Information and communications technology and its related skills are growing in demand quite constantly and will continue to be so in the times to come. Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, programming languages, data sciences, and cybersecurity are some fields where relevant professionals are actively required by companies globally.
So, how do you hone various tech skills for a more prudent approach toward upskilling in this extremely competitive market? Here are a few tips that can help:
- Start by educating yourself
Acquiring new knowledge needs to be a continuous process. As time passes, new facts and theories come to light. At the same time, there are new fields of study that open up. This is especially true for technology because it enables the world to change rapidly. Even up until last year, several technologies like ChatGPT, for instance, weren’t in common use. Today though, it is.
Therefore, in order to start honing any tech skill, it is important to start learning about it. You can enroll in a data science degree or get a digital transformation certification. Find what suits your requirements best and start brushing up on your knowledge about the field. Once you have the basics right, you can figure out the next steps in the process.
- Take your time instead of rushing through it
No matter which tech skill you are trying to master, you have to give it ample time. Many people make the mistake of assuming that attending a bootcamp or a few weeks of training can make them competent. However, that is not the case. Without a strong foundation and extensive experience in applying a certain skill, you won’t gain the proficiency the professional world requires.
Therefore, giving yourself plenty of time to fully learn any skill is advisable. Before jumping into practice from the educational stage, ensure you fully comprehend any unfamiliar words or ideas. Try not to rush through it. People occasionally pay more attention to topics they are well acquainted with and skim over those they are not.
If you are looking to master a skill, this is not advisable. Instead, continue learning about and analyzing the same problem until you believe you understand it. Schedule a meeting with a coworker or friend to discuss the issue if you’ve gone through relevant resources but are still having trouble. You will also be able to communicate more effectively as a result of this, which is a key component of finding an effective solution. Also, remember that gaining knowledge is not a sprint; it is a marathon.
- The best learning happens through practice
There is a growing trend amongst young people to focus on experiential learning. This is exactly what it takes to master any skill and is also the reason why many universities are focusing on this aspect to teach their new students. Studying fresh concepts, ideas, and successful implementations is beneficial, but unless a person gets to practice the skill themselves, they will never be able to grasp what it entails.
For instance, if you are learning about a certain programming language, you can come to believe you know everything about it. However, once you begin writing the code, a lot of issues can spring up. One approach that can help is to find a certain bug and start by fixing it. You can start with a simple issue and then work your way up to more complex problems. This method gives you a strong starting point to upskill yourself.
Fixing the issue will help you remember the information, and delving further into and reaching the source of a challenge can be quite meaningful. When you’re having trouble with a project and hunting for solutions online, avoid copying and pasting other people’s work verbatim without first having a look at it.
Make sure you comprehend their strategies and what they changed to achieve success. Then, put the same concept into practice using various techniques to determine which is most effective for you. With this, you not only develop one thought process for each problem, but you also choose the optimal solution and take ownership of it.
- Set goals for yourself
This one works for almost anything that you want to achieve in life. However, when talking about mastering tech skills, it is even more imperative. If you aim to hone your capabilities in a certain field, it won’t help if you just list your goal as “become a master coder by the end of the year”. That is an extremely broad and vague goal that will only leave you more confused rather than focused. Instead, try breaking down the bigger goal into smaller milestones.
Whenever you are setting goals, make sure you follow the SMART principle. This means you must ensure that every goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. At the same time, for instance, with programming, set goals like creating a learning curriculum, setting daily and weekly practice schedules, starting building a basic website for yourself, etc. Each of these milestones can be a different goal with further breakdowns if you feel that is more feasible.
Going too fast is always the cause of burnout and frustration. A lot of people lose all of their motivation to hone their tech skills because they drain their energies in the initial phase. On the contrary, if you set smaller, more realistic goals, you can go longer and further. Be sure to also give yourself breathing room because that is more important than anything else.
The secret to mastering almost any tech skill is to get the process right. It is not about blindly jumping into the rat race but more about being careful, performing adequate research, and then implementing your findings in a way that they can yield the best results possible.