As a tech professional, you’ve got unique insight into the complex challenges—and exciting opportunities—presented by the rapid evolution of technology. For better or for worse, it’s your job to quickly understand, internalize, and advance how new tools and technologies work, and then use them to help your organization, team, or customer to be successful.
But let’s be honest, that’s a lot to ask—especially with competing priorities, varying levels of organizational support, and often limited learning tools that may not suit your learning style, level of knowledge, or even be relevant to your role. What’s important to recognize, though, is that you’re not limited to the training opportunities your organization provides, and that leaning into learning can help you save time by becoming more efficient, gain an edge that separates you from the pack, make your job more fulfilling today, advance your career long term, and just plain make cooler stuff than anyone else.
Doing and feeling better at work
Have you ever noticed how much more invested in your work you feel when you have the tools and knowledge needed to perform at your best? Learning not only improves efficiency but also engagement and increased job satisfaction. In fact, in this study by PearsonVUE, 92% of people who earn technical certifications feel more confident in their abilities (and 37% received salary increases).1
Learning new skills (especially through relevant, real-world scenarios and immersive experiences) grants control over your own professional development. You may find novel ways to specialize in your current role, apply new technologies, identify adjacent opportunities that require only simple additions to your existing skillset, or find and consider entirely new paths for yourself. Together, skilling and the feeling of empowerment that comes from it can enable better outcomes that will benefit you throughout your career.
Navigating job growth and transformation
Deepening and diversifying your skillset is one of the most effective ways to fast-track your career growth, and the resources to do so are more accessible than ever. Modern skilling programs often offer a seamless way to develop your abilities while working, enabling you to stay ahead of evolving demands at work and in the industry with much less lift than was possible in the past.
This is critical now because organizations are creating and evolving roles to keep up with innovation and often can’t find people with the skillsets needed to do them. They’ve learned that upskilling their workforces will be key—in fact, The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 found that at 81.2% of surveyed companies, investing in learning and training on the job is the most common workforce strategy that will be adopted to deliver their organization’s business goals in the next five years. 2
This signifies tremendous opportunity for individuals interested in advancing at their current organization (or in differentiating themselves to break into a new career path, or finding a more advanced role at another organization...). As you update and expand your skillset, you’re paving your own path to success by identifying what skills are becoming most in-demand, assessing your competencies, and setting targeted goals to achieve new strengths.
Influencing team outcomes and dynamics
Beyond individual career growth, skilling enhances the quality of your work and team dynamics. Seeking out and learning new skills can help set you apart as an innovator on your team: one who’s got more tools in your toolbox and a leader with the deepest knowledge of the critical technologies. By enabling people to bring innovative ideas to the table, skilling can also foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. After all, highly skilled professionals frequently are catalysts for positive change—they’re thought leaders among their peers, promoting the adoption of new technologies and methodologies within teams, which can be key for organizations navigating uncertainty in their industries—and positions you as a standout member of the team.
By staying at the leading edge of technology, you can demonstrate how new skills can transform your team’s work, positioning yourself as a role model for teammates and a catalyst for change. Sharing your expertise can motivate others to seek new skills, too, nurturing an environment that encourages learning, creative collaboration, and professional development.
Making learning a priority
The most important step in upgrading your technical skills is making the commitment to yourself. Once you’ve made that decision, there are a few more steps you can take to ensure success, including:
Assess your skills—Learn what the market needs, then compare that with what you already know and identify which skills you should focus your energy on.
Set clear goals—Break them down into manageable tasks or topics so you can achieve them.
If you can, get your manager’s buy-in and support—This will make it easier for you to make time in your schedule for learning.
Consider a microlearning approach—Highly focused mini-modules make it easier to work learning into your busy schedule.
Join online communities—The Microsoft Learn community is a great place to start!
If you’re ready to make skilling a priority, a great place to get started is by finding the tools and resources that work best for you. Programs like Microsoft Learn allow you to learn at your own pace and in many different formats (like self-paced learning modules, shows, and games, to name a few) so you can stay engaged with your work, achieve your goals, and advance amid rapid innovation in some of the most exciting and rewarding careers in the world. If you’re interested in learning more about why Microsoft Learn may just be the perfect place to start, check out our blog What’s your learning style? Find your fit with Microsoft Learn. Or, dive right in and browse our learning paths and modules to find resources that can help you strengthen your skills and remain at the forefront of your industry.
1 2023 Value of IT Certification Candidate Report, Pearson VUE
2 The Future of Jobs Report 2023, World Economic Forum