Lifelong Learning

While over the course of a long management career, I have been blessed to work in many industry verticals. Still, the largest period of time was spent managing technical teams which is why the theme of this post is directed to the techies. Nevertheless, these are valuable takeaways and useful concepts for any career.

Some professions actually require a number of continuing education hours be spent and reported each year. Regardless of if you work in a profession requiring continuing education, it is still important to commit to lifelong learning. Success in the business world can depend among other things on staying abreast of current trends and without lifelong learning, it is easy to fall behind.

One of the biggest advantages that those in the workforce today have over past generations is that so much learning is available, and for free. It is not necessary to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on continuing education with so much available out there on the Internet.

Technology is one of the many areas where business moves at lightening speed. Without constant hands on experience and continuing education, skills erode rapidly and become obsolete. While technical education is much more formal today than years ago, even learning in a university or trade school setting can render skills obsolete before graduation without commitment to keeping up with the fast pace of emerging technical trends.

Many of those who I have mentored from universities have even expressed frustration in landing that first job in their field of technical study as they lacked real world job skills despite spending thousands on degrees. As I advised them, and recommend to anyone reading here, those in technical fields need to constantly be exploring and learning just to keep up and the commitment must be strong to put in the extra effort to get ahead in the early phases of a career.

For example, when interviewing candidates for technical positions, I would always probe for how effectively the candidate kept abreast and the level of effort s/he invested in owning his/her career. A favorite topic would be: “Tell me about your home lab and some of the technologies you have tried out recently.” Those who answered that they did not have a home lab quickly wound up the interview as it was clear they were not committed.

In years past, maintaining a technical lab was expensive and we always were looking for used gear on which to practice and experiment. Today, short of a computer with decent memory and drive space, maintaining a lab is virtually free. Virtualization makes it possible to stand up an infinite number of machines running different technologies and many operating systems and applications are available for free or at least have an evaluation version available for short term use. There is absolutely no reason that anyone working in technology today should not have their own at-home lab.

How committed are you to lifelong learning? Do you have a plan for advancing your career as well as maintaining your competitive edge? Our clients have a crystal clear vision for their career and clear goals and objectives to achieve and maintain that vision. Schedule your free career magic coaching session today and join others in achieving the same level of success.