If you want to excel in an information technology career, you need to make a career plan or plot a career road map that will take you from your current skill level to a professional, highly skilled or expert level.
You will also need to create a plan for maintaining your skills at the level of
top performers or experts in your field when you get there.
Whatever your current career (business analyst, data analyst, software
developer, report writer, database developer, web designer, etc.), you need to
sharpen your skills using one or more of the following training options:
1. Self Learning
3. On The Job Training
4. Coaching or Mentoring
5. Classroom Training
The best training programs I have found include a combination of two or more of
these training options.
Personally, I have invested a lot of time and money in self learning, online
training, on the job learning and coaching or mentoring. I have also
invested in class room training, but not to the same extent as the other
What is really important, is that you create a definite goal for what
you want to attain and then define the specific training you will use to
achieve those goals.
This is important because without constantly training your skills, you will
begin to lag behind your colleagues.
When that happens, you will find it hard to ace your technical interview or
get hired, you will be passed over for promotions and you will be one
of the most likely to get fired on your team. Your job performance
will also suffer and you will begin to show signs that you lack the
confidence to do your job well.
How to choose the best training program for your career
Here are some tips that will help you choose the best training program for your
Choosing Self Learning or Teach Yourself Programs
Self Learning or teach yourself programs are usually the cheapest programs of
studying. All you have to do is buy a book on the subject or topic you
are interested in learning. For example, there are books on Amazon.com on almost
any subject under the sun. You can also purchase e-books written by subject
matter experts (SMEs) on any skill you want to learn.
The advantage of self study is that it is the cheapest way to learn a topic.
The disadvantage of self-study is that you may still not understand a topic
after reading a book on it. Also, the books you buy may end up collecting dust
on your shelf because it takes a lot more personal discipline or effort to buy a
book and read it.
Choosing Online Training
Online training is usually location independent which means that you can
in theory take an online class from any location in the world as long as you
have a computer and an internet connection.
Online training is also more convenient for working adults who cannot afford to
take out time from work and family commitments to drive to a physical training
Online training is more self-paced and more convenient than classroom training
because you may attend a virtual class at a time (evening, morning, afternoon).
The disadvantage of online training compared to to physical class room training
is that you don't have the physical, intimate bonding experience of being in the
same class with students and course instructors. For some, the lack of physical
proximity with other students and class instructors is intimidating, so they
will not enjoy an online training class.
Choosing On The Job Training
Learning with or mastering "on the job training" is a necessity requirement for
today's information technology careers. This is because no matter how much
online training, or self-studying or class room training you take, you will
always have to learn something new on your job.
For example, you will need to learn the business processes of every company you
work for, on-the-job. Also, it is not practical for your employer to send you to
a class, each time a new software program or technology is installed at your
place of work.
What this really means, is that you need to be adept at learning on the job to
survive in today's fast-paced and highly competitive information technology job
Choosing Coaching or Mentoring
You need to have at least one coach or mentor at every level of your
Your coach should be someone who is more experienced than you and can help guide
you through the challenges you will face on the job.
As you progress in your career, you will be faced with decisions that you
will not be able to find answers for in an online training class or book or
Successful people in every career or discipline can easily name coaches or
mentors who influenced, inspired or guided them to greater success than they
where capable of by themselves.
The question "you should be asking" is not whether you need a mentor, but
"who is best suited to be your mentor"?
Adopting a mentor can be as simple as asking someone who is much higher than you
at work to be your mentor.
You can also read the publications, articles, books and informational products
published by professionals or experts that you recognize in your industry.
Remember that you need a mentor and that you also have complete freedome in how
you go about selecting or choosing a mentor … so choose wisely 🙂
Class Room Training
Class room training is one of the more traditional programs of learning a skill.
The advantage of classroom training is the physical proximity between you and
The disadvantage of classroom training includes the cost of attending it.
Classroom training usually requires more of your time and costs more money.
My advice to you is to constantly sharpen and improve your skills, your career
and your life using two or more affordable and flexible career
training programs. If you do that continuously, you will become one of those
people who succeeds in developing their personal talents and skills in their
career or life.
About The Author
My name is Kingsley Tagbo and I’m a technical expert living in Saint Louis,
Missouri. I write about the training, coaching, mentoring
and personal development of software development professionals including
business analysts, computer programmers, testers, project managers, web
designers, data analysts, report writers, software developers and other
information technology professionals .
My firm, Exacticity, performs software development consulting and training for
clients throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore,
Australia and New Zealand. If you are in need of software development
consultants or training, click here to get in touch with me.