Last year I wrote a blog post on how quickly the tech industry is evolving – words like “cloud,” “mobile devices,” “hybrid cloud” becoming prevalent, and phrases like “on-premises” were becoming more and more outdated.
 
It’s not even been a full year since that blog, but this shift has become even more paramount. Some customers who were hybrid last year may now be fully integrated to the cloud. The same may be true for your own company. A recent Robert Half Technology blog considers whether this is the year of the public cloud – and how public cloud computing affects IT strategy.
 
As things continue to shift, you may be wondering what skills potential employers are seeking these days.
 
We at MPN Training are in the business of helping you keep your skills sharp. That often comes in the form of providing actual training courses for you to consume, videos to watch, etc. – usually to help you learn about a specific product like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online – you can review all available learning paths at our Learning Path tool.
 
Beyond that, there are some basic umbrella recommendations that any individual should consider:
  • Keep your skills fresh. Read blogs and follow key influencers on social media. For example, in our industry of training and adult education, we look to Coursera and Khan Academy; our digital marketing team loves Mashable. Find your favorites – and ask colleagues what are their favorites, too. You could also take on pro bono or freelance work at a start-up company or local charity to immerse yourself in the latest technological trends and get hands-on experience in a new industry.

     

  • Expand your core competencies. This may be the year to learn a complementary product (for example, if you’re already working with Office 365, why not learn about Azure?). Take courses online from experts or enroll at a local university to learn new skills. For technical people, consider a course in sales. For sales people, consider taking a hands-on development course. You get the idea!

     

    If you’re much too busy to learn a new skillset or product, consider partnering with someone else. Microsoft Pinpoint is a vast resource that helps you connect with other Microsoft partners, technology experts, professional services companies, and the like. And, of course, if you attend the 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference, you’re sure to meet other partners whom you might be able to work with down the road.

     

  • Mentor someone else. As Robert Half Technology’s Senior Executive Director John Reed says, “One of the most rewarding professional opportunities is to mentor others who are following in your footsteps.” I’d add that when you teach others, you learn too – maybe your mentee asks a question that forces you to think of a project in a new light, or their learning style is different than yours, thus forcing you to find a new way to explain a process.

       

  • Learn something that has nothing to do with your core area of expertise. If you’re a technical developer, attend a half-day art conference; if you’re a sales person, spend a weekend at a tech-geek convention. It’s often in these unexpected, apparently irrelevant experiences that we find unabashed inspiration. One of our favorite open-minded thinkers is Maria Popova of Brain Pickings. Each week, Maria curates random tidbits, resources, music, etc. that she likes. In fact, this blog has been inspired by her approach!
 
Looking for more inspiration? We looked around online and found some interesting lists, such as these five career goals for 2015, and these eight recommended skills.
 
And I’ll now leave you with my three words of advice for 2015: Never stop learning!

 
 
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