We know that continuous professional development is essential to career growth. But with the full-scale introduction of remote work since the pandemic, we are getting busier than ever before, and don’t have the ideal time available to spend on continuous learning. It seems we are always on the go, with back-to-back Zoom or Teams calls, reports that require you multitasking way into the night, and skipped lunches, in addition to managing everyday household and family responsibilities that are integral to our personal lives.
So how do you stay relevant with your industry and maintain a competitive edge through your upskilling, when you don’t have much available time?
First of all, set a learning goal. What do you want to achieve in your career, and where are your knowledge gaps? What skills do you need to improve to get to the next level? Mention your priorities to your manager and ask if you could have one hour of focus time each week to dedicate to reskilling or upskilling, so you can be more efficient at your role.
In addition, re-evaluate your work day and personal life, and make arrangements to flex and adapt some aspects of your day where possible, so that you can squeeze in that quality learning time.
Finally, you can take advantage of this handy solution: mobile learning. Through availing yourself of an array of on-the-go learning apps, websites, and tools, you can keep yourself abreast of industry trends or changes, and increase your value in the job market. Here are some on-the-go suggestions:
Learning a new language is proven to increase your competitive edge in your industry, and demand for you as a professional. Duolingo is a language learning app that helps you achieve just that. According to its website, it uses science-backed methodology to improve learning retention, providing courses in over 40 popular and less popular languages. With the app, you play games as you learn. It also allows offline usage which is a good idea for when you’re on the go and don’t have a reliable or stable internet connection.
LinkedIn Learning is a course platform that is available to you to use as a LinkedIn member. It features a library of thousands of courses to select from, led by expert instructors and covering a variety of topics and industries. The product has an app and also boasts offline capabilities.
Similarly to LinkedIn Learning, Coursera provides a wide range of short courses, and many provide certificates upon completion. They offer a variety of free, and paid courses, in addition to degree courses from recognized universities. Coursera also has an app and an offline learning experience.
Skillshare is a platform for creators—and aspiring creatives—to learn and share information to grow creative careers. Skillshare offers thousands of instructor-led courses on topics including photography, marketing, fine art, creative writing, and graphic design. It also offers the facility to create your own project as a learner, while learning flexibly.
Did this come to your mind as soon as you thought of on-the-go learning? More than just for hobbies and relaxing reading, Amazon’s
Summarist.ai is a recent AI-powered tool that summarizes books into a digestible fashion. It claims to generate summaries in less than 30 seconds, and is a great way to familiarize yourself with key the points of a book when you’re short on time and unable to read in-depth or cover-to-cover. It is worth noting that at the time of writing, they are still adding more books to their collection.
Amazon Kindle is another fantastic on-the-go learning tool for online and offline access. Using the app or device, you can keep a collection of books in your digital library and access them whenever you wish to. A good idea would be to run a Google
The technology industry is one of the fastest-growing industries; with a projected 5% growth in 2024, it certainly would be a good idea to develop or brush up on one’s coding skills. Sololearn is a site that offers courses on coding. It incorporates real-life challenges and projects to put your bitesize lessons into practice, thus boosting your career.
Social Media Groups
Oftentimes, simply being around the right people at the right time will serve as a career boost, expanding your mindset and pathway to new opportunities, and increasing your capacity to learn more as you associate with people who are more experienced or who are experts within your industry. Consider joining a LinkedIn group or Facebook group dedicated to your area of expertise. After joining, engage frequently on others’ posts, provide meaningful insights, and share your experiences via group posts as well. Through this method of online networking, you can learn so much from others while also sharing the value of your experience, just through tapping your phone.
Podcasts offer a myriad of opportunities for professional development and valuable learning, as you’ll never know what leading expert may be invited on as a guest. There are so many podcasts to choose from, but you can filter them on your favorite podcast platform by category, or simply ask Google or AI to rank up a top 10 list of podcasts for your industry or interests. You can then play them while eating, commuting, or in between work.
With the plethora of on-the-go and on-demand learning experiences available, time is no longer an excuse. There is no reason you shouldn’t set this article down and start mapping out your professional development journey right now.