As an IT professional, you know that the nature of technology demands that you continuously upgrade and improve your own skills as well as keep up with industry trends. After all, in the past 10 years alone, enterprise IT has drastically evolved away from on-premise, hardware-based systems and toward cloud computing and software virtualization. If you entered IT in the early 2000s, you have likely encountered a slew of new technologies lately, with big data, software-defined environments and enterprise mobility now holding the attention of business leaders around the globe.
In this sector, skills improvement is often referred to as professional development, because without acquiring new talents and learning about innovative technologies, it is unlikely for individuals to move up in their organizations. While training and skills development certainly aren’t new concepts, the number of IT professionals currently engaging in online tutorials and industry research as well as attending highly structured classes is enough to convince anyone in this sector to do the same.
Everyone is doing it
A report from Global Knowledge found that 77 percent of IT professionals – excluding decision-makers – participated in tech training in 201. In particular, cybersecurity staffers are paving the way in skill development, as 90 percent of those individuals developed their talents via in-person classes and online sources.
According to the source, these IT professionals understand the benefits of acquiring new talents, indicating that the skills they acquire will be valuable assets when looking for future positions. However, the reasons for developing professionally extend far beyond the idea of higher pay and a new role. Global Knowledge noted that many IT professionals engaged in training and research in order to deliver better results in their current positions, while personal accomplishment and improved confidence topped the list of “perceived benefits of professional development.” Some IT employees even reported that learning new skills and talents in their sector can increase their sense of job security, an especially important factor to note when considering the competitive nature of IT hiring.
Improving your skills
It is clear that you’ll need to develop professionally in order to succeed and reach new positions in the IT industry. Here are three tips to improve your tech skills:
“85% of IT pros use the Internet as a resource for talent development.”
Research: According to Global Knowledge, 85 percent of IT staff members use the Internet as a resource for talent development. The simple fact is that Google might prove powerful when searching for a specific answer, but you will need to do more than just find a single answer. Consider following tech leaders on social media, reading blogs – like Tom’s IT Pro – or even contributing to a blog or website. This will allow you to keep up with trending topics before they hit the mainstream.
- Online courses: If you would rather learn about a single topic or even multiple ones in a structured environment, online courses might be for you. Some popular sources for coursework include CompTIA, Coursera and Microsoft Virtual Academy, and Entrepreneur recommended checking out Udemy.
- Find a mentor: Information Age reported that because IT professionals often fall into a niche earlier in life, this means that after graduating, that sector or job could be no longer existent, or, better yet, a more interesting role could appear. Therefore, it is valuable to find a role model or mentor who can help guide you to your desired position or industry. Never forget the value of another person’s experiences.
Improving your tech skills does not need to be a challenge. Instead, you can embrace coursework or research and develop new talents and passions for other technologies and systems. This only makes you more valuable to employers, as you become more than a one trick pony.