CAREER ADVANCEMENT / NOV. 04, 2014
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How to Freshen Up Your Skills and Learn New Ones

It’s never enough to simply obtain a new skill and throw it on your resume. You have to keep it fresh. You need to keep it sharp. This is especially true for skills related to technology and software, as things change so quickly, but it’s a good rule of thumb for any skill in your toolbelt.

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, or simply want a refresher for something you already know, there are lots of options available. Simply pick one and go.

Your Local Library or Community Centre

Libraries and community centres often offer a wide range of free or very low cost classes. Everything from writing to research, basic computer skills to advanced programming, flower arrangement to scrapbooking, and all kinds of languages. Visit your local hub, or find their website to see what they have coming up in the near future.

You could also post on the community bulletin board looking for a tutor in a particular subject, or offering a “language exchange” (you help someone with their English, and they help you in whatever language you’re looking to learn or improve).

And while you’re at the library, check out their books (remember those?). You can find some amazing manuals and self-taught courses for almost any tech skill you can imagine. Likewise at the book store. The “[Blank] for Dummies” series is a good introduction to most things. Check it out or buy it for whatever skill you want to learn or improve. They are basic, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Online Portals

Both Lynda (paid membership starting at $25/month) and Alison (free) provide dozens of online tutorials and videos that teach a variety of skills. And there are others. You can look for specific topics and industries by googling “online courses/training [subject or skill you want]”.

Code Academy, for example, is a free and highly regarded portal for learning the basics of coding.

The internet allows virtually anyone, living virtually anywhere (with a reliable Wi-Fi signal, of course), to learn virtually anything. It’s a magical world.

Straight From the Source

The largest and most dominant tech forces out there all provide free or low cost training and certification programs for their products and services.

Professional Development

Your employer recognizes the value of ongoing learning, and most include a yearly budget, allowance, or allotment for each employee to further or refine their skill set. Talk to your manager, supervisor, or HR department.

Online Universities

If you’re looking to get an actual degree or certificate, you should look into an online university like the Canadian Virtual University, University or Phoenix, or Walden University, among many others. Most universities and colleges offer at least some courses - if not entire programs - online. More expensive and a much bigger time commitment, but you end up with an actual degree, diploma, or certificate at the end of it.  

There is no more nobler pursuit than that of knowledge, so keep at it. You’re never too old to learn or sharpen a skill. And in the modern world, you can do it in some many ways and on so many channels that you have no excuse not to take advantage. Sharpen. Learn. Advance.

Photo Credit: http://www.vingle.net

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