Few industries change as fast as technology and no set of professionals are tasked with keeping up. Creating a personal skills development plan can help you succeed in your industry. No matter what your role may be mastering new technologies is critical to your career development, job security and company’s growth. While you’ll naturally learn new skills on the job by virtue of your tasks.
How to know what skills to develop
A meaningful plan depends on knowing what skill to work on as much as it does gaining that new skill. Figuring out the “right” thing to focus on is wildly relative and may have more than one suitable answer, so two of the best places to start is 1) identifying your own skills gaps and 2) evaluating what the market is looking for.
A simple way to evaluate yourself is to bucket your tangible knowledge into three categories; tools, skills and tasks.
Tools: These are the resources at your disposal to do your job. Tools include programming languages, SaaS platforms, systems and certifications you’re proficient in, like VMware, C++, WordPress, R, Tableau and so on.
Skills: This is how you apply and use your tools. Within a single tool, you may excel at analysis, architecture, data manipulation, troubleshooting, architecture, QA or any number of relevant skills. Consider your tool (be it Google Analytics, Angular, Linux, AWS, Kubernetes or Cloudflare) and ask yourself, “What do I actually know how to do with this?”
Tasks: Tasks cover broader responsibilities at your job. What does your company rely on you for? What are some projects where you played an integral role? Are you expected to regularly do things outside your job description? An example of a task (compared to a skill) would be performing a cloud migration, undertaking a security assessment or building a CI/CD pipeline.
Each of these categories blends into each other. Providing you with a jumping-off point to begin mapping out skill adjacencies and areas for improvement.
Identify personal skills development
Gaining new tech skills just for the sake of gaining new skills can have value, but at work, your manager will want to see how your skill development helps drives toward business needs. A good way to find what to focus on is by simply talking to your manager and asking for open feedback.
Don’t wait to develop your skills, get started today! The fact that you’re reading this article means that you are looking to grow and develop. Capitalize on this, dedicating just 15 minutes a day and you’ll give your skill development journey the momentum boost it needs.
At IT Career Swap we can help you learn, master and then secure your dream career in IT.