What did you learn in 2016 ?
If the answer to this question is not very clear, then you might take some time and set up a learning plan for 2017. Why ? Here are the 5 main reasons you should consider :
1 - Learn & earn (big)
What you know is what you get, basically.
When it comes to salary, it really depends on what you can bring to your company, how fast the job can be done, and the overall quality of your service. You can charge more because you know better, so taking time to improve your knowledge is certainly a good bet at the end ! And the best part is, it does not cost you crazy fees. MOOC are everywhere, even the best universities in the world are spreading their knowledge. Learning has never been easier.
2 - Expiration date
We often hear that our computers, phones, and all electrical devices are programmed to only last a certain amount of time. Then, new computers, new phones with better performances pop up and replace the old equipment. Well, to me, stop learning, and you give yourself an expiration date. Who wants to do that ?
Now, you may think that you just graduated, and that you feel "up-to-date". It can be true, but keep in mind that they are always new comers with fresh knowledge. You need to boost your unique experience with some tangible skills. Is it Photoshop you want to master ? Or Excel (I don't judge)..anything so that you can stay a step ahead.
3 - Think out of "your company" - think for yourself
Too many of us rely on their company's training program as the only source of training. Most of time, what you will learn will depend on your company's interests, not yours.
So you will be taught how to use this specific tool they are using, so you meet THEIR needs. This is always useful, but only in THIS particular company. Linking your knowledge to your company is a very dangerous bet that won't give you much power of negotiation or power of mobility.
Think about the factory workers that were just fine the time their knowledge was valuable. They got obsolete and could not move on to the new technology.
So in my opinion, always look around and think about yourself as part of something bigger.
4 - Creativity Booster
I really see the learning process as the necessary tool to "see" forward. Play the "What if"! What if this was working the other round ? Or what if we were doing things differently ? What can be improved? Tech is the backend of almost anything we use today. When we start to play around with the backend, we are basically allowing ourself to think differently because we know how the engine works, the goods and the bads. Always try to know better will give you a critical and creative eye.
5 - The more you learn, the better you learn
Become a Serial Learner. If you go to the gym once, it will certainly hurts. You take time to find the machine you want to practice on, you think about every single move you make, and to feel better, you look around to find someone else who suffers more than you do. That is an absolutely exhausting process.
Learning is the same. Being able to analyse what is useful, what is nice to know, and what is absolutely a waste of time, requires some kind of habits. There are new programming languages, frameworks, libraries almost every day. Does it mean you need to stop everything to learn something new?
You should practice your learning skills, so you learn better and you learn faster.
Never stop learning ! Don't wait for any manager's approval ! We all know that professional trainings through your company can be difficult to obtain. Then what, you stop learning for a year or two because you don't get along with your boss, or because the company does not need this new skill ? There is no way you let your brain in someone's else hands. Go online, register to the thousands of online courses available on thousands of subjects, attend meetups and intensive workshops (like ElleCode), and start the journey !
Can't wait to know what is your learning plan for 2017 ! Leave a comment, I will be very happy to read your messages !