5 Ways to Fit IT Training Into Your Busy Work Schedule
Today’s workforce is driven by technology, yet one in four U.S. workers feel they lack the skills required to perform their jobs, and significantly more feel like they’re unable to use new solutions that their companies are implementing[i]. As more industries become dependent on technology, the skills gap continues to widen. Seventy-eight percent of business leaders are concerned about whether or not their IT talent will require upskilling, and seventy-six percent are worried about recruiting the IT staff needed to remain competitive[ii].
The key to closing the IT skills gap is continuous learning. When you dedicate time to training, you can do your job with greater confidence, enhance your resume and help your company adopt new technology. And with new training platforms and delivery modalities, it’s easier than ever to find training that suits your learning needs.
Fitting training into your work week when you’re faced with responsibilities and deadlines can be tough, but it’s well worth the effort. With the following five practices in mind, you can fit training into your work schedule to future-proof your career and become a technology champion for your company.
Take Advantage of Flexible Training Options
Training used to require traveling out of town and taking several days or weeks out of your work time. While in-person classroom training still provides many benefits, you don’t have to travel to get a “classroom-level” training experience.
Thankfully, there are a variety of options that fit into nearly any work schedule. Self-paced courses can be taken a little at a time as your schedule allows, and virtual training enables you to attend instructor-led classes without leaving your desk. Modern training formats provide a wide array of executive overview and in-depth technical training, including single courses and complete certification tracks.
Make IT Training a Habit
Just like an exercise routine or a healthy diet, training can become an integral, regular part of your life with some dedication and repetition. Start small by setting aside one or two hours per week that you devote to training. Choose a topic that interests you (and benefits your company), and get started with online, self-paced courses.
If you’re already trying this, or find that you have difficulty keeping your self-scheduled training hours, try reserving a small conference room or take your laptop to an area away from your desk. Mark that time as “unavailable” on your calendar, and, of course, make sure to discuss your training goals and plans with your manager so you’re both on the same page with your training schedule.
Additionally, don’t forget to keep track of the courses you complete so you can highlight these accomplishments in your annual reviews. You’ll also want to update your resume and professional networking profiles with new proficiencies and certifications. Before you know it, you’ll form a new habit of training and gain impactful skills you can use every day.
Find Out What Your Company Offers
Business leaders know that investing in their staff leads to a greater competitive advantage[iii]. Most technology companies and IT departments have professional development programs in place, but often, due to hectic schedules and deadlines, those benefits go unused.
Whether you’re entitled to training hours, tuition reimbursement, certification support or time to attend industry trade shows and conferences, you should take advantage of all the training opportunities you can. In-person and online learning allows you to explore topics in great depth, and earning industry certifications can increase your chances for a promotion or pay raise.
Time Your Training Well
No matter what your day-to-day job entails, your company has a technology roadmap that will impact your future there. Requesting training at the right time requires you to stay engaged with the goals of the company. You want to get the training you need before those skills are required to do your job. However, at the same time, you don’t want to get trained too far ahead of a strategic effort that you forget what you’ve learned when those skills become necessary.
By keeping track of your company’s technology strategy, you can request training ahead of changes. You’ll show both initiative and dedication to the company by keeping yourself current, and you might even have the chance to make significant impacts on the business and demonstrate your commitment to your company’s longevity.
Make a Case for the Future
Many companies focus on capabilities training, allowing you to learn what you need to do your job, right now, just as it is. In some cases, a chosen few employees may be sent to learn new technologies in support of a strategic direction. If you’re not one of those few, and you’re finding it difficult to convince leadership to let you take the time to get training, you’ll want to show them how continual learning turns workers into innovators. Make a case for training by demonstrating to your leadership team how disruptive technologies can be embraced and used to their fullest potential when the workforce understands those tools.
As you expand your knowledge and skillset, bring new ideas back to your organization and continue to demonstrate the value of your learning. Be sure to share what you have learned and get others excited. Continue to stretch your depth of knowledge into new and emerging areas, and encourage others to do the same. Fueled by a culture of learning, your company will achieve greater employee satisfaction and competitiveness in the market, and you’ll expand your skillset and develop your career while working for a company that supports your goals and ambitions.
Staying current — and getting ahead — in a technology-fueled job requires access to training that enables you to use today’s leading IT technologies and prepares you for the future. So why not find a way to fit training into your busy work schedule, skill up for the fourth industrial revolution and succeed today?
Get started on the path to achieving your full potential in IT and becoming a key enabler of your company’s business strategy by taking courses, anywhere, at any time, with ExitCertified.
[i] Docebo, “2019 Tech Skills Report,” https://www-cdn.docebo.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Tech-Skills-Survey-Results_-USUK.pdf?x84766
[ii] Information Week, “Continuous Learning the Key to IT Skills Gap,” https://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/team-building-and-staffing/continuous-learning-the-key-to-it-skills-gap/a/d-id/1335070
[iii] Forbes, “How Corporate Learning Drives Competitive Advantage,” https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2013/03/20/how-corporate-learning-drives-competitive-advantage/#4e700fbb17ad