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The importance of continuous learning and how to avoid the risk of getting left behind…

Posted in General News on 10th November 2021

Do you know you can improve intelligence, ability and performance by using all opportunities to learn? Who needs a master’s degree, when you can continuously learn?

The growth of New Tech is now enabling us to explore lifelong learning further. Workers can continuously upskill, simply by adjusting to modern software developments.

How do we define continuous learning?

Continuous learning is simply the process of learning new skills and knowledge on an on-going basis. Its 2021 and we can continuously learn in many different aspects… within an organisation or even personally, such as a lifelong learning. With the Tech world rapidly evolving, it is important for workers to be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

Continuous learning is merely the art of reinventing yourself numerous times and discovering immense amounts of value within yourself repeatedly.

According to Bersin, education is just one out of the 4 ‘E’ words to enable continuous learning. The other three comprise experience, environment and exposure as equally as important. Lifelong learning is a habit that begins in school. In order to nurture this idea, metacognition – the ability of learning how to learn – will need to be implemented in compulsory education.

Graph describing Bersin 4 E's of learning. 
Education, experience, environment and exposure are all contributors.
Bersin’ 4 E’s of learning

“Give a man a fish and they will eat for the day. Teach a man how to fish and you will feed them for a lifetime”

With recent adaptive learning technology and the bright future of the digital world, it is vitally important we continue to learn further in the Tech industry. Artificial intelligence is a significantly important aspect of continuous learning in Tech. We can constantly evaluate the learner’s progress towards premediated targets and AI can assist filling gaps in knowledge by adjusting learning content in real time. Artificial Intelligence allows machine learning models to make assumptions, test them, and to learn autonomously.

Continuous learning strengthens Soft Skills

Tech professionals who persist in upskilling their knowledge and abilities will allow themselves to append their value within the industry and employment. Online learning encourages professionals to manufacture their soft skills as well as developing teamwork skills. For example, the ability to ask questions without internally struggling. It is extremely beneficial to utilise resources and maximize what you’re learning in Tech, in as much depth as possible. We are seeing business targets fluctuate and change each week. Nevertheless, it is as important to understand your specialty and focus on the maximization of those skills, showcasing your potential and lighting that fire within you. Many Tech professionals would say they have learnt excessively and exceeded their horizons by challenging themselves in real life situations.

Emerging trends of disruptive tech seem to be emanating directly from within the workforce which is forcing employers to upskill their workers on a large scale in order to stay relevant. Traditional training can now be deemed ineffective while catering to a diverse workforce.

Within the past few years there has been a huge drive of workers adopting a growth mindset; the belief you can improve intelligence by taking all chances to learn something. Workers who adopt a learning mindset, are seen to be benefitting further with online training methods contrasting to traditional classroom training. Modern tech is very important for online training schemes to be implemented in workplaces. Modern Technology allows the creation of tools which specialise in assessing employees social and soft skills, which encourages feedback, future leaders and most importantly self-confidence. (You can read more on the HV dive post with Jeremy Auger).

Equally as important, continuous learning is a principle for efficient reports and analytics. They can utilise the data to create a personalised and effective learning journey for each learner.

Why is Continuous learning necessary for growth?

The universal demand for upskilling the workforce is only going to grow as businesses create software that allows them to focus on the bigger picture. If businesses are efficiently adopting new technologies, they will need to have adaptable workers who are continuously upskilling. Therefore, creating a continuous learning culture is a quintessential trait in the make up of any successful technology outfit.

Social media stimulates the importance of competition. Tech businesses as a whole want to promote and celebrate their advancements within their specialties. This enforces competition as most other tech companies will all be trying to evolve. Social media is a breeding ground for ‘humble bragging’. The way social media has influenced peoples / companies’ behaviors has instilled this natural competitiveness – take SpaceX versus Blue Origin.

Within the social media craze generation, the technology era, we are continually witnessing changes in trends, software and consumer expectations. Take Javascript for example in the last fifteen years there has been over twenty-five new frameworks and libraries, if this is just one programming language then what will it be like for the others? If software developers couldn’t continuously learn individually and at work, then naturally their skills would become outdated and obsolete.

Relating back to machine learning all developers should be able to receive an external stimulus, like an update or new programming tool. With this they should be able to learn how to utilise and implement it in their day-to-day responsibilities. Since software development is a rapidly changing industry, investing in a business continuous learning culture will allow developers to overcome new challenges and to fill knowledge gaps. Failure to stay up to date with Industry trends and modern tech skills, can leave you behind. Continuous studying allows developers to improve their problem-solving skills. Ultimately continue learning has encouraged developers to become innovators for modern problems and to create new perspectives of what they already know.

Statistics say 87% of companies report skill gaps now or in near future.
74% of CEO's are concerned about the availability of key skills.
83% of HR professionals had difficulty recruiting suitable job candidates.
Skill shortage statistics

What devices can we use to continuously learn online?

As a developer there are plenty convenient, cost-effective and timely methods to use in order to upskill yourself. Developers may be highly qualified in JavaScript and other programs but lack experience of computer Network and online security. By enrolling into a free online courses, developers can efficiently acquire new skills they currently lack. Most courses tend to be short-term and can ensure skills are current and marketable in the industry. Many online courses are interactive and offer relevant, thorough information such as the Future Learn online IT / computer sciences courses. You can find relevant tech courses at alison.com, they have a course in Computer Networking and Digital Network Security.

Training pace and the schedules of an online course can be managed accordingly to an individual’s preference, as well as being a convenient and accessible method of learning. A problem developers may experience within the industry is feelings of isolation and imposter syndrome. These attributes can make an individual feel invaluable and unappreciated. Attending online webinars and virtual events is a great mechanism to upskill yourself by learning from experts and contributing to interactive activities alongside industry professionals.  If you are feeling isolated and appreciate discussions and seminars, then I would recommend checking out https://www.gartner.co.uk/en/information-technology/events/webinars . They host a wide range of interactive webinars to join in with.

There are plenty of free online resources, such as YouTube, future learn and podcasts which will broaden your skill sets. The Growth Tribe on YouTube post engaging content, to learn new digital skills and it is a great platform to follow if you are a visual learner. Continuous learning in tech requires a specific time commitment and a specific type of mind engagement. It is very important but can be over consuming and mentally draining. If you find yourself at a creative block, when it comes to adapting new ideas then tune into https://www.thecloudcast.net/ ‘Embrace your inner maker’. This podcast may fuel your inner innovator. People have preferences when it comes to learning and a preferred learning technique by many is listening to Podcasts whilst walking or commuting. https://dailytechnewsshow.com/ are a digital podcasts platform that provide both informative and entertaining content.

A life cycle graph showing continuous learning will breed loyalty and productivity and empowering your workforce will motivate and engage. You'll be able to build a sense of community and build your culture.
Benefits of continuous learning

As a developer who is planning to upskill it is important to first recognize the gaps in your knowledge and skills, so you can target your objectives for learning. Once skill gaps are identified it is easier to find the methods which will be most beneficial for yourself to upskill as a developer.

Ultimately, learning continuously in tech will make a significant extension to skill sets and capabilities. Online resources are a efficient and cost-effective way to continue upskilling your tech skills in the accelerated society we live in. The best way to advance your career is to never stop learning. Especially if you intend to remain relevant within tech. Additionally mastering your soft skills will boost employment, by becoming a flexible and self-initiative worker.

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