Maintaining Skill Momentum

Whatever profession you are a part of it requires some set of skills in order to accomplish. The skill is useful, or at least someone thinks it’s valuable enough to pay you to perform it. At the beginning of your career you are learning many new things every day. Your new job/project constantly pushes the boundaries of your experience. As time progresses and you become able to perform your job with less assistance from mentors and co-workers. The great initial momentum at which you learn new skills and refine existing ones begins to peter out. This is not guaranteed to happen, but it gets harder to find time to really focus on improving your craft. It’s something I’ve found myself struggling with this past year.

In the technology industry this is more important than most. If the is organization you work for is smart they’ll invest some time & money into skill development of their employees. Maybe it’s bringing in consultants to give training, lunch & learn sessions or sending employees to attend conferences. All of those are awesome! …but usually they are not enough by themselves, things are just changing too rapidly. Even if the tools & processes you work with are not shifting as fast as other areas of the industry, there is almost always something you could do to hone your skill.

For starters, I think it’s most important to do this at a sustainable pace. Doing something (even if it’s tiny) to learn more is always better than nothing. Also, much it’s easier to find time and energy to undertake little exercises than it is to try and attempt something larger and more intensive. Here are some different bit-sized things you can try to help get you back on track with personal skill development.

These are just a few suggestions I am attempting to practice with greater regularity. Listening to a podcast during breakfast or during your commute. Reading an informative blog post while you are blocked and waiting for feedback from a co-worker. Attending a meetup some evening you are free… Individually they don’t take much time but their cumulative effect over a month, a year can add up to a lot more than you would expect.

© 2013 Lupine Software Development