I read an article on Inc.com by J.T. O’Donnell about one skill (I like to call it a trait) that could fast track your career in the next 10 years time. Currently, big companies observe that there is one specific important trait that successful employees have in common. Google and Ernst & Young call it “Learning Animals” skill and put this into criteria in recruiting new hires. People with “Learning Animals” or “Hungry Brains” skill constantly learn about new things. They are proactive in acquiring new knowledge and they have faster professional growth rate.
In a fast pace field like IT, I feel this skill is important to have. In technology, people can not acquire new knowledge today and expect this knowledge will keep them afloat in their career forever. Technology is a dynamic field. There is always new technology being developed everyday which makes the current technology obsolete in maybe three to five years time. That is why the IT certifications expire in three years in average and require you to renew or refresh with new ones. In order for you to be competitive in IT, you need to keep learning. For me, I aim for at least one certification or new skill every year.
There are few methods to upgrade your skills in IT:
1. Take course or certification exam in the field of your interest
This is one of the standard method in upgrading yourself in IT but this may be the most costly method of all.
2. Join the professional community, forum or interest group
3. Take online course in your spare time
Today online courses have emerged into one of the popular method of learning. You can get new knowledge with minimum cost, at your own place and most of the time, at your own pace. Some sites even offer online programs from prestigious school with certificate. What a deal!