Technology is changing at a rapid speed, unlike any other industry. IT specialists have to put a lot of effort into staying updated, which seems to be close to impossible. How do you keep up when new technologies and solutions emerge every month, if not every day?
IT professionals have outstanding, above-average analytical skills. They know better than anyone that staying up to date with technology advancement and refreshing their knowledge are inseparable elements of this career path. It can be daunting at first, but doable, and we will show you how.
How is the tech industry changing?
We have seen a lot of changes in the technology industry over the past few years. It wasn’t always like that. Before we even came up with the term ‘technology’ all the big changes in the world were happening at a very slow pace – one major invention per century. Every other invention was either a completely new idea or an improvement of the old one.
Things started to gain technological speed with the invention of the Internet – this is when IT discipline emerged and shaped the future we know today. But who would have thought the tech advancement will progress at such a fast pace? In 1971 the first microprocessor was developed and since then its performance has doubled every two years. Today, we are living in a digital age and cannot survive without technology.
It is difficult for ordinary people to follow this constant change, not to mention IT professionals whose lives depend on it. We no longer add a constant factor to it, but rather multiply each year by this constant factor. It is estimated that in 10-20 years we will jump from one unit to the next one that is 1000 times larger.
With this rapid technological progress, three paradoxical effects are taking place. Techniques are not advancing at the same speed causing software technologies to fall into gaps, which further leads to frequent changes of techniques in systems. Therefore, the need for modularity emerged.
Another effect of rapid progress in the tech industry is an incremental development of new solutions. This means innovations are being presented on a daily basis, and there’s no big improvement between the last version and the new one— more minor changes in lesser time.
Finally, every solution will be tested in a digital world, which can sometimes be tricky. One thing is certain though, nothing will ever remain equal as technologies are constantly changing, making it harder and harder for IT professionals to keep up.
Why is technology advancing so fast?
Change is a never-ending process. One advancement will always lead to another one. The technology industry is very specific in terms of constant change as the possibilities are literally limitless.
There are various reasons why the tech industry is changing so fast. A growing number of solutions are switching to the digital world. It started a while ago but is advancing at a rapid speed. Moving away from the physical has become a norm. Online shopping, cloud technology, ebooks, digital money, smart homes you name it. Companies and customers see it as a more convenient option.
Every year brings new technologies, products, solutions. It is hard to keep up, and even harder to decide on the one you want to use or purchase. There is a big competition out there and you cannot rest on your laurels and do nothing. Kick-start strategic thinking and planning.
Ways to Keep Up with the Tech Industry
Tech industry is very specific. People working in this sector say that the only constant thing about their job is a constant change. Knowing how to keep up with the tech industry is essential not only to stay in the business but also to accelerate your career. We have gathered 9 ideas for you to add to your schedule.
1) Read Relevant Publications
We all have heard that CEOs read a lot in order to be the best at what they do. IT specialists should take this advice seriously and subscribe to several trade publications, industry magazines, blogs. They always feature IT-relevant news that every professional may find useful.
This is one of the cheapest ways to be updated on new software, tools, solutions. There are many websites where you can subscribe to gain access to online publications, such as Mercury Magazines or TradePub. All you need to do is fill out a qualification form.
Another way of keeping up with new trends is to read industry blogs. These are more likely to publish relevant information more frequently than magazines, and there are plenty of them available for free, which is highly beneficial if you are a beginner. A good practice is to start with authority blogs from industry giants such as Microsoft, Google or Adobe.
2) Follow IT Professionals on Social Media
Reading online magazines and blogs is one way of keeping up with the tech industry, but looking up to IT mentors and following their strategies and solutions is another one. It is beneficial not only in terms of being updated with new trends but also in terms of networking.
You may also want to follow certain hashtags related to your field and join groups on LinkedIn in order to learn more and meet other specialists. Seeking guidance is always recommended, so do not hesitate to ask questions. You can also refer to forums, FAQ sections, case studies where a variety of topics is covered.
3) Attend Training
With today’s fast-moving technology, attending training and various courses is essential, not to mention such a certificate opens more doors for you. You can choose from free to paid courses available online. The most popular platforms offering training are Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn.
The best and most convenient option is online courses, but do not underestimate training organized at local schools and universities. These can help you build grounds of a certain topic and being physically present means getting to know other professionals.
4) Enable Google Alerts
What can keep you notified on a daily basis better than simple alerts? Google is an extremely useful tool when it comes to notifications, and it is straightforward to set up. All you need to do is log in and search for any IT news. At the bottom of the results page, you will find a message saying ‘Create an email alert for …’.
You then add the type of the results, such as ‘News’, choose how often you want the alerts to be delivered, how many you wish to receive and click the red button to confirm. You can always manage your alerts or add new ones. This useful tool will help you stay updated on current trends, new products, solutions, basically anything you need to know about the IT sector.
5) Attend Conferences and Trade Shows
Trade shows may be one of the best opportunities to learn the latest trends from the tech industry. Such events usually hold a number of IT pros who share their knowledge and discoveries in the form of a speech or a presentation.
Conferences are also great to network with other specialists, ask them questions, discuss various topics, find out how they solve problems, etc. You can find a list of trade shows and conferences online through professional associations. You do not always need to be a member, but being one can offer you discounts, so you should consider it.
6) Get Certified
A lot of IT specialists are against getting certifications as those quickly become outdated, usually within three years. New technologies and products emerge, and your qualifications become irrelevant. Many companies, however, need you to have a certificate as it is a confirmation that you have acquired all the necessary knowledge and mastered your skills.
There is a list of best certificates you should consider getting in 2019. IT support experts from Morgan systems state that “computer viruses, like human viruses, evolve into increasingly sophisticated threats”, therefore a certificate of cybersecurity sounds like a good idea. Other fields you may be interested in are related to cloud computing, virtual storage, and virtualization. Add those to your list and you can be sure your career will accelerate.
7) Listen to Podcasts
If you are not a fan of reading (although you should be as an IT specialist), there are a lot of auditions and podcasts you can listen to in order to learn more from the tech industry. Try Accidental Tech Podcast – it is a website featuring three speakers who talk about IT and trends in a very friendly manner with an element of wit.
8) Watch Relevant videos on YouTube
Similarly to podcasts, watching talks online is a better and more entertaining way of learning new IT solutions than reading a magazine. When you do not have time to attend training and conferences, you should consider watching them online, and YouTube is an excellent source of relevant information. Start with TED Talks and follow other similar videos you will find on the right side of the screen.
9) Get Updates on New Product Releases
One part of an IT specialists’ job is to use the software. You cannot stick to one or two, as new products are being launched every single day. Keep up with the ones you already use and make sure you are notified when the new ones emerge.
Keeping up with the constantly changing tech industry does not have to mean a huge investment. While some ways we mentioned need to be paid for, most of them only require a little of your effort. Use your spare time to plan and schedule this process; it has become a routine. After all, you want to be in this business for a while, so keep learning to be earning.