How to Develop Your Technology Skills for Work

If you want to boost your employability in the job market or increase your value to your current employer, one of the most effective ways is to develop your workplace technology skills.

Today’s workplace depends on technology, no matter what the industry. By developing skills utilizing the technology most relevant to your industry, you can access better jobs and higher pay with greater benefits and more opportunities for advancement. Some of the most relevant technology topics you may develop for a job today include the following:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO).
  • eCommerce and social media marketing (SMM).
  • Programming and coding.
  • WordPress, Photoshop and digital publishing.
  • Specific operating systems (like Linux or Unix).

Perhaps the most important tip to remember when developing any new skill, technical or otherwise, is to practice constantly. While you may comprehend a topic initially, if you do not keep it fresh in your mind with frequent practice you are liable to forget it.

Books, Magazines and Websites

Among the first, and easiest, places to start your quest to improve your technology skills for work are libraries and bookstores. Buy or borrow some books on technical topics relevant to your employer, your position and your interests for expanding and advancing your knowledge and skill set. Starting your studies in books allows you to explore different topics until you find the ones you want to explore deeper. Even if you know which technology skills you would like to develop because they are the ones your workplace most obviously requires of you, beginning your studies in books will allow you to build a foundation of knowledge on the subject so you can figure out classes, workshops and practice.

Magazine subscriptions and technology websites are ways to keep the information you are studying fresh and current. While books may give you an in-depth view on a technology topic, including its history and manner of operations, magazines and websites present the latest, cutting-edge developments in those areas. Studying these will keep you ahead of the curve on those topics. Many technical websites offer RSS feeds you can subscribe to, so you are receiving the newest content as soon as it is posted. You can similarly follow particular technical news sources on social media.

Classes and Workshops

When you feel it is time to enroll in one or more classes or workshops, you can search for them in community colleges and both local and online universities. You can also find many independent business and technology schools and training institutes with extensive course offerings, again both online and off. Some programs offer certifications while others simply build your knowledge and make a great resume item.

Tutorials

Online tutorials are sort of a blend between books, classes and websites you can take on a range of technical topics. Online tutorials are self-guided, and you can complete them on your own time, at your own pace, returning to previous lessons if needed. Another advantage of tutorials is they tend to combine reading and practice, study and recall through testing. They are also interactive, unlike books or magazines, to help keep you thoroughly engaged in the topic and experience all the practical applications. You can find tutorials to take on almost any software platform in use today. Many tutorials will not cost you anything to complete. Mainstream colleges are now offering free online courses on a limited basis. Open Culture is a site listing all the colleges offering various courses for free.

Teach

Once you have learned a technical topic well, another way to keep it fresh besides implementing it at work is to become a teacher of the topic yourself. Teach an extension class at a local community college or offer a workshop for other employees at your workplace. Either way, you enhance your expertise on a topic in the process of teaching it to others, becoming more and more of an expert as you find ways to convey the information effectively while also uncovering new aspects of it to convey.

Similarly, you could also share what you learn as you develop your technical skills online by starting a blog or an online forum. The sense of responsibility to keep posting interesting and relevant content may compel you to advance your understanding of the subject even more fervently. The comments and responses from others to your postings help sharpen your thinking and advance your expertise on a topic. Likewise, building a website can help you develop a great number of technical skills at once. At the same time, it can provide you with a practical example for your portfolio of what you can do with your newly acquired technical skills.

Volunteer

When you volunteer to work on projects requiring technical knowledge, you have the opportunity for practical hands-on learning in an area that can only extend your usefulness in the workplace. Volunteering for assignments, especially in areas new to you, can show initiative to employers as well, making them more inclined to call on you again for future tech related tasks.

Network

There are many social and professional clubs, groups and organizations you can join to keep the conversation on particular technical topics going. Networking informally allows you to share knowledge with other people who utilize the same technologies as you, perhaps with different applications and in different industries. One type of environment where you can find both networking and volunteering opportunities in abundance are trade shows and conferences. You can just as easily befriend an individual computer developer or other technical specialist and pick his or her brain at your leisure. Invite a colleague from work on a platonic evening out at your expense with the understanding you would like to talk about his or her technical areas of expertise.

Learn a Foreign Language

One skill helpful for developing any technology skill is foreign language ability. Besides increasing your value to employers in any number of other ways, studying a foreign language may help you to learn technologies even easier, as all technologies are based in programming languages. Attuning the brain to learning a new foreign language primes the same cognitive elements involved in learning any new technology. DuoLingo, BBC languages and Babbel offer free foreign language lessons you can take advantage of. Most of them offer a combination of audio, video, games and a chance to practice online with other students.

nt company. Receiving a certificate in your desired field will help you to remain competitive in the job market should you choose to leave your existing position to find superior openings.

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