How to Know What Next to Learn
Most people change careers 15 times throughout their life. I don’t mean jobs, I mean career. A developer can change. Each job change has the potential to require different skills. The truth is that some business needs of 10 years ago are now obsolete. So, yes, it’s important for professionals to be able to learn new skills while on the job.
Another problem is that picking something to learn can be very difficult. I find myself struggling to make a decision sometimes because of the array of information out there.
The main fear is that I’ll choose incorrectly and waste a bunch of time, or I’ll learn a skill that will become useless shortly after I get the hang of it. Let me tell you two learning paths you might want to look at, depending on your need.
The structured path is when you know the main goal that you’re trying to achieve, say getting a job as an analyst, then work backwards from there to figure out the skills you’ll need to learn.
The intuitive path is when you choose to learn whatever grabs your interest at the given time. For example, you’ve just bought an electric car and are interested in learning how the whole system in the care works. So you starting learning the process. You might even jump on a free course on any learning platform to get a hold of it.
You can choose one learning path exclusively, or use both at the same time. Either way, remember: learning the new skill is the destination and you should be flexible about how you get there.
If you still don’t know what to learn, here are some ideas on what to learn next.
- Learn a Synergistic Skill – Something related to what you know now.
- Outside the Box – Something totally unrelated to what you know now.
- Ride the Hype Train – What are all your developer friends talking about right now?
- Improve a Strength – Good at something already? Maybe you could be even better.
- Improve a Weakness – Try patching up a hole in your game.
- Relearn a Skill You Think You Know – There is nothing wrong with going over the basics.
- Find an Archimedes’ Lever – Is there one skill you could learn that would make all the other skills you want to learn even easier?
- What Did You Want to Do When You Were 10 Years Old? – Normally this can help you find something that you’re really passionate about.
- Move With the Current – What’s changed in the industry since you’ve entered?
- Climbing the Ladder – Learn something that can advance your career or take your job/company to the next level.
- The Idea Machine – Write down the first 10 things that come to mind. Can’t think of 10… write down 20. Give yourself permission to come up with bad ideas and just pick one.
- Just-in-Time Knowledge – What do you need to know right now?
- Become Unstumpable – What was something someone asked you about recently that you didn’t know the answer to?
- Learn a Soft Skill – Yes analysts need soft skills too.
- Round Two – Try to learn something that you’ve failed to learn in the past.
Source: Simple Programmer