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The Power Of Continuous Learning At Any Pace

By Janelle Poisel  |  May 13, 2020  |   Career   |  
At A Cloud Guru, we know our learners choose our training courses and labs for many unique reasons. Some learners are preparing for a specific certification while others are striving to become a specialist in a specific role or level up within their organization. But no matter where your ambitions lead you, continuous learning through subjects and formats that engage and intrigue you is the key to honing your craft.
 

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Seize Your Moment

Whether it's a meeting with the leadership team or a general discussion about an ongoing project, every interaction represents an opportunity to display your knowledge. Now, this doesn't mean attempting to "teach the class" on a subject you don't understand. However, when you're surrounded by other professionals it's an important chance for you to provide thoughtful contributions that make you stand out. 

For moments when you’re short on time and need to boost your verbiage or find reinforcement for talking points before an important presentation, a quick mental cram-session can help. Search for a cloud provider or specific concept and utilize the course agenda to pinpoint an area and grab immediate knowledge. Learners can use this method to build flashcards or create mental connections between what they’ve learned to apply them to daily situations. Especially for learners like Chris Williams that have built a career helping clients in real-time, being able to pick and choose what you need when you need it is a vital skill. 

"You can just "drop-in" on courses as needed. For example, let's say you just need a certain piece on Lambda. You can jump into that class, scroll through the table of contents, and grab that knowledge to go use it immediately."

-Chris Williams, Multi-cloud Consultant

For Chris, finding a subject or concept that he’s not familiar with and then immediately applying that concept is a rewarding learning style. Add he’s not alone in preferring this grab-and-go method for rapid knowledge absorption. This style works for lots of learners in fast-paced roles that demand fast facts. 

Continued Learning, Continued Success

Now, if you’re studying something more extensive or tackling a larger, lengthier course, we recommend trying segmented sessions of learning. Not only do they make sense logistically but they're also scientifically-proven to accelerate your retention of material. We've already covered this concept in a previous blog, but the main takeaway is simply to break up learning into pieces to better understand it as a whole. So, while you might be grabbing a fact for today or training on topics that relate to certification, you're better off doing so in segments to promote long-term retention. Because you never know, what you study today may be the key to your success tomorrow.  

Lead Software Engineer, Jenn Bergstrom is a perfect example of what's possible with continuous learning. She was able to support a large transformation at her organization simply because she prioritized learning new things, consistently. 

"I got the AWS Certified Big Data - Specialty Certification using Big Data Training. I did that before I was doing any machine learning, any artificial intelligence work for my company. But because I studied consistently, and got that certification, now I've been pulled onto the expert board in our company to help them design some of their latest data lakes and data analytics systems."

The options for advancement become limitless when you continually prioritize new skills, no matter how large or small the time you have available. Schedules change. Priorities shift. But your goals will linger; nagging at the back of your brain like the month-old open tab on your computer.

You really should do something about that tab.

Train For A Moment, Train For Life

For many of our learners, advancement is more than a goal, it's a non-negotiable for their career. Ed Barberis holds the title of Senior Sales Engineer with over 30 years of experience in the IT industry and he views every ounce of his training as vital. 

“I spend a lot of my downtime learning because that’s how you stay relevant. Learning empowers you to succeed in life.”

Ed has the wisdom of an industry professional and yet continues to prioritize his learning because he knows his skills have to change with technology. His viewpoint is echoed by another tenured professional, an engineering manager and ACG learner we spoke with at AWS re:Invent. He shared his take on prioritizing training throughout an entire career. 

“The nice thing about online training is, especially if you have a course that's succinct, it's the best use of your time; the knowledge transfer is very rapid. What I knew 30 years ago and gave me a job, if I even put that on my resume today, it'll pretty much guarantee I won't get a job. If you stop learning, whether it's an individual, a group, a company, an industry, it's just putting yourself on a timeline."

When your career relies on pivoting to support rapid change, there's no question that your education takes priority. Even if you have no set requirements in mind, pursuing your education lengthens your shelf life as a professional. After all, learning is for IT professionals what swimming is for great white sharks: a necessity for survival.

Become Undeniable 

When discussing what he looks for in candidates, we asked Six Feet Up’s Chief Technology Officer, Calvin Hendryx-Parker what it takes to become a standout developer. He referenced a "unicorn developer" with multiple skills and aptitudes but also encouraged building the confidence to determine your own future.

"No one's going to make you into that. You're going to make you into that."

He urges learners to approach their new training with a positive outlook.

“The first thing you have to start with is the right mindset. If you have the passion and drive, you can learn anything you want to learn.”

We agree. And we firmly believe that you can reach your learning goals piece-by-piece until you've created an education you can not only use in your career but throughout your life. Technology is in constant motion, but the confidence built through each learning session hardwires your internal fortitude to keep moving forward. As the engineering manager put it best,

“Whatever you did in the past, it's like looking in the rearview mirror. It might be nice occasionally, but you can't live there.” ,

You can start today. Set an objective and break it into digestible sections. And if something comes up along the way—a meeting, a presentation, or something else, we'll be here. Ready and waiting with a library of content and an open-door policy.


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