To Upskill or Not to Upskill

Developers will forever be at the mercy of ever-changing technology; be it hardware, software or firmware. Naturally, this leaves you at a disadvantage if you are unable to keep up. The trick to ensuring continual growth is to see learning and upskilling as an unavoidable part of your job rather than an external or separate aspect of your career. As a developer you are always solving problems, looking for new ways to do things and pushing to write better code, being able to upskill is part of that. If you don’t learn and adapt, you will fade into obscurity.

Want to Upskill But Don’t Know What Code to Learn?

When it comes to programming languages every time you look up from your desk something has changed, there’s a new language and there’s an update. The trick is to make sure you are on the right track. No one wants to waste their time focussing on the wrong areas and learning new software that they are never going to use. Before you decide to deep dive into Piet, Shakespeare or Whitespace do your research and speak to your peers. If you know what skills are in demand you can make an informed decision about the direction of your career. Figure out if it’s worth the effort, what you can do with it and who might require this niche skill set. If you’re just learning LOLCODE for fun, don’t be disappointed when you realise that no one cares or needs it. Find out which skills are critical and in demand especially if you are looking for change4.

When Should You Upskill Yourself?

This is a trick question. Always. You need to actively schedule a time to keep informed about your industry, to go to conferences and share ideas with your peers and colleagues. Any developer worth their salt enjoys the challenge involved in trying something new; not only for the sake of their careers but to satisfy your curiosity. Are you curious about your industry right? There are millions of online resources and online courses which are reasonably priced if not free.

When to Upskill Your Employees?

Another trick question, as often as possible. Just because your department doesn’t have a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning. Where there’s a will; there’s a way. The trick is to tackle upskilling as a team. Where people on the team have knowledge of a particular subject matter that the others don’t possess, they need to be encouraged to share their knowledge. This simple act helps everyone get on the same page, fill in the gaps and improve communication and efficiency.

The Benefits of Upskilling Your Employees

It’s not unusual when you are looking for someone with a very specific skillset; to struggle to find the right fit. This often leaves employers in the unique position where they are forced to upskill their current staff. The truth is that they shouldn’t wait so long that they have to find the exact right person yesterday. Consider instead rewarding your most loyal employees with the opportunity to learn and grow through upskilling themselves. If that’s not an option, upskill a good candidate who is willing and excited to learn more.

The Best Skills to Hone

Regardless of your particular niche, industry or skill set, there are a few skills you want to continually work on and improve. Some of them we are naturally blessed with and others we really need to work on. There’s one important caveat though; if you think you’re really good at everything – you’re probably mistaken. There’s always room for improvement and if you let your ego get in the way you are unlikely to improve yourself and your career. If you don’t want to learn a new coding language, learn how you can be more dependable, solve problems better, communicate better, new programming techniques or improve your productivity,

So now that you know whether to upskill or not to upskill (always choose to upskill), you can start considering which aspects of your career and skillset you want to expand on and improve. Once you have successfully managed to harness the mindset of continually learning, you are one step closer to realising your career goals.

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