Parents and friends often ask “What do you learn when you are in school for computer science”. I figured out early in school that my degree was less about Java and discreet mathematics, and more about the ability to pick up new skills and apply them quickly. My response to this question became “well, its mostly about learning how to learn”. I felt so clever for figuring this out, until I began working that is. I have had the good fortune to be surrounded by great colleagues since the beginning of my career, but all of them already knew my clever revelation. To get ahead in todays world, gaining new knowledge and using it quickly and effectively has to be second nature.
The world and how we work is changing rapidly today. Automation is replacing many jobs. New tools and technologies are being created on a weekly basis, making old ways of doing things obsolete. And when I say ‘old ways’ I don’t mean how Grandpa used to do it, or even Dad. Today, the world is changing so quickly, a tool or technology you used on a project just two years prior might be completely replaced by something shiny and new. So, we have to adapt; we have to learn how to learn new things quickly. This doesn’t just apply to the industries around information technology either.
As the world gets smaller and more connected, competition grows right along side the technology. What I want to share today are some tools that you can use to make sure you are making your way to the top of that competition, and staying there even as the world changes around you. I reached out to some co-workers here at Asponte to see what tools they use to keep up-to-date and here are some of their answers.
Mike Griffin, Bryant Poole, and Nick Bomleny mentioned the following three sites; Lynda.com, Khan Academy, and Coursera. These sites (and many more like them) are part of a somewhat recent trend of providing free and low-cost courses and/or tutoring online. The great thing about these types of sites is that they can be used by anyone for almost any topic. Mike is our COO, Bryant is one of our developers, and Nick is in sales and marketing, yet they all mentioned the same types of tools.
Philip Cheshire, our Innovation and Mobile practice leader, reads the news. That might sound overly simple, but too many people don’t pay any attention to what is going on in the world around them. By finding the correct news to follow, you can stay current on what is happening in your field. Sites like wired or cnet news are great sources of current events in technology.
For those with a more official goal for their continuing education, such as certifications or new degrees, Ryan Mullett recommends flash cards with a splash of todays technology. While studying for IBM certifications, he is using an application called Anki in his studying. It allows you to create flash cards on your phone or computer, and syncs the cards across both. It even has the ability to control how often you see particular flash cards so you can focus on important topics more heavily.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of tools, and we are far from having fully explored the area of continuing education in today’s workplace. Do you have anything to add? Reach out to us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AsponteInc/) or twitter (@Asponte) to share your favorite tools and resources.