Staying relevant in a sea of constant change is a challenge that as an IT professional I face every day. The technology industry is constantly evolving and changing around me and requires that I keep my skills evergreen and my mind open. If I don’t, I may find myself without a chair when the music stops playing.
I am starting a new mini-series of blog posts where I will share my story of how I keep my skills sharp both technical and non-technical. The habits I have developed over my career, the resources I use, the “insider baseball” if you will of how I ensure I continue to invest in my career and how the return on those investments pay off. I hope that by reading this you will feel inspired with new and fresh ideas of how you can keep your skills sharp. Yes, training and readiness to improve your skills is an investment just like a retirement account or a savings account – and you’ll need it someday.
In this first post, I’d like to share with you a resource that I follow frequently from Microsoft called Modern Workplace. This is a monthly video series professionally produced by Microsoft that helps to keep me up to date on new technology and business innovation. The episodes consist of interviews with thought leaders from around the industry that share insights and overall, useful information that I can reuse every day in my job. Also, this series includes free ebooks and whitepapers where you can continue the learning through in-depth material. What’s impressive is that it’s been nominated for four regional Emmy awards!
How I use this resource:
Each episode offers very interesting perspectives and content and last about 30 minutes or so with topics ranging from GDPR to Cyber Intelligence to Data Defense and even tours of a Microsoft data center. I enjoy the broad range of topics as it enables me to exercise my growth mindset and learn something new. One of the new things I learn from this are the industry trends which I take back and incorporate into my daily conversations with peers and into my work. There’s even a community where you can discuss with others.
I’ll typically take notes in a OneNote notebook of each episode. You may wonder why do this? For me, this helps to retain the information and enables me to focus without distraction (typically on a Saturday morning or late at night) I also enjoy looking up previous notes as time goes on when I want to reference something. What’s interesting is that I find myself constantly referencing these notes in my daily job and applying what I learned from these videos all the time.
My other secret weapon is that I really enjoy podcasts, and being able to download episodes of Modern Workplace as a podcast to my smartphone makes life easier (see details on the website). If I am feeling restless, sometimes instead of watching the video I’ll listen to the podcast while working out or walking the dog. Sure I can’t take notes, but I’ll usually go back and watch the video again anyway.
There’s a lot of content to consume with this resource. When you register you’ll receive an email notification when new episodes are made available. In the mean time while you’re waiting for a new episode to be published, here’s a list of episodes I highly recommend watching. I recommend them because again, I find myself using this content almost every day when I speak with customers, partners, other IT professionals and even family and friends about technology and the impact it has on our lives.
I’m curious, what are resources you use to keep your skills up to date? Do you watch Modern Workplace, and if so what are your thoughts?