
If you’re tied to social media, make it a useful pastime by connecting with people in similar professional circles to you. Consider following and joining online groups and media who offer insights and relevant news on your area of tech interest. By sharing information with others in forums, and learning from each other, you’ll be able to see what others in your industry are doing in terms of careers, technological developments and learning – and you’ll build your knowledge whilst you’re at it. And, there’s always the added benefit of hearing about new jobs first on social – it’s often about who you know as well as what you know.
5. Chat in the Real World
With all that e-learning, article-reading, social connecting, forum-commenting, and screen work in your day to day, it pays to get away from your virtual existence and into the real world with others in your industry. There are a host of meetups, co-working setups (great for remote workers and contractors) and events for tech pros around the UK, where you can socialise and catch-up with real people. There’s nothing like a face-to-face chat with someone to inspire you and open your eyes on what’s happening in the tech world.
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