The IT workforce is rethinking the way they approach their roles and responsibilities as a result of a constantly evolving industry. As businesses adopt advanced technology, it falls on the IT teams to find new ways to get processes up and running quickly and seamlessly. These are challenging demands to keep up with, even for veteran IT professionals. As a result, many are left with a single question: what’s next? What’s the next technological innovation? What’s the next business challenge?
To keep up with these demands, it’s a great idea to advance your capabilities and career opportunities through professional development programs.
The impact of IT learning
Advanced learning programs open the door to a plethora of opportunities that go beyond just enhancing your technical skills. The latest learning programs, such as online subscriptions or virtual instructor-led training, narrow the gap between existing knowledge and new skill demands to elevate professional growth.
Maintaining a high proficiency level to better handle new technology is paramount to keep up with the latest industry trends. By developing a higher understanding of what it takes to succeed in the industry, you’ll find greater satisfaction in your work and a boost in confidence. In an IDC survey of over 1,000 IT leaders, those with at least one relevant certification had over twice as much professional influence and promotion opportunities. With a more remarkable ability to perform at elevated proficiency levels, IT professionals also gain a competitive edge that enables them to pursue greater roles and take on more challenging and rewarding opportunities.
Most people in today’s IT workforce recognize the need for upskill and reskilling, but many are still unsure as to what specific skill they should be devoting their time to. Before pursuing a new learning path, it’s important to first identify your career goals. Having an idea of what your end goal looks like will make it easier to identify the right learning path and take that first step towards elevating your career in a field as dynamic as IT. There are two main types of learning opportunities to consider: formal and informal training.
A look into formal IT training
Formal training, or systemic training that is delivered intentionally, provides a structured path and greater direction. Additionally, IT is an industry with various niche areas like cloud foundation or network security that require a carefully curated curriculum. As such, IT professionals should pursue formal training to develop the necessary proficiency in desired focus areas. There are a few specific types of formal training that you can consider:
There are a host of people who can deliver a lecture or present topical information. However, subject matter experts who know their field inside and out will be better qualified to lead training programs. Subject matter experts can go beyond training delivery to coach individuals through their training. Further, they offer a realistic perspective on the IT field’s nuances, sharing best practices, techniques, and information that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
Role and software credential programs
Credential programs are a great way for professionals to showcase their advanced proficiency and obtain credible certifications from verified sources that augment their credibility as experts in their respective fields. Professional certification based on specific roles or software goes one step further by enabling professionals to demonstrate they can apply the skills required for their role practically. For instance, earning a certificate on leveraging a new operating system or platform will better prepare individuals to handle tasks that require that knowledge.
Web-based on-demand sessions
Web-based on-demand sessions include subscriptions, webinars, guided virtual labs, and supplementary training resources. Online learning enables professionals to expand their fundamental knowledge in a self-paced learning environment. With various online options to choose from, professionals can customize their professional development plans more efficiently and more cost-effectively than traditional methods. Virtual labs, for example, provide a simulated environment that more closely emulates a real-world environment but provides the learner a safe space to experiment and learn more effectively.
Pursue your passions with informal training
The best IT leaders never stop learning, which is why informal training has become a pivotal component of professional development to supplement what you can learn from formal training. Informal training, or self-directed training that you can direct on your own, is a way to foster a continuous learning culture and sustain steady career growth.
Researching topics online, reading whitepapers, or listening to podcasts, are all components of informal learning. The main benefit of informal, self-led learning is that you can tailor the training to your specific topics of interest. This results in training that is more fulfilling and enables you to pursue areas where you have an avid interest.
Similar to expert-led training, peer mentoring programs, lunch-and-learns, conferences, or online communities facilitate a collaborative environment where professionals can learn from each other. When peers and colleagues drive learning, this prompts new discussions, opening the doors to new ideas and ways of thinking. Collaborative environments are also more engaging, giving way to more intrinsic motivations to pursue new learning opportunities.
Constant change requires constant growth, which is why VMware encourages everyone to join in learning programs to expand their capabilities and accelerate career growth. As the industry continues to innovate, we can expect to see more blended IT professional development programs that address new skill demands and ultimately enhance job performance. Whether it’s the next innovation or the next challenge, you’ll need a learning mindset to advance within this evolving industry. Learn more about our digital training and certification opportunities at VMware Learning and advance your career in IT.